Anna Johnson CD Release of Winding Road

Anna Johnson and her band on stage at Chi High
When Anna took the stage, I have to confess I didn't recognize her.  For one, I was looking in the wrong spot.  I was looking center stage and she was in the non-traditional stage right for the whole show.   And, she was wearing her normally long locks pulled up.  It has been interesting to me to follow this girl, become woman, over the span of stage appearances.  The band initially setup as a tight quartet and began to play.   What I recognized even less than Anna was was the music.  Anna launched into the singularly most amazing, hauntingly beautiful song I have ever heard her sing.  Very different than what you are used to from this girl.   It was really quite breathtaking.  A quarter of the way into it I was kicking myself that I didn't video tape it.  I was kicking even harder when at the end she announced she had written it this very morning.  I wasn't going to find it on the CD at the end of the show.  But, as far as disappointments go, that isn't a bad one to have.   It was a jaw dropping beginning to what turned out to be a really great show at Chippewa Falls High School and a great way to spend a Thursday night.

Decadent Cabaret Saturday Night

Yam Cannon on stage during the Decadent CabaretSaturday night was the third and final night of the Decadent Cabaret, the Eau Clare smorgasbord of local music.  An opportunity to see the usual bands in the most unusual of circumstances.  Thats what makes the Decadent so hard to describe to others.  The concept is:  a band comes in and plays a short set.  I have seen single song sets.  Most times it is more though,  five to seven maybe.  Then, they are off the stage and another band setup. The music is mostly what I consider obscure.  But, maybe I just live a sheltered life.  It always seems like the crowd knows the music.

Decadent Cabaret Friday Night

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Our original plan to hit the Decadent Cabaret was for Saturday night.  But on Friday night about ten o'clock we found ourselves walking in the House of Rock on Water street in Eau Claire.  There was really just one reason I was there on Friday night, Fan Off Bird Safe.  It had been quite a few months since I had heard them last.  Maybe it was even last years Decadent.   But they were the band that drew me there, and they were kind enough to not disappoint.  I had a few other pleasant surprises to round out the evening and call it a great night in Eau Claire.

4th Floor at Every Buddys Bar

Ryan Wallis with the band 4th Floor
I have seen the band 4th Floor performing at Every Buddys Bar & Grill a number of times now and like them more each time.  I think the rest of the crowd felt the same way because the bar was pretty much filled the entire night.   The area in front of the stage was constantly filled and bouncing.  I had a great night out on the town in Chippewa Falls.

Truth Before Treason along with many others

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It was a weekend filled with live music in Chippewa Falls.  I was able to catch three shows in two nights all within one block downtown.  First it was the second installment of the Friday the 13th Metal Massacre at Every Buddy's Bar.  Four metal bands in one night.  Then, on Saturday night four more bands at Every Buddys as well as a blues band in the Snout.  The most important thing of all though, I caught the show I wanted to see, from beginning to end, Truth Before Treason on the Every Buddy's Stage.  Outstanding!  It was great music and great times in Chippewa Falls!

Thick Shoe at The Snout Saloon

Thick Shoe at the Snout Saloon, December 2011
The bar was really fairly full considering the weather. Winter has finally arrived, and the most beautiful fall I can ever remember is past us. I think I put more miles on the Harley this fall than I did all summer. It was amazing. But, those days are officially gone now. Saturday night not long before the start of the Chippewa Falls winter parade, the snowflakes started coming down. By the time we arrived at the Snout, there was a wet four inches on the ground. So really, to see the bar fairly full was impressive. On stage, Thick Shoe along with, the rumored about for a week, special guest, Howard "Guitar" Luedtke. It was a good night.

Lost Marbles, OCD & Assembly Required Two Weeks of Music

Lost Marbles at the Snout Saloon
Lucky for us music fans, Chad Kruger bartender at the Snout Saloon still has birthdays every year.  I have given up the practice myself, but Chad has not yet.  And when the guy that can hire any band he wants throws a birthday party, you are guaranteed a good time.  Saturday night was no exception.  The band Lost Marbles eventually took the stage, an hour and a quarter late.  ...get this, their excuse was they were lost...

Nici Peper at James Sheeley House

Nici peper on stage at James Sheeley House, November 2011
The usual Saturday night to be out on the town was not available this week, so we were looking for a Friday night show.  It never ceases to amaze me that in the Chippewa Valley, you don't usually have to look very far for live music.  Unless it is a Monday night, quite likely you are going to find a live show within 15 miles of your doorstep.  This night, it was The James Sheeley House and a Twin Cities artist, Nici Peper on stage.  A great artist with a lively crowd along with the great beer selection of the Sheeley House all made for a great night in Chippewa Falls.

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If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism. 

Hunter S. Thompson