Cold War Kids pleasantly thaw audience on chilly night
The weather late Sunday night at the U.S. Cellular Stage didn't exactly put the summer into Summerfest. It was not what anyone would describe as warm. Thankfully, clattering bluesy rockers Cold War Kids didn't hang their fans out to dry, delivering a non-stop hour-long set that was low on frills but high on sweet tunes.
Familyman's Wailers conjure memories of Marley
Despite the fact that there are no original members of the vocal group that included Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, among others, a group called The Wailers continues to pound the musical pavement. The group, fronted by a founding member of the instrumental outfit that backed Marley from the late 1960s until his death in 1981, headlined the Miller Lite Oasis at Summerfest Sunday night.
Ageless Alice Cooper shock-rocks "The Good Land"
Against the background of the beautiful BMO Harris Pavilion, Alice Cooper and crew turned it up for a wind-blown a crowd ready to hear his hits. It's funny to think that in the `70s, Cooper - aka Vincent Damon Furnier - was considered scary. Funny, because he didn't seem scary to me. Just good. And way ahead of his time.
Dr. John's technical difficulties
Being close to the stage, it was obvious that Dr. John and his band were performing incredibly. The tight funk pockets of the drums and rhythm guitar locked in under the Doctor's grizzled vocals and wildly impressive piano playing. Unfortunately, unless you were in the front rows, this was completely lost in the mix coming from the main house speakers in front of the stage.
Imagine Dragons, Summerfest prove to be a perfect combination
It's been less than four months since Imagine Dragons last played Milwaukee, but the band was back on Day 4 of the Big Gig to play before 15,000-plus at the Miller Lite Oasis stage. Once again, the chemistry between the band and the Cream City was evident, resulting in 70-minute show of passion.
Matt & Kim reward rain-soaked fans with raucous, rapid-fire show
The antsy electro-pop rock duo Matt & Kim hit the U.S. Cellular Stage Friday night much like one of the many downpours from earlier in the day. They hit fast. They hit in a fury. And just like that, the crazed storm of energy was over.
Femi Kuti delivers at summerfest
The tightness and quality of the band was beyond belief and those who were in attendance were given a very rare chance to experience some of the best contemporary world music being played today.
LL Cool J mixes it up
Taking a one-day breather off headlining the Kings of the Mic Tour, veteran emcee LL Cool J breezed into Day 3 of Summerfest to play to a near capacity crowd at the BMO Harris Pavilion. The 45-year-old performed his songs with energy, but on balance the 60-minute show felt more like mixtape than a true show.
Kulick talks KISS, Summerfest and more
Ask prolific guitar player Bruce Kulick why being a judge for the School of Rock "Battle of the Bands" June 29 and 30 at Summerfest is important to him and the former member of KISS says that "seeing them be creative or just cover a classic rock tune is truly a joy to me."
Garric plays bass guitar and golf with Alice Cooper
In today's Kramp Cast I talk with musician Chuck Garric about the current Alice Cooper/Marilyn Manson tour that he's on, his Milwaukee ties, past collaborations with some big named musicians and playing golf with Alice Cooper in black eyeliner at a country club last week.
Mali to MKE: Amadou and Mariam deliver Afro-blues straight to Summerfest
It's possible you've never heard of Amadou and Mariam, but this was a show I circled as soon as it was announced. They played Thursday night at Summerfest.
Local bands bring talent and spirit to the Big Gig
Tales of ego trips, prima donna performances and hissy fits are legendary among the rock and roll elite of the caliber that play major events like Summerfest. But standing in stark counterpoint - and playing on the same stages, albeit earlier in the day - are the local musicians who are eager to share their skills for Summerfest patrons basking in the noonday sun or taking a lunch break at the festival.
Capital Cities is safe with its sound
In today's Kramp Cast I talk to Sebu Simonian of the breakout alt-dance group Capital Cities about how the band got to where it is today, the way the hit single "Safe And Sound" has taken off commercially and the influence that the Pink Floyd has had on him.
Karen O, Yeah Yeah Yeahs provide plenty of reasons to scream "yeah!"
Mere minutes after the traditional opening day fireworks finished lighting up the lakefront sky, punky indie rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs proceeded to light up the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage with a propulsive set that had the entire crowd screaming, well, yeah!
Diplo gets Milwaukee moving
Los Angeles-based producer and DJ Diplo took the stage at 10 p.m. at the Miller Lite Oasis in front of an ecstatic crowd of festival attendees who were eager to kick the summer off with a bang.
Kip Moore brings good ol' boy fun to Big Gig
It's a real pleasure to see an artist who has the talent and stage presence of a superstar but who is still relatively unknown. Moore still has that raw, real world charm and conversational ease. He seemed genuinely in awe of everything he's accomplished, and truly grateful that we all showed up to listen to him.
Delong's one man show is a concept that makes you move
In today's Kramp Cast I talk to Robert Delong about his music and musical tastes, the deeper meanings to his lyrics, being a solo performer and if life were just a game which video game he would prefer to be stuck in.
Guitar man: Update
The details are falling into place as I work on fulfilling my dream of becoming a first-time guitar soloist on my 70th birthday.
Musician John Grant is the "greatest you're ever gonna meet"
In today's Kramp Cast I talk to John Grant about his new CD "Pale Green Ghosts," the cursing in his songs, music that inspires him and his love for horror movie soundtracks. Grant plays in Milwaukee Wednesday, June 26, at The Pabst Pub.
Portugal. The Man delivers high-energy performance
Portugal. The Man has always been a difficult band to classify, as its influences are vast and identifiable, but it proved Friday that it has found a unique voice of its own that is worth more than the sum of its parts.
Hugh Bob and the Hustle's "North Country" sound invades Summer Soulstice
In today's Kramp Cast I talk to Hugh Masterson of the Milwaukee band Hugh Bob and The Hustle about growing up in the small town of Butternut, Wis., his musical and personal influences, struggles with family and writing music that matters. Plus, he plays a new song called "Bigger Man."
Jewel is back in town with her greatest hits and stories
In today's Kramp Cast, I talk to singer/songwriter Jewel about growing up in Alaska, hitting the road at the age of 15 and the influence her family and musical icons like Bob Dylan have had on her career.
Present Music announces 2013-14 season
Present Music has announced its 2013-14 season, continuing a tradition of unique performances in creative and non-traditional venues. These seven concerts will also feature a variety of collaborations.
John C. Reilly, friends fill Miller Caves with music
I went into Sunday night's John C. Reilly & Friends show at the Miller Caves with no expectations at all. I'd never heard Reilly's music before - unless you count "Boogie Nights" and "Walk Hard," but I'm a big fan of his work as an actor. I'd never seen a show in the Miller Caves (and nor had anyone else) but I remember being impressed with the space on brewery tours in the past.
Kanye West projects in Milwaukee
Kanye West continued his creative kick Friday night in Downtown Milwaukee and 21 other North American cities with projections of himself on buildings.