Thom’s Up, Thom’s Down

Story by Thom Fountain

Thom’s Up:
Eau Claire Music

Hey, have you heard of Bon Iver? Of course you have. Who hasn’t listened to/fell in love with the most famous Chippewa Valley musician? I certainly have many times over. The thing is: I’m not convinced Justin Vernon is the best musician in Eau Claire right now. Nor would I be so quick to grant him the honor of best songwriter.

Now trust me, this is no slight towards Bon Iver. Rather, it’s a testament to the immense pool of talent in the Eau Claire community. There are five non-Vernon groups who are touring or have toured internationally to great acclaim (Megafaun, Peter Wolf Crier, S. Carey, Laarks and The Daredevil Christopher Wright) that were all born and/or raised in the Eau Claire area*. For a city of 65,000 people, that’s simply remarkable.

What’s even more amazing though is that that number doesn’t even crack the surface of the amazing musicians that play around here every weekend. The fact that I can head to Infinitea on a Saturday and see Adelyn Rose or go to The Mousetrap for Meridene (both of which have gotten very favorable mentions in national media) is great.

If you need any more convincing, you should have caught the Local Fusion show sponsored by UAC last weekend. It featured an awesome diversity of talent from the area.
However, there was one problem …

Thom’s Down:
Campus Involvement

No one was there. I don’t mean no one-no one — there were probably about 25 or 30 people that I saw — but in the grand scheme of an 11,000-person school, that’s no one.
UAC is absolutely not at fault for this. There were posters everywhere, a bedsheet hanging from Davies and an article in this publication, among other promotions. And they booked a heck of a lineup with some up-and-coming as well as established musicians.

Besides all of that, the reason I know this was not on UAC was the simple fact that I’ve been to many shows in Eau Claire, big and small, and there are never students at them.
Just a few months ago Local Independence, an on-campus WUEC radio show, hosted a great showcase that featured a lot of the biggest names in local music including Daredevil, Laarks and Meridene. They had a great community turnout, but again, hardly any students.

This disconnect doesn’t make much sense to me. I’d bet most of you reading this are college-aged and living in Eau Claire. Why wouldn’t you want to go see some great live music on the cheap? And bands of Eau Claire: Why don’t you cater to students more?

I’m not patronizing, I’m actually asking. Eau Claire has the perfect equation of college students and musical talent to pack the house at every venue in town, but it doesn’t.
So find The Spectator on Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr, or send me an email and please, let me know. We can fix this problem, I swear.

*And that’s just counting the younger indie scene. I’m not familiar enough with the metal and hardcore scene to know the successes there, but I do know that they have plenty.