Friday, July 12, 2013

Summerfest 2013 Superlatives

Here we are again with another edition of my Summerfest Superlatives. I've been saying all year long that this year's Summerfest was different. Sure each Summerfest is different, but this year it was different because I was less than thrilled with the lineup. Since I started going to Summerfest, the lineups have always been stacked with bands from all genres of music. There have always been some great rock and heavy metal acts. There has always been at least one band that I was extremely excited to see. I won't count 2005 because I only went one night, my very first ever, to see Crossfade. Let's take a trip down memory lane...some of the better bands I saw in 2006 were P.O.D., Seether, and 30 Seconds to Mars. In 2007 there was Rise Against, Papa Roach, and Chevelle. 2008 brought Drowning Pool, Red, Theory of a Deadman, and Egypt Central.  In 2009 there was Rise Against, The Offspring, Judas Priest, and Our Lady Peace (among others). In 2010 I saw Skillet, Red, and the Scorpions. 2011 there was Rise Against, Sick Puppies, and Better Than Ezra. 2012 was amazing with Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Adelitas Way, Scorpions, Halestorm, and Art of Dying. This year?  2013? I was hard pressed to find any one band that I was just dying to see. That certainly doesn't mean I didn't have a great time, nor does it mean that I didn't see some good bands. There just wasn't that one band that got me really excited to go. There's always next year, right?  But as I mentioned, I've seen plenty of great rock and heavy metal concerts this year to make up for the lack of rock and heavy metal at Summerfest and the year is still not over.

With the lack of a stellar lineup, at least in the eyes of this die-hard Summerfest-goer, I was actually able to enjoy Summerfest a little differently. So let's get right to it...

General comments and observations

  • My brother, Dennis, made it back again this year. I know he had a great time and he got to see one of his very favorite bands, Rush.
  • 9 days attended this year for me, which was a surprise considering the lineup. 7 for Dennis.
  • The 'walk about' trend continued...again
  • Record low 14 bands watched this year (read comments about the lineup)
  • Five of the 14 bands were hip-hop, rap acts
  • The BMO Harris Pavillion is still the best stage at Summerfest
  • People watching from the Captain's Deck was new this year, thanks to a good friend for the passes
  • It was noticeable how many couples actually dress alike (observed from the Captain's Deck)
  • Also noticeable how many people have no clue what to wear, how to wear it, or are just completely color blind, like the guy dressed head to toe in chartreuse.  
  • Didn't build a second deck on Mark's tree house, but my brother and I did some landscaping at my new house
  • Last year we may have melted, this year it was definitely cooler by the lake. Certainly for the first half of Summerfest
  • No Rock Band this year
  • No extended stays at Mark's house. No stays at all.
  • Leinenkugel's Summer Festeweizen was back again, but Lakefront Brewery had the beers of choice, mainly Fixed Gear. Water Street Brewery's Black IPA was a close second.
  • Great seats are still important! Thanks again to my good friend for the 11th row, center seats at the BMO Harris Pavillion for the Go Gos and Jimmy Eat World
  • Speaking of the Go Gos, the crush I had on Belinda Carlisle at 15 came roaring back. Do those teenage crushes ever really go away?

To be honest, there really wasn't a big disappointment this year. I really only saw 14 bands that I wanted to see. I never subjected myself to any band that I didn't enjoy. The biggest disappointment is the entire Summerfest lineup. Even the Marcus Amphitheater acts weren't that intriguing. I'm very thankful The Rave has filled in my music need!

Wait..wait...wait... I do have one...

Rick Springfield. Only because he had such an enormous ego that it was pretty annoying. Making the crowd sing him "Happy Birthday", listing out every movie and TV show he has ever been on, and telling everyone about a dozen times that he has a new album out.  Dude, get over yourself.

This is tough with only 14 to choose from, but I'd have to go with... 
Citizen Zero. They were on before the Lovehammers. A Detroit band with some good sound and tunes, but nothing that special.

The Go Gos...though I would probably see them again to ogle Belinda
Styx. Damn it! Styx got this superlative twice!  
Foreigner. Same songs, but not the same band I grew up to. Where's Lou Gramm?

LL Cool J. Quite possibly the most fun show I have seen at Summerfest. Really great!
The Go Gos. My crush for Belinda aside (How many times have I mentioned that?), they really put on a fantastic show! Loved the cover of the Ramones!

Skillet. SERIOUSLY! This year was even better than last year!  Here's what I wrote last year..."Never before, since I have been going to Summerfest, have I seen a band put on such an amazing show on a free stage with fireworks, sparklers, fire, explosions, lights, elevators, and a drum set that elevated and spins! Skillet won this award back in 2010 and they win it again in 2012, only it was better because we were closer!"  YES, it was better. I was closer. Not sure how they did it, but they added more to the stage show. Their new songs rock too!!

THE 5 HIP-HOP/RAP ACTS I SAW (In case you were curious)
Brother Ali
Far East Movement
LL Cool J

5. Pitbull
4. LL Cool J
3. The Go Gos
2. Jimmy Eat World
1. Skillet

Lovehammers (Great band. I don't care what you think)
I am blessed, spoiled, and extremely thankful to be living in a city that hosts an 11-day event that is called the World's Largest Music Festival. Additionally, I get to see some of the world's greatest bands at local venues in and around Milwaukee. Summerfest is my Mecca. It's the one event that I have lived for each and every year since I've started going. Sure I get disappointed when the lineups don't meet my desires, but Summerfest competes with many other Summer festivals in the U.S. and in Europe. It cannot be easy to book these bands. But year in and year out, the folks at Summerfest do their best to bring some of the hottest and most successful bands to this great city for us to enjoy. My hat is off to them. Even a die-hard rock and heavy metal fan like me had another great time at Summerfest 2013!  I will wait semi-impatiently until next year's lineup is announced,  Until then...


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