10. Buke and Gase
If there’s one takeaway from the Eaux Claires lineup, it’s that Vernon built a festival that combats indie rock and folk stereotypes by looping eclecticism into the mix. From classical works to noise rock, there’s plenty to chew on from left field, but no act on the bill went for the weirdness without turning back quite like Buke and Gase. The experimental pop duo get their name from their handmade instruments: an altered baritone ukulele (buke), and a guitar and bass combination (gase). It’s about as DIY as it gets, and their set lit fire to creativity and inspiration for onlooking musicians and audience members alike.
Fittingly, they performed on The Banks stage, a raised cube on which projections were screened — creating the illusion of artwork in motion — where audience members were given headphones to hear the set’s ideal audio mix. The inner-workings of their songs — most of which rope electronic whips, competing melodies, and thudding percussion together in a dazzling, hiccup-like way — warrant tuned ears, so the festival’s immersive stage amplified their set. Both days, viewers had been sitting so everyone could see the stage, but Buke and Gase asked them to stand — and for good reason. As they chugged through unreleased material, cuts off their 2012 EP, Function Falls, and one song off their debut LP, the whole room began to dance on- and off-beat, a communal groove to music that broke up the festival’s flow. —Nina Corcoran