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New Order takes the stage on July 3.
New Order takes the stage on July 3.

Summerfest picks: Andy Tarnoff

There are years when Summerfest’s lineup seems like it was made just for me. Then there are years, like this one, when the Big Gig just doesn’t flip my trigger. It’s not their fault, of course – the world’s largest musical has to make a lot of people happy. And this year, I’m just not one of them.

But I won’t sit around and complain. There’s still plenty to recommend.

Rather than do the traditional daily list of shows I’d recommend, I’ll present you with a simple list of shows I’d see if I had all the time in the world. Starting with the ones I want to see the most, here are the few shows that will make 2014’s Summerfest a good one for me:

New Order – This is the one I’m super-excited for. One of my favorite bands of the ‘80s, I expect this to be the highlight of the Big Gig. (July 3, 8 p.m. at the BMO Harris Pavilion)

Arctic Monkeys – I saw these Brits at the House of Blues in Chicago and was really surprised at how good they were. They rock. (June 25, 10 p.m. at the Miller Lite Oasis)

Bruno Mars – I won’t be at this Marcus show on June 25, because it’s sold out. But I have to admit, I like this guy. He reminds me of Sting with a swagger. (7:30 p.m. at the Amp)

Taj Mahal – Both my parents really like Taj Mahal, which is good enough for me. I’m going with my dad. (June 27, 10 p.m. at the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage)

Lady Gaga – I’m not really a fan of her work, although I don’t deny how catchy LG’s music is. Still, this is a Summerfest spectacle worth seeing. Maybe. (June 26, 7:30 pm. at the Amp)

Nineteen Thirteen – Any chance to see Victor Delorenzo, even if it’s without the Femmes, is a good one. (July 2, 6 p.m. at the Harley Roadhouse)

Berlin featuring Terri Nunn – Well, this is a surprise. Why is Berlin playing at 3 p.m. at the Uline Warehouse on July 2? I don’t know, but I hope they play "Sex (I'm A…)."

Fitz and The Tantrums – I know one song by this indie band. I hope the others involve whistling, too. (July 4, 10 p.m. at Briggs)

Rick Springfield – This is a good nostalgia show, one perfect for having a few beers, singing along and giggling with your friends. (June 25, 10 p.m. at the Uline Warehouse)

Pet Tigers – I’m going to this show, because I know one half of this Vegas new wave duo. You can read my interview with them, or go based on this one word: keytar. (June 25, 10 p.m. at the Uline Warehouse)

G. Love and Special Sauce – I’m reviewing this show, but mostly out of obligation. Funky and fun, though, G. Love is worth a visit. (July 1, 10 p.m. at the Miller Lite Oasis)


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