Festivals/bands this summer? (I'm seeing old farts at Summerfest)

I was so relieved that after a couple of years of cancelations and postponements, Summerfest is back.
(Oh, it’s a huge and ridiculously cheap festival on Milwaukee’s lakefront; I’ve been going since the early 70s)

Now, being a cheap SOB, I only see the 700+ acts that play the free stages. And yes, every day has some kind of promotion that’ll get you in for free (Thursday you could donate two jars of peanut butter to a Mke food pantry and get in free).

And being an old-ish guy, I was excited to see that there were bands from the 60s/70s that I’d always wanted to see. But DAMN, were they old!

Steve Miller Band was amazing, and watching his energy and excellent guitar work (including blues chops) was encouraging… he’s 78! And he stayed an extra day and played sets Fri and Sat night.

There was an amalgam of early 60’s “British Invasion” bands (…who were really from Chicago), including The Buckinghams, The Cryan’ Shames, The Shadows of Knight, and The Ides of March (“Vehicle” rocked, with a great horn section). But the frontmen who’d been playing on American Bandstand etc almost SIXTY YEARS ago were all pushin’ eighty. And these guys still have great pipes, can still play… and live on a tour bus.

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes rocked hard 'til midnight (but he’s only 72). Still to come, we’ll see how John Fogerty does at 77, and I can’t wait to see Todd Rundgren (74).

(Some younger bands like Toad the Wet Sprocket and Modest Mouse were tight and so much fun… here’s the whole lineup. Two more weekends to go!)

But in an age where old guys sound like a ghost (Gordon Lightfoot looked ancient at 80, with his vocal chords shot), or are giving up on touring (Sir Elton doing so in the middle of a tour), it’s so good to see ‘ye olde ƒartes’ still rocking and having a blast.

So where you folks going for music this summer?

I’m going nowhere for live music, but my parents took me and my friends to see Bobby Sherman at Summerfest in 1970. Glad to hear it’s still going. Creakily and tiredly, but still rockin’. P.S. I love the Chicago garage bands—Shames, etc.

The place near me is hosting tribute bands all summer. I’ve seen a couple, and they’re quite good.

I still love the t-shirt I saw on an aging rocker:

I might be old, but I saw all the cool bands.

You could wear that, and add, in small type: ( … or their understudies)

I see a LOT of live music, but very few festivals. (As a coincidence, I just saw Halsey live in concert this past Friday! I see she’s on the Summerfest lineup, that’s why I mention it. She was great!)

Most festivals only have a few acts I really like, so it’s not usually worth it for me to pay for a ticket. (None are free around here.) I’d rather wait for the act to headline a real tour, with a full length show.

There are some exceptions though. Some acts tour so rarely that I’ll spring for a festival ticket so I can see them at all. One current example: The Japanese singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is playing a festival in San Francisco this fall, and it’s one of her only US appearances this year.

I’m going to see the Happy Together tour with The Turtles, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, The Association, The Classics IV, The Vogues, and The Cowsills. I’ll plug my ears when Puckett plays - hate him and his creepy songs - but the rest should be fun. With luck they may even have one original member!

I saw Tenacious D Sunday before last, with Puddles Pity Party as the opener. First time seeing both, and I had a blast. Great way to top off a perfect Father’s Day.

My brother saw that tour, and loved it. He raved about the Turtles, but had ZERO idea that he’d just seen Flo & Eddie, two members of Zappa’s Mothers of Invention.

(Tying in with the old fart theme, both Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman are 75. See 'em before they bring their walkers onstage, folks!)


Damn, what a wild pairing.

Good to know…

… and unlikely:

The Turtles continue as the signature headliners, but with the voice of the Archies, Ron Dante, again joining Turtles founding member and singer Mark Volman. (Fellow Turtles founder, Howard Kaylan, hasn’t participated for several years.)

I’ll be seeing a British group called Church of the Cosmic Skull in August. They’ve been on my radar for a few years but haven’t done a US tour up until now, and they’re playing a small club in Seattle (maximum occupancy 400). They have a strongly psychedelic-inspired sound that sounds like something out of the late '60s, with vintage Hammond organ and six-part vocal harmonies, and have an interesting gimmick where they dress in matching all-white outfits and portray themselves as being members of a New Age cult, with the lead singer looking like a cross between George Harrison and Charles Manson.

On the local level, Greensburg, Pennsylvania has concerts in the park (St Clair Park) every Friday evening in the summer. SummerSounds 2022.

Bring your own chair, bring your cooler with beer/wine (although technically no alcohol). The music varies; pop, rock, country, tribute bands, folk, jazz, you name it.

Last week we saw Pittsburgh’s own Billy Price (R&B/soul). Billy is 72 but sounds like he has since his career began. I’ve seen Billy perform in every decade since the 70s. Still sports the physique of a junkie (that’s an accurate compliment).

My son and I will be going to see Loverboy, Styx, and REO Speedwagon next month. We’ve seen Loverboy and REO Speedwagon before, but haven’t ever seen Styx together (I saw them once before he was born).

The last time we went to a show like this, the opening act was Don Felder, and I was really pleased to hear him sing “Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride)”. Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon is in his 70s, and he dances around on stage while he sings like he’s a teenager.

We just saw Dave Mason in Ocean City, NJ. I was never a huge fan but it was a chance to hang out with some friends i hadn’t seen in years. As I suspected, there were many songs that I was familiar with but never knew were Dave Mason. It was a very good show. Especially considering he is nearly 76 years old.

And the Keystone Rhythm Band? Billy is great, saw him in the 70s.

Billy is still Billy!