Thursday, July 6, 2017

Summerfest Day Seven Recap

Attending Summerfest every day is beginning to feel like a job. Yesterday was as close as my attend-all-11-days pursuit felt like punching a clock. Don't get me wrong, it's still fun, but yesterday approached mundane  closer than any other day. Perhaps it was the exhaustingly named promotion "Sentry Foods and Dean's Milk & Ice Cream Children's Fest Day with Today's TMJ4" letting all in for free between noon and 3:00 PM that made yesterday a little more irritating than usual. Too many people too soon.

But it was a glorious Summer day. Likely Summerfest's best of 2017. It was warm and sunny with little threat of rain. That was nice. Nearly every day prior weather had an impact from torrential downpours to unseasonably cool temperatures.

To take full advantage of the nice weather, I pedaled my bike from my home in Wauwatosa to the festival grounds. The distance is about 7.5 miles and there are numerous possible routes. When choosing to bike or walk to downtown Milwaukee, there are numerous considerations to make. It's not always about taking the shortest route. Nonetheless, it was nearly the shortest route that I chose: from my house to the north end gate down Wisconsin Avenue. I took the same route home. And let me tell you this: this was a bad idea. But more on this later.

Upon arriving the park I was completely unaware that the awkwardly named promotion was going on, but I immediately recognized that something was up as the throngs to enter at the north gate were
huge. I heard an authoritative man yell to the ticket takers at a few minutes after 3:00 "Let 'em all in!" I guess he figured that all standing in line were there to take advantage of the promotion and that the only way to reset was to let all in the long lines in. Dang. I had my 11-day Power Pass and I was a paying customer! There ought to be a special queue just for Power Pass holders. Just sayin'.

One of OnMilwaukee's 100 Things to do at Summerfest:
Buy a soda from a massive root beer barrel!
Upon entry into the festival I made it my mission to visit every stage. Using the day as an opportunity to find something new and interesting was the goal. Unfortunately, Sentry Foods and Dean's Milk & Ice Cream Children's Fest Day with Today's TMJ4 doesn't offer very progressive music options. Most stages had performers that veered towards blues and jazz. Not that there's anything wrong with blues and jazz, but to me it's music for clubs and bars of a more intimate setting. It's not a good fit for the "World's Largest Music Festival." Also very fitting for families was Spoof Fest at the Big Backyard Stage. Spoof Fest is a number of bands that mimic famous bands and performers in a comedic manner. Cute and theatrical, yes, but again, it doesn't float my boat.

I was able to enjoy two original Wisconsin acts though: Roxi Copland and Kyle Megna & The Monsoons. Roxi's smooth as silk at the piano and she's been a long-time Twitter friend of mine so it was nice to see her play. Unfortunately I was a little late and only caught her last two songs, but it was nice. Megna & The Monsoons were over at the Miller stage and put on an energetic performance. I can't quite describe their music so I went over to their website to see if they had a term or phrase that describes it. Theirs was "dark-indie-blues-folk-rock feel." I guess so, but there's something missing there too. They use a lot of horns. So it's got a lot more of a jazzy-soul thing going on too. They were cool and the best thing I saw July 5th.

Kyle Megna
One interesting thing occurred to me while I was at the fest. A Milwaukee TV news station contacted me and stated that they were aware that I was attending all 11 days and blogging about it. They asked if they could meet me at the fest on Sunday and do a little story on me. "Sure!" I said. This sounds like fun. They're to meet me at 6:00 PM, Sunday. Now the big question is... How many beers will be in me by 6:00 PM? You'll just have to tune in to find out! (WITI, Fox 6 - Milwaukee)

After a short visit to every stage it was time to head for home. Remember that I described my route down Wisconsin Avenue earlier? Well that's the way I took home too. But this time, I narrowly escaped death by an inattentive (read: asshole) driver. As I was passing Walgreens at 35th and Wisconsin, a car exiting the Walgreens parking lot accelerated to beat oncoming traffic. The problem was, I was directly in its path! The driver didn't care to look for bicycles or pedestrians. In a moment, I had to make the quickest decision I've ever made: accelerate or brake -- in either case, hard. I chose the former. With all the might I could muster, I pressed down on the right pedal. (I don't know why I recall that it was the right one, but I'm sure it was.) I made it past the front right fender of the care with barely a millimeter to spare. The ass-hat never once slowed. Thank God. After he shot across Wisconsin Avenue my heart was pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears. That was close. Thank goodness, too, that I chose to accelerate instead of brake because I think braking would have left me in the car's path where I certainly would have been mangled.

Two times earlier this week I mentioned that I was lucky. I was lucky to be invited to see Paul Simon and I was lucky to find my lost eyeglasses in a park. Today I'm just lucky to be alive.

Day 8 will be a full-day at Summerfest. The dearth of progressive acts from Day 7 will be shattered by D'Amato at 3:00, my friends Nineteen Thirteen (4:30 at BMO), and the "Bands to Watch: Summerfest Firsts" festival within the festival kicking off at 5:00 at the Uline stage. I'm particularly looking forward to NO/NO. Their sound's reminiscent of 80's English new wave and synthpop like Flock of Seagulls and Missing Persons.

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