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Summerfest Daily Highlights: Friday, July 6

Big Time Rush w/ Cody Simpson, Atmosphere and Paul Oakenfold

Jun. 20, 2012
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Big Time Rush w/ Cody Simpson & Rachel Crow
Marcus Amphitheater, 7 p.m.

A perfect triple bill for tweeny-boppers, this show boasts a headlining boy band inspired by The Monkees, a 15-year-old Australian heartthrob and a 14-year-old whose personality won her nearly as many votes as her voice on the American version of “The X Factor.”

Big Time Rush signed simultaneous recording and television contracts with Nickelodeon in 2009. The result? A hit series and two Top 15 albums featuring songs written by Ryan Tedder and Jay Sean. Now in their early 20s, the four members of Big Time Rush have sold more than 3.5 million singles, toured with British boy-band wonders One Direction and drawn comparisons to the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync (neither of which had their own television shows).

After releasing a series of EPs, collaborating with the likes of T-Pain and Flo Rida, and headlining multiple club tours in the United States, Cody Simpson—discovered, like Justin Bieber, via YouTube—recently released his full-length debut, Paradise.

Rachel Crow, fresh off her 2011 fifth-place finish on “The X Factor,” where record mogul and judge L.A. Reid called her a “funky, feisty singer with soul,” signed with Columbia Records and is slated to get her own Nickelodeon show. —Michael Popke


Miller Lite Oasis, 6:30 p.m.

The list of truly influential white rap acts is short. Very short. There's the Beastie Boys, who for decades served as white America's gateway to rap; Eminem, the resilient commercial titan; and, with about a bazillion less albums sold than those two acts, Atmosphere's Slug, the Minneapolis rapper who helped bring some of punk's DIY mentality to hip-hop. As the founder of the label Rhymesayers Entertainment, he's the de facto leader of Minneapolis' thriving underground rap scene. Particularly through Atmosphere's emotionally fraught early album, Slug has influenced a generation of alternative rappers with his introspective, often allegorical lyrics.

Slug largely credits the audience he's built to touring, and over the years Atmosphere's traveling lineup has grown from a two-man, rapper-DJ setup into a full band. That change has been reflected on Atmosphere's albums, as well. Each is more instrumentally driven than the last. On the group's latest, 2011's The Family Sign, the pianos and guitars are almost as prominent as Slug's signature tortured raps. —Evan Rytlewski

Paul Oakenfold
Miller Lite Oasis, 10 p.m.

Electronic music takes the main stage as trance DJ Paul Oakenfold headlines the Miller Lite Oasis. Hailed as one of the top in his field worldwide, the 48-year-old Londoner is best known as a producer (remixing for the likes of Björk and Madonna—he even opened for Her Madgeness on her “Sticky & Sweet” tour) and an A&R guy (DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Salt-n-Pepa). But his innovative mixes and near-constant participation in live music festivals finally put a face on the anonymous art of DJing (Deadmau5's giant mouse head excluded).

Oakenfold's 2012 “Four Seasons” tour revolves around the seasons. Summerfest fans can expect (what else?) the “Summer” release, with the tour focusing on more underground effects and a mash-up of breaks, electronica, techno and house. As with any of his shows, state-of-the-art visuals will play a role as well. Regardless of the weather, technoheads can expect to trance the night away with a nonstop mix of new sounds and mixes guaranteed to heat up the summer night. —Harry Cherkinian


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