Fleetwood Mac, Eagles Fuel Musical Nostalgia at Dodger Stadium for The Classic West

Fireworks explode over Dodger Stadium after Fleetwood Mac’s performance at The Classic West.

LOS ANGELES – Brilliant-colored fireworks exploded over Dodger Stadium as Fleetwood Mac closed out their two-hour set for The Classic West Sunday night.

Hues of red, green, yellow and blue popped over the crowd while the legendary band performed a spirited version of “Don’t Stop.”

The “Rumours” hit single served as the perfect ending to The Classic West, a new two-day classic rock music festival based in Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium featuring the Eagles, Steely Dan, Journey, The Doobie Brothers and Earth, Wind & Fire.

Curated by Irving Azoff in response to last year’s profitable Desert Trip, The Classic West is the ultimate recipe for whipping up a memorable dish of music nostalgia – early 1970s classic and folk rock fused with jazz-inspired tunes, southern California harmonies, groovy R&B, disco and arena rock anthems.

It also served as the perfect time musical time machine for nearly 50,000 attendees and me. I was ready to board a mythical aircraft similar to the one featured on the cover of Journey’s 1981 album, “Escape,” and travel back to a bygone era.

Continue reading “Fleetwood Mac, Eagles Fuel Musical Nostalgia at Dodger Stadium for The Classic West”

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.

‘Troix’ – Justin Vernon, Aaron Dessner Announce Eclectic Lineup for Third Installment of Eaux Claires

Justin Vernon, left, and Aaron Dessner perform during a Day of the Dead celebration at the second Eaux Claires festival in August 2016.

It’s time to return to the river in June.

The Stratton Setlist will attend the third installment of Eaux Claires, a two-day music festival curated by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner.

Known as “Troix,” the Eau Claire, Wisc.-based music festival announced its eclectic lineup of musical legends, indie rockers and emerging artists Thursday for the June 16-17 event at Foster Farms along the Chippewa River.

The lineup includes Bon Iver presenting John Prine & The American Songbook, which will feature several special guests paying tribute to country/folk singer-songwriter.

Another festival highlight will include Paul Simon collaborating with chamber ensemble yMusic to reinterpret his iconic songs with contemporary classical music.

The lineup also features Feist, Sylvan Esso, Wilco, Tweedy, Chance The Rapper, Danny Brown, Perfume Genius, This Is The Kit and more.

Continue reading “‘Troix’ – Justin Vernon, Aaron Dessner Announce Eclectic Lineup for Third Installment of Eaux Claires”

Stratton Setlist Snapshot: Eaux Claires Day 2 Celebrates Day of the Dead

Eau Claire, Wis. — The second day of Eaux Claires celebrated the legacy of The Grateful Dead with a special “Day of the Dead” tribute.

Led by Aaron and Bryce Dessner from The National, the first ever “Day of the Dead” tribute featured Will Oldham, Phosphorescent, Jenny Lewis, Bruce Hornsby, Ruban Nielson, Lucius, Matt Berninger and others.

The Dessner brothers assembled the five-disc “Day of the Dead” tribute album over four years to raise money for the AIDS/HIV organization Red Hot. An LP boxed set will be released Sept. 9.

The setlist included “Sugaree,” “Black Muddy River,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “Shakedown Street,” “Brokedown Palace” and other Dead favorites.

Besides the “Day of the Dead” tribute, other notable day 2 performances included Alpha Consumer, Mavis Staples, Lewis, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Lucius and Beach House.

Stratton Setlist Snapshot: Eaux Claires Day 1 Brings Eclectic Music Mix to Wisconsin

Eau Claire, Wis. — Friday’s summer drizzle didn’t dampen the spirits of festival goers during the first day of Eaux Claires.

Instead, indie rockers and musical legends uplifted attendees at Foster Farms with pop-fueled anthems, folk rock tunes, ’80s classic hits and experimental rock.

The festival’s main highlight included the live premiere of Bon Iver’s first new album in five years — 22, A Million.