Eaux Claires Day 2 Celebrates Music of Wilco, Paul Simon

Jeff Tweedy performs with Wilco at Eaux Claires.

Eaux Claires attendees battled intermittent heavy showers and the looming threat of severe weather to see Wilco, Paul Simon, Feist and other artists at day 2 of Eaux Claires.

Wilco played for nearly two hours despite Eaux Claires organizers moving the band’s set up in anticipation of severe thunderstorms. Main stage artists continued to perform while side stage acts were cancelled.

The distant lightning served as the perfect backdrop for one of Wilco’s most ominous songs, “Via Chicago,” which starts with a dark lyric, “I dreamed about killing you against last night.”

“We’re usually playing outside when it’s sunny, and this song really bums people out, but this is f**king perfect,” said Jeff Tweedy, Wilco’s frontman, regarding “Via Chicago,” from the band’s 1999 album, “Summerteeth.”

Wilco guitarist Nels Cline played an exquisite extended guitar solo during “Impossible Germany,” while fans relished singing along with the band to “Jesus, Etc.” and “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.”

Before Wilco took the stage as the night’s headliner, Paul Simon played a 60-minute set with yMusic, a New York City-based chamber ensemble.

Paul Simon reimagines Simon & Garfunkel classics with yMusic.

Together, Simon and yMusic put a refreshing classical spin on “America,” “Mrs. Robinson,” The Boxer” and “Sound of Silence.” Their show was worth the wait after heavy rains delayed Simon and yMusic’s new set time by about 30 minutes.

“It’s really a good omen when the crowd is wet and shivering, but the performers are dry,” Simon said to a drenched Eaux Claires crowd.

Before Simon took the stage, Feist played her new album, “Pleasure,” in its entirety for festival attendees earlier that evening. Wearing a bright pink dress with ruffles and strumming her guitar in front of an electronic fan, Feist made her live performance a pleasurable one for fans.

“For two years now, I’ve heard about you guys, and so today, we would like to do something special just for us to share this moment together in honor of these incredible clouds,” Feist said.

In the afternoon, attendees danced to the party rap and club music of Baltimore-based Spank Rock, who traded jabs on stage with Amanda Blank and opened and closed his set with the Midnite Express, a Native American musical troupe.

Other day 2 festival highlights included Appalachian-style folk music from Mountain Man, which features Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath, Molly Sarle and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and the indie pop of Perfume Genius.

Eaux Claires Day 1 Shines with Tributes, Headliners and Side Projects

Justin Vernon, left, and Phil Cook pay tribute to John Prine at Eaux Claires.

A heavy summer rain pelted Eaux Claires festival goers Friday evening as they watched Justin Vernon pay tribute to country/folk singer-songwriter John Prine.

Vernon, festival co-curator and frontman of Bon Iver, led a “Great American Songbook” a 90-minute set featuring Phil Cook, The Staves and other Artists-In-Residence and didn’t let it dampen the mood in Eau Claire, Wis.

“On a personal note, there is no more important music to me or my family than the music of Mr. John Prine,” he said. “He’s the greatest teacher I ever had, and I only met the man yesterday, but this is all for him.”

Prine joined Vernon and the others toward the end of the set and played “Hello in There” as well as few other favorites.

Outside of the Prine tribute, attendees watched Chance the Rapper give an energetic, danceable performance as the night’s headliner. “This festival is not like any other festival,” said the Grammy-winning artist.

A performance highlight included a collaboration between Chance the Rapper and Francis & The Lights called “May I Have This Dance,” which sounds like it was inspired by Peter Gabriel.

Friday also served as Wilco side project day with The Autumn Defense, Tweedy, Cup and S. Carey and Glenn Kotche.

Comprised of Wilco bassist John Stirratt and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone, the duo performed at a new Eaux Claires stage called Oxbeaux situated in the surrounding woods. The Autumn Defense played a haunting acoustic cover of the Bob Welch and Fleetwood Mac classic, “Sentimental Lady.”

Later in the day, Jeff Tweedy and his son, Spencer Tweedy, played the Tweedy favorite, “Summer Noon,” on the Flambeaux stage, while Wilco guitarist Nels Cline and his wife, Yuka Honda, performed their ambient music as Cup at the intimate Sparreaux stage.

At nightfall, attendees grooved on the lawn to Durham, N.C.-based indie pop duo Sylvan Esso, who drew their energy from the wet, but enthusiastic crowd. Songs like “Coffee,” “Hey Mami,” “Die Young” and “Radio” were crowd favorites as Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn performed their 60-minute set.

“Thank you for buying a ticket to one of the only festivals that’s a true celebration of music,” Sanborn said.

Return to the River – Eaux Claires Festival ‘Troix’ Starts Today

The National’s Matt Berninger performs during a Day of the Dead tribute at Eaux Claires in August 2016.

The third installment of Eaux Claires kicks off today with Chance the Rapper, John Prine, Sylvan Esso and others.

Known as “Troix,” Justin Vernon’s and Aaron Dessner’s annual two-day music festival in Eau Claires, Wis. returns with more chances to see the entire lineup.

Situated along the Chippewa River, the festival boats some of the most talented emerging music artists in the indie rock world as well as several legendary acts.

“In year three of Eaux Claires, we’re reconfiguring the grounds and reducing the amount of stages. You might notice this change reflected in our lineup,” according to the Eaux Claires’ “Troix” festival guide. “We’re doing this because it provides the ability to devote more attention to one-of-a-kind projects that make this festival unique. We’re refocusing in order to do even more to merge the audience and the artist.”

Throughout today’s lineup, festival goers will see several Wilco side projects, including The Autumn Defense, Tweedy, Cup and S. Carey and Glenn Kotche. They also will see Vernon and Bon Iver pay tribute to Prine as part of The American Songbook.

For electronic and chamber music fans, a collaboration called Music for The Long Emergency will premiere today at the festival. It’s the product of a yearlong virtual residency between Minneapolis electronic and drum-and-bass quartet Poliça and European-based chamber ensemble, s-t-a-r-g-a-z-e, led by conductor André de Ridder.

Finally, Artists-In-Residence will collaborate with featured performers throughout the festival. Many Artists-In-Residence include past performers from the first two Eaux Claires festivals – Jenny Lewis, The Staves, Phil Cook and others.

Alive and Well — Phil Collins Proves He’s ‘Not Dead Yet’ at London’s Royal Albert Hall

Phil Collins performs his third sold-out show at London’s Royal Albert Hall on June 7.
Phil Collins calmly hobbled on stage amidst a chorus of welcoming cheers from 5,200 ecstatic fans at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

The former Genesis frontman and Grammy-winning pop balladeer performed his third sold-out “Not Dead Yet Live” show at the iconic 146-year-old concert hall on June 7.

Collins kicked off the 2.5-hour show with the No. 1 power ballad “Against All Odds” from 1984. Fans erupted with thunderous applause and a collective call of joy in response to the Collins classic.

“I know I said that I wouldn’t do this again, but the truth is that I missed you,” he said. “You won’t be seeing too much dancing from me tonight. Thank God! I had a back operation, leg’s f**ked, but we’re here, right?”

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Fangs and Twang Bite into Monstrous Tales for New ‘High Fives All Around’ Album

Fangs and Twang’s Andy Benes, Billy LaLonde and Joe Bertoletti.

Fangs and Twang know how to sink their musical teeth into monster folklore.

The Ypsilanti, Mich.-based roots rock and bluegrass trio sing about Frankenstein, the Loch Ness Monster, and other notorious creatures on their new album, “High Fives All Around,” which comes out today.

Bassist Joe Bertoletti and his bandmates, Andy Benes (guitar, vocals) and Billy LaLonde (drums, vocals), seek inspiration for their second album’s eight monster-themed tracks from books, movies, comics and regional urban legends. It nicely follows in the footsteps of their self-titled 2015 debut.

One of the band’s favorite tracks, “Loveland Frogman,” is based on a Loveland, Ohio urban legend dating back to 1972 about two local sightings of a creature that resembled a humanoid frog.

“It’s loosely based on the story of a trooper coming across the Frogman,” Bertoletti said. “In our part of the story, they decide to go party down at the creek.”

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Chris DuPont Combines Venue, Studio Recording for New ‘Live in A2’ Album

 

Chris DuPont believes the right live album includes an eclectic mix of original and cover songs recorded in a venue and a studio.

The Ypsilanti, Mich. folk singer-songwriter melded these two sounds together for his new live album, “Live in A2,” which drops today.

The 12-track live album features six songs recorded during a June 4, 2016 show at The Ark and another six recorded during a studio session at Solid Sound in Ann Arbor, Mich. Each side of the LP represents a different live feel for listeners.

Side A incorporates the intimacy and energy associated with hearing DuPont perform his classic tunes – “Evergreen Waltz,” “Winterfox” and four others – in the 400-seat acoustic and folk music venue known as The Ark.

“I hope it’s a fun listen,” said DuPont while traveling back from a May 12 show in Denver. “I hope that it gives people the type of energy and affirmation that they might get at a live show because for better or worse I really strive for polish.”

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Crystalized – The xx’s ‘I See You’ Tour Sparkles at Detroit’s Masonic Temple

Romy Madley Croft performs with The xx at Detroit’s Masonic Temple Tuesday night.

Seven mirrored panels rhythmically twisted and turned along to the shimmering sounds of The xx Tuesday night at Detroit’s Masonic Temple.

The pillars served as the reflective backdrop for the London-based indie pop trio’s brilliant 17-song set before nearly 4,000 fans.

Fans enthusiastically welcomed The xx back to Detroit after nearly a four-year absence and grooved to the illuminating, electronic tunes from the band’s current album, “I See You.”

The xx kicked off their 80-minute set with “Say Something Loving,” the latest single from “I See You,” and morphed into “Crystalized” from their 2009 debut, “xx.”

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