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  • Joanna Newsom
Tags: , / Credit: Chris Glass
Joanna Newsom

Shaky YouTube video of Sufjan Stevens performing a haunting “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” at MusicNOW in Cincinnati is what first put the festival in the back of my mind. (That and the city’s historic Memorial Hall as an unmistakable backdrop.) The take is from 2007. Bryce Dessner, who sits in with Stevens in that clip, started the festival in 2006. (Right, it’s now in its fifth year.) Unlike most multi-day music happenings that attempt to roll quickly through abridged sets like well-oiled nostalgia machines, MusicNOW encourages collaboration and risk. This year’s three-day installment included a lot of that. It took place Tuesday (3/30) until last night (4/1) and included performances from Joanna Newsom, Robin Pecknold, St. Vincent, yMusic (performing a commission written by Annie Clark), the amazing saxophonist Colin Stetson (he gets weirdly black metal with his tones), and a solo Justin Vernon. Well, Vernon wasn’t exactly solo — he was joined by Bryce and Aaron Dessner. And Annie Clark. We couldn’t make it, but Chris Glass could. He has the beautiful photos to prove it. We’ve also video of Pecknold performing what sounds like a new song.

Comments (3)
  1. nice! i was hoping to see some coverage of this. i went to all three nights. robin’s set was incredible, maybe even the best of all (there’s something about being blown away by new songs live). joanna’s set was great, and her band is insanely talented. i absolutely loved yMusic, and i would love to have that music to listen to. it was like sufjan’s orchestration, but better. st. vincent was great as well, although her light show freaked me out. it seemed almost too trippy for the intimate setting that the festival always tries to promote. colin stetson got some incredible tones out of those instruments. sure confused those bon iver fans. as for bon iver, i have to say, i was continually unimpressed with each song. he wasn’t solo for many of them, and he had a good amount of people playing with him on the other ones – but the songs just didn’t go anywhere. the arrangements felt lazy. but i had fun. musicnow is a definite treat if you are able to attend just one night.

  2. joanna newsom and i should just go ahead and move into a treehouse together.

  3. Check out the AP Tour Contest! Win tickets now at:

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