Photos by Tristan Williams
After debuting their Big Red Machine project this July at the Wisconsin-based Eaux Claires festival, Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner brought their new, collaborative outfit to New York City on Wednesday night.
Big Red Machine released their debut, self-titled LP on Aug. 31, and their single set at Terminal 5 (the only club date on their calendar) featured every song from the 10-track offering.
Matching the album’s studio sequencing, Vernon and Dessner led their five-piece band through opening tracks “Deep Green” and “Gratitude” before flipping the order of the following “Lyla” and “Hymnostic.”
Pianist Thomas Bartlett and guitarist Josh Kaufman rotated in and out of the 13-song set—Bartlett is a touring member of Dessner’s usual outlet, The National, and Kaufman worked with Dessner and his twin brother/bandmate Bryce Dessner on the 2016 Day of the Dead Grateful Dead tribute record. Kaufman also produced Bob Weir’s Blue Mountain record, following a career with NYC indie band Yellowbirds.
The rest of the band consisted of Brad Cook on bass, JT Bates on drums, Lisa Hannigan on vocals and Sam Amidon on fiddle. Hannigan and Amidon opened the show with a few tunes, and Hannigan stepped into the spotlight once more during the Big Red Machine set to sing her own tune “Swan,” which she co-wrote with Aaron Dessner. (Cook is also a longtime collaborator of Vernon, performing in Vernon’s pre-Bon Iver project DeYarmond Edison before forming North Carolina-based psych-folk outfit Megafaun.)
Without an encore, the band closed with the Big Red Machine‘s final composition, “Melt.”
Check out some photos and the full setlist below:
Big Red Machine
November 7, 2018
Terminal 5, New York City
Deep Green, Gratitude, Air Stryp, Lyla, Hymnostic, People Lullaby, Easy to Sabotage, I Won’t Run From It, Forest Green, Swan, OMDB, Langham, Melt