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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, April 19, 2014

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Should the owner of this car get a ticket or an ass whuppin'?
Should the owner of this car get a ticket or an ass whuppin'?

The world's most dangerous license plate

A friend forwarded this photo to me yesterday and I can't decide whether the license plate depicted in this photo -- if spotted within Brown County -- would merit some kind of speeding or reckless driving ticket or just a general ass-whuppin'.

This must belong to a very dedicated -- and very brave -- Bears fan.


The grammar police hit the men's room at Summerfest.
The grammar police hit the men's room at Summerfest.

Grammar police invade Summerfest men's room

At many establishments, one ventures into the men's room expecting to find graffiti in the form of curse words, crude drawings, limericks and suggestions that often venture into the realm of anatomical impossibility.

Fortunately, Summerfest doesn't have a graffiti problem.

The only graffiti I've seen in recent years was grammar related.

That's right ... grammar.

In the men's room on the east side of the Water Street Brewery building, just underneath what is now called "The Lake Deck," there are two touch-free, waterless urinals.

Above each is a plaque from the manufacturer, Kohler, that is pictured with this blog. It reads:

"By installing this touch-free KOHLER Steward waterless urinal, this facility has demonstrated their commitment to protecting our natural resources and reducing the environmental impact of this restroom. These waterless urinals conserve up to 40,000 gallons of fresh water per fixture per year."

The only graffiti, which is tough to see in the picture, must have come from an English teacher. The word "their" is scratched out and someone has scratched "its" above it.

I guess English teachers hear nature's call, too.

Pan Am played Tuesday afternoon at Summerfest.
Pan Am played Tuesday afternoon at Summerfest.

Pan Am shows some promise

In many cases, when a band makes a local reference on stage, it comes off as pandering to the audience.

That didn't seem to be the case at The CoolTV Rock Stage Tuesday afternoon at Summerfest.

When Pan Am singer Steve Lundy dedicated a song to the Brewers, it wasn't necessarily a ploy to win fans and influence the indifferent. It felt more like a tribute to team owner Mark Attanasio, whose oldest son, Dan, is Pan Am's bass player.

Mark Attanasio was in the crowd, watching Pan Am play a 45-minute set of jangly original songs that echoed groups like Franz Ferdinand, the Killers and -- perhaps most notably -- Madison natives Locksley.

Locksley, which now operates out of Brooklyn, visited the Summerfest grounds during the recent Verge Music Festival. Locksley features a brother combo (Jesse and Jordan Laz), just as Steven Lundy is joined by his brother, Gary (guitar) in Pan Am.

Like many brother acts, the Lundys seemed to mesh their harmonies effortlessly. The group, which has visited Summerfest before, created some interesting moments. The song "Equalizing the Sun" had some intriguing turns of phrase and "Red Coats" shifted between a British Invasion feel and a bit of Stray Cats vocal phrasing.

While some of the lyrics seemed a bit pedestrian ("Take it or break it, just don't fake it"), Pan Am's songs were more than solid enough to hold the audience's attention on a cool afternoon. Several of the band's quick-hitting songs ended abruptly, which is a good indicator of a band's tightness/cohesion, but they also felt unfinished -- like they needed another verse.

Later in the set, the band tapped some lilting country and jumping rockabilly veins that could merit further exploration.

In terms of stage presence, the band may have been a bit awed by its surroundings (hardly a rare occurrence for young groups at the World's Largest Music Festival).

Lundy, a strong vocal presence whose style would seem at home on many FM ra…

Tallan Noble Latz rocked the M&I Classic Rock Stage on Monday.
Tallan Noble Latz rocked the M&I Classic Rock Stage on Monday.
Latz commands the stage like a rock veteran.
Latz commands the stage like a rock veteran.

Latz takes center stage on kids day

Maybe it was fitting that Monday was "Kids Day" at Summerfest.

Tallan Noble Latz is, after all, is still a kid.

It can be hard to remember that fact when you watch the 10-year-old guitar prodigy command the stage like he did during an afternoon set at the M&I Classic Rock Stage.

Latz, an Elkhorn native who first gained fame in these parts a couple years ago -- when he was considerably shorter -- mixes blues showmanship, youthful energy and a pretty solid command of dive-bombing 12-bar fretwork.

His voice doesn't match his playing -- but it's hard to simulate the whiskey and cigarette-soaked growl of his much-older heroes. Latz, dressed all in black, even acknowledged that on stage "Some people say I'm too young to have the blues," he said, and in song -- he changed Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man" into "Hoochie Coochie Boy. "

Latz, playing Summerfest on a Monday for the second straight year, is already a pretty consistent draw. It will be interesting to see how his singing, songwriting and stage presence develop over the years.

As he continues to get taller and more experienced, Latz will no longer be considered a novelty. He has accomplished so much at such a young age that he's making himself a tough act to follow.