Last Night at 35 Conferette: Even Without Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, Gayngs Pleasingly Slow-Jammed The Festival A Proper Adieu
1 a.m., Hailey's Club
Throughout the day, it was unclear: Would Bon Iver's Justin Vernon be among the 11 or so members of the 23-member Gayngs outfit performing at Hailey's Club to close out the 2011 35 Conferette?
At first, as had been the festival's booking agreement, rumor was that he would be present. Later, word spread that he wouldn't be.
In the end, Vernon was a no-show. But no matter: The 11 performers on stage last night at Hailey's Club didn't really need his assistance. And, let's face it, they're no slouches on their own. Featuring Bon Iver guitarist Mike Noyce, The Rosebuds' smooth-voiced Ivan Howard and the always-entertaining Har Mar Superstar, the 11-piece's offering of R&B-tinged yacht rock pleased just as its audience hoped it would.
Over the course of the band's hour-long performance, the Great Lakes supergroup performed, as expected, various cuts from their highly acclaimed 2010 release, Relayted, as well as some choice covers, including Sade's "By Your Side" and George Michael's "One More Try," sometimes employing Auto-tune (although, surprisingly, not too sickeningly), but mostly not, instead employing gorgeous six-part harmonies between various members' turns at lead vocals.
No, it wasn't a very rocking affair -- crowds waved along to the music and couples toward the back of Hailey's main performance room slow-danced the night away -- but it was, indeed, a very fitting one, giving 35 Conferette's end a quite-sentimental appeal. And the setting proved a perfect one, too -- a good thing, too, since the band specifically had requested an indoor stage slot as opposed to the outdoor one they were initially offered by festival bookers.
And it wasn't just the festival attendees who were in on the fun: The crowd at this show was littered with the day's earlier performers, including members of !!! and Portugal. The Man, the latter of which saw some of its members joining the band on stage for their final song.
After the set, vocalist Howard, exhausted, only offered this much in retrospect: "This festival is so awesome."
Looking around the room and seeing the smiles on the faces of the similar exhausted festival attendees, it was tough to disagree.