Without a doubt, Eau Claire is one of the most comfortable and welcoming cities I’ve ever visited or played in. Every little bit about this town is calming and reassuring in the way only a good Midwest town can be. Even the downtown plays calming music in the streets. I had a lot of alone time the first 2 days which was a really nice recharging time. I also played two shows while I was here and got to hang out with a bunch of great folks a few of the nights.
Some of the things I’ve loved about Eau Claire:
Some of the things I’ve loved about Eau Claire:
-Finding parking is incredibly simple.
-Every single person I’ve met has been helpful and kind.
-It is home to one of the greatest and cheapest bars I’ve ever been to in my life: The Joynt.
-All of the musicians are incredibly nice and talented.
-The town is very walking/biking friendly with lots of bridges and paths and gardens, etc.
-Everything is cheap (except for gas).
-Everyone is friends with everyone else.
-Mac ‘n’ cheese pizza.
-It is home to the best coffee shop I’ve been to on tour so far: Racy’s.
-It feels like home.
Mac ‘n’ Cheese Pizza!
So, the shows:
Location: Infinitea in Eau Claire, WI
With: only the lonesome
This show at Infinitea was planned with the intention for me to play for about 2 hours and just practice some of my songs so I’ll be prepared to switch up my set as much as possible on the road. There was no one else playing which was fine, and I wasn’t expecting too many people to be there. I just wanted a nice chill show, and got that and more. Infinitea is a wonderful tea shop that has something like 300 different types of tea available. I asked the guys just to pick me out something and I got a Moroccan Mint tea that was other-worldly. I’m not usually a big tea drinker, but it really hit the spot. I can’t wait to go there again on my way back through town. It was legit.
Some folks came in and out throughout the 2 hours, and a few songs in, my buddy Jon stopped in and hung out the whole time. That was the nicest surprise ever. He doesn’t live in Eau Claire, but he was in town for something and stopped in so we could chat. He has an amazing band that you should listen to called The Daredevil Christopher Wright. Afterword, Jon took me down to The Joynt where we hung out with a bunch of cool dudes. There was a torrent of guys who walked through and joined our little table and we all hung out until the wee hours. Jeremy, Ben, Sean, Dave, Kyle, Zach, Nick, and everyone else who hung out were all great guys.
The next day I got a lot of work done before my show that night. I had genuinely been looking forward to this second show more than any other show on tour probably (which is probably not a good thing since it’s in the first 1/3 of tour!). Of course though, I had a bunch of desk job stuff to do, but I was really productive and got a bunch of stuff done and even got some new shows booked! That’s always exciting. I left the coffee shop I was at to the hotel I had stayed in to fetch my car and head over to the theater where we were playing.
Location: The Oxford Theater in Eau Claire, WI
With: Laarks and Zach Hoff
I got to my car to drive to the show and had the horrifying experience of realizing my car was dead. I had bought a new power inverter so I could safely charge my phone while driving since I use my phone for GPS sometimes. Well, it turns out that it doesn’t turn off even when the car is off and it had been in there all night and day. BUMMER.
Remember when I said that Eau Claire was very walking friendly? Well, that turned out to be a better thing than ever. I decided to walk to the theater which was about a 30 minute walk and see if any of the Laarks guys could drive me back to the garage and maybe jump my car or get all the gear out. It turns out that Zach had jumper cables so him, Ian and I went back to the car and got it going on the first try! Laarks to the rescue! We then grabbed some food and headed back to the theater so I could sound check and we could get the show started.
First on the night was Zach Hoff. I didn’t know anything about him, but that didn’t matter because was really incredible. He just played an old Hammond that he found on the side of the road and sang his songs while a DJ scratched and played off of what he was doing. It was kind of like electronic Daniel Johnston. Yeah, really good.
I played next and felt super awkward for some reason. I don’t perform on many legitimate stages so the distance between me and the audience caught me a little off guard I think. I messed up a few things in my first two songs, but got back on track for the most part for the rest of the set. I got to play a little longer than usual, and probably played one or two songs too many, but the crowd was super responsive to it. I sold a bunch of records which was exciting and got to meet a ton of really cool folks which was even more exciting. I got to talk with Brandon, Emily, Matt, Vinnie, and Shane (as well as a few others) and it was nice to get to talk to folks who came to the show. The past 4 or so shows have been a little dry as far as feeling like people were into what I was doing, so this was a welcome change. Eau Claire is the best!
Of course, it was then time for Laarks. I’m super appreciative to Ian and the Laarks dudes for putting on the show and putting me up for the night. Great guys. Also, their band is truly incredible. The rocked through an incredible set that made me think “This is what it must have felt like to see The Promise Ring back in the Very Emergency era.” Every single member was ridiculously talented. Ian is a rare songwriter who can make songs fun and affecting at the same time. It kind of made me wish that Chemic was playing the show. I think our bands would have been a good fit together. I didn’t get any good pictures of them because it was too dark and I really just wanted to listen.
After the show we went out to a few places and ended up at The Joynt for awhile which was awesome. Then we headed back to the house where Ian, Trevor and I got some pizza. I tell you what, this town knows how to do pizza. It was so good.
Now, it’s time to head off to Minneapolis to see some old friends and hopefully hang out with the Laarks dudes later on tonight because they’re playing in Minneapolis tonight too!
I hope you all are doing really well while I’m gone. I miss everybody, but I’m definitely doing what I love to do. It’s been super rewarding so far and I think it’ll be so much more so as the tour progresses. Thanks for checking in from time to time and don’t be afraid to comment or email me or whatever. See you soon-ish.