After a couple cooler, misty days, the weather finally broke at Summerfest, making last night’s festivities the most enjoyable so far.
The turnout for Vic and Gab’s 6:45 p.m. slot at the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage easily doubled the Best Coast attendance the night before. The standoffish trio—fronted by the two sisters, you guessed it, Vic and Gab—took advantage of the larger stage and opened up to the audience a bit. Midway through their set, like any good crowd pleaser, the group started throwing t-shirts into the crowd (“Who wants a free shirt?” guitarist Victoriah Banuelos glibly remarked). Those that didn’t receive a shirt still got a pleasant performance, featuring the group’s infectious pop melodies and dreamy vocals.
The Nashville-based electro-pop group Wild Club followed Vic and Gab with, inexplicably, its third Milwaukee performance of year. What the band lacked in color in their attire—only wearing black or white shirts—they made up in its catchy, synthesizer-based material, which ostensibly splashed with neon greens and oranges of ‘80s kitsch. Expanding the pop sounds of Phil Collins, Wild Cub’s set fluttered with bouncy, engaging material, due in part to the hammered drum kits littering the stage. Lead singer Keegan DeWitt got a little preachy near the end—“It’s harder and harder to get this music out to people,” he said, apparently unaware of the Internet—but his spiel didn’t mitigate the tunes he played throughout the night, especially the softly-crooned, understated cover of Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love.” The outfit announced another return to Milwaukee in the fall, making that four shows this year. Hopefully, someone tells them about the world wide popularity of the Internet in the meantime.
The Championship took the KNE New Music Stage after what can only be assumed as championship winning performances from the earlier advertised acts Land The Big Gig Third Place Winner, Land The Big Gig Second Place Winner and Land The Big Gig First Place Winner. The rootsy rock band delivered a restrained—at least when compared to other Summerfest acts— performance that focused on the darker, earthy tones from their 2012 record High Feather. Good stuff.
An invigorated Third Eye Blind rounded out the evening at the BMO Harris Pavilion. Singer Stephan Jenkins appeared in rare form, using a breakdown during “Never Let You Go” to explain how he spent his younger years in Milwaukee and then prodding everyone in the audience to find a stranger and say, “I hope you have a beautiful summer.” He also explained that tonight marked the band’s only date of the season, as they were prepping an album with fresh material. After an enlivened rendition of the bombastic, “Graduate,” he delved into the newer stuff, my cue to leave.
And now some random notes:
Lakeside path: On busy weekend nights, the eastern path along Lake Michigan offers a quick thoroughfare between the two ends of the grounds. This easily saved me about 15 minutes of walking time, plus my ears from listening to Five Finger Death Punch.
Fish Friday: Since the “frachos” were such a hit—seriously, get the frachos—I went back to Burke’s Lakeside to grab another interesting food item, the Lobster and Shrimp BLT ($9). Unfortunately, this offering ended up being quite underwhelming, mainly due to its heavy reliance on mayonnaise and also because it was only half a sandwich. I expect a little price-gouging inside the Summerfest, but they have gone too far. Back to the $5 pizza cones, I guess.
Today’s schedule: The bleachers always cause significant balancing problems while dancing and those limits will be tested tonight for popular mash-up mastermind Girl Talk. The Pittsburgh-based DJ pushes clicks stuff on his laptop at the Miller Lite Oasis, 10 p.m. Pop country star Luke Bryan headlines the Marcus Amphitheater with opener Danielle Bradberry, 7:30 p.m.