Summerfest Eve. An unofficial holiday in Milwaukee. Very unofficial as I just made it up but it sounds like it could be real. A day where people cram on the internet looking at the latest lineups and finalizing their plans for the Worlds Largest Music Festival, Summerfest. With a large variety of music from rock to country to R&B to jazz to blues to techno to pop and more, there is literally something for everyone's tastes.
Each year the local media outlets unleash their critics who recommend the top acts to see on a given day. The writers at onmilwaukee.com and JSOnline have their ideas up. I amuse myself with reading these suggestions. Most of them are crap. I don't think any of these critics has a hair on their testicles among them. Female writers included. Their selections all seem to be the same. Makes me think that working in their office listening to some shitty music would be pure hell.
See, their selections all miss out on one important aspect about music. The electric guitar. A key element in hard rock music. I think only one person picked a hard rock/rock act as being a top pick over the entire 11 days. Really? Just one act by one writer? What a bunch of pussies!
So I give you MY Summerfest 2009 band recommendations. Take it from a guy who wants to hear it loud and rock his balls off!
Thursday, June 25- Check out Lost Vegas at the Miller Oasis. Stay for Puddle of Mud. If you are there early, go see Sonic Circus at the M&I Stage. You will not be disappointed. Need something a bit rougher? Go play with the kiddies at Rise Against. I bet watching the crowd of newbie rockers could be funny. Do yourself a favor and ignore Bon Jovi. Sad what that band has become.
Friday, June 26- This looks like a tough one. The Offspring are at the Miller Stage while Saliva plays the Rock Stage. Both shows start at 10. Go see the Offspring because you may not be able to see them again. I expect the Miller area to be a zoo. Lots of people like to just hang out here and with Offspring around, expect them to stay. Good chance you can catch Saliva once the Offspring is done as I figure Saliva does close to 2 hours.
Saturday, June 27- Rock and roll all night, party every day! You haven't seen a rock show until you have been to a KISS concert. It is everything crazy about metal and then some. Not sure if they have wrist band entry but get one if you can just to walk through and observe the spectacle of people wearing the makeup, chicks showing their ta tas, and goofy old guys wearing a Destroyer concert shirt they bought back inn 1976. Chevelle has been added as the opener. Saw them a couple years back and liked it. Saw them the following year and was disappointed. Better opener....Bobby Friss. Bobby is playing the Miller Stage at 5:30.
Sunday, June 28- Go to the Brewers game. Not much to recommend on the first Sunday. Bobby Friss is playing at 2:30 and plays a different set than the prior day. I know some friends are high on Cage the Elephant and Airborne Toxic whatever. Go see Bobby and get a decent night's sleep if you have to work on Monday.
Monday, June 29- Another blah looking day. Heart is playing at 9 on the Classic Rock Stage. The Wilson girls can rock still. I have heard many good things about Robert Randolph too and would give the nod in that direction. One thing you should do on blah looking days is soak up the music of a band you haven't heard before.
Tuesday, June 30- A good variety of acts to check out on Tuesday. Joan Jett, Buddy Guy, Billy Squier. You could probably go see Earth, Wind and Fire in the amphitheater as it will be pretty empty. Actually, Tuesday is an easy selection. When is the last time Billy Squier was touring? Go see him play a bunch of rock music.
Wednesday, July 1- Looks like a day off. Absolutely nothing of interest from rock guy's perspective today. Best I thing to see would be the crowd at the STS9 show. Wookies anyone?
Thursday, July 2- Here is a day that the "critics" totally miss. Long time metal gods Judas Priest are playing the Harley Stage. I expect the place to be packed. Word is they may be playing the British Steel album from beginning to end. I will be disappointed if lead singer Rob Halford doesn't coming rolling out on a Harely at some point of the show. Local cover band Cherry Pie opens at 7:30. They are worth watching as you secure your real estate for Priest. Keep an eye on the drummer. He is fun to watch.
Friday, July 3- Ok, this is fireworks night in Milwaukee. The Summerfest grounds are always packed on this night. Make it a Friday and expect it to be totally nuts. Musically it appears to be rather bland. But there is a guitar god hiding in the mist. At 8:00, the Lynch Mob is at the M&I Stage. George Lynch's band plays before Lita Ford. One could argue the Lynch Mob should be headlining this show but it doesn't matter. Catch Lynch and then brave the craziness on the other side of the park where Duff McKagen's Loaded is playing the Rock Stage. Crowd will be tighter on the north end of the park so you have been warned.
Saturday, July 4- Unlike July 3, the crowds on the 4th of July tend to be sparse. This could be different because of the weekend but I doubt it. Taking a look at the lineup today, there are a couple of acts that look interesting. Huey Lewis? No. Theory of a Dead Man? No. Go see Jet. Or maybe Anberlin. Want to see some classic rock? The Yardbirds are playing at 4:30 at the Classic Rock Stage.
Sunday, July 5- A whimper of a ending to Summerfest if you ask me. Take in the Kid Rock and Lynard Skynard show. Kid Rock puts on a good concert. He puts everything he has into his performance so even if you don't necessarily like his style, you gotta like his energy.
That's it kids. The picks list that Milwaukee media doesn't have the cajones to make.