Last Night Bon Iver’s Drummer Called Me A Hack

Back in my home town of Aliso Viejo, a testament to suburbia, exists a flourishing DIY music scene. Most of our local bands (Pedestrian, Ridgeway, Evary) could fall into the categories of pop punk/emo, psychedelic, or post rock music inspired by bands like Modern Baseball, Tame Impala, and Explosions In The Sky. It’s not what I expected from the palm tree decorated, coastal city, but we all love and promote it.

I currently live in the Provo/Orem area where the DIY music scene isn’t very unified, and I admit, I really miss the sense of community back home. I have a few friends that promote their shows out here, but the events are fairly sporadic and dispersed. Interestingly enough, however, my roommate discovered a house show through bandsintown, but it wasn’t just any indie rock band…

S. Carey, the brainchild of Bon Iver’s drummer and supporting vocalist Sean Carey, played a show last night in a Salt Lake City residence.  I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t sure if this was just going to be Sean with an acoustic guitar, if there was going to be any amplification, where they would be playing in the house…regardless, I couldn’t wait to find out.

We pulled up to the address and weren’t sure if we had the right place until we looked in the driveway and saw the big tour van with a Wisconsin license plate, and figured it had to be them. At the front door was a young boy by the merch table featuring the discography of the band, as well as T-shirts and other standards. He politely welcomed us into the house.

Scott (my roommate) and I were the first ones, so it was literally an empty living room and right there the band was warming up Fire-scene. It was a pretty surreal experience to go from watching a video of Sean singing For Emma with Justin Vernon in a Youtube episode of “La Blogothèque” to talking about fishing in the mountains with the whole band only an hour later. He was accompanied by keyboardist Ben Lester, and drummer/guitarist Zach Hanson, both incredibly talented guys.

We stood in the kitchen with the hosts and talked about music and how the tour came about, as the rest of the audience poured in through the door. Some went straight to picking their seats on the living room floor while others adorned the ice bucket with wine or IPA, and joined the conversation.

Maybe we exuded the indie rock aesthetic, or maybe we just looked like we had spent the past week in a van (probably the latter), but those newcomers shuffling in kept asking Scott and me if we were in the band. Keep in mind S. Carey was standing right across from us, so as much as we wanted to say yes, we disappointedly shook our heads no each successive time until someone asked yet again:

“Are you guys in the band too?”, after which Sean took the liberty to clarify…

“No they’re just a couple of hacks.”

I then took a deep hard look into my glass of water, and watched the ripples of a tear drop radiate out from the center of my beverage.

ACTUALLY I laughed, even though it was a joke, I had never been called a hack before, and I can gladly say the first person to do it was Sean Carey.

What a great memory to have! Right?

Maybe not you say? Well…as far as the show went, the band perfectly recreated their lush, ethereal, and layered soundscapes over which their melodies and harmonies floated and whisked the living room away to the misty mountains that the band is so fond of showcasing on their album covers. They even had the audience help out and perform the clapping for the song “In The Dirt”.


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This was definitely one of my favorite and most unique show experiences. I loved the setting and I hope more bands follow suit (and tell us about it).

Thanks S. Carey and thank you to those wonderful kind people who hosted the show!

2 thoughts on “Last Night Bon Iver’s Drummer Called Me A Hack”

    1. Glad you think so Dave!

      I haven’t had as much time to write to entertain, although I’m quite fond. I may move subjects like live shows and outdoorsmanship to my personal blog if you’re interested :) I’m curious by the way, how did you find me?

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