2 Can't Miss Big Local Shows

V1 Staff, photos by Kelsey Smith |

Say Goodbye to the House of Rock July 21-22.
Say Goodbye to the House of Rock July 21-22.


Earlier this month, it was announced that The House of Rock, the long-running rock club staple of the Eau Claire music scene, will be shutting its doors for good. The venerable Water Street venue has long been home to Decadent Cabaret, which will find a new home next spring, and has seen countless crazy nights of memorable live performances from almost every conceivable genre – from metal to hip-hop to blues to folk to burlesque to improv. It’s certainly a gut-punch to see the House of Rock go, but plans are brewing for a two-night blowout on July 21 and 22, featuring local bands from the past and present who have all graced the House of Rock stage over the last 17 years. The lineup of acts isn’t announced quite yet, but you can rest assured knowing it’ll be two crazy nights of amazing musical performances you won’t want to miss. Come say bon voyage to the House of Rock as we close it out in style.


For all of the music and art that actually happens at the two-day Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival (June 16-17 this year), the last two years have seen plenty of activity before the fest, with local musicians and show organizers throwing all kinds of events all over the city on the Thursday before, hoping to attract festival-goers who arrive in town early. Not to mention the festival itself has thrown shindigs of their own with Phil Cook both years – at the Whispering Pines campground in 2015 and The Lismore in 2016. However, this year a collaborative effort between Downtown Eau Claire Inc. and Blugold Radio 99.9FM will shine a collective light on all of the pre-fest events happening on June 15, when you can catch local music at different venues across downtown Eau Claire. They call it “Prex Claires.” You’ll find some of your local scene faves, and maybe a couple surprises as well. The full slate of events has yet to be fully fleshed out, but several shows are already booked on the Thursday before, including OXBEAUX, the official pre-Eaux Claires concert/block party at The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely featuring The Shouting Matches, Field Report, Dem Yuut, and Idle Empress. And of course, we’ll have a special night of Volume One’s own Sounds Like Summer Concert Series in Phoenix Park that night, too. There’s a show at The Plus with Boy Kisses Comedy and Sniffle Party, followed by an OXBEAUX after party with Alpha Consumer (who played Eaux Claires last year) and Invisible Boy, plus special guest DJs. Pat Keen is releasing his debut LP with a show at The Mousetrap that night alongside sloslylove and Idle Empress. And there will be tons of other shows going on around downtown, and Prex Claires hopes to pull them all together under one big umbrella in an effort to get as many people enjoying themselves downtown as possible. In a recent Reddit AMA, Eaux Claires creative director Michael Brown said it’s a major goal of the festival to have it spread out in the days before: “Our dream is for all of downtown Eau Claire to engage with the festival and start booking shows on Thursday night. Even Wednesday night!” So Prex Claires has you covered, and it’ll be really interesting to see how this collection of events grows from year to year.