Eaux Claires Festival 2015 Preview

Two of the strongest indie musicians around, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver & Aaron Dessner of The National bring the Eaux Claires Festival to Vernon’s hometown of Eau Claire,...

Eaux Claires Festival 2015 Preview

Two of the strongest indie musicians around, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver & Aaron Dessner of The National bring the Eaux Claires Festival to Vernon’s hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Friday & Saturday, July 17th & 18th:



Lake Eaux Lune

The National, 9:20 PM – 11:00 PM

Cincinnati-by-way-of-Brooklyn’s The National (QRO photos outdoors) hit it big in 2007 with Boxer (QRO review) and tracks like “Fake Empire”, “Mistaken For Strangers”, and “Apartment Story” (QRO video) – and again in 2008 with the Virginia EP (QRO review), but that just presaged 2011’s High Violet (QRO review), which debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts (QRO expanded edition review). An impressive and much-in-demand act (QRO live review), they’re fitting in nicely as even festival headliner (QRO photos headlining a festival) or curator (QRO photos curating a festival), like at London’s All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2012 (QRO photos) or Boston Calling the last three years (QRO photos at Boston Calling) – and curate Eaux Claires with three Vernon of Bon Iver (see below). Blown up to the point that New York Times Magazine ran a feature on them (QRO spotlight on) & Obama used (a family-friendly) bit of “Mr. November” (QRO video at a festival) as a campaign song, The National (QRO photos at a festival) returned from an hiatus in 2013 to take North America by storm (QRO photos headlining a festival) behind Trouble Will Find Me (QRO review), after having done so in Europe (QRO photos in Europe), the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival), the European festival circuit (QRO photos at a European festival), Canada (QRO photos at a festival in Canada), Spain (QRO photos at a Spanish festival), Croatia (QRO photos at a Croatian festival), Singapore (QRO photos in Singapore) & their own Brooklyn (QRO photos in Brooklyn). They look to keep it going (QRO photos in 2014), coming to Wisconsin to headline Eaux Claires (QRO photos at headlining a festival).
The National
Spoon, 6:45 PM – 7:45 PM

As The Tick would shout, “Spoon!!!” Austin’s own Spoon (QRO live review outdoors) has been turning heads in the indie-sphere for a while with their trademark indie-rock, but with 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (QRO review) & 2010’s Transference (QRO review), the group (QRO photos at a festival) has launched into the stratosphere, including headlining at New York’s own ultra-upscale Radio City Music Hall (QRO live review). A festival veteran (QRO photos at a festival), including headlining fests (QRO photos headlining a festival), they come to Eaux Claires (QRO photos at a festival last summer), now behind last fall’s release of They Want My Soul (QRO review). Three cheers for “The Underdog” (QRO video)!
The Staves, 4:45 PM – 5:30 PM

Folk-rock trio of sisters The Staves (QRO live review) hail from Watford in the south of England, but have since made it to the majors on Atlantic Records.
The Staves
The Lone Bellow, 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM

Zach Williams’ wife suffered temporary paralysis following or horseback riding accident, with which he responded by learning to play guitar – and has made it far enough to form his own band, The Lone Bellow (QRO photos outdoors at a festival).

The Lone Bellow


Mistaken For Strangers (outtakes), 12:50 AM – 1:30 AM

Eaux Claires airs outtakes from their tour documentary, Mistaken For Strangers.
The National
PHOX Film Premiere, 12:00 AM – 12:45 AM

PHOX (see below) premiere their film at Eaux Claires.
Francis & The Lights, 11:00 PM – 11:45 PM

Francis Farewell Starlite brings ‘The Lights’ to Wisconsin.
Francis & The Lights
The Tallest Man On Earth, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM

There are a lot of alt-folk solo singer/songwriters out there these days. Sweden’s Kristian Matsson (QRO photos at a festival), a.k.a. The Tallest Man On Earth (QRO photos at a festival), first got notice for his Dylan-esque ways (QRO photos) when opening for fellow alt-folk solo singer/songwriter Justin Vernon, a.k.a. Bon Iver (see below), but has since graduated to headliner (QRO photos as headliner) – and still operates solo (QRO photos), including at festivals (QRO photos at a festival).
The Tallest Man On Earth
Sturgill Simpson, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Though his sound is closer to traditional country, because Sturgill Simpson (QRO photos at a festival) operates his own label outside of the Nashville country music business, he’s labeled ‘alt-country’.
Sturgill Simpson

Hiss Golden Messenger, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PMQRO photos at a festival

Hiss Golden Messenger

The Dells of the St. Coix

Boys Noize, 12:30 AM – 1:30 AM

Germany, the home of electro-house, has another son in Alexander Ridha, a.k.a. Boys Noize (QRO photos).
Boys Noize

Marijuana Deathsquads, 11:45 PM – 12:30 AM

Lizzo, 11:15 PM – 11:45 PM

Corbin, 8:10 PM – 8:50 PM

Allan Kingdom, 7:30 PM – 8:10 PM

Blind Boys of Alabama, 6:15 PM – 7:00 PM QRO photos at a festival

Low, 4:45 PM – 5:30 PMQRO album review

Liturgy, 3:15 PM – 4:00 PMQRO album review

Field Report, 2:00 PM – 2:45 PMQRO photos at a festival

Blind Boys of Alabama

The Banks of the St. Coix

Grandma Sparrow, 11:00 PM – 11:45 PM

Sam Amidon, 7:45 PM – 8:30 PMQRO photos

John Mueller’s Initiation, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Found Footage Festival, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Mina Tindle, 3:15 PM – 4:00 PM

The Penny Sergs, 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Sam Amidon




Lake Eaux Lune

Bon Iver, 10:00 PM – 11:30 PM

Man, have things ever blown up for Justin Vernon – a.k.a. Bon Iver (QRO photos). QRO can remember when he was just the touring guitarist (QRO photos) for The Rosebuds (QRO spotlight on), but after a well-received appearance at CMJ 2007 (QRO recap), he signed to Jagjaguwar and released his stripped solo debut For Emma, Forever Ago (QRO review) – and the rest was history. He appeared on just about every TV show you can throw a stick at, including being interviewed by Stephen Colbert & being mock-portrayed by Justin Timberlake on Saturday Night Live (QRO Music on Late Night TV). He’s even worked with Kanye!

After playing to massive crowds (QRO live review) while touring 2011’s self-titled follow-up (QRO review), which earned him the Grammy for Best Alternative Album and Best New Artist (and leading legions of J. Cole twitter fans to ask, “Who the fuck is bunny bear?”…), Vernon set aside the ‘Bon Iver’ moniker for other work/names, like Volcano Choir (QRO live review), The Shouting Matches (QRO album review), and GAYNGS (QRO album review). But for his own festival, Bon Iver returns!
Bon Iver
Indigo Girls, 7:15 PM – 8:15 PM

Before politically active folk music became popular again, there was the Indigo Girls (QRO photos outdoors). Amy Ray & Emily Sailers broke through in the late eighties with hit “Closer To Fine” and have kept on going, both in music & activism.
Indigo Girls
GIVERS, 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM

From down on the bayou in Lafayette, Louisiana, GIVERS (QRO photos) have turned their state’s native Cajun & zydeco music into sweet indie-pop (QRO photos outdoors).


Haley Bonar, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM

Phil Cook, 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM



Sufjan Stevens, 8:30 PM – 9:45 PM

Sufjan Stevens (QRO live review) has been all over the map – both literally and sonically. He began as singer for electronica outfit The Faint (QRO live review), but made his name in alt-folk, including his ‘States Project’ of albums about states (though he only made two, for Michigan and Illinois), then had a Christmas album and a music & film project, The BQE (commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the famed Brooklyn-Queens Expressway). And even his return to normal albums was anything but normal, as 2010’s The Age of Adz (QRO review) combined alt-folk harmonies with tech-stop electronics for a unique sound and a unique show (QRO live review). He comes to Eaux Claires (QRO photos) behind this year’s return to intimate form, Carrie & Lowell (QRO review).
Sufjan Stevens
Poliça, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Minneapolis indie/electronic/R&B outfit Poliça (QRO photos at a festival) have been getting serious attention in the last few years (and not just for the ‘ç’…).
Charles Bradley & The Extraordinaires, 4:00 PM – 4:45 PM

The ‘Screaming Eagle of Soul’, Charles Bradley is one of the many great soul singers to emerge from Brooklyn’s DapTone Records, which also brought the world Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (QRO live review) and Budos Band (QRO album review), but Bradley more than stands on his own, from festivals (QRO photos at a festival) to topping the bill at the one-and-only Apollo Theater (QRO photos)!
Charles Bradley
S. Carey, 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM

Once upon a time, Justin Vernon was just known as the touring guitarist for The Rosebuds (QRO spotlight on). But then he put out his own material as Bon Iver (see above), and the rest is history. S. Carey is best known as the drummer in Bon Iver, but Sean is a solo artist in his own right (QRO photos at a festival), with last year’s excellent Range of Light (QRO review).

S. Carey

The Dells of the St. Coix

Sylvan Esso, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Durham, North Carolina indie-pop duo Sylvan Esso have moved up very fast since the release last year of their eponymous debut full-length.
Sylvan Esso
PHOX, 6:00 PM – 6:45 PM

Madison, Wisconsin’s musical success story of last year, PHOX have emerged from that college town in quick time, and come to Eaux Claires (QRO photos at a festival) after release of their debut, self-titled full-length (and premiere of their film – see above & below).
Melt Banana, 5:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Melt Banana brings Japanese noise-rock to Middle America.
Melt Banana

Aero Flynn, 3:45 PM – 4:30 PM

Colin Stetson, 2:35 PM – 3:15 PM

Elliot Moss, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PMQRO photos

Elliot Moss

The Banks of the St. Coix

Retribution Gospel Choir, 6:45 PM – 7:30 PM

PHOX Film Premiere, 5:10 PM – 5:55 PM

yMusic, 4:00 PM – 4:50 PMQRO photos outdoors

Chris Rosenau, 2:45 PM – 3:30 PM

Found Footage Festival, 1:15 PM – 2:15 PM


For festival website, go here: http://eauxclaires.com/