The best and the worst of the festival Day 2, Weekend 2


The second Friday of Summerfest 2021 brought familiar voices and news to the stages of Maier Festival Park.

This is what the fifth night of the world’s biggest music festival looked like.

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Hip-hop veteran and “Dancing With the Stars” alumna Nelly returned to the UScellular Connection stage on Friday night for another phenomenal performance.

As usual, everyone tends to forget all the hits that Nelly has racked up over the years, like “Ride Wit Me” and “EI”. With hardly any breaks.

Nelly gave her fans an energetic show with a teenager’s breath control – which makes sense since he’s still shredded. When it comes to hip-hop performances, Nelly is definitely someone to learn from.

– Damon Joy, special at Sentinel Journal


If you didn’t know who G-Eazy was, you would probably assume he was an avid 50s drag racing enthusiast.

But don’t be fooled by the Bay Area rapper’s slicked back hair and leather… everything. G-Eazy is a seasoned artist and MC.

Assisted by a drummer and a live DJ, G-Eazy rocked an almost complete Generac Power Stage at Summerfest on Friday night. He had music from his early days with “I Mean It” 2015, until his most recent “Provide” presented by Chris Brown / Mark Morrison.

Things really got out of hand during “The Plan” when the leather jacket came off. After that, it was a sex-fueled hip-hop night with G-Eazy at the helm. He would lift his shirt every few minutes and the screams of the audience could be heard for miles.

G-Eazy has been to Milwaukee many times and always gave us props to support him. Tonight was no different. Milwaukee came back for him and he did what he does best.

– Damon Joy

Lindsey Stirling

Fusing new age, hip-hop, electronic and classical music, violinist Lindsey Stirling

Throw a memorable show, complete with costumes and elegant choreography, at the Uline Warehouse on Friday night.

Stirling, who is on tour to promote her 2019 album, “Artemis”, was accompanied by several dancers and a group. She toured the stage while singing her violin to songs like Celtic-influenced “Masquerade” and “Master of Tides”.

She changed her costumes several times, from the first cave dweller to the Wild West dance hall queen to the pirate (with a fake parrot), on several occasions. Colorful lights, background images, and a fog machine enhanced the mood.

“I haven’t done a show for two years so it’s amazing,” said Stirling, who revealed his obsession with pirates and urged members of the audience to adopt “their own brand of weirdo”.

“America’s Got Talent” Season 5 semi-finalist Stirling may not have won the TV contest, but she certainly charmed her audiences. It was nice to see a crowd of all ages enjoying the classically inspired music.

– Catherine Jozwik, special at Journal Sentinel


Wilco was fortunate enough to take part in three shows in 2020 before their 51-date itinerary suddenly came to an end. They seemed to still have pent-up energy to come out of their collective chest on Friday night at the Miller Lite Oasis.

Few openings in the folk-rock pantheon are as invigorating as “A Shot in the Arm”. Jeff Tweedy, normally a fairly straightforward conductor, was remarkably lively throughout the set and was aggressive on the guitar from the start, shredding “At Least That’s What You Said” in a positively Neil-Young-ish way.

After an unusually loud “Art of Almost”, the set became more of a wellness hit parade, and the crowd grew bigger as people flocked to the completed shows. A guitarist like Nels Cline can, however, blow up the most banal melody; his creativity was limitless.

In the end, it was a relatively smooth Wilco show, and no one complained about it. For an hour and a half, despite the fall temperatures, it felt a bit like summer.

– Cal Roach, special at Sentinel Journal

Goo Goo Dolls

A month ago, in Buffalo, the hometown of the Goo Goo Dolls, frontman John Rzeznik performed his signature ballad, “Iris,” as a guest at a Billy Joel concert. Joel didn’t reciprocate here in Milwaukee, although he wouldn’t have felt out of place.

Last year, Goo Goo Dolls was set to celebrate not only their new album “Miracle Pill”, but also the 25th anniversary of their groundbreaking album “A Boy Named Goo”; we all know what happened to those shots.

Friday night’s headlining spot at the BMO Harris Pavilion at Summerfest was one of the few dates the Dolls have on the calendar this year, and it didn’t start smoothly.

Rzeznik, cutting a sort of late ’90s Bowie profile in tones and shoulder length streaked hair, barked at the crew and threw his mic stand in frustration. By the time the group entered “Slide” a few minutes later, everything was settled and forgotten.

Beyond the point of seeking credibility, Rzeznik is the consummate veteran leader, almost nonchalantly at fault. “It’s good to get out of your house after two fucking years,” he enthused before “Miracle Pill.” “Summerfest is always the best time (expletive) anyway, isn’t it?”

– Cal Roach

Jade bird

At just 23, British singer-songwriter and guitarist Jade Bird has an imposing stage presence, which was showcased in an enjoyable performance at the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage on Friday night.

Little Bird, dressed in a black kaftan and backed by a full band, presented the crowd with rock hits such as “Uh Huh” and “I Get No Joy”, the rich keyboard “My Motto” and folkloric “Lottery . ”

She also performed several songs from her latest album, “Different Kinds of Light”, released in August, including the breakup song “Houdini”.

Although Bird’s melodic voice was dynamic and diverse, his lyrics sounded muddled on some of the heavier numbers. Sometimes his band threatened to drown out his sound – it seemed like some of the audio levels were too high.

The audience, however, didn’t seem to care, rocking and dancing to the music and enjoying the beautiful lake breeze. In turn, the smiling bird showed its appreciation for its fans.

“I’m really not used to such a lovely crowd so thank you very much,” she said.

– Catherine Jozwik

Jesse mccartney

For anyone who doesn’t understand how wonderfully weird the Summerfest lineup is, they just had to look at who was booked at the Uline Warehouse on Friday.

There was hip-hop violinist Lindsey Stirling, Michael Winslow (the guy who made all those noises in the “Police Academy” movies) and Friday afternoon actor and pop artist Jesse McCartney – who finished second on Fox’s “The Masked Singer” in senior year dressed as a punk rock turtle.

With effortless charm and a hint of brooding, McCartney gave the large crowd on Friday a fun nostalgia trip with sparkling pop hits like “Body Language” and “Leavin ‘,” and his cover of “Bleeding Love,” the 2008 smash he co-wrote with Ryan Tedder for Leona Lewis.

McCartney also premiered new songs from an album slated for release next month, and while they’re not going to set the charts on fire, the crowd has been more receptive to unknown material than you are. would have imagined. As a reward for their attention, he was a very generous host, singing a buttery “Happy Birthday” to a fan named Gina, and offering exuberant validation to a fan who shouted that she was training today.

– Piet Lévy, [email protected]

Maddie & Tae

From Kelsea Ballerini to Chris Stapleton, from Gabby Barrett to Zac Brown Band, there has been a lot of really good country music at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater at Summerfest this week.

But some of Nashville’s top performers performed on the field stages, including Maddie & Tae on Friday afternoon at the UScellular Connection Stage.

Madison Tarlow and Taylor Dye helped deliver a death blow to brother country and its sexist tropes eight years ago with the clever and scathing “Girl in a Country Song.” They haven’t done anything so dazzling since, but they’ve quietly built a solid catalog led by richly detailed storytelling and fully formed characters.

On Friday there was “Woman You Got”, with its female protagonist telling her fiance about all her strengths (“The thing with me is that I always improve”) and her weaknesses (“I speak loudly / I do damage … I’m a little selfish. “)

And there was “Friends Don’t” with its tell-tale signs of a romantic alchemy between platonic friends (“Friends don’t stay there / play with their keys / try to find reasons not to leave”).

On Friday, fans of Zac Brown Band and Gabby Barrett were already in store for one of Summerfest 2021’s longest sets in the amphitheater. But those ticket holders smart enough to arrive early for Maddie & Tae – and it seemed like a lot of them – got a great bonus for their money.

– Piet Levy

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