Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival: Artists to Watch

In the infant days of August, I didn’t expect to be plotting a road trip to Wisconsin. But here we are, days shy of the Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival, and I’m following a dotted line on my map of the Midwest. It slants down across the Saskatchewan-North Dakota border and across Minnesota, towards the small Wisconsin town after which the festival is named.

Following the success of last year’s festival, which featured the likes of Sufjan Stevens and the National, Eaux Claires is finding itself under an increasingly bright spotlight. Justin Vernon, co-founder and lineup curator of Eaux Claires, has been the subject of a recent wave of publicity following the announcement that his project Bon Iver will perform their upcoming album for the first time this Friday.

Although it’s hard to pick favourites in a star-studded lineup, here are a few artists to look out for this weekend.

sloslylove

Eau Claire-based sloslylove has all of the 80s sequencer vibes you could dream of (and more). Look no further for music to nighttime drive or slow dance to, alone in a crowded room.

James Blake

Currently touring off the back of 2016’s The Colour in Anything, James Blake embodies smooth, modern soul music, with his brand of tightly produced electronic R&B that highlights both his composition and vocal finesse. Blake and Justin Vernon have been longtime collaborators, first working together on 2011’s “Fall Creek Boys Choir”, and more recently on Blake’s “I Need a Forest Fire”. Fingers are crossed that these two will be sharing stages over the course of the weekend.


The Staves and YMusic

Everyone has said it, but it warrants repetition: the voices of the Staveley-Taylor sisters are haunting. Some might say angelic, some would say uncanny, for the unity of their harmonies runs gene-deep and audiences can feel it. The sisters first collaborated with YMusic last year, the sextet known for adding their classical dynamism to the likes of José Gonzales, the Tallest Man on Earth, and Bon Iver.

 

Tickle Torture

This is glittery, clicking noise music that defies sense. Specializing in rhythmic songs that undulate with looping vocals, Tickle Torture is the psychedelic-tinged R&B of Minneapolis-based artist Elliott Kozel. The prospect of a live Tickle Torture show is equal parts thrilling and terrifying. File under: Glass Animals, Prince, and Villagers…with a twist.

So Percussion

A quartet with a remarkable breadth of work under their belt, So Percussion performs classical and contemporary compositions, collaborating with WNYC’s Radiolab, Bryce Dessner of the National, and choreographer Shen Wei, to name but a few notable projects. This group has been credited with reimagining modern percussion ensembles, and can be counted upon to give a dynamic live performance.

Honorable mention: unforeseen collaborations.

The inaugural Eaux Claires found artists popping up unannounced to perform off-the-cuff collaborations that ended up being highlights of the festival (think: the National plus Bon Iver plus Sufjan Stevens). Look for unexpected guests onstage, proving to us the value of spontaneity in live music.

Eaux Claires takes place August 12th and 13th.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Entangled: More Than Meets The Eye

The Vancouver Art Gallery’s current exhibition Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting explores two concurrent approaches to understanding the...

Review: Slowdive

In 1995, Slowdive released their third album, Pygmalion. Sparse, ambient, and even less commercial than the band’s previous work, the...

The Fight Against Displacement: An Interview With Chinatown Concern Group

Founded in 2013, the Chinatown Concern Group has been working with residents, many of whom are elderly and face language...

Objects in Motion: Seeing Northwest Coast Art In A Different Light

Kaayd hllngaay skaayxan (spruce-root basket) with Wasgo (Sea Wolf) imagery, c. 1890-1920; Woven by Skidegate Haida artist and painted by...

Review: Waxahatchee’s Latest Album Has Very Little ‘Storm’ to Speak Of

Katie Crutchfield, otherwise known as Waxahatchee, is a veteran of brooding, introspective lyricism. It’s her plaintive, emotion laid bare that garnered...

Cinerama

In my art school days my tutor, Pete Bowcott (who claimed to be the lovechild of performance art pioneer Joseph...

Seu Jorge presents: The Life Aquatic – A Tribute to David Bowie

A bespectacled man walks onto the stage in an opulent theatre. Standing in front of the rapt audience, he introduces...

Her Pity Party (But Also Mine)

When we were sixteen, Lorde and I existed in worlds too small for our souls. We were restless. We wasted...