Decadent Cabaret - The Metro | Wis.Community


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The annual Decadent Cabaret show. The Metro. March 2, 2019.


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The Decadent Cabaret Music Festival celebrates its 40th year in Eau Claire - Wisconsin’s “Music Capital of the North” - at The Metro, 201 E Main Street, February 28th through March 2nd.

Spanning three nights, this year’s event will feature more than 35 regional bands, The Torch Sisters aerobatic troupe, an art exhibition and sale, and live glassblowing, with food and a full-service bar available.

Performers will take the stage for 25-minute sets comprising a wide range of musical genres, as costume-clad attendees celebrate the arts in decadent style. Showcasing original music, as well as tributes to favorite artists, Decadent Cabaret is a no-holds-barred, uninhibited extravaganza of rock, bluegrass, folk, indie, alternative, and electronic musical styles, highlighting the Chippewa Valley’s premiere professional performing and recording musicians. There are no opening acts; all bands are featured headliners.

The current focus of the event is to provide a weekend’s worth of diverting entertainment in an atmosphere welcoming to a diverse audience; it’s a Halloween-meets-Mardi-Gras-meets-music-video musical spectacle.

Over Decadent Cabaret’s 39 previous years, bands have paid tribute to artists such as Queen, Aerosmith, Elton John, Johnny Cash, Meatloaf, Tom Petty, The Beatles, Prince, KISS, P!nk, Fleetwood Mac, and more. Local artists have also chosen to cover one another, with AM Up paying homage to FM Down, Turpentine Wine paying tribute to Smack Davis, The Crawling Kingsnakes dressing as The Drunk Drivers to perform a set of the latter’s songs, and other impersonations. Bands will often disguise themselves with fictitious names which hint at the artists they’ll be covering; some keep it a secret until their performance. Quite often, bands will perform their own original material.

Decadent Cabaret began in 1980 as an alternative to UW-Eau Claire’s “Viennese Ball.” Co-founders Steve Ketrosits, Jeff Olson, Paula Gorsti, and Mark Anderson wanted to throw an “art party” with a band playing, to celebrate a weekend of local music and camaraderie.

Stewardship of the event changed hands in the ensuing years, passing next to Gary Schmaltz for DecCab 7. Schmaltz spotlighted the musical aspect of the event, and invited the crowd to dress in leather and lace; that suggestion became the foundation for what has evolved into an eclectic, magical, high-energy musical celebration.

When DecCab 12 arrived, event curation was taken on by Bob and Judy Cizek; it eventually transferred to Todd Gitzlaff, and is currently being produced by Brent Kuchenmeister, Joe Gunderson, and Duane Kebschull, with a crew of seven facilitating sound, light shows, and media projection screens above a 28-foot stage and The Metro’s chandelier-lit dance floor.

Past Decadent Cabarets have been held at various Eau Claire venues, with the first taking place in the basement of the American Legion on Water Street. In subsequent years, it moved to The Brat Kabin, The Unitarian Church, The Stones Throw, The Golden Chair, and finally to The House Of Rock until its closing in 2017.

In 2018, Decadent Cab 39 expanded its offerings to once again include an art show, taking advantage of the additional gallery space at The Metro, a newly-renovated club in downtown Eau Claire. Artisan Forge Studios oversaw the installation of visual arts media ranging from photography to paintings, charcoal illustration to audience-participatory coloring, live glassblowing, and the exhibition of a 9-foot steel sculpture inspired by a 17th century plague doctor’s mask. Eau Claire’s Torch Sisters aerobatics troupe performed in the gallery, mesmerizing the audience with poi, acro balance, lyra, and aerial hoop and silk routines set to music.

Both Artisan Forge Studios and The Torch Sisters will return for the 40th anniversary event.

Advance tickets may be obtained at

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Mar 2 2019 - 10:35pm to 11:00pm
Eau Claire, Wisconsin