In 2009, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and the National’s Aaron Dessner teamed up on a track called “Big Red Machine” off of the Red Hot charity compilation album Dark Was The Night. They’ve partnered on all sorts of things since then, including starting the Eaux Claires festival in Vernon’s Wisconsin hometown together. And this year, nearly a full decade after its inception, the Big Red Machine project has finally come to fruition.
Vernon and Dessner performed with a whole group of friends and collaborators under the name Big Red Machine at Eaux Claires this year. Less than two months later, they released their self-titled debut album. And now, Big Red Machine are playing on national TV together for the first time.
Vernon and Dessner were originally scheduled to perform on Thursday’s episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. For some reason, that didn’t end up happening. But they were there last night, alongside guests Alexander Skarsgård and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, playing “Gratitude” off of their recent album. Watch Big Red Machine’s performance below.