Friday, June 30, 2017

Summerfest Day Two Recap

Mosley in the Splash Pad
Day two of Summerfest was all about friends and family. Billed as Throwback Thursday, I'd say it was a huge success for Bob Babisch and company (Bob's the VP of Entertainment for Summerfest). And the bands were not the only thing that made Throwback Thursday a success -- throwing back the prices of beers made throwing back a few a lot easier on the wallet. The sudsy libations were half-priced until 6:00 PM, but the lines to buy one became interminable as 6:00 approached.

I was pleased to be able to spend the afternoon with my two sisters and my youngest sister's kids -- nephew Mosley and niece Evie. Of course with kids, it's less about the music and more about the playground and splash pad where we amused ourselves until The Church took over the Uline stage. Our goal was to try to catch at least one song from each of three acts: The Church, Berlin, and Soul Asylum. Apparently a lot of us kids of the 80's had the same idea because the venues were packed with others in our demographic.

Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner through
the crowd
I'm a big fan of these matinee shows and I imagine the performers are too. The Church sounded exactly as they did 25 years ago. We didn't hear their big hit 'Under a Milky Way,' but we did here 'Reptile' and it took me back. That echo-y, jangly guitar sound immediately brings me back to my college years. Over at the US Cellular stage where Berlin was performing was a huge throng. Too large for us to be comfortable with the kids, so after only catching a glimpse of Terri Nunn -- she looked fantastic! -- we moved on to the Miller stage to see Soul Asylum. Here, too, the crowd was immense, but the sprawling seating area of the Miller stage allowed us find a comfortable zone to stand and keep an eye on everyone. As usual, those darn benches remain the curse of Summerfest. Everyone stands on them and completely obliterates the view of the band unless you watch them on the monitor. Gosh I wish they could change this. It's got to be a liability, too, because I've seen many a person take a digger of these aluminum benches of death. Nonetheless, Dave Pirner and band sounded great. We heard them perform their smash 'Runaway Train' -- which is just okay to me -- but I was gleeful to hear 'Somebody to Shove.' I loved rocking to that track back in the day.

The Regrettes
After Soul Asylum, sis and kids departed leaving me with my other sister who was ecstatic to be out partying without her kids (thanks to her good husband who took over the responsibilities for the late afternoon/early evening). And thanks to the recommendation of my friend, Joe, we saw my favorite band of the day: The Regrettes, whose members likely weren't even born when 'Runaway Train' was a hit, but they've got rock 'n' roll chops. Lydia Night, the lead singer of the three women and one man band (the dude's the drummer), is a confident and enigmatic performer. This is a band to watch -- they're too good not to be a greater success. Check 'em out.

Margaret Butler of
Cool, too, that the guy who recommended them was also able to join us. We stuck around that stage, the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage, through Milwaukee's GGOOLLDD too, but we screwed up by leaving our bench spot after The Regrettes. We were left to stand on our tiptoes off to the side of the stage where we occasionally caught a glimpse of GGOOLLDD's captivating frontwoman, Margaret Butler. From what I could tell, they looked super, but at the very least I could tell this: they sounded great. Things are looking up for GGOOLLDD. You'd better catch them while you can!

After GGOOLLDD we headed towards the Harley stage where the gunslinging rockabilly guitar God, Brian Setzer, was about to play. I parted from my friends only to run into another fellow who I've known for at least three decades. Instead of going home -- which was my plan after saying goodbye to Joe -- I stuck around with pal, Dave, and we caught a good chunk of Setzer's show and the Big Bang fireworks display. Finally took an Uber home and was in time to get a good night'ssleep and do it all over again today!

Setzer's Still Got It
I haven't even looked at the schedule, but as always, as long as I get there, I'll find something that entertains me. Who will I discover today? Got any recommendations? Let me know!!

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