The Electric Commentary

Monday, July 10, 2006

Another Summerfest has come and gone.

I had a nice concert-filled weekend to cap off this year's Summerfest. On Saturday Paul and I saw Milwaukee favorite Willy Porter followed by Guster at the Miller Oasis. It was a solid show. The last few times I've seen Willy he essentially ignored his first two albums; "The Trees Have Soul" and "Dog-Eared Dream." Those two are definitely my favorites of his. I think that may be a commentary on how untrained my ear for music is, or maybe I'm just nostalgic for when I used to see him at town fairs and stuff when I was a kid. Willy's more recent work seems to get a lot more critical acclaim and anyone listening to it can tell it's probably harder to play. But the old stuff is just more enjoyable to me. Anyways, he played quite a few of the good ol' songs and it was an enjoyable show. I'm guessing a lot of our non-Milwaukee readers have never heard Willy Porter. If that's the case, I strongly suggest you check him out. He really is one of my favorites. Guster was good too. I'm not a huge fan, but I've seen them a few times and thought whey were great.

Last night I saw the Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows. We left for the show amid a downpour wearing rain gear. It didn't look promising. But by the time we were to our seats the rain had stopped and the Polish moon was shining over the Marcus Amphitheater. Goo Goo Dolls were first. They always sound like their music was written and produced by a team of Disney executives and commercial jingle writers to be "radio-friendly rock" or something like that. But when you see them live, you can really tell that they are into their stuff and want to put on a good show. And they do. They're also one of those bands that I forget just how many good songs they've had until I'm at the show.

Counting Crows followed. I have sort of mixed feeling about this band. I absolutely love their studio work. All of it. But this was my 8th concert and 7 were mediocre at best. Although this one certainly wasn't the worst I'd seen, it was indeed mediocre. The problem is that Adam Duritz (who was sporting this haircut last night) usually gets too wasted. Or maybe he's just a little brain-dead. And he just talks through all of his songs. He never really sings. And they always slow the tempo down on just about every song. I'm all for showing some variation in your performances, but when I hear "Rain King" or "Mrs. Potter's lullaby", I want it to rock. There were some key moments to the show though. One was "Hangin Around" in which Duritz actually sang. Perhaps it was because they brought out the opening band to play with them and their singer sang the second verse and Duritz didn't want to be outdone. The other great moment came when Duritz was introducing the next song and said something like this:

Duritz: "I wrote this song about a girl I met 6 or 7 years ago when we were touring with Live. We were playing a show in Chicago... "

Crowd (interrupting and overrepresented with Chicagoans due to the Brewers-Cubs game that day): "YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

Duritz: "It's just a fucking city."

Milwaukee Portion of the Crowd: "YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

Also, did you know that a group of crows is called a "murder"? That song makes much more sense now.


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