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Tuesday, July 2: New Kids on the Block w/ 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men at Marcus Amphitheater, 7:30 p.m. Between the three of groups, New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men have sold hundreds of millions of records, churned out dozens of chart-topping works of bubblegum pop, and incited piercing […]

Tuesday, July 2: New Kids on the Block w/ 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men at Marcus Amphitheater, 7:30 p.m.

Between the three of groups, New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men have sold hundreds of millions of records, churned out dozens of chart-topping works of bubblegum pop, and incited piercing screams from an incalculable number of enamored girls since the early ’80s. While most of those girls are now middle-aged women, you can be sure throngs of them will still come out to look on longingly as heartthrobs of yore are running through their eternally catchy classics.

Also: Styx at BMO Harris Pavilion, 8 p.m.

Local Pick: Calliope at K-Nation Cascio Interstate Music Stage, 9 p.m.

Wednesday, July 3: LeAnn Rimes at Miller Lite Oasis, 10 p.m.

Singers with careers spanning 20 years aren’t all too uncommon in the music world. However, most long-tenured musicians didn’t get enter the spotlight at the age of 13. LeAnn Rimes is a rare exception. Rimes and her incomparable voice first entered the spotlight in 1996 with hit country chart-topper “Blue.” Soon, she crossed over into pop consciousness with memorable covers, Grammy-winning original works and a role in Coyote Ugly. Her latest album, Spitfire, was released one month ago.

Also: MGMT at Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, 10 p.m.

Local Pick: Body Futures at K-Nation Cascio Interstate Music Stage, 2 p.m.

Thursday, July 4: Rush at Marcus Amphitheater, 7:30 p.m.

Save for a brief turn-of-the-century hiatus, Rush has been kicking since the late ’60s. Carried on the iconic, sky-high vocals of bassist/front man Geddy Lee along with complicated instrumentation and a catalog rich in both radio hits and obscure, futuristic concept albums. The 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inductee ventures down – well, over – from the great white north of Ontario to play a headlining gig that will undoubtedly feature seminal songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Fly By Night,” as well as tracks off year-old album Clockwork Angels.

Also: Barenaked Ladies at BMO Harris Pavilion, 8 p.m.

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Local Pick: Ikarus Down at U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, July 5: Rick Springfield at Uline Warehouse, 10 p.m.

Australian rocker Rick Springfield has accomplished quite a lot in his 63 years. The crooner was a member of close to 10 bands, a film and television actor, author of an autobiography and owner of 17 solo albums. But nothing Springfield has done will match the success of his 1982 hit, “Jessie’s Girl” – which won him a Grammy and rendered him a rock ’n’ roll immortal, if only as a one-hit wonder. He’ll play his hit and (likely) a few more songs from his massive catalog to cap off Friday’s festival festivities.

Also: Nelly at Miller Lite Oasis, 10 p.m.

Local Pick: Hugh Bob & The Hustle at U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 6: Buddy Guy at Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, 10 p.m.

Legendary bluesman George “Buddy” Guy has been pushing boundaries of the fret board with his iconic axe wielding for sixty years and counting. Beyond his own Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-caliber career, his six Grammy Awards and Kennedy Center Honors, Guy has also been an inspiration to noted guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughn and even past collaborator and fellow 2013 Summerfest headliner John Mayer. Here is your chance to bear firsthand witness to one of the most storied guitarists of all time.

Also: Neon Trees at U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 10 p.m.

Local Pick: Midwest Death Rattle at U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 6:45 p.m.

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Sunday, July 7: Bad Religion at U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 10 p.m.

A multi-million dollar, heavily promoted behemoth of commerce that is Summerfest seems like an odd occasion to see Bad Religion, a veteran punk rock band unwilling to mince its political and, of course, religious views. But the L.A. band’s solid 30-plus-year track record and immeasurable influence on a genre warrants a headliner slot on The Big Gig’s closing night. The performance marks a homecoming of sorts for Bad Religion front man-turned author and UCLA professor Greg Graffin, who was born in Racine and spent his early childhood in Milwaukee.

Also: Jimmy Eat World at BMO Harris Pavilion, 8 p.m.

Local Pick: Vic & Gab at K-Nation Cascio Interstate Music Stage, 7:30 p.m.

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The Violent Femmes open Summerfest Wednesday, June 26: Violent Femmes with The Avett Brothers, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Ivan and Ilyosha @ Marcus Amphitheater, 7 p.m. The story of the most vital group in the history of Milwaukee music almost came down to a lawsuit over a Wendy’s commercial. The Violent Femmes […]


The Violent Femmes open Summerfest

Wednesday, June 26: Violent Femmes with The Avett Brothers, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Ivan and Ilyosha @ Marcus Amphitheater, 7 p.m.

The story of the most vital group in the history of Milwaukee music almost came down to a lawsuit over a Wendy’s commercial. The Violent Femmes will rewrite that ending with a triumphant homecoming on the Big Gig’s opening night, supported by an all-star cast. This show should set the bar plenty high for the rest of Summerfest.

Also: Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, 10 p.m.

Local Pick: Faux Fir @ K-Nation/Cascio Interstate Music Stage, 8:30 p.m.   

Thursday, June 27: FUN. with Walk The Moon and Family Of The Year @ Marcus Amphitheater, 7:30 p.m.
Although the perennial appearance of Tom Petty says otherwise, FUN. is the ultimate Summerfest band. There has been no group as ubiquitous or ambitious this year, scattering three record-breaking singles across radio and television and winning two Grammys. The festival dubbed “the Big Gig” aspires to be larger than life, and with its soaring anthems and sky-high sound, FUN. fills the bill.

Also: Blues Traveler @ Uline Warehouse, 10 p.m.

Local Pick: Klassik @ Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, 8 p.m.

Friday, June 28: LL Cool J feat. DJ Z-Trip with Terry Sims @ BMO Harris Pavilion, 8 p.m.
LL Cool J made an unexpected return to relevancy this year thanks to a Grammy hosting gig and a somewhat troubling collaboration with Brad Paisley. Amidst all that, LL quietly dropped his 13th album, Authentic, which features the talents of everyone from Snoop Dogg to Eddie Van Halen.

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Also: Cake @ Miller Lite Oasis, 10 p.m.

Local Pick: PHOX @ U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 4:15 p.m.

Saturday, June 29: Meat Puppets @ US Cellular Connection Stage, 8 p.m.
In a notable coincidence, the career of this SST band ran parallel to festival favorites Violent Femmes between the early ’90s and 2000, when the two bands were cutting albums at an even pace. The Meat Puppets never scored a hit like the Femmes, but they were perhaps more influential, helping to mold the ’90s alt-rock sound elaborated by Nirvana and Pavement. After a 6-year silence, Meat Puppets reunited in 2007 and has released four albums, including this year’s Rat Farm.

Also: The Zombies with Et Tu Bruce’ @ BMO Harris Pavilion, 2 p.m.

Local Pick: Elusive Parallelograms @ K-Nation/Cascio Interstate Music Stage, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 30: Rogue Wave and Cold War Kids @ U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 8 and 10 p.m.
Summerfest has made an effort to book more indie rock over the last few years, with a preference for proven talent over flavor-of-the-week buzz bands. Thus, we’re given this Sunday evening double-shot of two bands that helped carve out the indie rock genre in the mid-2000s. Though their best work is probably behind them – keeping in line with pretty much every national act at the festival – the two California bands are still active: Each released a new album this year.

Also: Dr. John & The Night Trippers @ Johnson Controls World Sound Stage, 10 p.m.

Local Pick: Kiings @ Uline Warehouse, 6:30 p.m.

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The Big Gig is finally upon us, but now what? With more than 700 bands playing on 11 stages, it can be overwhelming to figure out what is worth seeing and what should be walked past briskly. That’s why you keep us around. Over the next two weeks, Music Notes will be providing you with […]

The Big Gig is finally upon us, but now what? With more than 700 bands playing on 11 stages, it can be overwhelming to figure out what is worth seeing and what should be walked past briskly. That’s why you keep us around. Over the next two weeks, Music Notes will be providing you with weekly recommendations of can’t miss shows and tips on how to make the most out of each day of the world’s largest music festival.

 

Tuesday, July 3 – DJ Tarik aka The Architect at Cascio Interstate Music Groove Stage, 9 p.m.

So now that you’ve had Monday off to recover from your week-long hangover, apply some aloe to your poor nose and rest those tired feet, why not get right back at it with local hip-hop night at the Cascio stage? DJ Tarik aka The Architect will be closing out the night spinning mad electronic beats, but the party gets going much earlier with the likes of The Hollowz and DJ King James.

 

Wednesday, July 4 – The Joy Formidable at U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 10 p.m.

Summerfest doesn’t just pull from the ocean of talent available here in the United States when putting together its 11 days of music. Sometimes it makes sense to reach out across the pond, especially when there are killer bands like Welsh alternative rock outfit The Joy Formidable to be had. This endlessly catchy 3-piece exploded onto the scene last year powered by the impossible-to-get-out-of-your-head hits “Whirring” and “A Heavy Abacus.”

 

Also check out – 311 at the Miller Lite Oasis, 10 p.m.

Though smoking pot and having a good time have served as the foundation for many an alternative rock band throughout history, few bands have worn it as well or for as long as Omaha-born 311. You may have to sit through some tunes from recent albums, which have been underwhelming at best since 2003’s Evolver, but rest assured you’ll get a healthy dose of old school hits like “Down,” “All Mixed Up” and “Do You Right,” among many, many others. And as a bonus, you can probably catch a solid contact buzz in the process.

 

Thursday, July 5 – The Avett Brothers at BMO Harris Pavilion, 9:45 p.m.

The Avett Brothers have been wowing audiences for more than a decade with their eclectic brand of bluegrass/folk/punk. And as good as the band’s songs sound recorded, the true magic of brothers Scott and Seth Avett and the crew lies in their blisteringly passionate live show. If you want a good spot for this one, though, get there early. The last time the brothers came through town they sold out The Riverside.

 

Also check out – Death Cab For Cutie at Harley Davidson Roadhouse, 10 p.m.

I know, I know, how can this jerk be suggesting multiple shows during the same time period? Well you, my friend, have not been to Summerfest enough. The beauty of the fest is the ability to watch the first part of The Avett Brothers show, then politely duck out to see another titan of alternative rock in Death Cab For Cutie perform a short walk away. Ben Gibbard and the boys will no doubt be making you laugh, then cry, then cry harder with Death Cab’s heartfelt alt-pop magic.

 

Friday, July 6 – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals at Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard, 10 p.m.
There are some artist and stage pairings that just make so much sense that you need to check out the show just to see the space used to its fullest potential. Such is the sweet marriage between the laid back, rustic atmosphere offered by the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard and the gorgeously gruff alt-country stylings of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. Potter’s onstage charisma and angelic voice combined with the unclassifiably diverse backing music should make for a night not soon forgotten.

 

Also check out – Atmosphere at Miller Lite Oasis, 6:30 p.m.

Who says great hip-hop has to come from the coasts or the dirty South? Minneapolis is currently undergoing a hip-hop renaissance that is due in no small part to the incredible Atmosphere. Led by the thought-provoking lyrical flow of Slug (Sean Daley) and backed by the beat-making machine DJ/Producer Ant (Anthony Davis) and a live band, Atmosphere continues to push the hip-hop genre to new and exciting heights.

 


Saturday, July 7 – Aerosmith at Marcus Amphitheater, 8 p.m.

They may be a little long in the tooth, and Steven Tyler may have fully jumped the rock ‘n roll shark with his new-found American Idol gig, but the fact remains that Aerosmith is one of America’s quintessential rock bands. And there’s no denying that watching these behemoths crank through megahits like “Dream On” and “Sweet Emotion” on the Marcus stage will most likely be monumental.

 

Also check out – Cake at Miller Lite Oasis, 10 p.m.

On your way out of the Aerosmith show, why not make a quick pit stop at the Miller Oasis and unwind with a little beer and Cake. No, it’s not a new dessert dreamed up by one of the local food vendors, it’s just the perfect light-hearted, sugary whipped topping of ‘90s throwback alternative music to top off your classic rock sundae. I swear it’s a band, not a dessert.

 

Sunday, July 8 – Bush at U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 10 p.m.

Still in the ‘90s alternative throwback mood? Might I suggest you close out your 2012 Summerfest experience with a little Bush. What separates this London group from a lot of other band’s capitalizing on the recent spell of ‘90s nostalgia is the fact that Bush’s latest album, The Sea Of Memories, was actually really good. Hits old and new will no doubt be on full display.

 

Also check out – Neil Diamond at Marcus Amphitheater, 7:30 p.m

How could not recommend that you take in the greatest songwriter-performer of this or any generation? Saving Silverman fans? Anyone?

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The Big Gig is finally upon us, but now what? With more than 700 bands playing on 11 stages, it can be overwhelming to figure out what is worth seeing and what should be walked past briskly. That’s why you keep us around. Over the next two weeks, Music Notes will be providing you with […]

The Big Gig is finally upon us, but now what? With more than 700 bands playing on
11 stages, it can be overwhelming to figure out what is worth seeing and what
should be walked past briskly. That’s why you keep us around. Over the next two
weeks, Music Notes will be providing you with weekly recommendations of can’t
miss shows and tips on how to make the most out of each day of the world’s
largest music festival.

WEDNESDAY,
JUNE 27 – Lupe Fiasco at Harley Davidson Roadhouse, 10 p.m.
Yeah, Steve Miller band is
christening the BMO Harris Pavilion as the stage’s inaugural headliner at the
same time, but we advise avoiding having your feet stepped on by the inevitable
herd of Crocs-wearing baby boomers and, instead, take advantage of Summerfest’s
diverse music offerings. Hip-hop hotshot Lupe Fiasco makes his second big gig
stop in as many years, this time at the Harley Davidson Roadhouse, which is
just stumbling distance from JoJo’s Martini Lounge. It’s also not far from the
gates, allowing for a speedy exit (in Summerfest time, of course) so you can
get home early and rest up to do it all again 10 more times.

Also
check out – The Fatty Acids at U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 5:30 p.m.
It’s difficult to find a band in
Milwaukee that’s better or more driven than the eclectic and oh-so-poppy
sextuplet of Milwaukee musicians. If you’ve yet to see them live: 1. Shame on
you! And 2. This would be a perfect opportunity to do so.

THURSDAY,
JUNE 28 – Foo Fighters at Marcus Ampitheater, 7:30 p.m.
When speaking in terms of modern
rock ‘n’ roll, it simply doesn’t get any better than the Foo Fighters. Dave
Grohl and co. have stood the test of time, staved off the temptation of making
their lucrative side bands permanent and teetered on the edge of a split. Even
more impressively, the band has come out the other side an even more talented,
versatile and widely accepted band, while still clutching to their
sensibilities. Now owners of 11 Grammys, a canon on hit singles, and a year-old
album (Wasting Light) that shows the
guys still have the chops to stand at the forefront of respectable radio rock,
Foo Fighters will undoubtedly treat the paying faithful at the Marcus to a
night of hits and a passionate live performance. Silversun Pickups open.

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Also
check out – The Promise Ring at Harley Davidson Roadhouse, 10 p.m.
Technically a local show,
Milwaukee’s own emo gods The Promise Ring carry with them national appeal. With
members now populating lesser-known local mainstays Maritime, Snowbirds and
Eric & Magill, the Ring ranks reunited for occasional shows earlier this
year.  This will certainly be worth
your time, especially if you’re still kicking yourself for not seeing the band
during its first go-round between 1995 and 2002.

FRIDAY,
JUNE 29 – The Walkmen at U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 8 p.m.
The best thing about Summerfest is
the boundless bounty of great nationally known bands on the schedule. Case in
point: East coast post-punk favorites The Walkmen, who has wowed critics—both
for national periodicals and jaded indie blogs—for over a decade now, only
seems to be getting better with age. Its latest, Heaven (released last month), is already being considered to be
among the best albums of the year (and of The Walkmen’s catalog) by both
Stereogum and Pitchfork Media.

However, if you have the money and
lack the musical taste, feel free to see Train and Kelly Clarkson at the Marcus
Ampitheater instead. It’s your funeral.

Also
check out – Elusive Parallelograms at Cascio Interstate Music Grove Stage, 6
p.m.
When in doubt, always side with the great local option. In this
particular situation, that’d mean strolling to the border of the Summerfest
grounds to see Elusive Parallelograms, who is truly coming into its own of
late, as shown by its great EP
HABITS and brand new psych rock EP effort
SPACES.

SATURDAY,
JUNE 30 – Heartless Bastards at Potawatomi Bingo Casio Stage, 8 p.m.
When you’re a standout in the Austin
music scene, you’re doing something right. Carried on the strong, bluesy pipes
of vocalist Erika Wennerstrom, the Bastards creep ever closer to mainstream
viability with each new album. Latest full-length,
Arrow, seems to be the band’s
final step en route to a long-overdue breakout. New single “Parted Ways” has
quickly become a standard in the rotations of independent radio stations
throughout the country.

Also
check out – ZZ Top at Harley Davidson Roadhouse, 10 p.m.
Those who say the band’s success is
based on their long beards or its spinning and fuzzy guitar gimmicks have
obviously never heard the band. A band that transcends all ages and economic
class, ZZ Top is truly a classic… and one of the few notable acts on what might
be the festival’s least impressive nights of music.

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SUNDAY,
JULY 1 – The Beach Boys at Marcus Ampitheater, 7:30 p.m.
One of the world’s favorite bands
picked a marvelous site in which to celebrate its 50th birthday.
Yes, the Beach Boys are no spring chickens any more, but their vast collection
of hits still sustains, even if most of the cars they reference in songs don’t even
exist anymore. For those able to pony up the extra money for tickets will be
delighted to see the band reunited for an unforgettable trip through their
greatest hits.

Also
check out – Scarlet Escape at Cascio Interstate Music Groove Stage
Of all the 700-some-odd bands to
take the stage during the festival, only one of them has our own Kevin
Kosterman playing guitar for them. Appleton/Milwaukee rocker Scarlet Escape is
that band. Come early, as Escape is bookended by tremendous local acts as well.

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