Keep Calm and Listen

concert series puts the emphasis on really listening

Maddy Mortimer, photos by Luong Huynh

Greg Gilbertson performed at the first one-off Listen concert at Forage back in March
Greg Gilbertson performed at the first one-off Listen concert at Forage back in March

With the seasons changing and the weather growing colder, it just doesn’t sound like summer anymore, and Eau Claire locals might find themselves missing warm evenings and live music. The cold weather can’t be stopped, so it’s time to take the live music events inside. Every third Thursday of the month, between October and May, Forage will host LISTEN, a live listening room concert series that is free from distractions and chilly weather.

LISTEN concert tickets are $10 and the event is held from 6-10pm. The first hour is a time to socialize, eat food, and mingle with other music lovers. Forage will sell its famous soup, as well as beer, wine, and soda. This is followed by the first set. An intermission gives listeners a chance to discuss the first performance before moving on to the second set. The evening ends with another social hour. The event is designed to provide a time for talking and a time for listening. A “listening room” is a place where people come and listen to live music with their undivided attention. During the performance, the audience will put phones away and put conversations on hold so they can give the artists their full attention. This way they can fully take in the lyrics and listen to the artist’s stories. “People put their heart and soul into their music,” said Jennifer Golat, the founder and owner of LISTEN.

According to Golat, all artists deserve an audience that is attentive, respectful, and engaged, and that is what a listening room is designed for. Like a gallery show is for visual artists, a listening room is for music artists. Golat is passionate about music and the artists who create it. She grew up in the South, surrounded by live performances and bluegrass music. “I know the music is good if the hair on my arms stand up,” Golat laughed. “I trust my arm hair.” Golat works closely with Kelly Fries, LISTEN’s Twin Cities Ambassador, to bring in the best artists from around the area. Golat wants to give back to the artists through these events.

With her hard work and Forage’s partnership, she is able to give 100% of the ticket proceeds to the artists. The next concert is Nov. 21, featuring Brianna Kocka and Jim Pullman. Concerts are co-headline events, so each artist performs a 45-minute set. LISTEN is held at Forage (Banbury Place, Building 13, 930 Galloway St.). The season runs from October to May, and performances are 6-10pm every third Thursday of the month. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at listenmanagement.com