About This Year's Summerfest Line-Up
The Shepherd Express' annual Summerfest Guide is on stands now, inserted in today's issue, so pick up a copy and start highlighting acts of interest.
My first read on the (nearly) finalized Summerfest 2009 line-up: It's better than recent years'. My usual preface remains: Summerfest is not Milwaukee's answer to Lollapalooza or All Tomorrow's Parties, and the festival has been public about its prioritization of baby boomers over students and young adults. But that being said, this year's schedule has some nice highlights, among them:
* Two great, relatively late additions to the line-up: Elvis Costello and Spoon
* Some decent commercial punk acts, like Rancid, Rise Against and The Offspring
* Better than usual alternative veterans: Meat Puppets and Matthew Sweet
* Instead of one of two concessionary hip-hop acts, this year there are threewhich, all sarcasm aside, is a genuine step in the right direction. The Roots, Lupe Fiasco and Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek are all familiar faces, but they're big, reliable draws.
* Nods to the CW contigent with Cage the Elephant, Asher Roth, The Veronicas and Kevin Rudolf
* Some pretigious Marcus Amphitheater headliners, including Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson and Stevie Wonder and John Legend
* An all-local stage, the Cascio Interstate Music Groove Garage with Shepherd Express and WMSE (yeah, it's a mouthful), that threatens to eclipse the bigger stages most nights, featuring artists like Fresh Cut Collective, 1956, Diguised as Birds, Red Knife Lottery, Protestant, Father Phoenix, Pezzetino, Brief Candles, Invade Rome, The Trusty Knife, The Celebrated Workingman, Sleep Tight Co., At Latl, Juniper Tar, Testa Rosa, The Wildbirds and John the Savage.
EDIT: The schedule is worth examining closely, since there are acts of interest burried at some unlikely times. Dead Confederate, for instance, plays at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1, the same day the jazz-jam-fusion act Soulive plays an unfortunate 2:30 p.m. set. Margot & The Nuclear So and So's, meanwhile, do an 8 p.m. slot on Sunday, July 5.