A number of musicians came together this past Saturday for a Haiti benefit concert at Brooklyn, NY’s Music Hall of Williamsburg. Singer/guitarist Justin Vernon—better known as Bon Iver—performed with a number of the evening’s guests and also offered his own mini-set (Vernon was in New York for a performance at Merkin Hall with Steve & John Morgan Kimock).
Singer/songwriter John Shade opened the show and invited out Vernon to play drums on a pair of songs. Next up, Spoon frontman Britt Daniel—who headlined a stealth show at New York’s Mercury Lounge with Spoon this past Thursday and made an in-store appearance earlier Saturday—played three songs with White Rabbits’ Jamie Levinson on drums (Daniel produced White Rabbits latest album). The evening’s next musical act, St. Vincent, offered a series of covers, including a cover of The National’s “Mistaken for Strangers” and a duet with Vernon. For his own performance, Vernon ran through a few originals and a John Price cover with the occasional help of Megafaun’s Brad Cook. Self-described “best friends” Vernon and Cook both got their start playing together in the jammy band DeYarmond Edison before finding fame on their own. Saturday’s performance recalled the musicians’ looser, more experimental earlier days. Soon after, Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and saxophonist Colin Stetson (Arcade Fire/Sway Machinery) made a surprise appearance to play a song off the latter musicians’ forthcoming album. Worden also covered Prince’s “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore.”
The night came to a close with a “supergroup” featuring St. Vincent, Vernon and Cook called Songer Singwriter. The ad hoc band ran through covers of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”, Tom Petty’s “Face in the Crowd,” Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and Annie Lennox’s “Why” that showed off the normally sedate Vernon’s guitar skills. Zach Galifianakis, Wyatt Cenac, Janeane Garofalo and hosts Bobby Tisdale and Leo Allen provided comic relief between the evening’s musical segments.