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Summerfest Daily Highlights: Wednesday, July 4

Iron Maiden w/ Alice Cooper, Ziggy Marley and The Joy Formidable

Jun. 20, 2012
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Iron Maiden w/ Alice Cooper
Marcus Amphitheater, 7:30 p.m.

Iron Maiden simply refuses to die, flying the flag for multiple generations of rabid headbangers who have given the British heavy-metal band something now approaching nine lives. Musical experimentation, personnel upheavals and accusations of Satanism have marked Maiden's 37-year career. The band's songs—galloping blurs of riffs, hooks and aggression—have been featured prominently in a slew of video-game titles. With a discography spanning 36 albums, Maiden boasts no shortage of material, and despite the title of 2010's The Final Frontier (the band's 15th studio album, which hit No. 1 in 28 countries), vocalist Bruce Dickinson has said the band should be good for “at least one more album.”

Alice Cooper, the godfather of “shock rock” who now hosts a popular syndicated radio show, has toned down his live show over the years. But he did resurrect 1975's classic LP Welcome to My Nightmare with a 2011 sequel titled Welcome 2 My Nightmare, whose wide-ranging guest list included Kip Winger, Patterson Hood, Rob Zombie and Ke$ha.

Oh, and if anyone still has lingering doubts about either band's connection to Satanism, banish them now; Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain converted to Christianity in 1999, and Alice Cooper has embraced Christianity for years.  —Michael Popke

Ziggy Marley

Miller Lite Oasis, 10 p.m.

When you carry the name of the world's most widely recognized reggae musician and your own nickname literally means “a small joint,” is there anything to do but follow in your father's musical footsteps?  David “Ziggy” Marley was only 9 years old when he and his younger siblings made their recording debut with father Bob Marley on his number “Children Playing in the Streets.” Today Ziggy Marley is a reggae superstar in his own right, and the 43-year-old musician carries on both his father's name and vocation.

Marley began recording with his band, the Melody Makers, in 1981, and record sales held steady well into the 1990s. In the new century, Marley began working with the United Nations, formed his own record label, Ghetto Youths Crew, and in 2003 released Dragonfly, his first solo album. Since then he has worked with a wide variety of artists, including Paul Simon, Willie Nelson and Paul McCartney. The four-time Grammy winner has also recorded children's albums and created a number of philanthropic organizations, including Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment (URGE), which helps children in Jamaica and Ethiopia, and is an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, which provides free musical instruments to public school children in the United States. —Michael Muckian

The Joy Formidable

U.S. Cellular Connection Stage with Leinenkugel's & FM 102/1, 10 p.m.

It's fitting that The Joy Formidable's “Whirring” was the first video shown on MTV2's rebooted “120 Minutes” last year, since the song sounds like a great, lost relic from the original alt-nation era—if not an alternate reality where The Smashing Pumpkins never stopped making great music. Perhaps because of its invocations of an earlier, louder era of modern rock, the song became a decent-sized hit on contemporary alternative radio stations, calling deserved attention to one of last year's meatiest rock records: the Welsh trio's aptly titled The Big Roar. Produced by Rich Costey, who's overseen similarly massive records by the Foo Fighters and Muse, the album was one 50-minute-long head rush, led by singer Ritzy Bryan, whose sweet and wistful voice tempered the bite of her surging guitar work. The band has started working on an untitled follow-up album for possible release as early as this fall. —Evan Rytlewski


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