Summerfest Day 7: The Black Keys and Florence And The Machine bring down the house
- Satan for the masses: Ghost B.C. brings spooky Swedish metal to Turner Hall
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club deliver bombastic, potent show at Turner Hall
- Joe Bonamassa falls into familiar blues groove at Riverside Theater
- Milwaukee Psych Fest delivers variations on a tripped-out theme
- The Joy Formidable makes the case for a damn fine rock show at Turner Hall
The Marcus Amphitheater was filled to the gills Wednesday night as Milwaukee welcomed Cage The Elephant, Florence And The Machine, and The Black Keys to Summerfest. It was a beautiful evening at the lakefront with some incredible music to top it off. If you missed this show, you missed a good one.
The crowd was still filling in as Cage The Elephant took the stage. Frontman Matt Shultz, in an extremely baggy T-shirt and long, untamed hair had a likeness of Kurt Cobain. His grungy style fit well with the band’s sound, and the crowd seemed to like him, even though half of the time we couldn’t hear what he was screaming into the microphone.
The sound system wasn’t working in Shultz’ favor, but it was thankfully balanced in time for Florence And The Machine’s set. Florence Welch emerged in a conservative, maroon-colored dress with sheer, flowing fabric that looked like wings. She stepped up to the mic, gave a high-pitched call out to the audience, and let the music carry her into her first song.
Her elegant mystique commands attention, and the audience was captivated. Welch twirled and skipped gracefully about the stage while each note seemed to effortlessly escape her lips. More than once we felt chills down our spines, and we don’t think it was from the breeze off the lake.
Her music had such intensity, and it culminated with her last three songs: “You’ve Got The Love,” “Rabbit Heart,” and “Dog Days Are Over.” Toward the end of her set, Welch called out, “It’s very nice to meet you! We have a tradition at this part of the show, and I hope you will all do it with me.” She proceeded to show the audience how to jump along to the last bit of “Dog Days,” bringing her U.S. tour to an end with a wonderful finale.
Welch’s set alone was worth the ticket price, but the headliners made the deal all the sweeter. Right on schedule, the lights in the amphitheater went out. The crowd went nuts, and when the lights came back up, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney of Grammy-winning The Black Keys were in position. The two launched into their set, playing some older tracks like “Thickfreakness” and “Girl Is On My Mind,” and then rocked a stellar cover of The Kinks’ “Act Nice And Gentle” before getting into tracks from their latest album, Brothers.
The duo’s music was awesome, and the set and lighting further enhanced the performance. A huge disco ball dropped down for “Everlasting Light,” two video screens played footage of what appeared to be a burlesque dancer during “Next Girl,” and the same screens appropriately displayed a photo of the moon during “Howlin’ For You.” The last song, “I Got Mine,” flat out rocked. Auerbach and Carney went all out, as did the audience. The Black Keys were literally up in lights as a huge light display spelled out the band’s name across the stage. The set was spectacular, and we were sad to see it end.
As the lights dimmed and Auerbach and Carney walked offstage, out came the lighters. A sea of flickering light and cheers urged the duo back onstage for a two-song encore. The Black Keys are truly a rock ’n’ roll band; they delivered an incredible performance across the board.