Summerfest Day 1: Hall And Oates bring the goods, Meat Loaf gets pissed
- MONDO LUCHA! celebrates fifth anniversary in high-flying style at Turner Hall
- David Sedaris goes off book, shines at Pabst Theater
- Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck offer glimpses of greatness at Riverside Theater
- John Hodgman, Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman give Pabst Theater three shows for price of one
- Top 5 musical moments from Kenosha’s 2013 Ride of the Living Dead
It’s tough not to relish the duplicitous nature of The Big Gig. We’ve come to love how the alluring scents of Angelo’s pizza and grilled meat mingle with that of dead fish and dog rump. We’ve come to cherish how Walmart now has a tent promoting its produce amidst a sea of local food vendors. And we’ve come to adore the moment when a stranger wearing pastel seafoam shorts and an unbuttoned shirt screams in our ears about how incredible the fireworks are (which they were). Then there are nights like Wednesday, where the toughest decision you have to make is a choice between Hall And Oates and Meat Loaf. But while the aforementioned choice is a bit like one we’d make at a combination Pizza Hut/Taco Bell; both of those options are fucking awesome every once in a while.
The A.V. Club lit its festival fuse at the Cascio Interstate Music Groove Stage with Milwaukee’s own Worrier. With a fresh set of disjointed post-punk tunes connected by glitchy remixes of Hall And Oates tunes, the quintet struggled to rock the crowd from the mild comfort of its benches. The choppy sequencing of new addition Roger Huffman helped to flesh out outsider-surf opener “Breathing Fiends” and the dance-punk blast of “My Darling, You’re Glowing.”
As we struggled to find gold in the void between the end of Worrier’s set and the start of the headliners, we came up a bit short. However, we did stumble across a 12-year-old guitar prodigy named Quinn Sullivan who was busy melting faces at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse. While the so-called essence of the blues may have gotten a bit lost in Sullivan’s Justin Bieber haircut, we’d be remiss not to acknowledge his intense shredding. Apparently, Roadhouse headliner Buddy Guy discovered the young guitar wizard at the ripe age of 7 and brought him along on tour. Sure, the song “Cyclone” seemed like little more than a faceless, swinging vehicle for rampant noodling, but it was still damn impressive. During the 74-year-old blues legend’s closing set, Guy actually brought Sullivan onstage for a solid 20 minutes of dueling blues licks. “When I was 12 years old, I couldn’t play a fucking radio!” a humbled Guy joked, adding, “Every time I watch him, I learn something.”
The gargantuan turnout at the M&I Bank Classic Rock Stage for Hall And Oates reminded us that the yacht-rockers aren’t merely a nostalgic novelty; they’re the best-selling pop duo of all time. The song-writing adepts were met with thunderous applause before swiftly launching into the bitterly smooth “Maneater.” Only a hit-machine of Hall And Oates’ magnitude could open with such a colossal smash without breaking the bank, although fans really went ballistic when original saxophonist Charles DeChant cranked out his legendary solo. Oh, and just to clarify, Hall’s fluid delivery has aged shockingly well. In fact, it hasn’t aged at all. Trading in his pastel blazer for a leather jacket and sunglasses, Hall guided the band through a revved-up, power-pop rendition of “Out Of Touch,” the slanted groove of “Adult Education,” and the jazzy new wave of “Say It Isn’t So.” Meanwhile, a sadly mustache-lacking John Oates hammered at his guitar while chiming in with tight back-up vocals.
While it was tough to pull away from the pop perfection of Hall And Oates, we felt it our responsibility to journey toward the Briggs And Stratton Big Backyard Stage and check on Meat Loaf. (After all, he did recently tailor a vest from his own flesh for some lucky gal in Dario Argento’s Pelts.) Say what you will about Meat Loaf’s over-the-top theatrics, his sparkling dress shirts, or the fact that he’s rumored to vote Republican—what’s really important is that at 63-years-old, Michael Aday still performs with the same fierce intensity he’s always had. As the backing band roller-coastered through the hilly dynamics of the Jim Steinman-penned “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That),” Aday’s powerful crooning didn’t miss a note, and left no jowl unshaken. A woman who uncannily resembled, sounded like, and probably was original duet-partner Patti Russo joined Aday on stage for the tune’s epic climax. Before Meat Loaf dove into “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad,” he had a few words for his recent critics: “Lately, I’ve been seeing newspapers say, ‘When he got to this song, he had to sit down.’” Aday continued, “Well, I’ve got two words: Fuck you!”