words by Erin Wolf
Summer solstice is past, daylight hours are long (but getting shorter) and there’s a hot dog vendor (or taco truck) on every corner. Oh yeah, and there’s more live, outdoor music to watch than you could shake ten sticks at. Summer + Milwaukee. While not forever written in the stars, it’s pretty darn enjoyable while in full swing. The week leading up to the Fourth of July holiday is a grownup’s Christmas, the promise of grilled food and outdoor free time hanging thick in the air. Where will you choose to do your reveling this weekend? We won’t tell you where to go or what to do (it’s summer — no parents, no rules!), but here’s what we’re thinking looks pretty weekend worthy.
What would we be thinking if we didn’t make mention of the tip top of the outdoor musical mountain (Summerfest, for those not familiar with musical mountain ranges). This weekend, alone, the Summerfest grounds will welcome national acts such as The Roots, The Walkmen, The Beach Boys and locals like The Midwest Death Rattle, Jaill and Collections of Colonies of Bees. Go tonight, tomorrow or Sunday, or just find somewhere to curl up on the grounds and stay the whole weekend (we’re guessing this is easier said than done)!
If neighborhood festivals are more your speed, look no further than Bay View for the 5th Annual Burnhearts/Pabst Street Party on Saturday afternoon. Starting at the noon hour and heading into the early evening, that span of time will see several bands take the stage outside of Burnhearts between Logan and Potter streets. The lineup? Just announced, the locals who will be playing are: Dick Satan Trio, Hugh Bob, Juniper Tar, the Extra Crispy Brass Band and DJ WhyB. The headliner will be a “rad surprise” according to coordinator and Burnhearts’ owner, BJ Seidel, and by past year’s headliners as a gauge (Steven Malkmus & the Jicks and Mucca Pazza, among others), we’re on needles and pins. Chomp on food from various vendors and check out art from local artists and crafters throughout the day.
If the cool of a venue sounds like a soothing treat for a sure to be hotter than blazes weekend (check out the forecast!), plan for a stop at the Mad Planet on Saturday evening to check out some new local music from Milwaukee’s intensely pretty Castle Thunder. Wolf In Sheepskin was a labor of love and long in the wait according to front man Cory Gorman in an interview with WMSE last Tuesday. Gorman, along with a great cast of local musicians such as violinst Cathy Kolb (Sleep Tight Co., Crime and Judy) and Ryan Rupprecht (Faux Fir) and Josh Evert (the Fatty Acids) on keys, created an EP that is as intimate as it is anthemic, full of inspired energy. Also playing: Coo Woo and Calliope.
Further riding that local train into Sunday, is Eau Claire’s Daredevil Christopher Wright as they make a stop into Milwaukee for a show at the Cactus Club. Their just-released album, The Nature of Things has them playing up their undeniably solid vocal harmonies and pastoral versus playful tendencies, a nice cross between the folky ease that Midlake so aptly creates and the bouncy psych pop energy of Animal Collective. Gotta miss out? Catch the band for a live, acoustic in-studio at WMSE on Monday, July 2nd at 1 p.m. as they play some of these new tunes in a more stripped down setting on Bill’s Armed Fauxes radio show. WMSE.org or 91.7 FM on your radio dial.