Sometimes life is pretty wonderful. Last Sunday night, I returned home from a road trip to a coastal island in Florida. Immediately, I was greeted by a night of incredible live music in my own basement. I just got out of the van, grabbed a beer, and walked down the stairs to my Eau Claire basement.
The openers on the five band bill were Heart of the Heart. I had heard this was their first show, but anyone watching could see the poise and confidence of season veterans on stage. Frontman Jonathan Seeley is something of an enigma as well. The guy lives down the street from my house (the venue), so I’ve seen him around. Up until the show, I had no concept of who he was, the only things I knew about him were that he looks like a wild, rambling man, he has a yacht in his land-locked yard, and he wears a mane of scraggly, graying hair. His powerful aura was enough to get me really excited for their set. Here’s the best part, too: they totally rock. Heart of the Heart play slow burn, emo-tinged folk rock. Imagine if a bunch of your heroes from the PureVolume days triumphantly reunited and were still totally killing it.
In between sets, I ran into local funnyman Mack Hastings of Glassworks Improv. Look how dapper this dude is. If you haven’t had the privilege of seeing these kids perform be sure to look for them in your city, they frequently tour and have a few videos up on their website. We also discussed making an arts based talk/sketch comedy show in my kitchen, so if you are in a band and want perform or be a guest, don’t hesitate to e-mail me.
Back to the show. Up next was Two Houses from Chicago. Super high energy punk rock in a basement; it was perfect. These guys are rad and on tour right now. Go see them! This was their second time playing at the house and they’re clearly doing something right. I could hardly walk down the stairs it was so packed.
Next up was Puncher. Full disclosure, I used to be pretty into hardcore in my angst-filled youth. That has since subsided (for the most) part but holy shit, Puncher! Super technical and hooky-as-hell, mathy hardcore played by incredibly talented musicians, kind of like if Modern Life is War had gone to school for jazz. They surprise around every turn, and Dave Power’s drumming is awe-inspiring. Puncher is one of the best hardcore bands I have ever seen live, bar none.
Cult and Leper! All the way from Boston, Massachusetts. I don’t even know how to begin to sum up this band. They are like a psychedelic circus of weird synth tones and proggy riffs. Just listen to “Stop! (I know where you were)” right now, which is off their recently released full length album called Twin Knobs Power City. They are currently on tour in support of that magnum opus.
Minneapolis/Eau Claire based Sloslylove offered up a perfect night-cap of his glamorous yet ambient house grooves. At this point, I was getting to the upper levels of mild intoxication and was a bit travel weary, so I just positioned myself for optimal sound and closed my eyes and let Feng do his thing, which was excellent as ever.
Nights like this one are what make me love music and believe in the beauty of life. So many amazing people doing amazing things all at the same time, in one place, just so other people can have a little fun. I am sure anyone reading this knows that collaborative creative expression is truly magic, but seeing it in action never gets old.