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Eaux Claires Day 2: More mud, more sweat, a lot more tears

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

The Eaux Claires festival in Eau Claire, WI continued (read about Day 1 here) July 18 with a much slower start, a combination of Friday’s intense heat and thundershowers through the night having broken some of the pressure.

Leaving no time to waste, staff photog Jeremy and I headed over to the dome marked “Eternity Awaits” that I described yesterday. Once inside the dome, recorded “confessions” and “Alleluias” played as a soundtrack for the experiment as the hay bales started to fill with those anxious to confess. These recorded confessions included everything from a woman sharing she was really a cat to friends admitting they deceived each other; really weird mix of stuff. I pulled the number “12” from the ticket wheel and patiently waited. Astronautalis came out from the confessional between hearing confessions in full priestly regalia, guzzling a Miller Lite and sizing up every sinner in the room with his own appearance-based evaluation – never mind what each person was actually going to confess.

Finally, my ticket was called and I approached the confessional, totally unsure of what to do once I got up there. But, just like in my Catholic upbringing, I entered one side of the confessional and Astronautalis entered the other. The walls of the small box were filled with photobooth-like mugs of others; a kneeler and a screen were also present in on the wall facing Astronautalis. Continue reading →

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Colin Stetson, saxophone God, played the First Unitarian Church

Photo by Kate McCann | http://katemccannphotography.com/index2.php#!/HOME
Photo by Kate McCann | http://katemccannphotography.com/index2.php#!/HOME

The side chapel of First Unitarian Church filled a few minutes after eight on the first night of April on what felt like the first spring-like day. Justin Walter entered and began playing his Electronic Valve Instrument, a rare wind instrument with an analog synthesizer. While Walter has worked with Iron & Wine, Wild Belle, His Name Is Alive and Saturday Looks Good To Me, he’s released his own solo material, which he showcased during his opening set. Heavy tones echoed around the chapel’s walls and a few more stragglers took seats on the floor of the room. Walter spoke briefly about his new album Lullabies & Nightmares, and thanked the crowd for coming to such a “special” space.

During a brief break, the energy built for the highly anticipated appearance of Colin Stetson, saxophone God. Stetson has performed and recorded with many bands and musicians including Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Feist, Tom Waits, David Byrne, and TV On The Radio, yet his church performance was reserved for his solo work, which is magnificent. The few sitting on the floor scooted up to be sit right beneath the beast of a saxophone Stetson pulled out during his second song. His avant-garde and minimalistic pieces would sometimes last 20 minutes before the musician took a full breath of air again. The small audience was enthralled with each bellow that rung from the bass saxophone and ended the evening with a standing ovation for the force and fervor Stetson exhibited during his set.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Colin Stetson at First Unitarian Church, Jukebox the Ghost at World Cafe Live, The xx at World Cafe Live at the Queen and more

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He’s played with Bon Iver and Arcade Fire, but you probably won’t recognize him by name. The multi-talented saxaphonist Colin Stetson who’s played with the two has released a record of his own called New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light back in May and is still promoting it. Check him out tonight at First Unitarian Church. Tonight’s show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $15.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Colin Stetson at World Cafe Live, Vacationer at Underground Arts, Amy Helm at Arden Gild Hall

ColinStetson67231

You know boundary-pushing sax player Colin Stetson, even if you don’t realize it. As a performer, he’s best known as a player with Bon Iver and Arcade Fire; as a studio musician, he’s sat in with Tom Waits, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and countless others. His latest solo record, New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light, came out last week, and tonight he plays World Cafe Live on tour in support of it. The all-ages show with Sarah Neufield begins at 7:00 p.m., tickets are available here. Below, watch the music video for “In Mirrors” + “And In Truth.”

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