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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

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Readers Blog

Rock the Green: A musical and eco-friendly way to end the summer

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Yesterday's Rock the Green music festival may have just been the last day of summer in Milwaukee: gorgeous, blue skies and sunshine paved their way throughout the whole day. Stephan Jenkins, the lead singer of Third Eye Blind, even remarked, "This is it. Summer's over. So let's make the most of it by being right here, right now. Right here, right now..." And thanks to Rock the Green, there really was no better way to celebrate the lovely, music-filled day than to become hyperaware of the environment and come to a new appreciation of our Mother Earth.

From their website, explaining what they're all about: "Our mission is to educate and empower the community to take actionable steps to live sustainably." They are a Near-Zero Waste (NZW) event, and to further said 'education' on the matter, they held tours throughout the day to demonstrate just exactly everything they were doing to keep Rock the Green as green as possible. Some of these things include a free, recyclable, BPA-free reusable water bottle with every ticket purchase (to reduce the amount of plastic bottles simply tossed on the grass, scattering the festival grounds by day's end), alongside free fresh water filling stations. Besides the main stage with the major headliners, there was another side stage called the KOSS Pedal Power Stage whose name really speaks for itself: the entirety of the stage was powered by people pedaling stationary bikes. You can even see just whose muscle power was helping to create the music at Rock the Green's link here (http://www.rockthegreen.com/festival/koss-pedal-power-stage). Their Farm to Fork program, meeting locavore approval, allowed people to know just where their food was coming from and how it was grown and made (a truly important facet to agriculture that seems to becoming more 'hip' nowadays).

Thus, through these tours and programs, as well as other efforts like the posting of NZW facts on the big screen beside the main stage, Rock the Green helped everyone to participate in what makes them a unique festival compared to any other these days.

By the middle of the day's lineup, however, it became apparent that Milwaukee gathered at Veterans park yesterday for one thing: the music. With local favorites such as Evan Christian, Crooked Keys, Ikarus Down, I'm Not A Pilot, and Fever Marlene dominating the KOSS stage, the international fun could be found on the main stage. With a lineup of Morning Parade (UK), Atlas Genius (Australia), Imagine Dragons (Las Vegas), Switchfoot (San Diego), Metric (Toronto) and Third Eye Blind (San Francisco), it was truly an international effort, spanning also from our own sea to shining sea. With the festival's hours lasting from only 2:00 - 9:00 PM, each band was allowed a very short set, but that didn't stop fans from rocking to their fullest potential with every given moment of every given tune.

The bar was raised with Imagine Dragons: frontman Dan Reynolds was an Energizer bunny from start to finish, even with a sinus infection, which in no way impacted his incredibly strong, resounding vocals. Pounding on all drums and running around and bouncing on the stage, Reynolds and all of his bandmates were giving more than their all, feeding off the fans' energy. Reynolds even explained how he was so shocked that everyone knew the words and could sing along (this innocent moment of being starstruck hit our hearts as we kept on dancing). Expectations changed of what was to come as their performance expelled energy onto everyone in the audience and left us only wanting more.

It was at that moment that the tone shifted over to becoming all about the music: Switchfoot gave their fans pure rock and roll, a performance to be appreciated by both fans and non-fans alike. They even did a killer cover of Sabotage in honor of the late Adam Yaunch, an inspiration to them. Afterwards, Metric took the stage where Emily Haines never fails to be a fashionista performer, delivering glam rock alongside the technical skill of her other bandmates, particularly with the latest release of their album Synthetica. The energy didn't stop flowing until Third Eye Blind finally took the stage. Jenkins spoke of the inspiration he gets from the audience, an energy and spirit that he channels into his music, and channels particularly into the work of their new album that they announced last night they have been working on back in San Francisco. We even got a preview of one of their new songs (the title of which was not revealed to us), and you could tell just how excited they were to perform.

Perhaps the highlight of the night was the combination of all of that energy and all of that love for music when Jenkins admitted to having been incredibly inspired by Imagine Dragons's performance. He invited Reynolds onto the stage during their all-time crowd favorite "Jumper." It was a festival moment not to be missed (and is pictured above in the photo that I took from the show).

While all the bands took their respective time on stage to be thankful for being at Rock the Green, and thoughtful towards the cause they were supporting, they were primarily there to share their music with Milwaukee... and we were more than happy to receive it.

Metric's setlist:

Youth Without Youth
Speed The Collapse
Help I'm Alive
Synthetica
Breathing Underwater
Sick Muse
Gold Gun Girls
Dead Disco

Third Eye Blind's setlist:

Thanks A Lot
Anything
Never Let You Go
Can You Take Me
Graduate
Wounded
(New Song!)
Jumper (feat. Imagine Dragons)
Slow Motion
Motorcycle Drive By
Monotov's Private Opera
Good For You
Semi-Charmed Life

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