Thursday, June 28, 2007

Summerfest 2007 starts today.

I didn't hear the fireworks that accompany the beginning of Summerfest. You can't see them because fireworks fired off at noon, on what could easily be the longest, brightest days of summer just seem to be tiny puffs of smoke. But, you can hear them loud and clear across downtown. In a few hours the cheap parkers will be walking by my office window. It's just about one mile to the Summerfest grounds from here, so the parking fees are very cheap. Little do these misers know that it is another half-mile to the Marcus Amphitheater once you reach the north gate. Add a few beers to the belly, sit in the hot sun, walk, walk, walk, eat some grease, and you are dead meat. So, if I could give any advice regarding Summerfest it would be to PAY THE EXTRA CASH AND PARK CLOSE TO SUMMERFEST! Another bit of advice would be to LEAVE YOUR COWBOY HAT AT HOME. Yes, go directly to the country stage with your fancy dress shirt and boots, but leave the faux worn cowboy hat at home. They block the view, and more importantly, they point out those of you who came in from waaaay out of town to see their favorite band. You are welcome here in Milwaukee. Heck, stay for an extra day, just keep that cowpoke cap in your pick-up. Don't get me wrong, I have to think hard about what I wear when I go to the fest. I don't want to pretend that I'm not 42 years old, and I certainly won't slide on a pair of bleached out 501's and some white New Balance tennies either. It's a fine line between goober and proper, let's all try to stay behind the line, shall we?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A little known music fest featuring Country music

Country Fest? What's that? It's a well kept secret outside of Wisconsin, but...

"Country Fest fans wouldn’t be there if they weren’t excited about the entertainment, but the buzz this year isn’t even about an act that’s there. People are already talking about who’s coming next year.The crowd was told in a stage announcement Friday night that the Saturday night headliner for Country Fest 2008 would be Kenny Chesney." -

Country Fest has gotten bigger each year. When I first heard about it, I blew it off as some BYO, stand in the hot sun, potential washout. I was dead wrong about Country Fest. It's big.

Speaking of Country, Toby Keith, not my favorite "musician", is playing The Marcus Amphitheater during the Summerfest run on July 8th. He will "perform" his mix of patriotic, pro-war, big stick music to what I would guess are like minded, pro-war fans. You have to wonder if Toby is feeling duped, just like all the other Americans who bought what Dick Cheney was selling. Sorry, this is a music blog, I'm getting way off track.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summerfest fast approaching

Big Gig anyone? This is the time when employees start mulling over their work schedule. The wheeling and dealing begins. Throughout Milwaukee, people are trading vacation days in order to make that particular show. Where else can you see fifty-thousand faces in one spot? Where else can you hear multiple bands, choose your meals from various food vendors, and see all shapes and sizes of humans for a mere $15? Are you the guy who will start partying at noon before going down to see Roger Waters? Will you trade your day off so your co-worker/rabid country music fan can take the entire day to prepare for Toby Keith? Do you have to take your 15 year old nephew to Tool? Do you simply buy a few Summerfest tickets and go down to the Big Gig when the moment strikes you? Don't forget those guys who sit on the rocks by the lake shore. What are they smoking? The cops certainly know that routine after 40 years. In the early 90's I worked three blocks from Summerfest. My goal was to get on that freeway home before the traffic turned to gridlock. In the 80's I would hop on the Freeway flyer and hit the rock stage at least three times over the ten day festival. Whatever your flavor, style, or predilection, Summerfest changes the patterns and lives of many Milwaukeeans. See you there.

Rage Against The Machine Alpine Valley Aug. 24th

Yes, it's true. Rage Against The Machine will be performing at Alpine Valley on August 24th.

My nephew is contemplating a flight from Seattle to East Troy, just to see them. My guess is that they will book a Seattle show too. Can you imagine the sounds of Know Your Enemy screaming loud, rolling across the hills of Alpine Valley? Yes, Rage is Alpine worthy. I await their arrival.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Black Crowes at Summerfest July 4th

The Black Crowes play the Miller Lite Oasis at Summerfest on July 4th. This is the type of band that you would have seen at Summerfest 1973, had they been old enough to play back then. When I was a kid, the Summerfest line up was certainly diverse, but there were quite a few "rock" bands that fit the Black Crowes format. Ok, perhaps I'm off base since I have seen bands like Buddy Rich, Tina Turner, The Pointer Sisters, The Band, Talas, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Neville Brothers, at Summerfest. There is a reason I mentioned these bands. I would have NEVER gone to a Pointer Sisters concert on purpose, but there they were. I would NEVER have gone to a Tina Turner show, but there she was. So many times, I just drift over to a stage and find it entertaining. That is the heart of Summerfest. You may have a goal to see certain bands, but the most fun is when you walk up to a stage and get blown away by an act that you never would have thought about.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Prog rock anyone? Mirmar Theater Milwaukee

"The Miramar Theatre will host the first annual MARS Festival (Milwaukee Art Rock Showcase) and it will feature international groups Hamadryad of Montreal and Karcius from France, top-selling bands on indie label Unicorn Records.
Milwaukee's own Dimension X will debut their new album, "Implications of a Genetic Defense." An eclectic mix of prog and art rock will fill 13 hours of music with Wisconsin bands Far Corner, Strange Land, Quark Quintet, Aziola Cry, and Orphonic Orchestra also headlining.
Action will also take place on a second stage with Engine of Earth, and soloists Kurt Michaels, Sean Gill, Julie B., Drew Rittgers and more. From Quark Quintet's eerie instrumentals to Dimension X's heavy prog there will be something for every rock taste.
Performances will begin at 11a.m. and continue past midnight. This is an all- ages show with a separate bar open to those with proper ID." - from

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Head On Collision, apply directly to the forehead

I just spent three long days with the band Head On Collision. These metal upstarts from St. Louis just got signed to Beer City Records. Head On Collision is not one of your falsetto crooning, drum trigger using, mush pile of sound bands. They are not your cookie monster growling, bass-guitar-follows-the-lead-guitar, let's all pose with our serious face and shiny long hair type of band either. So what are they? True metal would best describe Head On Collision. From the ashes of the band Very Metal came only one, and that would be Pat McCauley (guitar and vocals). Jason Brooks on drums, Dave Carr on Bass and John Hancock on lead guitar bring the right stuff to this band. I realize that this is not a Wisconsin band, but they just got signed to a Wisconsin based record label, and you will be seeing them play in this state many times in the coming three years. I am not the biggest metal fan. You would find the usual Motorhead, Slayer, and Metallica disks in my collection, but not much more. Three days in Head On Collision's lair certainly educated me. I spent the day observing the drum track sessions, and at night I watched one Youtube video after another of who's good, bad, and bad-ass in the metal world. Why would you care? You have to hear this band to understand why I think that they are worth your time. Their punk roots keep them honest and the band has a desire to lay waste to the posers of metal. When the disk comes out, I'm going to be first in line to pony up the cash.