Local Current Blog

Recap and photos: Eaux Claires’s second day spotlights musical legends

Jenny Lewis, the Staves, and Lucius performing at Eaux Claires 2016. All photos by Nate Ryan.

If Eaux Claires day one was all about new music, day two was for the legends. The talent on today’s stages wowed attendees from near and far; from gospel to rock to neo-soul, pros showed the audience how it was done.

Like the first day’s, this line-up had variety. Mavis Staples, musical history-maker, dazzled her crowd with gospel treasures and stories about her 66 years in the business. The Day of the Dead collaboration impressed even attendees who didn’t know the Grateful Dead all that well, and the Melvins showed rock fans how it’s done. On the hill, Har Mar Superstar rocked his high-energy hits.

Bruce Hornsby and Lucius went head-to-head for who could make the most guest appearances on Saturday. Both joined Staples and Day of the Dead; during Lucius’s turn with Staples, the crew covered Talking Heads’ “Slippery People” and the Band’s “The Weight.” Shortly thereafter, Hornsby played with Phil Cook, and Lucius and the Staves jumped on stage with Jenny Lewis. In the end, the special-guest heroes tied — but Lucius also played an stunning set on their own.

Counting the time that her band jammed onstage to cover for her, Erykah Badu went on stage about 40 minutes late. Even so, she gave one of the best performances of the whole festival, using immaculate control and a fair dose of attitude to spin songs such as “Out My Mind, Just In Time” and “Tyrone” into shiny funk/jazz/neo-soul webs.

Beach House and Rock the Garden 2016 band Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats held down the Dells and Flambeaux, respectively, after Badu’s too-short set. Then, Francis and the Lights followed Bon Iver’s play-it-live album release strategy and performed Farewell, Starlite!, his new album. The crowd clearly gathered for Chance the Rapper, who’d been rumored to stop by the festival for months; Chance watched Francis from the side stage for most of the set, but during the last song, the rapper vanished; a bus pulled away on the hill nearby, and it seemed all but over. However, Chance did indeed show up, to the delight of the crowd. Almost ten minutes after Francis went off stage, Chance and Justin Vernon jumped on stage, and the trio performed Chance the Rapper and Francis’s collaboration “Summer Friends” and Francis’s song “Friends.”

Throughout the day, a few other great artists included Tuskha (featuring Phil Moore of Bowerbirds), an electronic pop project; Catsax, an experimental jazz trio from Minneapolis; and Fog, Andrew Broder’s electronic/rock band. Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Jenny Lewis also wowed the main stages’ audiences.