“I have fucking missed y’all so much!”

Posted: September 11, 2021 in Fridge Note, Music nobody listens to, Shovels

As I mentioned in the previous post, for the first time in about a decade, I did not attend the Opening Day of Summerfest. The new schedule made it seem like less of an event. So we went down on Friday for Drive By Truckers

At this point, I am going to extend all proper respect and thanks for people who run World Festival nc and the Summerfest staff for being so committed and inventive in figuring out how to put on this scale of event without it turning into Sturgis. It helps that Milwaukee is a Democratic city, and the city is over 76% vaccinated, and the festival requires proof of vaccination or a negative test, and has on site fast tests available. So when we were sitting on tables and bleachers, loving on the music, we could also love on the community we have been missing for 2 years without being terrified.

I first saw DBT also at Summerfest, Jason Isbell was still with the band, and I couldn’t believe how good they were;I am not normally well disposed to southern rock; but I’m going to say that this doesn’t qualify

Since then, I’ve seen them a couple more times, and Jason Isbell once on his own. I become more impressed. In recent years, DBT has development a bent for protest songs like Toughts and Prayers or The New OK. But on this night, the song that made me happier and resulted in tears rolling down my cheeks was this one (this will come up again):

Tonight was the fourth night we went to Summerfest. The first night was short, but the next two days were 10 hour+ extended mix long days. Tonight was a mix, about half a day, which allowed us to escape the crowds and parking before the Dave Chapelle crowd got rambunctious. (and how exactly did Summerfest land Chappelle?

So here, 2/3 of the way into an oddly scheduled festival, and by my count,, I have five more bands to see in the remaining 3 days. The fest is only 9 days total, rather than the typical eleven.But, and I told my great and good friend K that I am going to make a call on this, even if it’s premature…

By the second day, we noticed the sound was clear as a goddam bell. no feedback or ungrounded buzzes. And starting with DBT, ever band was JUST SO GODDAMNED HAPPY to be in front of a crowd , doing what they do after too long a time, that they don’t want to leave the stage. They all played over their allotted times, which is a big no-no at Summerfest, but the bands didn’t; give a shit because they were playing their music.

And every one of them was so committed to getting back to live, that they hit with all the force they had, and we saw blistering set after blistering set.

We saw locals doing a Joe Jackson cover set, and local legend Sigmund Snopek doing….well, what he does. It’s truly not quantifiable.

But then we saw people like Soul Asylum rip it up for a light crowd, and lovely local cow punks the Whiskeybelles singing about the love of whisky. As they do (except when the one was pregnant during the pandemic. I presume at the time, the other two were drinking for five.

And then we saw Joan Jett, and holy shit it all I have to say, and how in hell has it taken me this long to see her? And yes, she played her amazing cover of Paul Westerberg’s “Androgynous”

She snarled her way through her show in a way that also showed, over and over, how much she loved being there and playing for us and they’d their fucking guts out.

Which is the recurrent theme this year. Ever single goddam band has been so blue balled by not being able to play live – which, we admit, is one of the large reasons they do this, for the endorphin hit of the audience feedback. And they played their best and favorite material with everything they had. And it was apparent that every one of them had woodshedded until their fingers were shredded because as far as I could tell they never missed a cue or dropped or note (except the one time Dave Priner forgot a lyric)

And I also believe the sound system providers also felt the enforced vacation, as did the stage crews and support staff. The sound has been stellar. Not a single blown amp or bad ground, and the only feedback I’ve heard was at Sigmund Snopek’s. Every stage sounds stellar, whether you are up front where you’re not overwhelmed to the back, where the sound is still clear and satisfying.

Now, for a word about the schedule. The amazing get was Dave Chapelle, without a doubt. And I have to confess that I blew the call on not getting tickets for Green Day/Weezer/Fall out boy (my wife is not going to forgive me for that) But beyond that, my goob, we have Soul Asylum, the Whiskeybelles, Joan Jett, the Goo Goo Dolls, Brett Newski, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Drive By Truckers; and scheduling prevented seeing Filter, Wilco, Them Coulee Boys, Everclear, Berlin, Better Than Ezra, Living Colour, ZZTop (admittedly Dusty-less), Dave Matthews, Fishbone, Dropkick Murphys, The Psychedelic Furs, Jefferson Starship, Something to Do, Paul Cebar, Lemonheads, Poi Dog Pondering, Guns n Roses, Thurston Moore, The Flaming Lips. And these omit most of the bands I don’t know anything about, or the modern country I could give less than a shit about.

Well holy shit I nearly pissed myself just typing that out.

Last night had both Dave Chapelle at the amphitheater, and Kesha at the BMO pavilion (who I believe coined the theme of Summerfest 2021, with which I titled this post).; we left as th crowds for these shows were coming in, and the proper word is THRONGS. A friend drives rideshare, and he said he made 75 dollars an hour last night.

So pick your favorite bands out of their list, and if you don’t see them, look at the Summerfest schedule, because I left way more off. And I am almost completely convinced that they performed better than you ever imagined on their night.

My previous post revolved around one of my local faves Trapper Schoepp, who has completely impressed everyone I’ve taken to see them.And they were playing before Wilco; Trapper said the first time he came to Summerfest was to see Wilco on the very stage they were now playing. And that band was completely going to live up to that position; they did. I have seen Trapper and Tanner play several times in several configurations, and this was simply the best I have ever seen them.

So, circling around…. back when the 2008 recession threatened us all, but in particular my business, I found myself not able to respond emotionally to music in the way I had always done. Until an English Beat show, which seemed to be a one off.

(let me be clear here. When I refer to that emotional connection, I mean music bringing me to tears.)

Adding to the impact is the fact that we haven’t been able to do this for over a year and half. Before that, I usually saw live music 1-4 times a month. More during festival summers.

And in every day of music, at some point during some music performance, whether because I love it (Jane) to because the band absolutely hit the fucking marks (DBT, Let There Be Rock) I have, over and over again found myself weeping with joy and the feeling that after all we have been through, it is still possible to come together in communal ways that were not going to kill someone. (Texas, SD, and FLA not available for this offer) And while sitting there and talking with friends or making new friends, it was apparent that we have lots of friends who feel the same way. Almost everyone had masks hand, even they weren’t required in the grounds. And every single person was happy and dancing with joy. Summerfest, sisters and capybaras, Summerfest.

But thank my dog, but I haven’t been that happy and relieved since I first got the jabs. Also, since we are traveling out of country, we are getting flu shots next week. JAB ME.

I hope that this is a permanent reactivation of my feeling for music. If you see me crying about music, feel free to mock, but maybe just sit back and wonder what is moving me?

As a final note, even with 1/3 of the festival to go, I have to say that given the breathtakingly gorgeous early fall weather; the throngs of happy people at the World’s Largest Music Festival, the festival organizers who managed to figure out a way to bring us all together again SAFELY; the set and ground staff and crews who work from sunup to the next early morning to keep the grounds cleaned and prepared, and most of all the BANDS, who are, to a last person, fucking ecstatic to be here seeing us all again…

And as an exit strategy for this, I go back to Trapper Schoepp for a few years back, when they were touring with the Wallflowers. The irony here is that Trapper eventually wound up sharing writing credits with his dad. But here,Trapper and his original band the Shades, filled in on a singularly classic song.

In any case, I dearly love this is a permanent reconstruction of my emotions. It is fun and expanding feel this about the art we are exposed to.

Next up is how Summerfest and theaters are driving the increase in people, especially the idiot suburban Republican asshols, in getting the jabs….

Comments
  1. I also have to comment that I saw Trapper and Tanner both play in a star-studded tribute to Big Star at First Avenue in Minneapolis. The friend I was there with, when I introduced him, said “they get laid every damn night, don’t they?”

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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