Side Projector

duo starts ongoing event to encourage musical innovation

Tyler Griggs, photos by Andrea Paulseth

When you hear “side project” in the wide open space of international music, words and phrases like “supergroup,” “new creative endeavor,” or “Maynard James Keenan” may come to mind. But when you hear about The Side Project in local music, they refer to an innovative music experiment and promising concert experience.

The Side Project is this: Volunteering musicians of all types came together Jan. 24 to form side project concept bands. Then after two months of preparing, on March 27 these groups will perform 15-minute sets at a big finale concert with feature performances. The featured bands will include Wausau alt rockers Octopus, but others have yet to be announced.

The Side Project is conceived and managed by Peter Matz and Adam Thoms, two local guys who play in the Harvestime Church band. Months ago Peter and Adam felt strongly about doing something big on behalf of music in Chippewa Valley, so they decided to pool their resources to create The Side Project for musicians and artists looking for a low-commitment band experience. “We want to get those closet guitarists and drummers out there. This is the perfect outlet for them,” said Adam.

    The final gig will be at Harvestime Church at 6:30pm. Food, coffee and tea will be available and art vendors will be around to sell their works. The concert will provide two stages: one main stage for the concept side project groups and a second stage for singer/songwriters. Bear in mind that although a church is the venue, the musicians and music are not necessarily church-related. Take, for example, Dead Men.

“If Johnny Cash and Kurt Cobain had a stepchild, this would be their bastard stepbrother,” said local musician Jared Hoffman. He and Samuel Brooks are Dead Men, just one among the 22 music acts playing that night. Although writing music as Dead Men has been brewing in Samuel’s mind for the past five years, the two agree that The Side Project lit a fire under them to practice more and make their group a reality. “Hopefully it’ll let us see other people and help us find the rest of the members of our band,” said Samuel. “It’s about getting to know people as much as it’s about the audience.”

Peter and Adam’s efforts to bolster local music will be ongoing after the show is over. According to Adam, at least one ensemble intends to stay together after the show. The same goes for Dead Men. Plus, attendees get to vote for their favorite side project; the winner will play the next Side Project concert and (gasp!) get paid for the gig.

Tickets to The Side Project are free, but only 500 are available. They can be picked up at Infinitea Teahouse (112 E. Grand Ave., Eau Claire), Café 420 (420 Washington St., Eau Claire) and at the show, though Peter and Adam expect the tickets to run out beforehand.

If you’re a local musician and would have liked to participate in The Side Project, do not despair! Peter and Adam are producing more Side Project shows. The next band formation meeting for the next Side Project concert will occur in mid April. Contact Peter or Adam for more information or to be included in the musician pool.

    The Side Project • Friday, March 27 • Harvestime Church, 3231 S Hastings Way, Eau Claire • 6:30pm • FREE • 894-0640 (Peter) 456-5266 (Adam) • myspace.com/ecsideproject