In just a couple weeks, long-running Eau Claire music venue the House of Rock will close its doors for good after 17 years of hosting shows on Water Street, but not before this music scene and the spectrum of bands that have developed their sound on that stage can give it a proper send-off. July 21 and 22 is “Last Call” for the House of Rock with 27 bands performing over two nights.
We’ll see local artists from the past reunited for the farewell weekend, plus a genre-obliterating slate of current local artists of as well. Eau Claire band the Drunk Drivers – who have been rocking, rolling, and killing brain cells on the House of Rock stage since it opened – will play one final beer-soaked set. Then when they’re done, that’s it.
No doubt the House of Rock’s closing leaves a significant void in the scope of this city’s music scene, but think of the “Last Call” shows as a celebration of life, a tribute to what was, and a reflection on where to go from here. What happens next could set a resounding path for the future of music in Eau Claire, so we caught up with some of the House of Rock’s finest – sound engineer since the beginning Danno, sound tech Ben White, booker/musician Joey Gunderson, and the Drunk Drivers’ Jon Olstadt – to chat about the good times, the tough times, and what our music scene can hope to learn from a shake-up like this.
“It sucks that it’s closing, but this is a big wake-up-call,” Olstadt said. “We have to put our energy in together. We have to do it all as a group. By the end of the weekend, I hope that a lot of folks are thinking, ‘What else is going on here, and how do we get the next one right?’”