Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Les Paul, more guitar!

Les Paul is over 90 years old. His museum is soon to be built. He's still rocking out here in Wisconsin, starting with a show coming up on June 21st at the Pabst Theater. Les Paul, in a way, can be heard every time someone straps on an electric guitar. One of his first attempts at a guitar incorporated a rail from a train track. It didn't take much more tweaking and testing before he came upon the right formula for the electric guitar. He doesn't play too many shows, but they are well attended. Now, if you ask me, Les Paul should have a show for the Summerfest fans. That's a hometown hero that can showcase some of the best that Wisconsin has to offer. Less cover bands and more Les Paul is what I say.

Friday, May 23, 2008

John Mellencamp gets the final Summerfest slot

John Mellencamp gets the last open Marcus Amphitheater date for the Summerfest run. June 28th, the hits like Little Pink Houses, Our Country, Hurts So Good, Jack and Dianne, Pink Houses, and Rain on the Scarecrow will waft over the lake and out towards Michigan. Factoids about Mellencamp include: He reportedly smoked 4 packs a day, he had a heart attack (no surprise,) he's a bit of a lefty, and in 1980 he said that some of his music could be considered to be "stupid little pop songs." He is sometimes considered a champion of the farmer. One must admit that his video "Jack and Dianne" was in heavy rotation, thanks to the desperate need for content on MTV.

I enjoyed watching the parody of him on SCTV back when I was a kid. Marcus Amphitheater tickets for the Mellencamp show go on sale at the end of this month. Stevie Wonder, John Mellencamp, and other established acts make up the headliners. The Jonas Brothers are young enough to be Mellencamp's sons, and they represent the emerging artist for 2008.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Milwaukee Boat Line cruising Lake Michigan

Someone asked me if it was "The Blues Cruise." I said no. Another asked me if they were going to serve tacos. I said I don't think so. The Milwaukee Boat Line has live music on their evening cruises along Lake Michigan, but I don't think that there will be tacos. JJ, the manager of the Iroquois, told me that it can be a DJ on one cruise, and a cover band on the next. Each weekend, running all summer, the Iroquois cruises along the Lake Michigan shoreline, starting at dusk. Local Milwaukee rock bands, or DJ's or blues bands may play on the top deck during the ride. I have yet to take one of these trips, but I think I'm going to go out to sea on June 7th. It's a rock band that night, but again, no tacos. That's the weekend of Milwaukee Pridefest.

I'm hoping that the weather will be nice. You never know in this fine city. It could be 70 degrees at sunset, or we could have rain and 42 degrees. None the less, the boat goes out as long as it's not terrible weather. The lower deck is climate controlled. Milwaukee needs to support things like this. The lake can and should be a focal point for this city. You might not want to swim in it, but you can certainly ride along in a boat. Speaking of swimming, did you ever see those guys surfing the lake? That's got to be cold stuff.

On a side note. Rilo Kiley is in town this weekend. Pabst theater tickets for that show are still available. The tickets are reasonably priced, and it could be a nice kickoff to a long holiday weekend.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Flight of the Conchords took off nicely

For those of you who don't know Jemaine and Bret, check out a youtube video of Flight of the Conchords. The Riverside show was sold out. It ran just over two hours, and my face was sore from smiling and laughing. The opening act was great, and Flight came out for two encores. Is it just me, or has the Riverside theater gotten even nicer? I sat in the 11th row for the show, and that is just about the best row. You get the riser action, so you can see above heads if you sit in your chair. You can still see the facial expressions from that distance too. HBO was right to secure a second season of Flight. I look forward to their new material.

Friday, May 9, 2008


For those of you that missed the Milwaukee shows, it was a great performance! When I was a kid, I used to watch Monty Python on PBS. We had a crappy black and white TV in our kitchen, and that's where you would find me. We had their album too. The touring company of Spamalot was top notch. Gary Beach played King Arthur on this run, and that really made me happy. He was great. Although I have seen every Monty Python episode, and every movie, I still found myself enjoying the show. When touring companies come to Milwaukee, you can expect the "C" cast. Not so on this occasion. I have seen many theatrical shows here in Milwaukee. Spamalot ranks in my top two of all time. The next thing I want to do is buy some Milwaukee Theater tickets and go see something like Blue Man Group, if they ever come back.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Summerfest in Milwaukee step by step.

I'm seeing some good bands lined up for the Summerfest side stages. Yes, you have to sit through what seem to be even more lousy local cover bands, but the headliners at the side stages are pretty good. Long ago Summerfest lost its respect when management decided to dumb down the side stage support acts. Now, it's best played like this: Work all day at your job since there is no point taking off of work to see bands like the Love Monkeys, go home, change, save yourself lots of money by eating dinner anywhere but the Summerfest grounds, bring your Summerfest tickets that you got free from your work, then hit the entrance about 7pm, grab a beer, and walk over to the side stage of your choice. Long gone are the days where you would spend the entire day at Summerfest seeing one national act after the other.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Counting Crows and Maroon 5 at Marcus Amphitheater

"Mr. Jones and Me", famously performed by Counting Crows will be wafting westward from the Marcus Amphitheater on August 23rd. We can dispense with the usual comments about dreadlocks on white guys. Counting Crows have a fan base that you cannot ignore. Hooking up with Maroon 5, another solid band with a younger base is a great idea. Will the fans cross over? Who cares. It's the Marcus Amphitheater, you sit in your seats for the band you like, and you walk up past the lawn seats for the other band you don't like as much. The Marcus Amphitheater is a great venue for getting comfortable up at the top of the hill. Order up a berry flavored beer, and watch the show from a voyeuristic angle. That's what I did for Trent Reznor. After I was done watching Bauhaus, I left my cozy seat in section 2, row x, and walked my way up to the top. Much better.