Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summerfest Day Six Recap

My nephew at the parade
After a day off, Summerfest reopened on the 4th of July. Before heading to the fest we spent the morning with family attending the Bay View 4th of July parade. We've gone to this parade nearly every 4th of July for the last six or seven years because that's where my sisters and their families live. It's rather odd, though, because we live just a few blocks south of North Avenue in Wauwatosa where the tosa parade occurs at the exact same time. Some day it will be fun to get the family to attend our local parade instead. But until that day, Bay View it is. That's okay -- it's always fun.

After the parade and some family time, we headed towards Henry Maier Festival Park, but before reaching it, we decided to grab a bite and have a little fun and, boy, did we find it at Barnacle Bud's! It seemed we weren't the only only ones looking for fun because Bud's was packed. They had two musicians performing out on the front deck: a singer/guitarist and a washboarder/percussionist. The guitarist I recognize immediately from nearly 25 years ago when he performed with Hat Trick, a band that specialized in the sounds of New Orleans. We were big fans of this band and saw them often. (I see there is a Hat Trick band still performing around Milwaukee, but I have no idea if it is an iteration of the same band that we enjoyed decades ago.) Anyway, the band needed a little extra percussion and they recruited Kay to join them with a washboard, and then later with a cowbell. Kay really hammed it up and it was great. All in attendance seemed be enjoying themselves too.

After Bud's we made our traditional pre-Summerfest stop to O'Lydia's for a beer or two. The theory is, have drinks off of the festival grounds where they're a lot less costly. The problem with that theory is, once you're a little tuned up, you make bad decisions at the fest and buy expensive beers anyway.

There was no act on the grounds that seemed enticing. And after a walk around the grounds, my CADE. Performing with only his brother -- a DJ who occasionally beat on an electronic drum -- he was fun to watch for a little while, but it really didn't float my boat. I need guitars for it to be real music.

There was no act on the grounds that seemed enticing. And after a walk around the grounds, my thought was proved correct.. Most stages were manned by DJ's. And try as I might, I just don't get millenials' enthusiasm for DJ's. I mean, they're not the real artist and the house, dance-beat style is so formulaic. At every stage you could hear the DJ cohorting "1, 2, 3... GO CRAZY!!" or something similar.

Mowgli shooting Polaroid
I did meet one particularly unique fellow at CADE's show. Mowgli Miles, photographer and founder of Interracial Friends -- a clothing store and brand dedicated to the mission of defeating racism. What I thought was unusual about Mowgli -- there's a few things actually; he's not an easy man to pass by unnoticed -- was that he was shooting CADE with a Polaroid camera. I didn't even know that Polaroids were still available! While he was shooting, I asked him, "Hey, do you mind if I take your picture while shooting with that camera?" He said sure and after I snapped a pic or two, we talked briefly. His work with his Polaroid has even gotten him a free media pass from Summerfest. I've got to look into getting one of those. Every time I bring in my entry-level Nikon with an inexpensive zoom lens into the fest I feel like I'm breaking the rules. Sometimes they give me grief about it but usually let me pass. On the Summerfest FAQ it only says that small cameras are allowed. That's subject to a lot of interpretation!

Katie Mack
We found the closest thing to real rock and roll at JoJo's Martini Tent where Katie Mack and the Moans were playing. Katie and company are a local cover band that aces the bluesier classic rock hits by bands like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, The Doobie Brothers, Black Sabbath, Cinderella, and Joe Walsh. On this day they covered at least three Joe Walsh songs and that was okay with me. I'm a Joe Walsh fan. I wasn't always, but since bumping into him, literally, on a stairway in Sydney, Australia, I've listened to his catalog a lot more and find his playing style utterly unique. No one sounds quite like Joe, but the Moan get awfully close.

With that we decided to call it a day and head back home to Wauwatosa to enjoy the fireworks display with friends and family. My wife's occupied today, but I'm going to make my way to the grounds this afternoon. I've got my eye on Kyle Megna & The Monsoons, an original music Wisconsin band that's a big hit at Mile of Music.

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