Summerfest wrapped up its 2022 run with a Saturday of performances from new faces and some not-so-new ones.
Moroccan-born rapper French Montana (born Karim Kharbouch) moved at age 13 with his family to the Bronx, where he first made a name for himself through a series of street DVDs when he was around twenty. Now 37, Montana has racked up more sexual misconduct allegations than successes over the past two years, but there he was, headlining the BMO Harris Pavilion on the closing night of Summerfest.
Popular tunes like “Shot Caller” and “Ain’t Worried About Nothin” had the crowd surging early, with a strong turnout despite the dropping temperatures. Between heavily crowd-enhanced two-minute song snippets, Montana and his team exploited every cliche in the book.
Tributes to Kodak Black and DMX went about as well; most likely, a beat and a place to dance on a Saturday night was enough to please that crowd.
— Cal Roach, Special for the Sentinel Journal
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Rick Springfield has had a long and varied career. In addition to releasing 17 studio albums, he has appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows. Springfield also opened up about her struggles with depression in her hit 2010 memoir “Late Late at Night.”
Saturday night on stage at the Uline Warehouse, the ever-handsome Springfield boy strummed a shimmering silver guitar and proved he hadn’t lost his youthful energy or undeniable stage presence.
Springfield and his smiling band gave the appreciative and appreciative general public a batch of his 80s hits.
Ever the showman, he jumped onto the stage, greeted a crowd by singing “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and, to the delight of the audience, came down from the stage and greeted the fans in the front row during the lament on modern technology, “Human Contact.” During perennial jukebox favorite “Jessie’s Girl,” Springfield stripped off his shirt, revealing his lean, muscular torso.
“I have ADD and I can’t take my eyes off it,” Springfield explained during the Summerfest closing night fireworks display, before launching into a deliciously riff-heavy cover of “Wild Thing.” “Troggs.
— Catherine Jozwik, special for the Journal Sentinel
For king and country
No big-name music festival in the country brings more Christian-themed acts than Summerfest, and Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard headliner For King & Country put on one of the biggest shows of the entire festival for an adoring crowd to close Summerfest Saturday night.
The Australian duo of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, backed by a six-piece band, were set on and among huge LED cubes; the video and light show was really dazzling at times.
The brothers’ jokes, on the other hand, tended to drag on. Their intent was high and their vulnerability admirable, and sometimes even moving; they just blocked the momentum of an otherwise uplifting performance on several occasions.
Drawing inspiration from obvious influences like Coldplay and Mutemath, the band’s earnest, percussive pop-rock sound had character and drive even if it lacked originality. A Dolly Parton video cameo for “God Only Knows” certainly didn’t hurt either.
Death Taxi for Cutie
It’s hard to believe that influential indie rockers Death Cab for Cutie have been making music for a quarter of a century.
The gigantic crowd at Generac Power Stage on Saturday night (there was barely room to stand) proved that the band have amassed legions of fans young and old over their 25-year career.
Death Cab kicked off their set with the moody “I Dreamed We Spoke Again,” followed by a medley of songs from their 10 studio albums, including 2022’s “Asphalt Meadows.”
Leader-guitarist Ben Gibbard, dressed in a simple black T-shirt and black skinny jeans, enchanted the audience with his tender voice, even if at times his poetic and evocative lyrics sounded a little confused by the guitars and the melodic keyboard. But overall the band sounded clear and seemed very comfortable on stage. Gibbard’s keyboard playing on “Blacking Out the Friction” looked particularly good.
“I’m overwhelmed now. I was hoping we would finish our recital without any mistakes,” Gibbard confessed at one point. Not that the engaged crowd seemed to notice.
Zola Jesus couldn’t help but be a striking presence at the UScellular Connection Stage on Saturday night: she looked pale with dark hair amid slanting sunshine and cliche blue skies.
And her voice, once it emerged from the initial glitches of the sound mix, was even more striking. The woman otherwise known as Nika Roza Danilova suggested Kate Bush — moody, atmospheric, potentially shy if scared — with the strut of a rock ‘n’ roll belt and R&B pipes.
Backed by a drummer, bassist/keyboardist, and viola player, she’s generated considerable amounts of dark brooding, particularly via songs from her latest album, “Arkhon,” but she’s accentuated that brooding with memories of having seen Britney Spears at Summerfest or the mention of Merrill, Wisconsin as where she’s from.
She also needs to stand out in the Northwoods.
– Jon M. Gilbertson, special for the Journal Sentinel
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Summerfest kept its best single-stage lineup for the final day of the Generac Power Stage, with the Illuminati Hotties opening, Death Cab for Cutie closing, and dry cleaning and parquet playing in between.
And I’d bet all of these bands were geeky to share the same bill with one artist who was probably a key inspiration for them: Bob Mold of Husker Du fame.
Now 61, Mold on Saturday afternoon was as energetic and engaged as he’s ever been. Husker Du gems like “Flip Your Wig,” “I Apologize” and “Hoover Dam” coexisted perfectly with tense rocker songs like “Sinners and Their Repentances” and “The Descent,” and a huge crowd gathered. to soak up one last bit of Summerfest fun on a sunny afternoon.
I’d bet some of the young musicians sharing the Generac stage on Saturday were also standing backstage taking notes.
— Piet Lévy, [email protected]
Witnessing London’s four-piece band Dry Cleaning at the Generac Power Stage late Saturday afternoon was an overwhelming experience not unlike the Velvet Underground at a hippie event during the Summer of Love: cool , and all the more for being quite out of place.
Lead vocalist Florence Shaw was reminiscent of Lou Reed of the Velvets: much more inclined to talk rather than sing, though her prosaic declamation was also reminiscent of Debora Iyall of Romeo Void, a hit marvel of the 1980s, or currently. the intriguing Australian punk Courtney Barnet.
Bassist Lewis Maynard and drummer Nick Buxton ensured that people could do an experimental rock approximation of the dance, and guitarist Tom Dowse provided slashes and dots of color to Shaw’s attractive grays.
If dry cleaning didn’t make sense for Summerfest, it made nice artistic sense.
—Jon M. Gilbertson
Summerfest has offered a growing number of famous names over the afternoon in recent years – but it’s safe to say they’ve never had anything quite as cool so early as Illuminati Hotties on Saturday. Sarah Tudzin’s frenzied band rocked the Generac Power Stage at 1:45 p.m. for the closing day of Summerfest.
“Milwaukee Summerfest 2022, let me tell you. I woke up when I was 2 and said, ‘This is where I’ll be one day,’” Tudzin said at the end of the band’s 50-minute set. “And guess what, I (expletive) did it! Yeah!”
So maybe there was a tinge of sarcasm in that comment, but Tudzin’s humor is a hallmark part of Hotties’ appeal.
“I guess I’m the drugstore brand, but I’m still working hard and being cheaper,” Tudzin sang over wavy guitar commentary for “Ppl Plzr.” She jumped from one fun metaphor to another on “Pool Hopping” (example: “You’re twisted like an ampersand”), and came up with a new description for tripping on drugs for the dizzying “MMMOOOAAAAAAYAYA” (“I sit like an old tortilla/Folded and flat, full of mold and bugs”).
Clever lines like these, mixed with the quartet’s raw punk sound, made Hotties’ set irresistible, and the band drew a pleasant crowd despite the early hour of the very last day of a three-weekend festival. . Can you imagine if Summerfest always had awesome out of town bands like this before 2pm? Let’s keep dreaming about what the Big Gig will look like one day.
— Piet Levy