Filtering by Tag: This is the Kit
This Friday night, we saw This Is The Kit return to Constellation for not one, but two stunning shows. If you missed out, check out our photo gallery of the earlier show below.
LIVE: The National and This is the Kit Wrap Up Tour With an Operatic Show at Chicago's Civic Opera House
The National and This is the Kit ended their tour at Chicago’s Civic Opera House with an operatic and dynamic show.
This is the Kit, the brainchild of Kate Stables, warmed up a full house at the Civic Opera House on Wednesday night. Their 30 minute set started with the lead track off This is the Kit’s 2017 album Moonshine Freeze, “Bullet Proof,” with Stables’ flawlessly smooth vocals ringing out into the magnificent theater. For the remainder of the set, the Sad Saxes joined the rest of the band to deliver an extra layer of dynamics to the harmonious group, and Aaron Dessner of The National even joined the lineup. Dessner had not only produced This is the Kit’s prior album Bashed Out, but lent his musical skills to their latest record. Live, the title track “Moonshine Freeze” took on a bold arrangement with a call and response effect between Stables and Rozi Plain of the group. Concluding their gentle performance that acted as the perfect way to ease the crowd into The National’s set, Stables thanked not only the crowd, but the entire crew of the tour, mentioning that the last night of tour was bittersweet.
Before The National hit the stage, Marty Lennartz of 93 XRT introduced the band as the perfect outfit to play at such a grand venue like the Lyric Opera House. Between their wide ranging sonic soundscapes and lead singer Matt Berninger’s sweeping vocal range that cuts right through you, The National filled the space perfectly and lived up to Lennartz’s introduction. Leading up to the operatic and emotional two hour show, the backdrop showed video of the band leaving their dressing room and making their way to the stage, and throughout the night the backdrop shifted to different videos and colored lights. Opening with “Nobody Else Will Be There,” the first part of the setlist payed homage to the band’s 2017 album Sleep Well Beast, which came out in September. Although the tour was in support of the latest record and the majority of those 12 tracks were scattered throughout the setlist, songs from The National’s other six studio albums and back catalog were sprinkled in between the newest songs. Among the old favorites that made their way onto the setlist of The National’s second sold out night in Chicago, “Lemonworld,” “Fake Empire,” and “Pink Rabbits” received some of the biggest reactions. The crowd stayed with the band the whole time, hooked on the way that the tone could switch from a haunting piano melody and delicate vocals in a song like “Carin at the Liquor Store” to Berninger’s growling vocals and the amplified “Squalor Victoria.”
Between the magnetic energy of Berninger's stage presence, the one-of-a-kind setlist, and the beauty of the venue, the closing night of The National’s tour proved to be another magical night for live music in Chicago. Check out photos from the special evening below, and keep up with all of The National news here.
While you wait for the next tour from The National, listen to Sleep Well Beast in full below!
This is the Kit took over Constellation on Friday with a full sound featuring banjos and a horn section. Check out photos from the magical evening below.
This is the Kit will return in December with The National. Grab tickets to those shows here, and while you wait for their return, listen to their latest album in full below!
Can't get enough This is the Kit? Revisit our interview with them here.
Day 1: Friday, June 16th.
Featuring People Mixtape Vol. 1, Francis Teaches Dance, This Is The Kit, The Autumn Defense, Bon Iver Presents: A John Prine Tribute, Francis and the Lights, and Chance The Rapper. Read about the highlights here.
Day 2: Saturday, June 17th
Featuring People Mixtape Vol.2, The Sad Saxes, This Is The Kit, Jenny Lewis, Perfume Genius, Feist, Paul Simon, Wilco. Check out Day 2 highlights here.
The second day at Eaux Claires 2017 carried even more collaborations and improvisations, which make up the core of the festival. Although there had been a potential thunderstorm brewing all day, the rain held off until the evening, which is when the festival organizers had to improvise with the schedule. Tune in to find out which artists teamed up on Saturday, who played surprise sets, and how the fest made up for the change in schedule.
The Creek Acted as a Collaboration Hub
Just like Day 1, The Creek stage opened on Saturday with a People Mixtape set. The second volume of People Mixtape remained instrumental and came across as a genuine jam session between friends (which is what a lot of the performances at Eaux Claires really are). After entrancing the group with the 1PM mixtape set, Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon returned to same stage only a couple of hours later, to perform as Big Red Machine. For this collaborative set, Dessner and Vernon were joined by even more of the acts playing the festival, like s-t-a-r-g-a-z-e and Mouse on Mars. With their jam-packed line up and debut of new music, Big Red Machine was able to draw a huge crowd to one of the festival's smaller stages.
The Sad Saxes Joined This Is The Kit
This Is The Kit once again made it onto the highlights list. After an incredible performance at the Flambeaux stage on Day 1, This Is The Kit now moved their set into the woods at The Oxbeaux Stage on Saturday. Once again joined by Aaron Dessner, the three piece of Kate Stables, Rozi Plain, and Jamie Whitby-Coles were also joined by The Sad Saxes. Although the two groups were working together on the fly, with Stables at one point explaining to the saxophone choir how she envisioned their contribution, the collaboration paired perfectly and sounded well-rehearsed. At Eaux Claires, there's never any shortage of really talented musicians going with the flow to make something special together. At the end of the mesmerizing set, the crowd gave a standing ovation.
Jenny Lewis Packed the Sparreaux Stage
Featured as an "Artist in Residence," Jenny Lewis was never officially on the 2017 lineup. On Friday, a set named "Jenny Lewis and Friends" appeared unannounced in the app, set to occur at 3:30 on one of the smallest stages, the Sparreaux stage. Well before the start of the set, an overflowing crowd camped out to be able to see this special, last-minute set. Lewis described herself and her friends as "Hawaiian psychedelic swing band" from Minneapolis, called Econo Lodge. The set opened with an improvised performance before moving into the crowd favorite "Just One Of The Guys."
Feist Played Her Entire New Album
Shortly before Feist was set to take the stage, Eaux Claires narrator Michael Perry took the stage to announce a change in schedule. "There's only one thing we care about more than art," he said, adding that they would be improvising some schedule changes due to safety concerns with the incoming storms. Feist ended up getting a 15 minute extension on her set, which she used to play her new album Pleasure from start to finish. Between the songs, Feist would explain her vision behind the lyrics and compositions, vividly describing one song as the chase scene in a movie. She ended her set by singing out her appreciation for the crowd and her excitement over seeing Paul Simon perform later.
The App Revealed Paul Simon and yMusic's Set List
Paul Simon's set at the festival acted as the debut performance of a collaboration with yMusic. Although this set had originally been bumped up to 7:30 from 8:30 with the oncoming storms, a downpour hit the festival during Danny Brown's set. When Simon and the yMusic ensemble eventually took the stage around 8PM, the official festival app paired with the setlist, announcing the songs as they started. Similarly to Bon Iver's performance last year, festival goers were able to keep up with the order of songs in real time.
The Festival Organized an After Party After Wilco
The collaborations and surprises don't end there--Day 2 also featured a set from Field Report at The Decorum, and after a stunning performance from Wilco that closed out the festival, it was announced on Bon Iver's Twitter that some of the evening's cancelled performances from the smaller stages were being moved to the Lismore Hotel in downtown Eau Claire. Sets at The Lismore included Mouse on Mars and Velvet Negroni.
While the festival may be over for this year, we'll soon be posting photo galleries and interviews with The Autumn Defense and This Is The Kit from the weekend. Stay tuned for those and start counting down the days until Eaux Claires 2018!
Words and Photos by Rachel Zyzda
On Friday, June 16th Wisconsin's beloved Eaux Claires festival returned in full force, with its signature artist collaborations, surprise sets, and art installations involving crowd participation. Although there were many highlights, Friday undoubtedly belonged to Francis (of Francis and The Lights). Read on to find out what surprises day one entailed, which traditions carried on, and how Francis stole the show with not one, but four appearances.
Early Arrivers Got a Special Show at The Creek
If you're an EXC veteran, you know that the formal schedule is never really the full list of all of the performances, and that live collaborations and guest performers are what make Eaux Claires so special. So naturally, going into day 1, the 12:15 slot on The Creek Stage labeled as "People Mixtape Vol. 1" sparked some curiosity. Sure enough, at 11:45 the app sent out a notification that the performance would include Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner, the curators of the fest. (Side note: if you read our preview of Eaux Claires, you know that the app is a must.) The intimate set for the early festival arrivers featured what Vernon and Dessner described as a "work in progress," but the performance went over so smoothly. Francis also joined the band for the first half of the set, disappearing towards the end for a reason that was also revealed in the app notifications.
Francis Gave A Dance Lesson
As noted earlier, the app sent out another notification before the end of the People Mixtape performance, alerting festival goers that Francis would be teaching dance at The Decorum stage at 1 PM. The roughly 45 minute performance featured an introduction with the house dance team of the festival, delivering a moving, beautiful, and entertaining opening number. Following up their opening moves, Francis himself took the stage to many cheers to teach the crowd the "Friends" and "May I Have This Dance" dances. The crowd loved it and happy obliged after Francis instructed them to try the moved featured in these songs. This performance represents a perfect example of why Eaux Claires stands out from any other festival...the spur of the moment, unique experience added some unexpected fun into many of the festival-goers days.
This Is The Kit Teased Their New Album
The Bristol-born, Paris-based This Is The Kit provided some soothing early afternoon tunes on the Flamebeaux stage. During their set, the frontwoman Kate Stables mentioned the band's upcoming album Moonshine Freeze will be out July 7th, and they performed some of the new tracks like "Bulletproof" and the title track "Moonshine Freeze." Aaron Dessner also joined the band onstage, as he had produced their previous record and helped out by playing on the upcoming record. If you missed out of their brilliant performance yesterday, catch them again today at 2PM on the Oxbeaux Stage.
Francis Asked The Crowd To Have This Dance
As the Eaux Claires evening set in, the crowd got ready for a full Francis and the Lights performance back on The Creek stage. By far one of the most packed performances of the day, the set easily could have taken place on one of the main stages, but the more intimate setting made for an incredible experience. Although the set started off slow, with Francis sitting at his keyboard, he got things moving about 15 minutes in, working the entire stage, which includes two ramps on the side. Last year, Francis closed out the festival, debuting "Friends" with Justin Vernon and a surprise appearance from Chance The Rapper. This year, he brought up his choreographer to the stage, and the crowd still went wild for the viral song. Closing out his set, Francis played his other crowd favorite "May I Have This Dance," asking some lucky audience members if they'd like to join him on stage. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience, the impromptu backup dancers were all smiles when the song finished. Francis was such a hit with his overflowing crowd that they even demanded an encore and he obliged.
Justin Vernon Got Pissed Off About Balloons
Following Francis's set, everyone rushed to the main stage, Lake Eaux Lune, to see the set officially labeled "Bon Iver Presents John Prine & The American Songbook." The nearly 2 hour set featured all sorts of live collaborations, surprise guests, rain...and balloons. Towards the start of the set after Jenny Lewis and Mountain Man had joined Justin Vernon onstage, Vernon called out the many balloons floating around in the crowd, admitting that they were pissing him off, if he's being honest. Despite his annoyance with the balloons, Vernon continued to deliver a magical set with the likes of The Staves, Field Report, This Is The Kit, Spank Rock...and John Prine himself. Although it started to downpour towards the end of the set, nothing could put a damper of this special performance.
Chance Closed Out The Night With Friends
Last year, Chance attended Eaux Claires via sneak attack, showing up unannounced for the very end of Francis and the Lights' set, where we saw Chance, Francis, and Justin Vernon perform "Friends" (including the epic dance moves). This year, Chance came in full force, with his backing band The Social Experiment and a big-scale production. Just about halfway through his performance, Chance flipped the script on last year's performance of "Friends," this time inviting Francis and Justin to join his set for the performance. Before we witnessed this Eaux Claires tradition, Francis first joined Chance to perform their remix collaboration of Francis's song "May I Have This Dance," followed by "Summer Friends." After his guests left the stage, Chance continued his massive show, which included confetti during his hit "No Problem." The most special part of Chance's show was that despite the huge crowd and full blown production backing him, he performed graciously and humbly.
Stay tuned for Day 2 highlights and a full gallery of all the highlights from the festival. As always, follow along on our social media for live updates throughout the day.
Word and Photos by Rachel Zyzda