One thing I’ll say about Paleo, his timing estimates are spot-on. He said he planned on being here at 1 PM, he texted from I-94 that GPS said 12:55, and he rang our doorbell are 12:57. I will allow him the two minutes walking from where he parked to our front door.
So we got Friend Paleo situated in Domicile Zombie, and headed right the hell down. We caught some noms, and started talking. Paleo pulled the trigger on the first round of beers. I knew there was a reason I liked this man; I mean, other than he is a bleeding heart liberal union tradesman with pretty fucking damn good musical taste, who also has a Good Dog.
We walked the grounds for a bit, and I talked about the changes to the grounds since last time he visited. Pointed out all the places I’ve seen amazing shows by amazing bands, and the best places to pee and get beers, in whatever order you’d like. We walked by an interesting sounding band called Hell On Heels (great name!) from Germany, but they were…umm, OK.
At this point, and after 4 days of use in-field, I have to say that they got the Summerfest App right in a usable way. It allows you to review the schedule in a couple of different ways, customize selections for your personal selections, and view what is playing RIGHT NOW, as well as all kinds of other information when you need and want. And delivery times are good, even when the grounds are filled with 100,000 of your best friends. IN prior years, my first stop upon entering the grounds was to pick up the daily schedule, since the advance printed schedule often changed, and it was the only way to see who was ACTUALLY going to play on this particular day. This year, for the first time, I have not bothered, not once, because ZombiePhone has everything I want to know.
But then, hey dammit, we went to the Emerging Artists series (perennial favorite location, second only to Rebel Stage!) to see a Madison bluegrass badass band called Wheelhouse, who not only had a FANTASTIC song called “No Hockey In Milwaukee” but they have their own damn Whiskey. I had the option to buy one CD for 10 bucks, or three for 20. Guess which option I chose?
We sat in for a few songs by another Milwaukee band, Devil Met Contention, who were not bad at all and easily the best dressed on the Fest, but maybe need to find a real groove, a real click. So….
We moved to the ever-esteemed Rebel Stage, which a pick-up band trying to figure out a Kanye West song, so Wife Sublime moved on to the shopping tents, while paleo and caught the fiery end of a set by local R&B band the Jimmys. And then back to Rebel for Whiskey Of The Damned. Who I may have mentioned once or twice.
Backstory, of course, is that we caught WOTD at the Rebel stage (when it was the Renegade stage) and were completely amazed. And since then, when we have brought people to see a WOTD show, our friends are completely fucking blown away. Seriously, they played a tight hour, and would have played longer (they were doing shots of whiskey administered but their roadie DURING THE GODDAM SONGS), but they had another fucking gig!
And Paleo was, as is tradition, was completely blown away. Mission fucking accomplished, and I wish it was due to anything I did other than dragging a friend to a tiny, jury-rigged tent along the rock-strewn lakefront. They were amazing, as they always are; they play 200-250 gigs a year, sometimes opening for the Dropkick Murphys and sometimes playing for 30 people in Cedarburg, and there is not a damn spit of difference in energy for either of those shows. Also, they not only played a punk version of “Hit Me Baby (one More Time)” but they went overtime by 4 minutes to do “My Heart Will Go On” and the amazing thing is that they played both with not one iota of irony. Do I love this band? You tell me. This is one of my favorite songs of theirs, because the opening line “WHERE’S YOUR FUCKING APOCALYPSE” and now has been changed to “HERE’S YOUR FUCKING APOCALYPSE”
Whew. We scooted, best we could, half way across the Fest to the North to catch Sammy Llanas do a great few songs, but Summerfest forces you to make choices. I love Sammy, but Eoin McCarthy and his band have the same fire and spit I saw that Sammy and Kurt had when I saw them in an East Side Dive on like their fourth time playing out, and we all were fucking goddam children.
But sweet living fuck, after that afternoon, we had had enough. We bailed, went to Hooligans Super Bar for an awesome pub fish fry in the shadow of one of my projects. And then we went home, chatted for a bit, paleo very nearly passed out on the couch because he had been up since 4 AM, and frankly I was not long behind him, so the day drew to a close.