Sunday, July 2, 2017

Summerfest Day Four Recap

My visit to Day 4 of Summerfest was a bit of a challenge, but all for good reasons. First we had family from Appleton come down for a visit, then we attended a high school graduation party for my college buddy's son. It was great to see so many old friends at the party. Even though I hadn't seen many of these people in nearly two decades, conversation flowed easily and I quickly felt like not a day had passed, however, the wrinkles were deeper, the hair thinner, and the follicles were a little whiter, but the laughter and smiles were still purely from the soul.

After the friends and family gatherings we rode our motorcycle right to Summerfest's front gate. I cannot tell you how much easier a motorcycle makes going to the the festival every day possible. The Harley-Davidson sponsored lot is right up front and in the middle. Bonus: it's free. You can't beat it.

Our arrival time was about 5:00 PM and the lines to enter were immense. The Big Gig really seemed to be living up to its moniker this day. Once we passed through security it was just as obvious -- the grounds were packed.

Our first place to visit was the Miller stage where we arrived a little too late to see the beginning of the performance by The Naked and Famous, an indie electronic rock band from Auckland, New Zealand headlining the stage starting at 5 o'clock. We were able to squeeze in towards the front and catch about two-thirds of the show. They were awesome. All band members were wearing all black clothing (Hmm... isn't the New Zealand National Rugby team the All Blacks? I just realized this.) and the lead singer, Alisa Xayalith, is a captivating and energetic performer. The best thing, though, was their sound. They played perfectly and the songs that I knew sounded almost identical to the recorded versions. Their big song that got everybody going? Young Blood. I'm not sure where I've heard this song so any times, but I joined in on the Ee-yeah-ee-yeah-ee-yeah! chorus with enthusiasm. This was another great selection by the Summerfest entertainment staff for a matinee show.

From there we caught a few songs by Michigan Rattlers, a guitar and bass duo from Petoskey, Michigan. It was engaging Americana music that I liked, but a little too small for the big Johnson Controls World Stage. I bet they'd sound incredible in a smaller venue that would allow their acoustic instruments and voices to fill the space.
Chicagoland Friends

I found out my former colleague and friend was up from Chicagoland attending the fest with his son and fiance. We caught up to them as they were just about to enter car #2 on the Ferris wheel. Of course I had to take the obligatory video of them circling past while they made "I'm scared" screams. This is a must when one's on a Ferris wheel, isn't it?

We heard the beginning strains of what sounded like some pretty good rock 'n' roll coming from the Uline stage so we walked over there to check out who was next. Dang, I sure was not disappointed and I don't think my friends were either. We discovered veteran rockers Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers. Upon hearing their hook-laden straight-ahead rock crunch, I was embarrassed to admit that I did not know this band earlier. This is the kind of stuff I really like -- a no-frills rock 'n' roll punch in the gut. It was obvious that I was in the ignorant minority, as the crowd around me joined Roger in singing nearly every song. Finally, though, I got my chance when the band played a oldie but a goodie -- one that I bet you know: Banditos. Still don't know it? How about if I also told you that the chorus is “Everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people." Now I bet you know it. Roger Clyne's previous band, the Refreshments, also wrote and played the theme song for the TV show, King of the Hill. They put on a great show.

Following The Peacemakers we started to walk along the lakefront. We only took a handful of steps from the Uline theater when my wife went to snap a few pictures of the cool bridge connecting Lakeshore State Park to Discovery World. Here a fellow noticed her and said, "Hey, I follow you on Twitter! Would you like a free ride on a paddle boat?" And us, not being able to pass up anything that's free and fun, replied, "Yes!" We fully introduced ourselves to the fine fellow, Tim -- the owner of Lakeshore Paddle Sport Rentals -- and he equipped us with life preservers and sent us off. It was very nice pedal-paddling around the lagoon, but surprisingly tiring. It was a great night to cruise around this sedate part of the Lake -- the weather was perfect for pictures -- but as luck would have it, our camera battery died while we were touring. We still got a few cool shots.

Andi Heath
Off the peddle-boat, we discovered Milwaukee artist Andi Heath at the Ground Floor stage. We only stuck around for a bit, but we heard her perform the song she wrote about her home, Milwaukee. The song is called MKE and I love it. You can check it out on Soundcloud (link). If you're from or very familiar with the 414, you'll enjoy the lyrics in this song. It was quite obvious that I was not the only one who like the song because as she performed it, the dollar bills flowed into her open guitar case like rain. Well done, Andi Heath!

We walked south along the lagoon and ran into our new friend, Eric, and his girlfriend, Amy. A nice guy and couple. You can follow Eric as Bert Lauderdale and his YouTube show "Weather You Like It or Not." Funny stuff.

Left the grounds just as they were really becoming packed. After too many days of Miller Lite and MGD, I had a hankering for a good beer and we went to Steny's for a Three Floyd's Gumballhead. Mmm...

Today, Day 5, should be with visiting family (I hope). And then there's the chance that I'll go see Car seat Headrest at the Johnson Controls Stage with some buds, but truthfully, I'd really like to see P!nk. She's got to put on an incredible show, right?

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