Whimsical Band, Carousel Kings, is Performing at Summerfest for the Fourth Time

You might know them as the band with the music video in the catcade.

Pennsylvanian punk band Carousel Kings arrived at Summerfest full of contagious energy and enthusiasm for its newest album, Plus Ultra. They started playing at 5 p.m. at the Miller Lite Oasis Stage. 

Plus Ultra is a Latin phrase meaning “further beyond.” This is the band’s reminder to themselves and their listeners to explore new ground, and see things they’re passionate about through to the finish. 

The song “Lock Meowt” captures the band’s unexpected blend of thought-provoking lyrics and spontaneity. What started as a joke at the end of rehearsal ultimately inspired a music video recorded at Chicago’s Catcade (a rescue shelter, arcade hybrid), featuring the cats themselves. This whimsical approach comes across throughout the entire album, in which the band experiments with new musical styles ranging from ukulele to electronic beats. 

David Alexander formed Carousel Kings as a senior in high school back in 2008. Although the cast of characters has shifted over the years, the heart of the band’s music remains intact. The group currently consists of Alexander, Will Barovick, Cody Williams, Danny Wilkins, and Kyle Fisher. They’ve been in other bands, separately, since high school, but their paths didn’t cross until about five years ago, when they were circumstantially drawn together by their interest in punk music.

“Right place, right time,” Alexander says of their decision to work together. 

The group is nearly always on the road, and their calendars are filled up with tour dates. Today marks their fourth Summerfest performance. Shortly before the release of Plus Ultra, they returned from their first European tour. Williams notes there’s a sense of independence and freedom that comes with traveling. 

“Wisconsin’s always been like a second home,” Williams says, adding they hope for more time to explore Milwaukee than they’ve had in past years. Alexander emphasizes how thankful he is for the opportunity to see so much of the world through music.

After the Summerfest performance, Carousel Kings will wrap up its summer tour before beginning work on its next album. 



Elizabeth Johnson is an editorial intern at Milwaukee Magazine and a journalism major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.