The Shouting Matches, comprised of Justin Vernon and Brian Moen (of Peter Wolf Crier and Laarks), took the stage at the Chippewa Valley Rock-n-Roll Kickball Classic presented by Volume One last Saturday night, May 29th. The event took place in the small Wisconsin town of Altoona– right outside of Eau Claire. The atmosphere was almost surreal, having these two popular musicians play to a relatively small crowd composed mostly of families about equally split in interests between watching the kickball game and watching the band. The presenters from Volume One made sure to emphasize that the Shouting Matches were, “our band…an Eau Claire exclusive.” Having performed as the Shouting Matches only once previously, this night was a memorable event for all who could take their eyes off of the final kickball game going down next to the stage.
As Moen described during an interview earlier that day, their sound was bluesy and reminiscent of the Black Keys. Moen said “we keep our rehearsal to performance time ratio about equal”. After not playing together for over a year, their musicianship was impressive, although leaning toward the jam-session feel. It’s not worth it to go into mushy detail considering everything there is to say has already been said about Vernon’s voice- but just add solid blues to his long list of vocal capabilities. There were a couple of setbacks as one of Moen’s drums broke, and Vernon spent most of the song breaks complaining about his guitars. However, I can honestly say this is one of the best shows I have seen all year and, although it’s part of why the show was so special, it’s a shame that The Shouting Matches never released their EP or have any future plans to tour.