The Plus offers eclectic sampler of music

Sawdust City Limits showcases local talent born and bred in Eau Claire

More stories from Kelsey Smith


Photo by Kelsey Smith

Will Wall, singing vocals and playing guitar, for FM Down offered a bombastic genre with some 80’s style synth leads tossed in from time to time.

As people filed into the The Plus on Barstow Street, they all became part of a different sort of revitalization. The crowd gathered under the multicolored glow of overhead stage lights in anticipation of several experimental artists about to take the stage.

Once the performance began, fans swayed from side to side as they sang along at the tops of their lungs. Some audience members were there to see their favorite local bands in the flesh, while others were there to check out talent new and fresh to them.

Sawdust City Limits was a one-night, eclectic sampler of music performed by musicians born and raised in Eau Claire.  

Sawdust City Limits featured talents of select Eau Claire natives including performances by:

— Kalispell;

— The Heart Pills;

— Two Castles;

— Wayward;

— FM Down;

— D. Janakey;

— Evergreen Grass Band;

— and Filthy Sweet.

The show started off with Kalispell featuring Shane Leonard, a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter living in Eau Claire. One of the songs they performed, titled “Windfall,” drew from Leonard’s tenor with a distinct Midwestern sound of its own.

“I started writing this music with the intention to combine sounds that have shaped me: the melodies of old folk songs, the freedom of improvisation and the structure of formal composition,” Leonard said.

The Heart Pills offered a junkyard folk-like sound at their performance. The music comprised stories surrounded by an active combo of organs, clangy cowboy chords, post-punk bass lines and loud drumming.

Eric Christenson, an Eau Claire-based singer-songwriter, beat maker and producer of Two Castles has been putting out melancholic, low-fidelity electronic pop jams for a few years now.

Dana Vierbicher, an organizational communication student, said she is a regular at The Plus and enjoys coming downtown whenever she can. After attending the event Saturday, she said it was a great way to connect with the community.

“I come to the plus as much as I can and always enjoy what it has to offer,” Vierbicher said. “The talent in this community majorly shows at this venue.”

Janakey, a local solo artist who crafts folk songs that spin stories and elicit distant memories, took the stage, followed by the Ever-Green Grass Band, a group of bluegrass pickers. Filthy Sweet closed the show with a high-energy stage performance and an eclectic array of styles and influences.

Exclusive downloads of two songs from each artist from the Sawdust City Limits #2 line-up was offered at the event. Many of the performers have their music available on as well as their Facebook pages. To find more information about future events at The Plus, visit their Facebook page.