Going to cram days 2-4 of my Summerfest experience into this one post. Leggo.
Day 2: Bought a keg for pregaming, so that was interesting. When we got to the grounds, we immediately went to the stage where alternative band Cake was playing, and saw rap-rock/alternative rap group Aer (pronounced air) perform. The Boston-based group had some cool jams, but none of them stuck out for me. The most memorable part of their show was their matching kelly green Adidas sweat suits, which put off a Beastie Boys vibe for me.
As the stage was prepared for Cake, I could only be mesmerized by the giant disco ball hanging above where the band would play. It was gonna be sweet. Cake had a handful of catchy songs, and the frontman’s crowd interaction was good too. There were both call-and-response stuff as well as sing-alongs. I wish their mixing would have allowed for more and louder trumpet though, as I was under the impression that their music was heavily driven by their trumpet or that that was their niche. I just couldn’t hear the trumpet all that well. Their cover of “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath was my definite highlight of the night.
Day3: This night was pretty F’d. Went to see The Mowgli’s and they were great! A short set, but happy music nonetheless. My favorite song of theirs by far is “San Francisco”.
I proceeded to try and find a good spot for Imagine Dragons. Ha. After getting relatively in the middle, I was surrounded by teenage girls with nowhere to stand for the concert. Only One DIrection could have been worse. I heard the non-layered vocals paled in comparison to their studio stuff anyway.
I proceeded to cut my losses and see Pat Benatar with guitarist/husband Neil Giraldo. The couple has apparently been making music together practically since they’ve met. It was cool to see the two mesh well together and the wholesome sound of a distorted guitar live. I dipped out after “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “Love is a Battlefield”.
Day 4: Got two free tickets to for Friday, July 5th to see The Mantz Brothers, and we utilized the extra time we had on the grounds to see Nelly. Working with agents through WUD Music does have its perks!
The Mantz Brothers (being a country band) was not my particular favorite, but they seemed to have a handle of their instruments and the older crowd watching them liked it. AFter watching a few songs, I left to get to the stage where Nelly would be performing.
We saw some decent rock cover bands, Yo Dot and the Fresh Cuts Collective, and former American Idol contestant DeAndre Brackenslick leading up to Nelly. Yo Dot’s DJ did some amazing scratching (I love that ish) and Brackenslick had a really good voice, but none of these performances compared to what was to come.
“E.I.”. “Shake Ya Tailfeather”. “Air Force Ones”. “Country Grammar”. “Ride With Me”. “Cruise”. “Hey Porsche”. “Over and Over”. “Grillz”. “Hot in Herre”. “Dilemma”. “Just a Dream”. Nelly played ALL of these songs and more. He unfortunately did not play anything from The Longest Yard soundtrack (Not “Errtime” nor “Here Comes the Boom”), and he didn’t play my personal favorite “Heart of a Champion”, but the fact that it was such a great show without those songs being played goes to show how long Nelly has been at it. He is more than debatably past his prime, but the man continues to grind and still possess the rapping skills he had back in the day. Mad props.
I’ll leave you with my favorite Nelly song even though he didn’t play it at Summerfest. Top workout song for sure.
Hopefully this was insightful to some of you wondering what some live music acts are like and if they are worth seeing. No matter what your musical preferences, I would highly recommend seeing a show live sometime. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s nothing quite like live music.