Summerfest is OVER! We survived the weekend, along with countless others.
Billed as the worlds largest music festival, Summerfest always has some variety of music for everyone. The biggest drawback with Summerfest to me is ALWAYS the crowds. Its a little early for any final numbers, but 2007 attendance was 892,005. Even with the horrible storms that have washed through the Midwest lately, I think over all attendance was still up there.
Celebrating it's 41st anniversary, Summerfest is the pride and joy of the Milwaukee Lakefront. Sure it isn't SXSW, but it is amazing none the less. Food is as much a focus as the music. 40 plus restaurants litter the grounds. You can have everything from Alligator on a stick to Wendy's Hamburgers. My favorite place is always the Ethnic Gardens. I must have the Sauerbraten from Mader's. Two family owned roasted corn vendors are there, and if you eat at Robby's Roasted Corn, hip-hop star Speech from Arrested Development might very well be the person serving you. Even recently deceased comedian George Carlin added Milwaukee and Summerfest to to his resume, after getting arrested for those 7 dirty words he liked to say at the 1972 event. If I started to list the bands and musicians who have played both on the pay stage and free stages, I would be never finish. Needless to say, Summerfest caters to as many folks as humanly possible in 10 days.
Hubby and I are actually celebrating our anniversary this weekend 13 years together and 5 years married. What is more romantic than a bit of metal and rock n roll to ring in the anniversary. This is probably still the coolest advantages of this site.
We got their early and checked out the 9mm Solution set. Popular local band that I have written about many times in the past, it was their debut show for their new bassist, Chad Novell, who also puts time in with bands Strangeland and Orphonic Orchestra. Overall the sound of the band was much heavier this time around. The band was impressively tight for having only had Chad as a member for a few weeks. Standing in the wings watching I did almost think the singer Hobbes would be arrested. In his stage ensemble, he wears a toy 9 mm gun. Halfway through the first song, several of Milwaukee's Finest showed up on the back stage wings. Having been to enough 9 MM shows, I was simply hoping Hobbes noticed this as well from the stage and kept his jacket on. All went well however and no arrests happened.
Unfortunately, we were unable to secure photo clearance for Black Tide, but I spose that's ok. They never showed up. I didn't catch the name of the band that covered for them, however I think if the crowd changed their name to Black Tide Sucks. You have to give the fill in credit, having already preformed on another stage, they made a trek to play before an angry crowd that got stood up and gave it their all. I do deeply regret that I missed their name being announced. With out the photo pass for Black Tide, Brian and I took this as a great chance to grab some dinner.
When we arrived, we still didn't have any clearance for Five Finger Death Punch. Thankfully I managed to hook up with the road manager and get the OK needed for Brian to shoot. Had I remembered that Jeff had previously shuttled the band around in Austin I wouldn't have needed to panic, but it was all golden. I have to say, the guys in FFDP seemed to really enjoy Summerfest. 2 years working in the backstage area and numerous years just hanging (when I was younger I would actually attend all 10 days, good band or not) I have never seen a band so taken with the grounds. All the members were regularly wandering the park itself, and from what I saw, they gave 2 thumbs up to the roasted corn. Singer Ivan probably described it best, calling it our own personal Mardi Gras. Their set was amazing, but seemed terribly short for some reason. It really wasn't, but they just rolled through things at a steady pace, it didn't give you a chance to realize time was passing. Ivan has a great singing voice as well as the chunky growling. Best heard on "The Bleeding" its almost as if two people are singing, and I must add this song sounded amazing live. Another highlight of the set was "The Way of the Fist"which is probably my favorite song simply because of the lyrics in the chorus. Awesome songwriting there.
Day one is down, the walk to the truck takes a mere 15 minutes. Our drive home is also a lot easier then one would expect for the Fourth of July. Time to go home, rest and do it all over again.