With most Bon Iver followers still debating whether it was awesomely defiant or boldly stupid for Justin Vernon to decline performing at the Grammys because he would be forced into a collaboration with unknown other artists, Vernon and his band appeared on Saturday Night Live last night to play “Holocene” and “Beth/Rest,” just as he envisioned them and in front of his largest television audience yet.
Saturday Night Live’s stage has been a notoriously difficult hurdle to clear for musicians throughout the show’s 37-year history, perhaps none more so than for newcomer Lana Del Rey, whose awkward debut performance and subsequent tsunami of backlash was spoofed quite poignantly by Kristin Wiig on last night’s show. But Bon Iver showed no signs of difficulty during their two songs. While Lana Del Rey still looked like she was adapting to holding a microphone in her hand, Bon Iver’s nine-piece group looked like they had performed their songs about a million times; even “Holocene,” which trudges along at the similarly molasses-slow pace as Del Rey’s cinematic “Video Games,” shined from the confidence that these musical veterans carry with them into any performance, big or small.
Watch “Holocene” here:
And watch the band’s more musically challenging “Beth/Rest” here:
The biggest treat for Vernonphiles, however, actually came courtesy of Wisconsin local news station WEAU 13, who visited Justin’s parents Justine and Gil Vernon at their home to interview them about watching their son become famous. “What’s even more rewarding than the fame, or whatever you want to call it that’s going on with him, is he’s just Justin,” his mom says. Watch the whole adorable segment here.