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Jason Aldean

Jason Aldean

Performances

June 23 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Jason Aldean

After almost 15 years at the top of his format, the three-time ACM “Entertainer of the Year” has seen trends come and go. Aldean’s helped bring a few out of the shadows, making the mainstream’s first contact with hard rock (“Hicktown”), hip-hop (“Dirt Road Anthem”) and R&B (“Burnin’ It Down”). But after all that time, he continues to hold his ground making modern albums with an old-school soul—most recently with his ninth studio album, 9, which debuted at the top spot on Billboard’s Country Albums chart. Notably, all seven of Aldean’s previous studio albums have been certified PLATINUM, while bolstering 15 billion streams and more than 20 million albums sold. Known as a member of Country's elite headliners, Aldean's past tours are nearing legendary status as he is one of the first of few acts in the genre to sell-out multiple stadiums including UGA’s Sanford Stadium, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. Continuing success outside of the music industry, Aldean recently launched his latest collaboration, Wolf Moon Bourbon, an 80 proof bourbon that has been distilled from Midwestern grains and aged for four years offering a finish of caramel, oak and spice. For more information, visit www.JasonAldean.com.

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Gabby Barrett

Gabby Barrett

Performances

June 23 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Gabby Barrett

Warner Music Nashville’s Gabby Barrett is setting the trend. Recently crowned the ACM New Female Artist of the Year, Barrett is set to perform and vie for Single of the Year (“I Hope”) at the 56th ACM Awards airing April 18 on CBS. Scoring previous CMA, CMT and American Music Awards nods, named Billboard’s Top New Country Artist of 2020, an Amazon Music Breakthrough artist, included in Variety’s 2020 Young Hollywood Impact Report, and one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Music, Barrett proves why she’s “the face of Gen-Z Country” (HITS). Her meteoric 5X PLATINUM debut “I Hope” was the most-streamed Country song of 2020, highlighted as one of the Best Songs of the year by the Associated Press and Billboard, and winning CMT’s 2020 Breakthrough Video of the Year award, simultaneously cracking the Top 3 on Billboard's all genre Hot 100 chart. Reigning atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for a record-breaking 27 weeks, “I Hope” was also the first debut single by a solo female artist to top the Country radio charts since 2017 and made her the youngest artist with a #1 debut at Country radio in over two decades. Adding to over 1 BILLION+ global streams, her top-streaming LP Goldmine includes the 4-week Hot AC #1 crossover version of “I Hope” feat. Charlie Puth – which earned the iHeartRadio Titanium Award for reaching over 1 BILLION radio spins and was named one of Rolling Stone's best Pop and Country collaborations of 2020 - alongside current Top 5 PLATINUM single, “The Good Ones.”

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John Morgan

John Morgan

Performances

June 23 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

John Morgan

Hailing from the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, John Morgan brings a blue-collar toughness to Country that’s pulled straight from the only life he knows. Inspired by six-string legends, John began playing at eight years old before touring the Bluegrass-festival circuit with his family band. Roughly a year after deciding to follow his passion and move to Nashville, John crossed paths with Kurt Allison and Tully Kennedy, two incredible songwriters and longtime bandmates of Country superstar Jason Aldean. The hard-rocking Country tastemakers immediately recognized John’s potential and Aldean agreed. After cutting several songs written by John, including his latest history-making single with Carrie Underwood, “If I Didn’t Love You,” Aldean signed John to Night Train Records.  As John works toward his debut, he has had an invaluable all access pass as he joined the superstar’s Back In The Saddle Tour last Fall. His first song, “Coldest Beer In Town” is available now.

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Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne

Performances

June 25 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Lil Wayne

Having sold millions of albums worldwide and garnered four GRAMMY awards, Lil Wayne is one of the most successful and critically lauded artists in Hip-Hop. Touted rap’s first rock star, he released his first project at the age of 12 and went on to release his first solo album in 1999 when he was just 17. He released his first installment of his legendary Tha Carter series in 2004 before releasing three others, including the landmark Tha Carter III in 2008. Lil Wayne also holds the record for the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart by a male solo artist with 109 entries, having surpassed the record previously set by Elvis Presley. His most recent studio album, I Am Not A Human Being II, was released in 2013 and debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 Charts. Last year, Wayne released FWA (Free Weezy Album) exclusively on Tidal, where it was streamed a staggering ten million times within the first seven days alone. Lil Wayne is also a celebrated author who released his memoir “Gone Till November” in October of 2016, chronicling his experience in Rikers Island. Outside of his iconic music career, Lil Wayne has continued on as the CEO of his own Young Money Records which will this year release the much anticipated Tha Carter V (in conjunction with Republic Records).

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Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa

Performances

June 25 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Wiz Khalifa

Multi-platinum selling, Grammy and Golden Globe nominated recording artist Wiz Khalifa burst onto the scene with mainstream success with the release of his first major label debut album, ROLLING PAPERS‎ in 2011. ‎ROLLING PAPERS spawned the hugely successful hits “Black and Yellow,” “Roll Up,” and “No Sleep” and gave Wiz the platform to win the award for “Best New Artist” at the 2011 BET Awards and “Top New Artist” at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards. As a follow up to ROLLING PAPERS, Wiz Released O.N.I.F.C. in 2012. This album featured tracks “Work Hard, Play Hard” and “Remember You” featuring The Weeknd. His third studio album released in 2014, BLACC HOLLYWOOD, ‎debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart and included hit single "We DemBoyz." Soon after, Wiz’s track,‎ “See You Again,” off the FURIOUS 7 soundtrack, catapulted to the top of the charts across 95 countries. Holding the #1 spot for 12 consecutive weeks, “See You Again” broke records by being Spotify’s most-streamed track in a single day in the United States and in a single week in 26 countries. In addition to winning 3 Teen Choice Awards in 2015, “See You Again” continued its success by winning a Critics’ Choice Award in the “Best Song” category, winning two Billboard Music Awards in the categories “Top Hot 100 Song” and “Top Rap Song,” earning three Grammy Award nominations in the categories “Song of the Year,” “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance,” and “Best Song Written for Visual Media,” and a Golden Globe nomination in the category “Best Original Song – Motion Picture.” Wiz released his album, KHALIFA, in February 2016 as a thank you to fans which included the tracks “Bake Sale” featuring Travis Scott and “Elevated.” In June of the same year, Wiz collaborated with Juicy J and TM88 to debut TGOD MAFIA PRESENTS: RUDE AWAKENING and embarked on his co-headlining “The High Road Summer Tour” with Snoop Dogg. On April 20th, 2017, Wiz launched his mobile app, Wiz Khalifa’s Weed Farm, which has garnered over 10.1 million downloads and is currently being played in over eight countries and six languages. Later that year, Wiz’s mixtape, LAUGH NOW, FLY LATER, was released in November and featured the chart-topping hit, “Letterman.” His latest studio album, ROLLING PAPERS 2, which is certified gold, was released in July 2018. Following the release, Wiz and rap duo Rae Sremmurd hit the road for their “Dazed and Blazed Tour” throughout summer 2018. In February 2018, Wiz partnered with Sovereign Brands to create McQueen and the Violet Fog, an Award winning gin and rated by the NY Times as the “Best Gin”. In April of 2019, Wiz released his 5-part docuseries with Apple Music, “Wiz Khalifa: Behind the Cam,” which gives viewers an exclusive look into his life and career. In the summer of 2019, Wiz went on his “Decent Exposure Summer Tour” with French Montana, Moneybagg Yo, Chevy Woods, and DJ Drama. In November 2019, Wiz starred in Apple TV+’s “Dickinson,” as the character of Death alongside Hailee Steinfeld, Wiz will also be featured in the upcoming second season, which will debut on January 8, 2021. Wiz is also a series regular in Fox’s animated sitcom, “Duncanville” which premiered February 2020 with a second season coming soon. Most recently, Wiz released his latest project, The Saga of Wiz Khalifa, which features his tracks, “Contact”, featuring Tyga and his latest single, “Still Wiz”. In October of 2020, Wiz, along with Nextbite, launched his latest business venture, a delivery only restaurant chain, HotBox by Wiz. The restaurant is now in all major metro areas.

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Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang Clan

Performances

June 25 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Wu-Tang Clan

Twenty-five years ago, the Wu-Tang Clan changed hip-hop music forever. Bursting onto the music scene with the release of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the group quickly became recognized for its innovative beats and clever lyrics, as well as the diverse personalities and talents that make up its nine member hip-hop group. The Wu Tang Clan has released seven gold and platinum studio albums with worldwide sales of more than 40 million albums. With the release of their debut album in 1993 songs like “C.R.E.A.M and “Protect Ya Neck” introduced hip-hop pioneer, The RZA, as a groundbreaking hip hop craftsman. With lyrics that combine the reality of 1990s New York and the world of martial arts, the Wu-Tang Clan has created a unique mythology that captures the hearts of fans worldwide.

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Disturbed

Disturbed

Performances

June 30 - 5:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Disturbed

By challenging convention, breaking boundaries, and innovating at every turn, Disturbed consistently push rock music forward.

The multiplatinum Chicago hard rock juggernaut accomplished the rare feat of achieving “five consecutive number one debuts on the Billboard Top 200.” That accolade historically elevated them to rarified air alongside Metallica, the only other hard rock group to do so in the history of the chart.

Immortalized (2015) received a platinum certification and spawned the triple-platinum crossover smash “The Sound of Silence,” which garnered a nomination at the 2017 GRAMMY® Awards in the category of “Best Rock Performance.” Since their formation in 1996, Disturbed – David Draiman [vocals], Dan Donegan [guitar], Mike Wengren [drums], and John Moyer [bass] – have additionally sold 16 million albums globally and scored eleven No. 1 singles at Active Rock Radio. Their quadruple-platinum 2000 debut The Sickness formally announced their arrival as hard rock leaders, with that status solidified by subsequent GRAMMY® Award nominations as well as gold-, platinum- and double platinum-certified records as well as countless sold out shows around the globe.

Named “Best Rock Artist” during the 2017 iHeartRadioMusic Awards, Disturbed continue to boldly forge ahead in 2018 with the release of their aptly titled seventh offering, Evolution, and their leadoff single “Are You Ready.

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Lamb of God

Lamb of God

Performances

June 30 - 5:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Lamb of God

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New Medicine

New Medicine

Performances

June 30 - 5:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

New Medicine

Formed in 2009, New Medicine delivers modern hard rock that blends the drive of hard rock with the emotion of post-grunge with a hip hop flair, giving them a rowdy, slick sound that mixes equal parts swagger and sulkiness. New Medicine made their debut in 2011 with Race You to the Bottom (Photo Finish/Atlantic Records) which earned them a top spot on the Billboard 200. Their sophomore album Breaking The Model (Imagen Records) released in 2014 found a massive organic audience since its release on Spotify garnering more than 75 million streams on Spotify alone. New Medicine has extensively toured the U.S. with bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Halestorm, Disturbed, Hollywood Undead, Papa Roach and many more. The band took a hiatus in 2015 but returned a few years ago releasing a new single “Die Trying” in 2020 and since have release 4 more singles “Fuck It” “Life Like This” “Own It” and their latest “UP” a collaboration with former tour mates Adelitas Way. The band is back making music in the studio and plans on a new EP to be released in fall 2022. New Meds will be back on the road this year playing tour dates in select cities for the first time in over 5 years. Lead singer Jake Scherer says “We had felt defeated by the music business in the past when we decided to take a hiatus but in the last 5 years, our old and new fans have found us in a big way and demanded we come back for another shot at this. 130 Million streams later and here we are. We feel like it’s a new beginning and new chapter for the band.” Don’t miss them if you get a chance to catch them on the road this summer and look out for more releases in 2022. 

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Machine Gun Kelly

Machine Gun Kelly

Performances

July 1 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Machine Gun Kelly

Machine Gun Kelly has announced his international Mainstream Sellout Tour -- a colossal 52 arena run across North America and Europe featuring an incredible roster of special guests including Avril Lavigne, Travis Barker, blackbear, Trippie Redd, WILLOW, iann dior, PVRIS and 44phantom on select dates. The multi-platinum selling artist’s first ever arena tour will also feature a special hometown stadium performance in Cleveland, OH at FirstEnergy Stadium, the largest venue in the city. The genre-bending performer has amassed over 15.5 billion streams online and sold over 10 million album units. 

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Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne

Performances

July 1 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Avril Lavigne

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Iann Dior

Iann Dior

Performances

July 1 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Iann Dior

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Corpus Christi, Iann found instant success with the first song he ever wrote. “I was in high school and my friends told me to make a song because they knew I was good at writing,” he remembers. Despite his lack of experience, the track earned 10,000 plays in a week, all through word-of-mouth. Iann then began putting out a song a week, drawing more and more listeners, and eventually catching the ear of Internet Money founder Taz Taylor. After arriving in L.A., Iann started working with producer Nick Mira, and they went on to release “Cutthroat” together in February 2019. Within a month of its release, “Cutthroat” had amassed over 13 million streams on SoundCloud, and Iann began to gain a major buzz for his moody and melodic brand of lo-fi hip-hop. Iann’s rapid rise on SoundCloud brought him to the attention of 10K Projects who immediately signed him and released his debut mixtape nothing's ever good enough in April 2019. The mixtape features the single “Emotions”— a heavy-hearted but deeply infectious track that racked up three million plays in just a month. A year later and the track has over 111 million plays on Spotify and continues to grow. Iann has 150M+ streams just on Spotify alone on his most recent album "I'm Gone" (since release June 12), and his single Sick and Tired," featuring Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker, launched at No. 3 on the Hot Rock Songs chart, driven by 4.5 million first-week U.S. streams. Iann was recently named the number 1 Emerging Artist on Billboard due to his most recent collaboration with 2kGoldn for the current No. 6 Billboard charting single “Mood”. 

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Halsey

Halsey

Performances

July 2 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Halsey

Halsey has amassed more than 31 billion combined global streams to date, including more than 12.5 billion U.S. streams, and sold nearly 17 million adjusted album units worldwide.

 

Halsey most recently released her album, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, which follows the release of Manic, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Current Albums chart.  It was the first album of 2020 to be certified Platinum in the U.S. and attained Platinum certification in numerous other countries also.

 

Halsey continues to push creative boundaries, exerting an influence and impact beyond music. Her first book, I Would Leave Me If I Could: A Collection of Poetry, debuted on The New York Times Best Sellers list last November. Named as one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People of 2020, they have won over 20 awards, including an AMA, MTV VMA, GLAAD Award, the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Hal David Starlight Award and a CMT Music Award. Halsey recently introduced about-face, a multi-dimensional makeup line for made for everyone. Halsey continues to speak up for important causes such as disenfranchised youth, women’s rights, mental health and the LGBTQ community. 

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The Marías

The Marías

Performances

July 2 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

The Marías

The Marías are the psychedelic-soul lovechild of Puerto Rican-bred, Atlanta-raised María and Los Angeles native, Josh Conway. A smooth rendezvous of jazz percussion, hypnotic guitar riffs, smoke-velvet vocals and nostalgic horn solos, there’s something undeniably sensual in their dreamlike fusion of jazz, psychedelia, funk and lounge. 

Drawing inspiration from both their vastly diverse backgrounds and the intimacy of their mystic Hollywood Hills commune, Josh and María write, record and produce within the walls of their own home with their dog, Lucy. 

In their live show, with María on lead vocals and Josh on drums, the couple is joined by their closest friends. On guitar, Jesse Perlman, born and bred of LA, with ‘tones that can melt steel,’ say his bandmates. On keys, Edward James. And on trumpet, Gabe Steiner.

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Abby Roberts

Abby Roberts

Performances

July 2 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Abby Roberts

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Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart

Performances

July 7 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Rod Stewart

Sir Rod Stewart has sold more than 250 million records worldwide during a stellar career that includes ten #1 albums and 26 Top 10 singles in the U.K.; plus 17 Top 10 albums and 16 Top 10 singles in the U.S. As a singer-songwriter his extensive catalog of hits includes “Gasoline Alley,” “Every Picture Tells a Story,” “Tonight’s the Night,” “You're In My Heart (The Final Acclaim),” “Mandolin Wind,” “You Wear It Well,” “The Killing of Georgie,” “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?,” “Young Turks,” “Forever Young,” “Hot Legs,” “Infatuation,” the indelible, “Maggie May,” and many more. In addition to world tours and his Las Vegas residency, Stewart’s rekindled songwriting success has found widespread commercial success starting with the 2013 release ofTime, followed by Another Country (2015), Blood Red Roses (2018) and his latest, The Tears of Hercules in2021. This tour will be the first opportunity for fans to experience live performances of a song or two from his new album, The Tears of Hercules. He’s earned countless of the industry’s highest awards, among them; two inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the ASCAP Founders Award for songwriting, New York Times bestselling author, Grammy™ Living Legend, and in 2016 he officially became “Sir Rod Stewart” after being knighted at Buckingham Palace for his services to music and charity.

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Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick

Performances

July 7 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick is part of the very fiber of American music, inspiring and delighting generations with their unique union of massive melodies and razorblade riffs, their own special brand of mischievous wit and maximum rock ‘n’ roll. Frontlined since 1974 by Robin Zander (vocals, rhythm guitar), Rick Nielsen (lead guitar), and Tom Petersson (bass guitar), the Rockford, IL-born band is set to impact still another era with the spectacular new BANG ZOOM CRAZY…HELLO, their 17th studio collection and first in more than five years. Co-produced by Cheap Trick and GRAMMY® Award winner Julian Raymond (Glen Campbell, Fastball), songs like “Heart On The Line” and the turbulent first single, “When I Wake Up Tomorrow,” are deeply connected to the band’s own irrepressible history just as they accelerate their trademark sound and vision into the now. The glorious “Long Time No See Ya” marks another in a long line of salutations spanning “ELO Kiddies” and “Hello There” to “Goodnight” and “Say Goodbye,” while the piledriving “Do You Believe Me” showcases dueling solos from Nielsen and six-string icon Wayne Kramer – a milestone meeting of the long established Midwestern mutual appreciation society between Cheap Trick and the mighty MC5. BANG ZOOM CRAZY…HELLO prove Cheap Trick to be as energetic and idiosyncratically irresistible as ever before, a callback to their classic canon yet somehow as inventive and exciting as a bunch of crazy kids just coming out of the garage.

“We wanted to make something that was new and fresh but also going back to our 70s sound and feel,” Zander says, “this Midwestern rock band that’s got a hard edge but still plays pop music.”

“It’s loud and it’s noisy,” Nielsen says, “which is exactly what we are. It sounds like there’s a lot going on but really it’s just a three piece band with a great singer.”

Cheap Trick are of course a indisputable institution, beloved for their instantly identifiable, hugely influential, powerhouse pop rock ‘n’ roll. The constant core of the band remains one of a kind – three guys, four chords, and tunes that will last in perpetuity, from “He’s A Whore,” “California Man” and “Dream Police” to “Surrender,” “I Want You To Want Me” and the worldwide #1 hit single, “The Flame.”

“The songs are why everybody knows Cheap Trick,” Nielsen says. “We have some good songs. ‘I Want You To Want Me” has been around for 40 years but people still love it. And even if you’re sick of it, it’s over in three minutes! The songs are still relevant, they still have the right words and the right emotion to move 99% of all humans.”

Amidst that not inconsiderable demographic, one particular fan served as catalyst for Cheap Trick’s return to the studio. Founder, president, and CEO of Nashville-based Big Machine Records, Scott Borchetta has also been a lifelong supporter of the band. Conversations began in 2012 and were sealed when veteran producer/songwriter Julian Raymond – a longtime Cheap Trick associate and Academy Award nominee for co-writing the GRAMMY®-winning “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” featured in 2014’s acclaimed documentary, Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me – joined the zeitgeist-defining label as its Vice President of A&R. A multi-album deal was soon struck, a contract as rare as hen’s teeth for any rock band in the modern era let alone one of Cheap Trick’s considerable vintage.

“It’s a pretty big career tool,” Nielsen says. “Much better than putting a bunch of CDs in my car.”

“It’s been great working with Scott,” Petersson says. “He’s such a music lover. It’s rare for the guy that’s running the label to be so musical. Usually we have to battle it out with those guys but he left us alone. He was like, I love your band, you know what you’re doing in there.”

Deal in hand, Cheap Trick and Raymond quickly set to work. Described by all as the band’s de-facto “fifth member,” Raymond has been a friend and sometimes collaborator for three decades, relied upon as both confidante and traffic cop.

“We could produce our own records but we prefer to have Julian there to quell the storms,” Zander says. “You’ve got three writers in the band so there’s a lot of ideas floating around. You’ve got to have somebody that’s outside of the band to help give some direction. Otherwise you just get lost in yourselves.”

“Julian really brings the best out in us,” Petersson says. “He really understands our band and because he’s not us, he can see things that we don’t or can’t see in ourselves. We’re so close to this music, you need somebody else like Julian.”

Sessions got underway in 2015 at Los Angeles’ East West Studio. The band immediately got into their groove by locking into a playful version of “The In Crowd.” Written by Billy Page and made famous in not one, not two, but three distinct chart hits by Dobie Gray, the Ramsey Lewis Trio, and Bryan Ferry respectively, the song was a staple of Cheap Trick’s earliest live sets, a reliable crowd-pleaser as they made their bones at local dives all over the Midwest.

“The feel started there,” Zander says. “We continued writing from that sound.”

All three original members cite drummer Daxx Nielsen as the most significant contemporary influence on Cheap Trick’s current creativity. A musical polymath who has played with artists spanning Dick Dale to Brandi Carlisle, the younger Nielsen was the obvious choice when the seemingly irreplaceable Bun E. Carlos retired from active touring and recording with the band he co-founded. Daxx’s innate virtuosity and spirited musicianship were propulsive in more ways than the usual, inspiring fresh energy while also keeping the band in touch with its roots.

“Daxx is so talented,” Petersson says. “He’s so into it, he can play all of our songs on any instrument. We’ll pull something from our back catalog and he’ll tell us how the bridge goes.”

“We have to recall stuff,” Rick says. “Daxx remembers.”

After more than half a decade away from the studio, Cheap Trick was fired up and ridiculously prolific, cranking out close to 30 new tunes over two pair of sessions in Los Angeles and Nashville. Tracks like “No Direction Home” hit hard as a teenage crush’s kiss, affirming the eternal strength of Cheap Trick’s smart, sly, sometimes sarcastic songcraft. Each member has skin in the songwriting game, contributing elements – a riff, a chorus, a hook that won’t stop – which are then jammed into three-and-a-half minute pop perfection by the entire unit, ensuring everybody’s respective two cents are represented in every finished tune.

“We start something and the songs take on a life of their own,” Petersson says. “There’s a lot of back and forth. It’s not like one person had to think of everything for 40 years straight. I think that keeps us in top form.”

Fast approaching their fifth decade, Cheap Trick is among the most active and successful in music history, with featured appearances on over 20 movie soundtracks, more than 40 international gold and platinum certifications, myriad awards and industry honors, and total record sales well in excess of 20 million. BANG ZOOM CRAZY…HELLO arrives just as the band are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a long overdue honor that confirms their incredible influence while simultaneously acknowledging the millions upon millions of Cheap Trick fans around the planet.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Nielsen says. “It wasn’t some goal we were trying to achieve – it’s kind of out of the blue. It means a lot to a lot of people.”

“People are so overwhelmed by it,” Petersson says. “They come up to me at the grocery store or at the bank, saying congratulations, that’s the greatest thing ever. It really means a lot to our fans.”

Surely on any shortlist of rock’s all time greatest live acts, Cheap Trick will take to the road in celebration of their electric new album, traveling as they have for decades, rocking arenas, concert halls, and amphitheatres worldwide more than 150 nights each year. BANG ZOOM CRAZY…HELLO affirms Cheap Trick as an indefatigable going concern, not merely Hall of Fame-worthy legends but a vital and vibrant fact of life.

“I don’t ever see us quitting,” Zander says. “We’re not cut out for sitting around and watching TV.”

“This is what we do,” Petersson says. “We’re very proud of this record, we have no problem going around the world playing songs from it. We’re going to do that anyway. That’s what we do.”

“We’re not a nostalgia band,” Nielsen says. “We never stopped making records, we never stopped touring. We’ve had ups, we’ve had super lows, but we kept at it and I think people appreciate that. Sometimes I think we’re just too dumb to quit. We just keep going.”

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Backstreet Boys

Backstreet Boys

Performances

July 8 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Backstreet Boys

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Thomas Rhett

Thomas Rhett

Performances

July 9 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Thomas Rhett

Ten years after signing his first record deal with Big Machine Label Group’s The Valory Music Co., arena-packing superstar Thomas Rhett — dubbed “the most reliable maker of No. 1 singles in country music” (Variety) — has five studio albums, 18 multi-PLATINUM and GOLD-certified No. 1 hits, 12 BILLION streams and the longest current active streak of consecutive No. 1s in the format (Mediabase/Country Aircheck Chart). He has been honored with eight ACM Awards including Entertainer of the Year, two CMA Awards, five GRAMMY nominations, plus trophies from the CMT Music Awards, Billboard Awards and iHeartRadio Awards, in addition to being recognized with two CMA Triple Play awards for penning three No. One songs within a 12-month period. Inspired by family, friends and love of the outdoors, Thomas Rhett founded the Dos Primos Tequila Company alongside his cousin Jeff Worn in 2018. Dos Primos is available at retailers nationally now. 

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Ryan Hurd

Ryan Hurd

Performances

July 9 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Ryan Hurd

Arista Nashville singer-songwriter Ryan Hurd has garnered more than 698 million career streams worldwide and caught the attention of entertainment tastemakers including Esquire, GQ, Maxim, American Songwriter, Billboard, People, NBC’s “TODAY,” “CBS This Morning” and more. With co-pen credits on some of country music’s biggest hits by Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan, the Kalamazoo native continues his hit-producing path with “Chasing After You,” his first official duet with wife Maren Morris, which became country radio’s most-added song its impact week in March. Currently Top 15 and ascending airplay charts, “Chasing After You” has already amassed over 150 million U.S. on-demand streams. Hurd and Morris performed their “smoldering new duet” (Rolling Stone) for the first time on national television on the “56th ACM Awards” on CBS. “Chasing After You” follows his 2020 EOM EP featuring “Every Other Memory,” dubbed one of the “Best Songs of April 2020” by TIME. His Platinum-certified Top 20 single, “To A T,” went No. 1 on SiriusXM The Highway’s Hot 30 Countdown.

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Rhett Akins

Rhett Akins

Performances

July 9 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Rhett Akins

Rhett found his way to a professional music career when Decca Records heard one of his demos. He dropped his first album, A Thousand Memories, in 1995. The record was critically acclaimed and produced four chart singles including his first No. 1 hit, “That Ain’t My Truck,” which he also co-wrote. The song has since become Rhett’s signature song but his success story was just getting started. The following year he released Somebody New, which produced another No. 1 hit, “Don’t Get Me Started.”

Overall Rhett has had an extremely impressive career. He's not just been a successful solo artist, he's also written chart toppers for many artists. Rhett has had 33 No. 1 singles (and counting). Some of them include, Luke Bryan’s Huntin’ Fishin” and “Lovin’ Every Day,” Jason Aldean’s “When She Says Baby,” and “Just Gettin’ Started”, Dustin Lynch’s “Mindreader” and "Small Town Boy" which spent 4 weeks at No.1 on Billboard. Rhett’s responsible for Blake Shelton’s “Boys ‘Round Here” and “Honey Bee,” the latter of which spent a total of four weeks at No. 1. He had a three-week No. 1 with Thomas Rhett’s “It Goes Like This.” He also wrote TR’s “Get Me Some of That” and “Star Of The Show” which was co-written with, Thomas Rhett and their first No. 1 together as well as “Life Changes “and “Look What God Gave Her”. Some other big hits include John Pardi’s “Dirt On My Boots”, Brantley Gilbert’s “What Happens In A Small Town” and Thomas Rhett’s “What’s Your Country Song.”. In March of 2022 he received his 33rd No. 1 with Parker McCollumn’s “To Be Loved By You.”

This impressive list hasn't gone unnoticed in the music industry. In 2010, Rhett was named the No. 4 Billboard Country Songwriter. The following year, BMI named him Songwriter of the Year. He won it again in 2014. His song “Honey Bee” became the highest selling digital debut by a country male solo artist. His biggest accomplishment, though, may be winning the CMA Triple Play award a total of seven times! The award is presented to a songwriter who penned three No. 1 singles in 12 months and he won it in October 2010, January 2012, February 2014, February 2015, February 2016, February 2017, and again in February 2018! In April 2018 Rhett was named Songwriter of the Year and in September 2019 named the first Songwriter of the Decade by the Academy of Country Music. In November of 2021 Rhett was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Rhett Akins has already achieved so much as both an artist and a songwriter, but he’s not done yet.

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The Black Crowes

The Black Crowes

Performances

July 8 - 9:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

The Black Crowes

In 1990, when journalists were lamenting the death of rock, as cheesy pop and hair metal dominated the charts, Atlanta’s Black Crowes gave the genre a swift and much needed kick in the ass with Shake Your Money Maker. Fueled by singles “Jealous Again,” “Twice As Hard,” “She Talks To Angels,” and the break-through cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard To Handle,” the band immediately took the rock world by storm, topping Rolling Stone’s “Best New American Band Readers Poll” in late 1990. The Black Crowes went on to release eight studio and four live albums, selling in the tens of millions along the way; they sold out shows around the world; had legendary guitarist Jimmy Page join as a member; got kicked off a tour with ZZ Top for insulting the sponsor; got screwed by bad record deals; got married and divorced, fought amongst themselves and against the rest of the world. In other words, they’ve done everything a legendary rock group should do.

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John Fogerty

John Fogerty

Performances

July 7 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

John Fogerty

John Fogerty is a true American treasure.  As leader of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fogerty forged a distinctive, groundbreaking sound all his own, equal parts blues, country, pop, rockabilly, R&B, swamp boogie, and Southern fried rock ‘n’ roll, all united by his uniquely evocative lyrical perspective.  Fogerty is a Grammy winner and has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  He is the only musician to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for his song, “Centerfield,” a staple at baseball stadiums across the country.  Among Fogerty’s many hit songs, both as a solo artist and as leader of CCR, highlights include “Centerfield,” “Proud Mary,” “Susie Q,” “Fortunate Son,” “Born on the Bayou,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” among many others.  In 2019, Fogerty celebrated 50 years in music with a worldwide tour including a return appearance at Wynn Las Vegas’ Encore Theater.  His most recent show, “My 50 Year Trip,” a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, features a collection of Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) hits, including songs from the set list of his performance at the legendary Woodstock music festival in 1969 among other fan favorites.  An album, “50 Year Trip: Live at Red Rocks,” was released on November 8, 2019.  In April 2020, while self-quarantining together the Fogerty Family, featuring John with his sons Shane, Tyler and daughter Kelsy, gathered in their home studio to play some music together. A weekly video series began and became so popular that a digital EP, Fogerty’s Factory, was released via BMG on Fogerty’s 75th Birthday, May 28, 2020. An extended, Fogerty’s Factory full album was released on November 20, 2020.

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Steve Miller Band

Steve Miller Band

Performances

June 24 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion
June 25 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Steve Miller Band

Guitarist, multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter, bandleader, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and Songwriters Hall of Fame electee Steve Miller is beyond excited to finally get back on the road. Putting his pandemic time to great use, Miller dug deep into his archives and found an unreleased, full-length concert recording and released it. Steve Miller Band Live! Breaking Ground: August 3, 1977, came out in spring 2021 and was accompanied by a live concert video featuring the full performance that is available now to stream on The Coda Collection on Amazon Prime Video.

 

2020 was shaping up to be another historic year for Miller when Covid sadly forced him to cancel all of his plans. While 2021 saw the release of the Breaking Ground album and video, the process of going through his vaults only intensified his desire to perform for his fans around the world in person once again. These 2022 shows are going to be very special as a result.

 

Steve Miller was a mainstay of the San Francisco music scene that upended American culture in the late '60s. With albums like Children of the Future, Sailor and Brave New World, Miller perfected a psychedelic blues sound that drew on the deepest sources of American roots music and simultaneously articulated a compelling vision of what music - and society - could be in the years to come.

 

Then, in the '70s, Miller crafted a brand of rock 'n' roll music that was polished, exciting and irresistible, and that has dominated radio through today. Hit followed hit in an endless flow: "The Joker," "Livin' in the USA," "Take the Money and Run," "Rock'n Me," "Fly Like an Eagle," "Jet Airliner," "Jungle Love," and "Abracadabra" among them. To this day, these songs are instantly recognizable when they come on the radio-and impossible not to sing along with. Running through Miller's catalog is a combination of virtuosity and songcraft along with melodic vocals and signature guitar riffs. His parents were jazz aficionados -- Les Paul was his godfather -- so as a budding guitarist and singer, Miller absorbed valuable lessons from their musical tradition. When the family moved to Texas, Miller deepened his education in the blues, meeting T-Bone Walker and learning to sing and play listening to him and Jimmy Reed. Miller then moved to Chicago where he played with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, Buddy Guy, and Paul Butterfield. The Steve Miller Band has played to more than 20 million people in the last 20 years. In addition to touring with his band, Miller is also contributing his time to serving on the visiting committee of the Department of Musical Instruments of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and as a board member of Jazz at Lincoln Center, where he curates and hosts shows at both institutions celebrating blues, jazz, and early American music. From 2015 - 2017, Miller and guitar legend Jimmie Vaughan presented seven sold-out shows at JALC: "Ma Rainey

 

Meets Miles Davis," "T Bone Walker - A Bridge From Blues to Jazz," and, with along with harmonica virtuoso Charlie Musselwhite, "The Blues Triangle: Memphis, Texas, and Chicago." In 2018, Miller with Marty Stuart presented two sold-out shows called “Music from Appalachia," and in 2019, he joined forces with the Patrick Bartley Sextet and vocalist Brianna Thomas to bring “Cannonball Adderley and the Blues” to the JALC stage.

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Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

Performances

June 23 - 10:00 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

Jason Isbell has established himself as one of the most respected and celebrated songwriters of his generation. The North Alabama native possesses an incredible penchant for identifying and articulating some of the deepest, yet simplest, human emotions, and turning them into beautiful poetry through song. Isbell sings of the everyday human condition with thoughtful, heartfelt, and sometimes brutal honesty. Isbell broke through in 2013 with the release of Southeastern. His next two albums, Something More Than Free (2015) and The Nashville Sound (2017), won Grammy Awards for Best Americana Album & Best American Roots Song. Isbell's song "Maybe It's Time" was featured in the 2019 reboot of A Star Is Born. 

 

His most recent full-length album, Reunions (2020), is a critically-acclaimed collection of ten new songs that showcases an artist at the height of his powers and a band fully charged with creativity and confidence. In April of 2021, it was announced that Isbell would appear in the upcoming Martin Scorsese film, Killers of the Flower Moon.

In October 2021, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit released a special new covers album, Georgia Blue. Created to celebrate Georgia’s role in the 2020 election, the record consists of new versions of thirteen songs with ties to the state, including tracks originally recorded by Georgia natives R.E.M., Drivn’ N’ Cryin’, James Brown, Cat Power, Precious Bryant, Otis Redding, The Black Crowes, Indigo Girls, Now It’s Overhead, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Allman Brothers Band and Vic Chesnutt. All proceeds will benefit three non-profit organizations: Black Voters Matter, Fair Fight and Georgia STAND-UP.

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Charli XCX

Charli XCX

Performances

July 8 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Charli XCX

Charli XCX is an iconic figure in the arts, having helped expand the landscape of popular music over the last decade by seamlessly traversing the underground and the mainstream with her artistic output. Charli’s innovative approach has opened up new possibilities within the pop sphere for both her own career and those of the rising artists she has supported over the years.

 

Charli XCX released ‘Good Ones’ in September, the first single from her fifth studio album which will release early 2022. ‘Good Ones’ marks a new chapter with Charli embracing all that the life of a mainstream popstar has to offer in today’s multi-sensory-driven world - fame, sex, glamour, and global hits. In August, Charli also featured on ‘Out Out’ by Joel Corry and Jax Jones, alongside Saweetie, a track that has now been a global top ten record for over 8 weeks.

 

‘Charli XCX’s Best Song Ever’ is Charli’s first standalone podcast commencing in August with episodes releasing across twenty weeks. Commissioned by BBC Sounds, Charli will examine and celebrate the power music has to move us and express our emotions with guests including Beabadobee, Mark Ronson, Barbie Ferreira, Christine and the Queens, Caroline Polachek, and many more.

 

A singer, songwriter, documentary maker, radio host and record label boss, Charli’s story is one of an artist who continues to succeed without compromise. Over the course of her trailblazing career, Charli has earned critical acclaim for her forward-thinking music style and entrepreneurial spirit. Charli won the Variety Hitmakers award for ‘Innovator of Pop’ and was Mercury Prize ‘Album of the Year’ shortlisted for the release of her album how I’m feeling now which she created from scratch in five weeks from her home in Los Angeles during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown.

 

how i’m feeling now garnered huge critical acclaim as an emotionally raw, relentlessly progressive sonic world, placing a further spotlight on Charli’s status as one of the most adaptable, exciting pop artists of current times. The creative process was also to push Charli’s collaborative stream in a unique way; opening up the process of recording, writing, artwork, music videos and more to fans for feedback and contribution - she also further inspired her fans’ creativity, allowing them access to song stems to create remixes and greenscreen footage to be edited using their own imagination. $50,000 in album merch proceeds were donated to LA Alliance for Human Rights, an organisation who advocate for the Los Angeles homeless peoples.

 

Previously in 2019 Charli had released her third studio album, Charli, which marked a huge advancement in her sound as well as some of her most personal lyrical content yet, featuring collaborations with global superstars such as Lizzo, Troye Sivan and HAIM alongside future game changers such as Kim Petras, Christine and the Queens, Yaeji and Clairo. The album’s coinciding sold-out tour proved to be her most expansive yet - including a 27-date North American run and her biggest headline show so far at a sold-out London Brixton Academy. For this album Charli received her first BRIT nomination for British Female Solo Artist, marking a huge moment of validation from a mainstream audience that she has built on her own terms.

 

An ally to the community, Charli collaborates with some of the world’s most exciting LGBTQI+ artists, using her platform to help amplify the voices, and in turn the experiences, of these artists - a trait that led in part to Charli being named as Gay Times’ Ally Of The Year for 2019. More recently Charli produced an Instagram series titled ‘An Audience With…’ whereby she invited a range of activists working in the LGBTQI+ space to each individually takeover her Instagram and draw attention to important causes and organizations, encouraging fans to take action.

 

A one-woman force within the industry, Charli’s relentless work rate extends to writing for other artists while releasing her own music, running her own Vroom Vroom Recordings label, directing music videos, and managing developing artists including rising alt-pop songwriter ELIO, emo-inspired teenage sensation daine, and all female band Nasty Cherry - a group she formed that has been documented on the 2019 Netflix TV series I’m With The Band.

 

Charli has accrued two Billboard Music Awards, a YouTube Music Award, two Sesac ‘Songwriter of the Year’ Awards, plus nominations at the Grammys, BRIT Awards and MTV EMAs. Not to mention the studio time she’s commanded with the likes of Blondie, Selena Gomez [Charli co-wrote her U.S. No.1“Same Old Love”], Gwen Stefani, Camila Cabello & Shawn Mendes, Benny Blanco, David Guetta, Zara Larsson, Khalid and Diplo.

 

Charli is a formative image-maker and editorially she creates visuals that amplify her music by mirroring the emotion and deeper messages of her songwriting. Charli has appeared on the cover of magazines including The Fader, Paper, GQ, Gay Times, ES Magazine, Crack, Billboard, V Magazine, Nylon, Guardian Weekend, NME, Teen Vogue, Jalouse and more.

 

Looking further back, 2018 proved to be a stellar year. Following a series of tracks drops – ‘5 In The Morning’, ‘No Angel’, ‘Focus’ and ‘Girls Night Out’, – heralded mixtape shows, which she brought to the UK and Europe and a global support tour with Taylor Swift, Charli returned with a throwback UK Top 15 smash, “1999” feat. Troye Sivan. The accompanying video, which sits at over 43m views, was directed by Charli and paid homage to standout cultural references from the year of 1999.

 

Armed with an attitude to dropping music that flipped the industry hegemony of release structure on its head, Charli’s groundbreaking 2017 mixtapes Number 1 Angel and Pop 2, as well as the standout summer crush anthem “Boys”, established her reputation as a singular talent with a defiant attitude. Those releases were instrumental in establishing Charli’s keen ear for underground artists, spotlighting the likes of CupcakKe, ABRA, Tommy Cash and Pablo Vittar - helping to change the landscape of pop worldwide and take the genre to new heights.

 

Charli started to release music in 2008 and has continuously strived to take the road less traveled throughout her career, with her debut album True Romance setting a benchmark for avant-garde pop music. This created a trajectory that has seen her write some of the world’s biggest hits (Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’, Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’, Camila Cabello & Shawn Mendes’ ’Senorita'), while embracing pop’s most uninhibited sounds within her own work - gaining her a following that began in an internet cult capacity before spreading worldwide - assembling her own world via her fandom, affectionately called the Angels. 

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Death Cab For Cutie

Death Cab For Cutie

Performances

July 9 - 9:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Death Cab For Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie is an American alternative rock band formed in Bellingham, Washington in 1997. The band is composed of Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer, Jason McGerr, Dave Depper, and Zac Rae. Death Cab for Cutie rose from being a side project to becoming one of the most exciting groups emerge from the indie rock scene of the '00s. They have been nominated for eight Grammy Awards. The band's latest release, The Georgia E.P., raised over $100,000 for voter rights organization Fair Fight in 2020.

"For a band in its third decade... Death Cab hasn't lost its gift for pairing Gibbard's soft ruminations with propulsive arrangements that know just when to sparkle and sway. But even more importantly, Gibbard himself still sings with a sense of purpose, keenly articulating a distinct swirl of nostalgia, loss and hope for new beginnings." - NPR Music

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Dustin Lynch

Dustin Lynch

Performances

June 24 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Dustin Lynch

Dustin Lynch has "built one of the most consistent recording careers in modern country music” (Billboard), achieving eight #1s, four Top 5 albums, nine GOLD and PLATINUM certified singles, and tallying over 3.3 BILLION global on-demand streams. Launching the PARTY MODE TOUR this spring, his fifth studio album, BLUE IN THE SKY, is out now. The anticipated follow-up to TULLAHOMA – which delivered consecutive PLATINUM chart-toppers: “Ridin’ Roads” and “Good Girl,” in addition to GOLD, Top 5 hit “Momma’s House” – features PLATINUM, six-week #1 “Thinking ‘Bout You (feat. MacKenzie Porter)” and current neon-buzzed single “Party Mode.” Since his PLATINUM breakout “Cowboys and Angels” in 2012, Lynch’s headlined packed venues and toured with Country’s biggest names like Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, and Brad Paisley. Likewise, the Tennessee native has earned industry recognition as a Grand Ole Opry member, as well as high-profile nominations for the Billboard Music Awards, iHeartRadio Music Awards, and CMT Music Awards.

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Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse

Performances

June 23 - 10:00 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse

The Golden Casket

 

“I hope there’s still something left for you.”

 

Over the past quarter century, Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock has served as indie rock’s resident backwoods philosopher, pondering his infinitesimal place in the world at large and seeking balance in a universe governed by polar opposites. On Modest Mouse’s earliest records, he was surveying the changes in the world’s physical landscape from the windows of the tour van, lamenting the displacement of natural beauty with big-box blights. The Golden Casket, the band’s seventh-studio album, is exploring the degradation of America’s psychic landscape through the glass of the smartphone screen. Throughout the record, you’ll pick up on all sorts of references to cellular devices, hashtags, computers, texting, and online dating culture. But this is no typical Luddite’s manifesto decrying iPhone addiction, disinformation overload, or how social media is destroying political discourse. The album is, however, very interested in the invisible technology that’s allowed all of that to happen: the cellular signals, radio frequencies, and WiFi waves that are likely beaming through your body as you read this. “Everything is giving off a frequency,” Isaac observes. “Everything is vibrating whether you know it or not. We're swimming in some crazy shit right now—it isn't visible, but it's real. I think everyone's minds are getting a little scrambled right now. And I feel it every fucking day.”

 

That sensation finds its most vivid, visceral manifestation on The Golden Casket’s stunning centerpiece track, “Transmitting Receiving,” where Isaac rifles through a never-ending list of consumer products, animals, and geographic phenomena like an auctioneer being broadcast through a detuned radio, before a competing vocal track cuts through with a beaming chorus line—”nothing in this world’s going to petrify me”—that finds the serenity in cacophony. Many of these songs can likewise be seen as attempts to coax peace from paranoia. You can hear it in the moment the apocalyptic blues of “Wooden Soldiers” dissolves into a blissfully existential coda mantra (”just being here now is enough for me”) that was inspired by the ceremonial burning of hallucogenic African tree bark, or in the off-kilter yet heart-swelling lullaby “Lace Your Shoes,” a.k.a. Isaac’s inaugural entry into the dad-core canon. “When we started putting this record together, I didn't know how to really sing about anything except my kids,” he admits. “And so I was like, 'I should just write a fucking song about the thing that is most important to me.’ It’s a weird thing to do, because cheap sentimentality isn't really something I'm overly comfortable with, you know?” However, in his hands, “Lace Your Shoes” is no mere lovey-dovey ode to his little ones, but a protective embrace from the cruel world they’ll inevitably inherit.

 

Even at its most urgent and aggressive, The Golden Casket is always looking for the light, as Isaac couches the spiteful sentiments for the playful “Never Fuck a Spider on the Fly” while steering the seething post-punk propulsion of “Japanese Tree” into a blissfully escapist chorus. “That song was written over the course of a long time,” Isaac says, “so whoever I'm lashing out at in that song has been multiple different organizations, people, and situations. That’s the way a lot of the songs are: one way, it’s like this; and then you change the perspective, it’s still the same song, but with a different winner.” (Sometimes, however, a song about your friend freaking

 

out on acid is really just a song about your friend freaking out on acid, as the antsy album opener “Fuck Your Acid Trip” attests.)

 

Whether Isaac is singing about electromagnetic waves, taking his kids for a walk, or tripping balls in the forest, The Golden Casket is ultimately a plea for harmony—between nature and technology, between progress and self-preservation, between hope and healthy skepticism—in a world that has seemingly lost all sense of it. But as much as it laments our modern way of living, it keeps the tinfoil stowed away in the kitchen cabinet to highlight the silver linings of our situation. On the album’s conjoined anthems—the driving single “We Are Between” and its divine sequel ”We’re Lucky”—Isaac reaffirms his humble standing on this here 3rd planet, floating somewhere between the seas and the stars, always trying to outrun his anxieties, but eternally grateful for the gift of existence itself. “We're very lucky to get to be here, on any trip,” he says. “Whatever this is and whatever we all are, it's kind of beautiful that we get to do it.”

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Halestorm

Halestorm

Performances

July 7 - 9:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Halestorm

Self-doubt and depression clawed at the edges of Lzzy Hale’s mind when it came time to pen Halestorm’s fourth album, a follow-up to 2015’s Into The Wild Life. The musician didn’t feel like she was where she needed to be, both professionally and personally. When she and her bandmates, Arejay Hale, Joe Hottinger and Josh Smith, began writing, Lzzy wasn’t even sure who she was. “I kept thinking, ‘Can I still do this?’” she says. “I went down a lot of rabbit holes, and I’m my own worst critic. I needed to get over a lot of internal hurdles during this writing and recording process. This record was about overcoming inner demons.”

 

The band began writing, but the first batch of songs didn’t feel quite right, so Halestorm scrapped it and started over. And in the end, Vicious represents Halestorm’s most personal and most inventive album, a deeply lived-with collection of songs teaming with genuine heart and soul. It’s also how Lzzy got her groove back. “I don’t think there was any other way for me to get through that difficult time than to write about it,” she says. “This record was like therapy.” The album was recorded with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains and Rush) at Nashville, TN’s Rock Falcon recording studio, and the producer, with whom the band had previously worked with on their 2017 covers EP ReAniMate 3.0: The CoVeRs eP, pushed each musician to a new place musically. Each song went through five or six versions, and ultimately carry the listener on a journey, emphasizing the band’s strengths while revealing a dynamic evolution.

 

“Nick pushed us from 10 to 11,” Lzzy says. “He pushed us mentally and physically. There are some things on this record that I didn’t think were physically possible for both myself and my bandmates. It was really exciting to see that happen for the first time in the studio. To be able to still surprise each other like that – and to surprise yourself – is no small feat.”

 

One of the main goals in the studio was to capture real, human moments within the music, the sorts of unexpected instances that occur onstage. In recent years, Halestorm has introduced improvised flashes into their live sets with the idea of creating controlled chaos between the more orchestrated songs. The music on Vicious embraces this sensibility. The musicians worked to ensure that every song had its own dynamic feeling, both overall and within each verse. “It wasn’t just about looping the same thing over and over again,” Lzzy notes. “The idea was: Where can we take this that’s not predicable?”

 

The resulting album, which was culled from over 20 recorded tunes, solidifies everything Halestorm stands for as a band. It’s about empowerment, an ideal that the musicians have encouraged for years, and the songs urge you to be unapologetically yourself. Ultimately, it’s not just about being strong and taking on the storm – but also about how you rise above that storm. The album’s title comes from “Vicious,” a gritty, surging rock number that was written during the last moments of studio time. The song features the line “What doesn’t kill me makes me vicious,” a rallying cry to overcome any obstacles. “It’s about being strong and fierce,” Lzzy says. “The climate of the world right now is always seeping in, so we wanted it to feel really positive and empowering.” “Uncomfortable,” one of the first songs written for the album, has a similar tone, featuring a rapid-fire verse and impressive vocal licks on the chorus. “You can’t please everybody as much as you may want to try,” Lzzy says of the song. “By being yourself you may make people uncomfortable. I saw a lot of our fans struggling with that. This song is saying that it’s okay to not make everyone happy all the time. You can be yourself and that’s okay. And, in fact, you should be proud of that.”

 

References to Halestorm’s fans and Lzzy’s constant interactions with them online or on Twitter thread through the album. The musician, who calls the band’s fanbase “our comrades in this crazy life,” wanted to drop Easter eggs into the lyrics, reminding longtime listeners of past conversations or instances in Lzzy’s personal life they’ll likely remember. “I feel like our fans deserve that type of openness from us at this point,” she says. “The love they’ve given us comes full circle.”

 

Since their inception in 1998, Halestorm have toured extensively with a diverse variety of artists, including Eric Church, Avenged Sevenfold, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, ZZ Top and Evanescence. They’ve played around 2,500 dates around the world to date, and performed at festivals like Taste of Chaos and Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival. The band scored a Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in 2013, and Lzzy was named the “Dimebag Darrell Shredder of the Year” at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in 2016. Both Halestorm and The Strange Case of… were certified Gold, further evidencing Halestorm’s massively supportive fanbase. Halestorm have also made history:  “Love Bites (So Do I),” the hit single from The Strange Case of… ascended to No. 1 at Active Rock radio in the U.S., making Halestorm the first-ever female-fronted group to earn the top spot on the format.

 

Today Halestorm exists as a beacon of hope and inspiration for musicians, particularly female musicians who want to brave the challenges of the music industry. Lzzy has been a pioneer in rock and proven that women have a place on the stage. Every night on tour, women – and men – in the audience can look to her and realize they too have the power to carve out their own path. Younger musicians admire her the same way she grew up admiring artists like Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks. “They helped me feel like I could do it, and I hope I’ve done the same for women today,” Lzzy says. “Trying to be my best self and not trying to be anything I’m not and being unapologetic feels like a good message. I feel a lot of responsibility to keep upholding that. I’m just trying to be the best me.”

 

Two decades into an accomplished career, Halestorm represents the results of true passion and hard work. The band has out-survived many of its peers and the musicians are still having fun after all this time. Vicious is evidence of a group of artists who refuse to ever plateau.

 

“This music chose us and we’re just hanging on,” Lzzy says. “Our greatest accomplishment is that we’ve been the same members for over 15 years and we’re continuing to make and release music. We want to always try new things. We’re still extremely hungry and open to opportunities, and we’re hungry to prove we deserve to be here. We’re so lucky to still be a band and have people care about our music. And there’s still so much more to do.”

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Steve Aoki

Steve Aoki

Performances

June 23 - 10:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Steve Aoki

Counting nearly 3 billion music streams to his name, Steve Aoki is a true visionary. Billboard described the 2x-GRAMMY-Nominated artist/DJ/producer and Dim Mak Records founder as “one of the most in-demand entertainers in the world.” As a solo artist, Aoki boasts a lauded cross-genre discography that includes 7 studio albums and collaborations with Lil Uzi Vert, Maluma, BTS, Linkin Park and Louis Tomlinson amongst others.

 

In 1996, he established Dim Mak out of his college dorm room, a trendsetting record label, events/lifestyle company and apparel brand. It has served as a launch pad for global acts like The Chainsmokers, Bloc Party, The Bloody Beetroots, and The Kills, in addition to being the home of early releases from acts such as ZEDD and Diplo. As a nightlife impresario, Aoki’s legendary Hollywood club night Dim Mak Tuesdays hosted early performances from future superstars such as Kid Cudi, Daft Punk, Lady Gaga, and Travis Scott.

 

A true renaissance man, Steve Aoki is also a fashion designer, author and entrepreneur. In 2012, he founded THE AOKI FOUNDATION, which primarily supports organizations in the field of brain science research with a specific focus on regenerative medicine and brain preservation. In addition, Aoki has pushed his clothing line Dim Mak Collection to new heights, both with original designs and collaborations with everyone from A Bathing Ape to the Bruce Lee estate. Aoki’s multi-faceted journey is chronicled through the Grammy-nominated Netflix documentary I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (2016) and his memoir BLUE: The Color of Noise(2019). In the summer of 2020, Aoki unveiled his Latin music imprint, Dim Mak En Fuego, continuing to break down musical and cultural boundaries ‘by any means necessary.'

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Third Eye Blind

Third Eye Blind

Performances

July 2 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Third Eye Blind

Since 1997, San Francisco's Third Eye Blind have recorded four best-selling albums and assembled one career retrospective. 3EB will release 'Dopamine', their first studio collection in six years, in Spring 2015. Led by Stephan Jenkins, 3EB won wide success during a tumultuous group of years when the major-label recording industry was finally losing its grip on an enterprise that for decades it had dominated with steely efficiency. Nothing could have made 3EB happier! 3EB, however, have experienced no comparable loss. Instead, they have gained artistic clarification -- and, surprisingly, a fan base who is larger, younger and more dedicated than ever. Participation in the older, untouchable realm of nervous star-making could color a band's identity. In the case of 3EB, it often blurred the perception of their brilliant musical creations. In recent years, those creations have recast the band among a current generation of fans. 3EB now write, tour, record, and communicate in a fluid new world where their music continues naturally to evolve. Their exchange with their audience is unfiltered and being from the hub of tech, they are using it to develop a closer exchange with their audience.

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Anthony Hamilton

Anthony Hamilton

Performances

June 30 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Anthony Hamilton

With over 50 million albums globally and proclaimed a "national treasure" by the Los Angeles Times, Anthony Hamilton’s voice will resonate louder than ever in 2021 with more music and performances on the horizon.

GRAMMY® Award winning singer, songwriter, producer, and actor Anthony Hamilton has achieved global sales of over 50 million albums. The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame inductee notably performed for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle, cementing his place in the history books as the "narrator of love." Introduced by way of the iconic 2003 smash "Charlene," his raw, awe-inspiring performances garnered the attention of NPR where he starred in their Noteworthy documentary series. He made his film debut in the critically acclaimed American Gangster, and lent his vocals to the song "Freedom" from the Academy® Award-nominated film Django Unchained.

Hamilton now adds author and publisher to his list of accomplishments with the unveiling of his first self-published book, Cornbread, Fish 'n Collard Greens, where he shares the inspiration for some of the iconic songs in his illustrious career and his love of southern food. Hamilton 

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2 Chainz

2 Chainz

Performances

July 1 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

2 Chainz

2 Chainz, the multi-platinum, Grammy Award®-winning MC first made his mark when he broke out of his native Atlanta as a founding member of the duo Playaz Circle.  Their rap-R&B-pop crossover hit “Duffle Bag Boy” featuring Lil’ Wayne, released on the DTP (Disturbing Tha Peace)/Def Jam label, sent shock waves across the hip-hop universe in 2007.  Chainz’ solo career began that same year with the release of his first mixtape.  

 

Proving that he could write street anthems with crossover appeal, Chainz capitalized on his notoriety with the back-to-back mixtapes Codeine Withdrawal (2010), and Codeine Cowboy (2011).  His 2011 mixtape T.R.U. REALigion mined downloads in the millions. The outspoken rapper had established a new sphere of influence.

 

2 Chainz’ name was on everyone’s lips in 2012, when he stole a verse on Mercy,” fellow Def Jam artist Kanye West’s RIAA triple-platinum #1 R&B/#1 Rap hit (from Cruel Summer).  In August 2012, Chainz arrived as a Def Jam solo artist with Based On A T.R.U. Story, his Platinum debut album, which entered the charts at #1.  Its success was fueled by the platinum #1 “No Lie” featuring Drake, the double-platinum “Birthday Song” featuring Kanye West, and double-platinum “I’m Different.”  “Mercy” was subsequently a Grammy® nominee for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance, while B.O.A.T.S. was nominated for Best Rap Album.  Chainz’ dominance was extended when the sequel, B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time entered the hip-hop chart at #1 in September 2013, and spun off the gold single, “Feds Watching” featuring Pharrell.

 

In 2016, Chainz brought it back to his essence with a series of mixtapes that dominated the streets: Felt Like Cappin, Daniel Son, Necklace Don, and Hibachi For Lunch.  Also in 2016, he released the lauded collaborative album ColleGrove with New Orleans hip-hop luminary Lil Wayne. The year was capped off with his first Grammy Award, Best Rap Performance for his verse on Chance The Rapper’s hit song “No Problem.”

 

With momentum on his side in 2017, Chainz released his first solo album in four years, the RIAA platinum #1 Pretty Girls Like Trap Music. The album netted over 2 billion stream, three consecutive multi-platinum hits and accompanied by a 35-city tour of North America.  

 

2018 brought the EP releases The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It  (February, with the RIAA gold Proud featuring YG and Offset, boasting over 100 million streams); and Hot Wings Are A Girl’s Best Friend (November), a two-song bundle that included “Hot Wings” and “Girl’s Best Friend.”  They pointed the way to the March 2019 release of Chainz’ fourth solo album, Rap Or Go To The League, described as his most personal, most lyrical, most soulful record to date. It challenged the notion that the only way out of the inner city is either to become a rapper or a ball player. The album flipped that trope, celebrating themes of black excellence, the power of education, and entrepreneurship.  A&R’d by LeBron James, Rap Or Go spun off two smashes: the MTV VMA-nominated "Rule The World" featuring Ariana Grande (over 22 million YouTube views); and platinum Bigger Than You featuring Drake and Quavo (over 62 million combined YouTube views). 

 

Chainz returned to the front line in 2020, with Money Maker featuring Lil Wayne, which sampled Louisiana’s HBCU Southern University world-renowned marching band, Human Jukebox. Money Maker was the first advance music from Chainz’ fifth solo album, SO HELP ME GOD (November 2020).

 

2 Chainz’ cultural impact continues to flourish.  His indie record label T.R.U. (The Real University), featuring Skooly, Cap.1, Fresh, and C White celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2020.  In addition to music, his wildly popular tv show Most Expensivest on VICELAND wrapped up its third season in 2019His “Chain Reaction” sneaker collaboration with Versace hit stores in the spring 2018, and was their most popular shoe of the year. His cannabis brand, GAS Cannabis Co. is available throughout California.  His Crate Talk interview series (on his YouTube channel, part of YouTube Music’s short-form video mini-series project), which premiered in March 2019, invited guests to discuss the power of education and entrepreneurship over a game of SELF (instead of HORSE) on a basketball court in Atlanta.  Also in 2019, he starred with Adam Scott in the Super Bowl LIII Expensify tv spot, “the world’s first Super Bowl commercial you can expense.”  

 

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Portugal. The Man

Portugal. The Man

Performances

July 7 - 10:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Portugal. The Man

Over the past decade, Portugal The Man has established themselves as one of rock’s most prized possessions and a live phenomenon, with over 1,600 shows under their belts and a storied reputation as festival favorites.

Originally heralding from Alaska, the Portland-based band – comprised of John Gourley, Zach Carothers, Kyle O’Quin, Eric Howk, Jason Sechrist and Zoe Manville – soared to new heights in 2017 with the release of their RIAA certified-gold album, Woodstock. The album was marked by the astounding success of their infectious single, “Feel It Still,” which earned the group a plethora of new accolades – including a GRAMMY award for “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance,” a 5x RIAA platinum certified single certification, a mind-blowing 20-week residency at #1 on alternative radio, and an inescapable presence on the Top 40 airwaves.

Alongside the shine of their myriad musical accomplishments lies the group’s long-standing passion for social justice. In fact, this is precisely the intersection on which Portugal The Man thrives; throughout their career, the band has consistently exemplified how to deeply commit to both artistry and activism. This dynamic inspired them to officially launch their PTM Foundation in 2020, focused on universal issues related to human rights, community health, and the environment, with an emphasis on causes directly impacting Indigenous Peoples. Their continued passion for activism has also led to recent partnerships with organizations such as Keep Oregon Well (Mental Health), March for Our Lives (Gun Reform) and Protect Our Winters (Climate Change), to name just a few.

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Gilberto Santa Rosa

Gilberto Santa Rosa

Performances

July 8 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Gilberto Santa Rosa

Over the past four decades, Gilberto Santa Rosa’s musical elegance and style have made him one of the most successful Latin music vocalists in the world. His countless accolades in the recording industry have reaffirmed his validity through the years, among them the 2002 ASCAP Latin Heritage Award and 6 GRAMMY awards. With 14 hits, he is the Guinness World Record Holder of the most #1’s on Billboard’s Tropical albums chart and his record sales history includes a multitude of Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum album certifications. His sales were so successful that Billboard Magazine named Gilberto Santa Rosa Tropical Artist of the Decade in 2010. In 2016, he received a Star on Puerto Rico’s Walk of Fame and the Lifetime Achievement Premio Soberano a la Trayectoría.

In the middle of 2017 and 2018, “El Caballero de Salsa” (The Gentleman of Salsa) had one of the most incredible milestones of his career. He performed in Cuba for the first time and shared his tour “40…y contando” on HBO Latino.

But Gilberto Santa Rosa’s honors don’t only include those that are awarded for musical achievements – in 2012, he was the first ever musician to receive the Lifetime Culture Achievement Award from the United Nations, an honor that had thus far only been given to heads of state and politicians who performed significant contributions for world development. The international jury who awarded him recognized his success in promoting cultural development, including his performance as a spokesman for social campaigns such as the National Association for Diabetes and other initiatives that create awareness of domestic violence and mistreatment of women.

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Cordae

Cordae

Performances

July 8 - 10:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Cordae

Cordae knows exactly what he wants to say. He chooses his words and phrases carefully. He tells stories with clarity and honesty. He speaks from a place of truth. That’s why the two-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated gold-selling Maryland-raised rapper has quietly become one of the modern generation’s most trusted narrators, depicting life’s trials, tribulations, and triumphs with powerful and poetic perspective and without filter. Absorbing wisdom from a life-changing trip to Africa, enduring the loss of a friend gone too soon, and evolving as an artist and a man, he tells this story in widescreen technicolor on his 2022 second full-length offering, From A Birds Eye View [ART@WAR/Atlantic Records], and much more to come.

Ultimately, there’s intent behind everything he says.

“Words are the foundation of human communication,” he muses. “What are we without words? To me, rap music is literature in song form. I took that approach with every track. I didn’t waste any space. I realized I could always use a better word for a situation. The album is from the heart, and the songs are real-life events and stories.”

A remarkable life has given him a lot to say. He went from trailer parks and public housing with his mom to stratospheric success. After a series of buzzing singles, he reached critical mass with his 2019 full-length debut, The Lost Boy. It bowed in the Top 15 of the Billboard Top 200 and included four gold-certified singles—“RNP” [feat. Anderson .Paak], “Have Mercy,” “Broke As Fuck,” and “Kung Fu.” Beyond unanimous praise from BillboardComplexHigh SnobietyNew York TimesPitchfork, **and Stereogum, he garnered a pair of GRAMMY® Award nominations in the categories of “Best Rap Album” for The Lost Boy and “Best Rap Song” for “Bad Idea” [feat. Chance the Rapper]. He’s the rare artist whose presence can be felt on-screen in a Super Bowl commercial alongside legendary Academy® Award-winning director Martin Scorsese and among XXL’s coveted “Freshman Class.” Along the way, he linked up with Roddy Ricch and Ant Clemons for “Gifted” as well as joining forces with Eminem for “Killer” (Remix).

Expanding his influence, PUMA named him the face of its “Unity Campaign,” while he also fronted a Bape x Coach collaboration. In addition to allying with Disney and ESPN to fund scholarships for HBCU students, he has taken to the streets in support of Black Lives Matter and contributed “Taxes” to NETFLIX’s We The People—the vision of Executive Producers Barack and Michelle Obama and Kenya Barris.

He initially teased the album with the single “Super.” Over a sped-up sample, he delivers an indomitable and incendiary flow laced with confidence as he assures, “I ain’t worried ‘bout it, I know God is with me.” Across the board, From A Birds Eye View cuts deep. Written in tears, “Mama’s Hood” deals with the survivor’s guilt of losing one of his best friends with no holds barred.

“My best friend in high school, who I played basketball with, passed away in the middle of the Pandemic,” he sighs. “It fucked me up. He came to visit me in L.A. Then, he went back home. Two weeks later, he got killed. I could’ve saved him. He was just with me. It impacted me a lot.”

At the same time, the intro “Jean-Michel” captures an intense moment of “self-reflection.  On “Want From Me,” he examines the “duality of man and woman and how one can’t exist without the other.

Each time Cordae picks up a microphone, every word matters.

“Jean-Michel Basquiat said, ‘Art is how we decorate space, music is how we decorate time’,” he leaves off. “That’s what artists do. Right now, there’s a Black Renaissance going on in literature, art, entertainment, and film. I hope to add to that as a young man in this world trying to make a name for himself and leave a legacy with my words.”

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Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara

Performances

July 1 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara uses pop music as a diary. Since catapulting to stardom with quintessential loner anthem "Here" in 2015, the singer/songwriter has matured alongside her audience, capturing the highs and lows of adolescence and young adulthood with camera-like clarity. In many ways, Cara's new era is a snapshot of an artist finally processing her meteoric rise in the music industry. The Grammy winner's debut single, "Here," peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to sell three million copies. Her platinum-selling debut album, Know-It-All, delivered another smash hit with "Scars to Your Beautiful" and she memorably contributed "How Far I'll Go" to the Moana soundtrack. She then added further platinum plaques to her collection with "Stay," a dizzying club collaboration with Zedd, and an unforgettable feature on Logic's "1-800-273-8255." The Brampton, Ontario, native returned in 2018 with The Pains of Growing, which won Juno Awards for Best Album and Songwriter of the Year and cemented Cara as one of her generation's foremost singer/songwriters. Now, she is ready to soar even higher in 2021 with the release of her new singles "Sweet Dream" and "Shapeshifter."

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The Revivalists

The Revivalists

Performances

June 30 - 10:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

The Revivalists

Chart-topping rock band The Revivalists had been grinding for 10 years when their now platinum-selling single “Wish I Knew You” took off, setting a record for most single-week spins ever at Alternative Radio and becoming a mainstream phenomenon spending 9 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.  Now, their new hit songs from fourth studio album Take Good Care, including #1 Triple A and Top 5 Alternative single "All My Friends," and #1 Triple A and Top 15 Alternative hit single “Change” (their third Mediabase Triple A #1 in a row) – have become instant fan favorites and are adding to their more than 410 million total streams. The band has performed on numerous television shows including Austin City Limits, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert , Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, Ellen, TODAY, and garnered major media attention from the likes of Rolling Stone, NPR, Billboard, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, Forbes, Salon, HuffPost, Grammy.com, Alternative Press, Paste, UPROXX, Flaunt, Nylon, Interview, and more. They made a big statement in support of the anti-gun violence movement with their powerful song “Shoot You Down” which they performed during their debut at Lollapalooza, opened for the Rolling Stones, were nominated for a Billboard Music Award and two iHeartRadio Music Awards, were named Billboard’s Top New Rock Artist of 2017, and between sold-out shows at their biggest venues yet, including Beacon Theatre and Red Rocks, the band has also ignited festival stages at Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball, Lollapalooza, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Outside Lands, and Pilgrimage. Renowned for their live firepower, soulful alt-rock anthems, and their distinct mix of many of the classic styles of American music, the 8-piece ensemble of pedal steel guitar, unique two-drummer set-up, horns, and more is led by the incredible voice of front man David Shaw.

 

Most recently, the band released their Made In Muscle Shoals live studio EP and accompanying documentary, which was recorded and filmed at the legendary FAME Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and directed by Jay Sansone of Human Being Media. Capturing the essence of The Revivalists at this exciting time in their 10-year journey, the Made In Muscle Shoals EP features brilliant re-imaginings of the band’s hits “Oh No,” “You & I,” “Change,” and “All My Friends” from Take Good Care, as well as a soulful rendition of The Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody,” a gorgeous stripped down piano-and-vocal take of “Wish I Knew You,” and a never-before-released, brand new song “Bitter End.” The Revivalists also established their philanthropic umbrella fund, Rev Causes, which supports the essential work of organizations dedicated to reviving and investing in our communities, health, and environment. $1 from every ticket sold will be donated to a variety of organizations that are close to the band’s heart, including Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Everytown For Gun Safety Support Fund, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Songs for Kids Foundation, and Upturn Arts.

 

The Revivalists are: David Shaw [lead vocals, guitar], Zack Feinberg [guitar], Andrew Campanelli [drums], George Gekas [bass], Ed Williams [pedal steel guitar], Rob Ingraham [saxophone], Michael Girardot [keyboard, trumpet], and PJ Howard [drums, percussion].

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Barenaked Ladies

Barenaked Ladies

Performances

June 23 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Barenaked Ladies

'Detour de Force,' Barenaked Ladies' 16th studio album, is only a few minutes old when Ed Robertson declares that "it's a good life."

Few would argue. And the group's 14 new tracks show it's only getting better.

Over the course of 33 years, the Toronto quartet has sold 15 million records worldwide and built up an arsenal of hits such as "If I Had $1,000,000," "One Week," "Pinch Me" and "The Big Bang Theory Theme." Widely acknowledged as one of the best live acts on the planet, BNL has hosted a cruise ("Ships and Dips"), had its own ice cream flavor, won eight Juno Awards in Canada, and was inducted into the

Canadian Music Hall of Fame during 2018. As Ed Robertson, Jim Creeggan, Tyler Stewart and Kevin Hearn put it on 'Detour de Force,' "Wasn't easy but it turned out alright/Wouldn't trade it for another...You don't wanna miss this mutha."

"Flip" leads the album as the buoyant and sonically adventurous first single, which reflects the many flips and changes of the last year. Ed says the song "is about being open to other perspectives. We try to write songs that move us, that are big. I think this is a song that's going to be a real energy moment in the live show."

Following with standout tracks "New Disaster" and "Good Life," 'Detour de Force' is BNL at its most ambitious, accomplished, intricate, intentional -- and, in some ways, circumstantial. Its gestation was long and exacerbated (as so many things have been) by the global pandemic, and the scope of the resulting album is significantly different than what the group had in mind when it started.

The good news is that it's BNL's most broad-reaching and diverse work to date -- perhaps, if you will, it's kind of 'The BEATLES' (aka 'The White Album'), fusing the distinct writing voices of Robertson, Hearn and Creeggan into a cohesive work from the uptempo fun of "Flat Earth," the playful and countryflavored "Roll Out" to the gentle melodics of "Live Well," "The National Park," "God Forbid" and "Man Made Lake" to the sonic roller coaster of the album-closing "Internal Dynamo."

"We've always liked that our band is very diverse in what we do," Robertson says, "and on this record I really enjoyed the exploration. This record is a journey. Taking off one song would tip it in a way we didn't feel was representative of the record we made. We wanted everything that's here to be part of the record."

Stewart adds that, "This is some of our strongest material in 30 years, easily. I think it stands up there with our best albums. It hangs with 'Gordon,' or it hangs with 'Maroon.' There's a deep well of music we want to draw from, and this probably is the best example of all of that coming together, feeling like an entire album -- different voices, same band."

The long road to 'Detour de Force' began during early 2020, when BNL convened at Robertson's lakeside cottage north of Toronto, with producer Mark Howard (Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, the Tragically Hip, Daniel Lanois, U2). Inspired by the 'Fake Nudes Naked' acoustic remake of BNL's last studio album, the idea was

"to close ourselves off from the rest of the world," according to Robertson, "and have no distractions and really capture the sound of a band making music together." Songs were prepared in the basement rec room and recorded in a make-shift studio in the living room during a productive five weeks.

"There was a lot that was amazing about that," recalls Robertson, who wrote songs on his own and with friends Kevin Griffin, Craig Wiseman, Donovan Woods and Danny Michel. "The focus was great. The vibe was great. The hang was great. It was super positive for the band dynamic." Hearn, who contributed four tracks to 'Detour de Force,' adds that, "We set out to make a record that sounded like a band playing together. We were working really well together, and it was very harmonious. We worked on each song all together, and once we felt we had the arrangements in the right place, we'd go upstairs and record."

Nevertheless, BNL reckoned even before the cottage sessions were over that there was more to do with the tracks they were creating. "We thought a lot of this stuff could really benefit from a little more indepth production," Robertson says. The plan was to go into Noble Street Studios in Toronto and work with Eric Ratz (Arkells, Big Wreck, Billy Talent) to add sonic bells, whistles and polish.

Then the pandemic hit.

BNL wasn't dormant as the world shut down -- evidence the group's spirited "Selfie Cam Jam" series and Robertson's weekly Friday livestreams online, both for charity, as well as a pair of virtual concerts. But the pause brought a fresh perspective to where the band wanted 'Detour de Force' to go. "The ensuing months of home quarantine," Stewart says, "really created an appetite for us to go into a much more produced, slick you might want to call it, modern recording situation -- one which we were quite used to after working with Gavin Brown for most of the last eight years or so." Working together in the studio, socially distanced of course, and in their respective homes, the quartet layered and sculpted and in some cases completely overhauled songs. Guests were also invited, including original BNL keyboardist Andy Creeggan (Jim's brother), all-star singer and bassist Fernando Saunders and MOOG bass pedals borrowed from Rush's Geddy Lee even make an appearance.

"The pandemic really affected the album in an interesting way," recalls Jim Creeggan, who penned a pair of the 'Detour de Force' songs. "I was getting calls from friends to do remote-based stuff, people asking each other to add something to those projects. So we started reaching out and bringing other things into what we were doing."

For Hearn, the changes, intentional and otherwise, were silver linings in the process.

"We took several detours de force," he acknowledges, "but I think what you get is a beautiful hybrid of a live off-the-floor band on songs like 'Live Well' and 'Man Made Lake' all the way to full-on production numbers like 'Flip' and 'Good Life.' It's kind of reminiscent of (1998's quadruple-platinum) 'Stunt'; We made a record in Austin with Susan Rogers and we turned it into a completely different record back in Toronto with David Leonard. That's kind of what we did here."

The depth goes beyond sonics throughout the album. Though there's certainly the verbal playfulness and whimsy that's part of BNL's stock in trade, many of the songs have a reflective and philosophical, sometimes topical, underpinning that's also long been part of the BNL makeup. Even on something as light-hearted as Hearn's "Big Back Yard," his proclamation that "I became a drifter and began to roam/Now all I want is a home" reveals a gentle kind of yearning. Similarly, Creeggan reveals that both of his contributions -- "Here Together" and "Paul Chambers," the latter titled for the great jazz bassist -- "really have to do with connecting to the people who are close to you, a positive experience of being at home," which took on even greater meaning as the pandemic set in.

"I think we're at a point in our career and our lives where we're reckoning and trying to really appreciate what we have," Creeggan notes.

That can certainly be found throughout Robertson's songs on 'Detour de Force.' While "Flip" comments on his ambivalent feelings about "our new, connected life" of social media and streaming media, in "Good Life" he speaks about what's been achieved, particularly (and specifically) by the band. "God

Forbid" and "Man Made Lake," both co-written with fellow Juno Award-winner Donovan Woods, are "really specific and raw," Robertson says, "songs that I had a lot of trouble singing because they're hitting some pretty raw nerves, kind of admitting some things to myself in writing them. It was really therapeutic to explore that stuff and have the guys get it right away."

"I think Barenaked Ladies have always had introspective, heavier kinds of songs," Stewart says. "I've always been proud of that element of the group, to be able to take it down to a more plaintive song and style alongside the humor."

All concerned, meanwhile, point to Hearn's "Internal Dynamo" as an outlier on 'Detour de Force.' An airy, psychedelic mantra builds before exploding into a frenetic, metallic blow-out led by Stewart's vocals before returning to the original theme. "I wanted to sort of emulate what we do at the end of our live set," Hearn explains, "when we break into Led Zeppelin and Tyler sings 'Whole Lotta Love' or something. I thought it would be fun to capture that energy in a song."

'Detour de Force' is, in the end, a potent musical statement, a testament to time well-spent and an open spirit of following where the music leads. It also speaks to the comfort of a band that at this point works on and trusts in its collective instinct, confident that the drive that led to this point sill continue to steer it in the right directly.

"At this point we want to have fun, make a record, go to the limits, push ourselves, indulge ourselves," Robertson explains. "Ultimately who we've got to please are the four guys in this band. If we like the record then we're going to like touring the record, and everyone's going to be happy. We have done it all at this point, and here we are. We're still making music, and we're f***ing lucky that this is our job."

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The Cult

The Cult

Performances

July 9 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

The Cult

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Boyz II Men

Boyz II Men

Performances

July 7 - 9:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Boyz II Men

Boyz II Men remains one of the most truly iconic R&B groups in music history. The group redefined popular R&B and continues to create timeless hits that appeal to fans across all generations, the band has penned and performed some of the most celebrated classics of the past two decades. The group’s 4 Grammy Awards are just the tip of the iceberg: throughout their 25-year career, Boyz II Men have also won a whopping 9 American Music Awards, 9 Soul Train Awards, 3 Billboard Awards, and a 2011 MOBO Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as well and a Casino Entertainment Award for their acclaimed residency at the Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, which has been ongoing since 2013.

 

The trio holds the distinction of being the best-selling R&B group of all time, with an astounding 64 million albums sold. And the reason is abundantly clear: for the past two decades Boyz II Men have given fans a rich catalogue of hits filled with smooth harmonies and enduring themes. And for Boyz II Men the hits just keep on coming—the group continues to craft new albums and bring their legendary act to stages across the world.

 

Boyz II Men’s past hits include: “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” “One Sweet Day,”

“Motownphilly” and many others. And their recent albums have earned them major critical acclaim as well. Their Decca label debut, Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA (Decca/Universal), on November 13, 2007 earned them two Grammy Nominations.

 

In 2011, Boyz II Men marked their 20th anniversary by releasing a landmark album, fittingly titled Twenty. The album contains the group’s first original material in nearly a decade as well as a dozen remastered classic, career-defining hits. Twenty debuted at #20 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart, #4 on the Billboard R&B album chart, #10 on the Billboard Digital Album Chart, and placed #1 on the iTunes R&B Soul Album chart. Twenty’s first single, "More Than You'll Ever Know" cracked into the top 15 on Urban AC charts.

 

Boyz II Men have won fans the world over with their soulful multi-octave sound and incredible vocals. Given the monumental success of their albums and the timeless quality of their vocals, it’s easy to see why Boyz II Men remains the most popular R&B group of all time. Ask any successful pop or R&B superstar which artists have inspired them- chances are Boyz II Men will be at the top. From Justin Timberlake and Usher to Justin Bieber and Beyonce, the most successful stars in the industry look to Boyz II Men as their idols.

 

Beyond making music, giving back is also important to Boyz II Men- the group has its own charity called Boyz II Men House which lends support to individuals and organizations that focus on improving the quality of life and helping to unlock human potential, while contributing to the health and vitality of those less fortunate.

 

Fans were wowed in the summer of 2014 when Boyz II Men headed out on the hotly-anticipated Package Tour with New Kids on the Block and 98 Degrees.

 

The group released a new album featuring original material through label BMG in October 2014 called Collide. Collide is a landmark album for Boyz II Men, showcasing a new and different sound for one of the most successful and enduring groups in mainstream music. Two of the tracks, “Better Half,” and “Diamond Eyes” were featured on a special episode of ABC’s hit show, “The Bachelorette.” The group also performed on FOX’s hit live show, Grease Live which aired on January 31, 2016 and their performance became the most-tweeted moment. In 2016, Wanya Morris became a double threat

 

stepping on the dance floor on ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars,” where he and partner, Lindsay Arnold, made it to the semifinals—ending on a high note with three tens. In the summer of 2017 the group once again joined New Kids on The Block on the road for The Total Package tour featuring Paula Abdul. In the fall of 2017, the group released a Doo-Wop album, Under The Streetlight. Last year the group released, If You Leave Me Now, a hit song with singer/songwriter Charlie Puth. They opened up for Bruno Mars on his 24K Magic tour in select cities in the U.S.

 

Boyz II Men were featured in a film starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen called "Long Shot" that received rave reviews.

 

Last year they were nominated for a CMT Music award for their Crossroads performance of "Motownphilly" with country singer Brett Young and continued collaborations by joining forces with Steep Canyon Rangers on a bluegrass song, “Be Still Moses.” In October 2019, the trio made a cameo in ABC’s show, Schooled where they performed Motown Philly, a spoof on their hit song--taking it back to the ‘90s with a twist. In February of 2020 The group with launched a wine called Chateau Harmony.

Most recently they made an appearance on NBC hit show Songland. Their song "Love Struck" premiered at # 2 on itunes.

 

For information on tour dates and everything Boyz II Men, head to: www.BoyzIIMen.com

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Taking Back Sunday

Taking Back Sunday

Performances

July 2 - 9:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Taking Back Sunday

If you can't believe that Taking Back Sunday have been around for 20 years, you're not alone, because they can't either. Vocalist Adam Lazzara, guitarist-vocalist John Nolan, drummer Mark O'Connell and bassist Shaun Cooper are beginning work on their 8th studio album. From the band's landmark 2002 debut Tell All Your Friends to their most recent full-length, 2016's Tidal Wave, Taking Back Sunday have evolved from a key player in the early 2000s emo scene to a genre-defying rock band who have three gold albums without ever ceasing to push the limitations of their sound. Used to constantly touring the world, including a 12 country 20-Year anniversary celebration in 2019, the band is ready to start bringing their vivacious energy back to their live shows in the coming months.

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Russell Dickerson

Russell Dickerson

Performances

July 7 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Russell Dickerson

The little details always mean the most. Familiar pleasantries exchanged between neighbors, the taste of freshly brewed sweet tea, the brush of a fall breeze, and the buzz of a bug zapper after dark remind Russell Dickerson of home. The multiplatinum Nashville-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist transposes those small pleasures into hummable and heartfelt country anthems uplifted by pop energy on his second full-length album, Southern Symphony [Triple Tigers].

The record reflects every side of his personality—from the loving husband, self-proclaimed “regular dude, and now dad at home to the boisterous and bold presence beloved by millions on stage. Russell tells his story like never before through eloquent songcraft and airtight playing.

“I live in Nashville now, but I grew up in Union City, Tennessee,” he says. “I’ll always carry my hometown with me. I’ll never forget all of those experiences from my childhood. In a sense, they raised me. Southern Symphony displays all of the pictures that made Russell Dickerson into Russell Dickerson!”

Audiences already know Russell Dickerson very well as a prolific songwriter and powerhouse showman. In 2017, his gold-certified full-length debut, Yours, bowed at #5 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart and #1 on the Emerging Artists Chart. Not to mention, it yielded three consecutive #1 smashes, including the double-platinum “Yours” (christened “One of the hottest wedding songs of the year” by The Knot), the platinum “Blue Tacoma,” and platinum “Every Little Thing.” Nominations followed at the Academy of Country Music Awards, CMT Music Awards, and iHeartRadio Music Awards. Among many highlights in 2020, he received a nod in the category of “Best New Male Artist of the Year” at the ACM. Plus, he has electrified audiences on tour with the likes of Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line, Darius Rucker, Lady A, and Kane Brown in addition to bringing the “RD Party” to sold out venues everywhere as a headliner. Attracting a fervent following on social media (fondly referred to as “RD Fam”), he launched his own YouTube show, “This Is Russ, bringing viewers deeper into his world.  

Along the way, he collected ideas for what would eventually become Southern Symphony.  During breaks from the road, he recorded back in Nashville alongside frequent collaborator Casey Brown and legendary producer Dann Huff. Together, they co-produced the record and put the finishing touches on it at the hallowed Blackbird Studio.

“Casey brings a young energy, and Dann is a legend,” he smiles. “I actually met with Dann back in 2012, and he turned me down,” laughs Russell. “He said I wasn’t ready yet, so it was cool to come back around full circle. There was so much excitement.”

This time around, Russell conjured the spirit of tried-and-true country by architecting the sonic framework out of organic instrumentation. “Southern Symphony was real and raw,” he affirms. “We weren’t trying to get quirky. Honestly, it was meant to be a bunch of big ole country bangers.”

Speaking of, he introduced the record with “Love You Like I Used To.” In between a soaring refrain, he pulls off a melodic guitar solo stretching to the heavens in tandem with his voice. Not only did it climb the country charts, but it also earned widespread acclaim. Dubbed “Romantic” by People, Taste of Country called it, “as much of a vocal showcase as we’ve heard from the western Tennessee native.

“If ‘Yours’ is a wedding song, this is your anniversary song,” he states. “Love changes, love grows, and that’s what I wanted to kick this record off with. I’m growing. I’m maturing. I think the song is an accurate representation of the album, the maturity of the songwriting, and the elevation of the production.”

That shines through in the follow-up “Home Sweet” as well. A propulsive beat and twinkling keys underscore a love letter to his wife as it builds towards a joyful climax, “Sittin’ on boxes in the livin’ room laughin’ and cryin’, just staring at them two pink lines…Gotta make a little more room in our home sweet.

“The song starts off with us not knowing how we’re going to pay rent,” he recalls. “By the end of it, we’ve moved into our own house two years later on New Years’ Day with three positive pregnancy tests.”

A bluesy riff sounds off through stomping claps and stacked harmonies on the irresistible “Never Get Old.” It culminates on an arena-ready chant before Dann churns out a twangy six-string lead.

“There are all of these country throwbacks in the lyrics,” he goes on. “It’s really meant to just be a good time.”

Making for one of the biggest collaborations of his career so far, he teams up with chart-topping multiplatinum duo Florida Georgia Line on the stadium-size and summer-ready “It’s About Time.” Images of “Bud Light half-price” and “truck stop ice” ignite a night you never want to end with swaggering verses and an intoxicating hook. On the other end of the spectrum, he heats things up with “All Yours All Night”, a track for the bedroom. In many ways, the title track “Southern Symphony” crystallizes the story. Plaintive acoustic guitar entwines with heartfelt recollections of “Where I come from.

“It’s really an ode to my hometown,” he comments. “I’m speaking about all of the sounds I remember from my upbringing. When you find that person who makes you feel love, it compares to the nostalgic sensation of home. It’s where I am now.”

In the end, Russell might just make you feel at home forever on Southern Symphony.

“When you hear this, I hope you feel excitement, hope, and happiness in life,” he leaves off. “I want to be a good steward in these songs. There’s joy all around. I’m trying to spread a little bit of that. It’s exactly what the world needs right now—and always.”

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Timeflies

Timeflies

Performances

July 1 - 10:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Timeflies

The duo Timeflies combines pop songwriting styles with the studio tricks and big sounds of electronic dance music. Members Rob Resnick (producer) and Cal Shapiro (vocals) first met in college while playing in a funk band called The Ride. They formed Timeflies in 2010 while still in school, and a year later self-released their debut album, The Scotch Tape. On the Internet, their popular Youtube video series, Timeflies Tuesday, soon became a regular feature of the band's video-sharing channel, with popular charting hits all getting the unique Timeflies treatment.

They quickly became a headlining touring act, selling out venues across the US and performing at major festivals such as Lollapalooza. Having signed to Universal Music’s Island/Def Jam label, Timeflies released several EPs and albums, including popular singles “I Choose U,” “All the Way,” and “Worse Things Than Love.” After becoming independent and starting their own label, Forty8Fifty Music Group, their first independent release “Once In A While” exploded on streaming services as an instant fan favorite, and eventually grew to be a platinum selling record.

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Atmosphere

Atmosphere

Performances

June 25 - 9:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Atmosphere

Defining success is not an exact science by any means. In some ways, it’s especially difficult to quantify one’s success when they have a job that places them in the public eye, a position that is ripe for critique and high expectations. Perhaps those who best thrive in those scenarios are the ones who can navigate through all noise and continue to evolve and grow, both in their skill sets and as individuals.

In many ways, that is an integral part of the Atmosphere story. Over their twenty-year career they have managed to continually tweak and strive to perfect their formula, while neither straying too far off their path, nor resorting to playing it safe. Starting at 1997’s Overcast, the group’s first official album, and traveling through 18 years of new albums, side projects (e.g. the Sad Clown series and Felt), and various collaborations, all the way up until 2014’s Southsiders album, Atmosphere’s music has evolved in a way that differs from many of their peers and predecessors. A hard look at that evolution doesn’t reveal the commonalities of following trends or struggling to fit in, by either over-extending in an effort to stay cool to the younger generation, or succumbing to the pressure people tend to place on artists to maintain the same sound from album to album. Instead, the Atmosphere discography evolves in a natural way.

Musically, Ant has continued to define Atmosphere’s sound, ranging from a healthy mixture of upbeat and fun, to the oft more iconic, moody and personal. Through out the 1990s, Ant spent countless hours in his basement with a wealth of records, a keyboard sampler, a turntable and a 4-track, working with a who’s who of the Twin Cities’ Rap talent of that time. Those experiences tuned his ear, molded his work ethic, and shaped his vision. In turn, those lessons have continually become more prominent in the Atmosphere aesthetic, blending live musicians and sampled production with his keen sense of how to compose a well-arranged song.

As for the lyrics, Slug started his passion for rhyming with an obsessive-like penchant for the way words intersect, as well as how those words can be manipulated for unexpected and clever meanings. But, at the same time, early on Slug expressed an interest in doing more than simply proving he could be witty, but also writing about subjects that speak to people personally, as well as emotionally. These practices also naturally helped the Atmosphere fan base to expand beyond the usual independent Hip Hop audience, extending their reach to an alternative audience who also related to the personable appeal and emotional range of both Slug’s songwriting and Ant’s musical backdrops. Particularly, Slug has been consistently successful in leveraging his understanding for the power of words, recognizing that a song containing the right story or personal perspective can be extremely effective in capturing and holding the listener’s attention.

Undoubtedly, the impact of Atmosphere’s music has been the roots to their long-term success, but their continued rigorous touring and performance schedule has been the vessel for engraining these stories and the legacy of the music into their fan base. Early on in their careers, Atmosphere stepped beyond the genre lines and performed shows through out the Twin Cities with Rock bands, Punk Rock bands, and Jazz Ensembles. This was directly influenced by the fact that both of them were already fans of a wide range of music. Although this was a natural reaction to being a fan of the music, that experience also afforded Atmosphere, and their Rhymesayers peers, the opportunity to witness first-hand the D.I.Y ethos shared by some of these other musical movements. Atmosphere began to apply many of these tactics and work ethics to their growth, which was specifically influential in the development of Atmosphere’s approach to touring. These strategies found Atmosphere expanding their tours into cities that few, if any, Rap artists were including in their routing. The result is a storied connection between the artists and the listeners, which has grown into long-term Atmosphere fans passing down that experience to their children and so on, and thus continually ushering in a new generation of Atmosphere fans. Early on in their touring excursions, Atmosphere shows were noted in history for challenging the idea that Hip Hop audiences had to be filled exclusively with scowl-faced males fueled by ego and testosterone. Instead they created an environment that invited women to join in on the party. All of these factors have led to a fan base that ranges from ages 14-54 and beyond, and one that remains solid, as well as ever evolving.

As Atmosphere steps into their 21st year of making music, Slug & Ant show no signs of slowing, compromising or losing sight of their vision. Nor has time revealed any diminishing of those qualities that have brought them this far. As 2016 swung into gear, Atmosphere had already ended the previous year and led into another with a string of singles, and still have an abundance of music on the way, including their latest album, Fishing Blues”. The title of the new album speaks directly to the sentiments that opened this bio; Is this the point in the career where Atmosphere chooses to step back, put up the Gone Fishin’ sign and reminisce about their successes? The answer, a resounding no, is found in the music, a collection of songs that both define and redefine the Atmosphere sound. Their passion and creative spark are as illuminate as ever. Slug and Ant still have plenty of stories to tell…

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Dillon Francis

Dillon Francis

Performances

June 24 - 10:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Dillon Francis

For the last decade, Dillon Francis has barely stopped moving. Since he first broke out with a series of vivid, vibrant dance tracks, he's maintained a whirlwind tour schedule, playing festivals and shows across the world. In between making hilarious music videos, designing his own clothing line, and writing a surreal animated TV show, he has, of course, issued a nearly countless number of electrifying cuts. His restlessness has made for otherworldly, overwhelming music and compelling art no matter what medium he's working in. There are always new worlds to explore.

Since rising to prominence as a standout in the colorful moombahton scene of the early 2010s, Francis has made a lot of music, both in collaboration and on his own. He's made head-spinning dance music, brash rap tracks, and breezy reggaeton, though all his best moments blur together all these worlds and more. Part of the fun of listening to Francis' music has become that you never know exactly what you're going to get.

The diversity of his catalog has always been a strength -- his genre bending hit "Get Low" with DJ Snake was RIAA-certified platinum, "Coming Over" with Kygo [feat. James Hersey] was RIAA-certified gold plus topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart, "Sexo" with Residente was RIAA-certified Latin gold, and "Anywhere" [feat. Will Heard] went to #1 on Dance Radio Airplay. His production work for other artists has been stunning too. Panic at the Disco's "Hey Look Ma I Made It" -- for which Francis helped craft the lush, colorful instrumental -- was certified 2x Platinum and spent 65 straight weeks atop Billboard's Hot Rock Songs chart. That's to say nothing of tracks which have become underground hits at clubs and festivals around the world. And it all comes from following whatever sound or style caught his ear that day; his biggest singles and wildest experiments are linked by the unrestrained joy of always following his boldest impulses.

It's a philosophy that's gone outside of his musical work. As his production schedule has gotten busier and busier, he's simultaneously branched out into other art forms. Recently, he's been revising scripts on his long-awaited animated series Gerald's World, currently in development with 20th Century/Wonderland. He's also always hard at work on his kaleidoscopic Gerald clothing line with Barney Cools. He's launched NFT projects with skater and digital artist Chad Knight, among others. And that's just the stuff he's up to right now. Over the last decade, Francis has built his career by adopting whatever wild idea strikes him on a given day, learning as he goes -- making bold, brilliant art by refusing to stand still.¢

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The Band CAMINO

The Band CAMINO

Performances

June 25 - 9:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

The Band CAMINO

After more than five years as a band, The Band Camino have never felt more confident in their music. Now, they have a self-titled album to prove it.  The Band Camino, due Sept. 10 on dblblk/Elektra Records, expands on the guitar-driven pop that the group introduced with their anthemic debut EP tryhard in 2019. The pop-rock three-piece (singers/guitarists Jeffery Jordan and Spencer Stewart, and drummer Garrison Burgess) have been honing their dynamic Band Camino sound since relocating from Memphis to Nashville in 2018. It was a fateful move for founding members Jeffery and Spencer, college buddies-turned-bandmates who were in search of a drummer and recruited Garrison upon arriving in Music City.

 

“As soon as we played the first show together, we knew we hit it off,” Jeffery recalls. Garrison agrees: “There was this instant chemistry, and everybody on the team could feel it. Everybody's very appreciative of each other and what they bring to the table. It was cool to be part of something that was growing and was bigger than me, and bigger than each of them. It was magic.”

 

That magic has seemingly been evident to fans, too. The Band Camino completely sold out their 2018 and 2019 headlining tours, as well as their biggest headlining show to date at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium in September 2021 -- the latter of which sold out in 10 minutes. But the group has clearly made an impact since their start, garnerning 2.6 million monthly Spotify listeners and more than 330 million global streams to date. Their growth has been largely stimulated by raw discovery, even catching the attention of Taylor Swift, who included the band’s reflective song “Berenstein” on her “Songs I’m Loving Right Now” playlist in 2018.

 

Garrison’s addition came at a pivotal time for The Band Camino creatively, as 2018 was also the beginning of their partnerships with Nashville superproducer Jordan Schmidt and singer-songwriter Seth Ennis. “That was a big season of when everything changed,” Jeffery says, calling tryhard’s roaring lead single, “Daphne Blue,” the “turning point” for the band. “Right after we wrote it, we were like, ‘We have something different here, and this kind of defines where we're headed.’” Echoes Spencer, “It gave us a different vision of what we could be.”

 

“Daphne Blue” took the group’s production from lo-fi to stadium-ready, ramping up their electric guitars and drums, and letting their powerful vocals soar. That amplified sound reaches new heights on The Band Camino, a 14-track showcase of the group’s multifaceted soundscape that features ‘80s synths in punchy tunes such as “I Think I Like You,” arena-rock anthems including rollicking single “1 Last Cigarette,” and heartfelt moments like the introspective “Who Do You Think You Are.” The trio recorded the entire album over a month-long stay at the iconic Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, where they, as Jeffery puts it, “rode this wave of creativity” alongside Jordan Schmidt and executive producer Jameson Roper last fall. All but two of the songs are the result of the band’s unexpected downtime during quarantine in 2020, when Garrison says their songwriting “went into overdrive.”

 

The guys' resounding favorite is “Underneath My Skin," a spirited tale of dysfunctional love. Yet, they all agree that the two most Band Camino-esque tracks are “Roses” and “Look Up” because of their “don’t take life for granted” sentiments. Spencer asserts that sharing a meaningful message has always been one of the most important facets of The Band Camino’s music, even when it comes in a more somber form like the album’s goosebump-inducing breakup ballad “Help Me Get Over You.” Outside of that track and the acoustic confessional “Sorry Mom,” the rest of the new material masks any melancholy lyrics with infectious melodies and upbeat vibes, immediately evidenced on the album’s bluntly titled kickoff “Everybody Dies.”

 

The Band Camino’s juxtaposing creative approach has become even more effective as their sound has elevated, with one constant carrying throughout their entire catalog: relatability. “Art feels like it's a reflection of society, emotions, and relationships, and it's supposed to make you feel understood. With the songs we wrote, we hope we can continue to make people feel understood and that you're not alone in whatever you feel,” Jeffery says, excitedly adding, “and that bands are back, baby!”

 

Jeffery, Spencer, and Garrison are eager to usher in a new wave of bands in today’s solo act-dominated pop world. “We want to make music for the people who listen to everything. We want people to be able to listen to Justin Bieber and then listen to The Band Camino back-to-back," Jeffery declares. With that goal in mind, the band promises to continue pushing boundaries as the rock band of the pop generation. "We've always just wanted to make music that we would want to listen to," Jeffery says.

 

“I hope that we're around long enough to get made fun of,” Spencer adds with a laugh. “and that we're so popular that one day people hate us because we've been around for so long.”

 

With an opening slot on Dan + Shay’s 2021 U.S. Tour and an impactful album in their future, The Band Camino are certainly on their way to long-term success. According to Jeffery, he and his bandmates are more than primed for that: "We're ready to keep doing this forever."

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Michael Franti & Spearhead

Michael Franti & Spearhead

Performances

July 7 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Michael Franti & Spearhead

Michael Franti is a globally recognized musician, humanitarian, activist, and award-winning filmmaker revered for his high-energy live shows, inspiring music, devotion to health and wellness, worldwide philanthropic efforts and the power of optimism. Throughout his multi- decade career, Franti has earned three Billboard No. 1’s with triumphantly hopeful hits “Sound of Sunshine,” “Say Hey (I Love You)” and “I Got You,” as well as six Top 30 Hot AC singles, nine Top 25 AAA Singles and three Billboard Top 5 Rock Albums. “I Got You,” lead single from his latest album Work Hard And Be Nice, marked Franti’s first No. 1 in nearly 10 years and landed on NPR’s “Most Popular Songs of 2020,” while the music video boasts over 1.3 million views since its release. Michael Franti & Spearhead’s latest single “Good Day For A Good Day” is available everywhere, with plans to release his 12th studio album in the Summer of 2022.

 

Michael Franti & Spearhead embarked on the inaugural five-day Soulshine at Sea cruise Nov. 3- 7, 2021 sailing from Miami, Fla. to Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. Soulshine At Sea included two Michael Franti & Spearhead shows, over 20 live band and DJ sets, 10+ yoga and fitness classes, inspiring speakers, live “Stay Human” podcast tapings, and uniquely curated activities hosted by Michael himself and other special guests. Guests also had access to healthy menu options including vegan offerings around the clock, an on-board juice bar, cooking demos and more.

Soulshine At Sea is returning for Year 2, Nov. 4-8, 2023 setting sail from Miami to Costa Maya, Mexico!

 

With sustainability and the environment top of mind, in 2021 Franti announced a pledge to join partner REVERB’s Music Climate Revolution, to offset the carbon footprint of all their tours moving forward. This began on the road in Colorado with Franti & Spearhead’s Good Day For A Good Day Weekend from June 4-6th, including one show in Vail, CO followed by three shows at Red Rocks Amphitheater. To keep the good times rolling, Spearhead’s Good Day For A Good Day Tour, kicked off August 2021 and included 20 summer shows in the U.S with co-headline dates from Trombone Shorty, The Revivalists, and Young The Giant plus several sold-out shows and support from Of Good Nature. Alongside the release of his new album, the band will be going on a coast-to-coast tour through the Spring and Summer of 2022, followed by 13 EU/UK shows at the top of 2023. Tickets are on sale now at MichaelFranti.com.

 

In January 2019, Franti released his self-directed documentary Stay Human, which won an array of awards at film festivals worldwide and influenced his writing for his album Stay Human Vol. II (Thirty Tigers), which debuted at No. 1 on both the Americana and Independent Album charts and received critical acclaim from USA Today, Billboard, Associated Press and Paste.

Influenced by the film, Franti’s Stay Human podcast presented by Gibson features creatives from all walks of life, with new episodes available each week.

 

Franti continues to foster community both on and off stage with a wish granting non-profit, Do It For The Love, founded by Franti and his wife, Sara. Do It For The Love brings those with life threatening illnesses, veterans, and children with severe challenges to concerts worldwide, fulfilling over 3,300 wishes and touching the lives of over 12,000 people. Franti also owns Soulshine Bali, a 32-room yoga retreat hotel in Ubud, Bali. Phase 2 of the hotel, including 16 new suites, a new restaurant, 90 mat yoga studio, infinity pool, spa, gym, opens in 2022!

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Dayglow

Dayglow

Performances

June 24 - 6:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Dayglow

Picture it: A soft-focus shot of a bungalow on a leafy residential street. The single-storey house is painted robin’s egg blue and there’s a young man in a plaid suit standing outside the front door in his bare feet. He waves at the camera as the title appears across the lower third of the screen: Harmony House. It stars the lovable one-man-band Sloan Struble, and though you’ve never watched this TV show before, it feels comforting. With that wave, Struble invites you into his world—and his new album.

 

Struble, who records music as Dayglow, explains that his sophomore album began life as an imaginary sitcom. He’d begun writing new music after the release of his runaway 2018 debut Fuzzybrain, and found himself drawn to piano-driven soft rock from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. He was also watching a lot of Cheers, the long-running sitcom that took the viewer to a place where, as the theme song goes, “everybody knows your name.” “At the very beginning, I was writing a soundtrack to a sitcom that doesn't exist,” he says. The music would generate a kind of impossible nostalgia for something that had never been real.

 

Much of Harmony House is about growing up and coping with change; after Fuzzybrain, he left university and decided to fully commit to being a musician. During this time he found a collection of poetry in his family’s house that had been a favorite of his great-grandmother’s. A line of verse there became a lyric on “December,” his favorite song on the album: “So my friend, just remember every year has a December.”

 

Harmony House is about dealing with change and realizing that change is ok, that everything changes and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming,” Struble says. In a perfect coincidence, an inscription in the front of the book indicates that it was a gift to his great-grandmother from a friend. Now the song is a gift to listeners around the world who might need a reminder that change is a necessary part of life’s journey. Like the gifted book of poetry, “December”—and Harmony House as a whole—is an act of kindness.

 

Struble was born and raised in Texas, and wrote the first song he recorded for Harmony House, “Medicine,” while still in his dorm room. After Fuzzybrain, which he wrote mostly on guitar, he decided to write for piano. At 21, he’s now out of school, but as he did on his debut, he writes, produces, records, and mixes all of his music himself—in his bedroom, no less.

 

“I tried to compose these songs in a way that you could just sit down at a piano and play them,” he explains. “That’s the sign of a good song, when it can live on its own musically.”

 

That sort of sturdiness he strives for in his writing makes for timeless music, a quality Harmony House exudes. Even when he’s writing about the sometimes overwhelming experience of contemporary life as it’s lived both digitally and IRL, as he does on the opener “Something,” the melodies are welcoming. In fact, there’s a recurring melody introduced on that first track that appears on every subsequent song. You might not catch it on the first listen, but it’s there anyway, like a gentle hand on your shoulder.

 

Beyond reassurance, the album also encourages you to get up and dance with its single “Close to You,” Dayglow’s first single in over a year and the gateway to Harmony House. Indebted to ‘80s anthems about shy feelings of love, like Whitney Houston’s immortal “How Will I Know,” “Close to You” is like a duet between Struble and his feelings of self-doubt. But the synth’s

 

propel him forward (and you to the dancefloor).

 

Harmony House is a finely calibrated, carefully fussed over expression of encouragement for anyone who needs it. The album ends with “Like Ivy,” a mellow return to the melodic theme introduced on the opening track that describes “growing up like ivy” and the mysterious passage of time. Struble’s boyish and gentle tenor explores its upper limits as he sings the big idea of Harmony House: “I’m learning to grow.” It’s a lesson that never ends.

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Big Boi

Big Boi

Performances

June 23 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Big Boi

Atlanta indisputably set the pace for modern hip-hop. However, Big Boi set the pace for Atlanta, and by proxy, the culture at large. If the genre of hip-hop ever gets its own "Rap Mount Rushmore," a legacy as the region's foremost wordsmith, funkiest gentleman, and resident ATLien certainly guarantees a place for the diamond selling artist, rapper, songwriter, record producer, actor, philanthropist born Antwan André Patton. Big made history as the preeminent spitter of the Dungeon Family and one-half of OutKast. The legendary duo sold 25 million albums and garnered seven GRAMMY® Awards, becoming the first and only hip-hop artist in history to win the GRAMMY® for "Album of the Year" upon release of their 2003 RIAA Diamond-certified Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Big Boi made his proper introduction as a solo artist in 2010 with Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. A modern classic, it captured #3 on the Billboard Top 200 and landed on Pitchfork's "100 Best Albums of the Decade 'So Far.'" Following a succession of high-profile album releases, Big Boi released his most recent album Boomiverse in 2017. The smash single "All Night" sound tracked a high-profile Apple Animoji commercial, blew up radio, and clocked 40 million streams within a year. The song also hit the Top 30 on the pop chart and Top 10 at Rhythmic. In addition to his music career, the Hip-Hop legend recently announced that he will be the executive producer for a new crime series titled Government Records. He also signed a deal with Bread and Butter Content Studio to produce Big Boi's Gotta Eat, an upcoming series to find the freshest seafood and unique food culture coast to coast, with an energy that only Big Boi can bring.

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Rick Springfield

Rick Springfield

Performances

July 9 - 9:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Rick Springfield

Over the past four decades, Rick Springfield has worn many hats as an entertainer and performer. The creator of some of the finest power-pop of the ’80s, a Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and musician who has sold 25 million albums and scored 17 U.S. Top 40 hits, including “Jessie’s Girl,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “An Affair of the Heart,” “I've Done Everything for You,” “Love Somebody,” and “Human Touch.”

 

He’s an accomplished actor who starred opposite Meryl Streep in the feature film Ricki and the Flash and gave a chameleonic performance as the creepy Dr. Irving Pitlor in HBO’s prestige drama True Detective, earned great reviews for his portrayal of Lucifer on the CW hit Supernatural and  most recently played the insane Pastor Charles on FX’s worldwide hit series American Horror Story.

 

He’s also a talented author — both his candid 2010 memoir Late, Late at Night (which Rolling Stone named one of the 25 greatest rock memoirs of all time) and his 2014 comedic novel Magnificent Vibration earned rave reviews and spots on the New York Times Best Sellers’ list. In 2013, Springfield wrote and recorded “The Man That Never Was” with Dave Grohl for the soundtrack to Sound City — the Foo Fighters’ frontman’s documentary about the San Fernando Valley recording studio that was Springfield’s home away from home (his manager owned the building). Rolling Stone called Springfield’s touching interview in the film its “breakout story.” In 2014, Springfield was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located around the corner from the first apartment he lived in when he first arrived in the U.S. from Australia in 1971.

 

That Springfield has not only enjoyed longevity, but remained vibrant and relevant at a time when many veteran artists would be resting on past laurels led Rolling Stone to dub this stage of his career “The Rickonaissance.” “I guess it may appear like that, but in my head, I’ve never really left,” Springfield says. “I think it’s really important to stay connected to the vitality of your career. I have a certain pride that I'm not a total nostalgia act. I've never been the guy who hung the platinum albums on my walls because, to me, it was looking back. I'm very passionate about moving forward. I have to write new music. I have to record. I’m always working on the live shows. I have to always be working, otherwise I think I’d just turn to smoke and disappear.”

 

 

In 2019, Springfield, released his seventeenth studio album, “Orchestrating My Life,” a career-defining re-visitation of a lifetime of hits from the Australian-born rocker. The album is a collection all the hits the public loves re-recorded with an electrifying mix of rock and accompanied by a full orchestra. It also includes a brand-new song, Irreplaceable, a song dedicated to Rick’s mother who passed away in 2017.  Rick toured and continues to tour this record with symphony orchestras throughout the US and world.

 

Music has always been a healing force in the Australian-born Springfield’s life. The son of an Army officer, Rick and his family moved every two years. “Which meant every time I made a friend, I knew I’d be leaving him,” he says. “It was super stressful for me. I’d go to a new school and go through the trauma of trying to fit in.” Books and records became his savior. Then at age 11, he encountered his first guitar. “This kid brought one to a Christmas fair at my school in England and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen,” Springfield recalls. “He let me hold it. I hit two strings and the two strings happened to be the first couple of notes of the theme song to my favorite cowboy show at the time, Cheyenne. I realized instantly I could play the guitar. Some guys fall in love with cars, some with football teams. I fell in love with guitars.”

 

It has been a long and fruitful affair, and one that has gifted him with a powerful connection to his legions of devoted fans, who pack his annual fan getaway events, as well as the nearly 100 shows a year he performs both with his band and solo in an intimate “storyteller” setting that he captured on the 2015 CD/DVD and concert film Stripped Down. Though too self-deprecating to discuss his immense appeal, he will acknowledge that the fans connect with him through the music. “I guess they think I'm honest,” he says. “They must like my approach, what I write about. I think they like that I have a sense of humor in it at times. Because the ‘cute’ thing isn't going to last forever.”

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The Trews

The Trews

Performances

June 25 - 8:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

The Trews

Judging by the boldness of their choices, you’d never guess the Trews are 10 years, five studio albums and thousands of gigs into their highly celebrated career. Clearly, someone forgot to tell them that bands are supposed to become more predictable as the years go by, not less so.

With 2 Gold Albums in Canada (350,000+ catalogue sales), 13 Top 10 Rock Radio singles in Canada including two #1’s, 1000+ shows worldwide to date, including support for Rolling Stones, KISS, Robert Plant, Guns ‘n Roses, Kid Rock and Bruce Springsteen, and nominations for “Best New Band” by both Classic Rock Magazine, UK and SPIN.com it’s no wonder The Trews are one of Canada’s biggest rock bands!

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Milky Chance

Milky Chance

Performances

July 7 - 6:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Milky Chance

In the years since posting their first tracks to YouTube, Milky Chance have racked up billions of streams, headlined massive sold-out concerts around the world, performed on nearly every late night show, and played iconic festivals from Coachella and Lollapalooza to Bonnaroo and ACL. But when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the breakout German duo to cancel an entire year’s worth of tour dates, guitarist/singer Clemens Rehbein and bassist/percussionist Phillipp Dausch found themselves right back where they started nearly a decade ago: just two music-loving friends with nothing but time and ambition on their hands. 

 

“It felt like the early days all over again,” says Rehbein. “Without any schedules or deadlines, we were back to making music for ourselves, free to experiment and take risks and have fun with it.”

 

It’s boundless sense of possibility that fuels the duo’s addictive new single (and first fully independent release), “Colorado.” Written and recorded in Berlin, the track finds the band breaking new sonic ground, mixing punk rock grit with electro-pop shine as they transform the pain of heartbreak into something utterly transcendent.

 

“If there’s a silver lining to the past year,” says Dausch, “it’s been the chance to take our sound to places we might never otherwise have gone. Having a break like this really offered us the space to grow as artists.”

 

Milky Chance may have come a long way over the past decade, but these days, they’re happy to be right back where they started.

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Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren

Performances

June 30 - 9:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Todd Rundgren

A Wizard, A True Star. The title of Todd Rundgren's 1973 solo album aptly sums up the contributions of this multi-faceted artist to state-of-the-art music. As a songwriter, video pioneer, producer, recording artist, computer software developer, conceptualist, and interactive artist (re-designated TR- i), Rundgren has made a lasting impact on both the form and content of popular music.

 

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Rundgren began playing guitar as a teenager, going on to found and front The Nazz, the quintessential `60's psychedelic group. In 1969, he left the band to pursue a solo career, recording his debut offering, the legendary Runt. But it was 1972's seminal Something/Anything?, on which he played all the instruments, sang all the vocal parts, and acted as his own producer, that catapulted Todd into the superstar limelight, prompting the press to unanimously dub him 'Rock's New Wunderkind'. It was followed by such landmark LPs as The Hermit of Mink Hollow and the above mentioned A Wizard, A True Star, as well as such hit singles as I Saw The Light, Hello It's Me, Can We Still Be Friends, and Bang The Drum.

 

In 1974, Todd formed Todd Rundgren’s Utopia (renamed and reconfigured in 1976 as Utopia), an entirely new approach to the concept of interactive musicianship, and embarked on an extensive round of touring and recording. Standout Utopia offerings included Oops! Wrong Planet, Adventures in Utopia, and Oblivion. Along the way, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia combined technical virtuosity and creative passion to create music that initially, for millions, defined the term "progressive rock”, and subsequently, as Utopia, the term “powerpop”.

 

Rundgren's myriad production projects include albums by Patti Smith, Cheap Trick, Psychedelic Furs, Meat Loaf, XTC, Grand Funk Railroad, and Hall And Oates. Rounding out his reputation as rock's Renaissance Man, Rundgren composed all the music and lyrics for Joe Papp's 1989 Off-Broadway production of Joe Orton's Up Against It (the screenplay commissioned by The Beatles for what was

 

meant to have been their third motion picture). He also has composed the music for the hit film Dumb and Dumber, as well as a number of television series, including Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Crime Story.

 

In 2009 Rundgren performed his iconic 1973 album A Wizard A True Star in concert in its entirety for the first time ever, and several years later did the same with a double bill: Todd & Healing. He has toured with Ringo Starr as an erstwhile member of the All-Starr Band since 1989, and continues to perform with symphony orchestras both domestically and internationally. In 2018 he toured North America with original Utopians Kasim Sulton and Willie Wilcox for the first time in 33 years. His long-awaited autobiography The Individualist, was recently released; he’s currently in the second year of the world’s first hybrid concert/book tour highlighting music across his 50-plus-year career.

 

In 2017 on successive weekends he was awarded honorary doctorates from both the Berklee School of Music and DePauw University.

 

In 1998 Todd debuted his new PatroNet technology which for the first time allowed fans of a musical artist to subscribe directly to the artist’s musical output via the Internet. This caps a long history of groundbreaking early multimedia "firsts", including:

 

  • 1978: The first interactive television concert, broadcast live over the Warner/QUBE system in Columbus, Ohio (the home audience chose each song.in real time during the concert by voting via QUBE’s 2-way operating system).
  • 1978: The first live nationally broadcast stereo radio rock concert (by microwave), linking 40 cities around the country.
  • 1979: The opening of Utopia Video Studios, a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art facility. The first project produced by Todd there is Gustav Holst’s The Planets, commissioned by RCA Selecta Vision as the first demonstration software for their new videodisc format.
  • 1980: Creation of the first color graphics tablet, which was licensed to Apple and commercially released as The Utopia Graphics Tablet.
  • 1981: Time Heals, the first music video to utilize state-of-the-art compositing of live action and computer graphics (produced and directed by Todd), becomes the eighth video to be played during the launch of MTV on August 1, 1981.
  • 1982: The first live national cablecast of a rock concert (on the USA Network), simulcast in stereo to over 120 radio stations.
  • 1982: The first two commercially released music videos, one of which was nominated for the first-ever Grammy awarded for “Best Short Form Video” in 1983.
  • 1992: The first commercially available music downloads via CompuServe.
  • 1993: The release of “No World Order”, the world’s first interactive record album on CD-i.
  • 1994: The release of “The Individualist”, the world’s first full-length Enhanced CD.
  • 1994: The world’s first interactive concert tour.
  • 1998: Launches PatroNet, the world’s first direct artist subscription service -- predicts that someday "music will be sold by the pound".
  • 2016: The production of the world's first full length concert shot with multiple Virtual Reality 360º cameras.
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Stone Temple Pilots

Stone Temple Pilots

Performances

July 1 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Stone Temple Pilots

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KC & the Sunshine Band

KC & the Sunshine Band

Performances

July 2 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

KC & the Sunshine Band

KC and the Sunshine Band are still as widely popular today as they were when they first danced into the music scene 40 years ago.  Harry Wayne Casey – KC for short – developed a unique fusion of R&B and funk, with a hint of a Latin percussion groove, giving us an impressive string of hits like “GET DOWN TONIGHT”, “THAT’S THE WAY (I LIKE IT)” and “SHAKE YOUR BOOTY”. With sales of over 100 million records, nine Grammy nominations, three Grammy Awards and an American Music Award, KC and the Sunshine Band was one of the most progressive bands of the 70’s and is credited with changing the sound of modern pop music!

 

KC and the Sunshine Band play over 100 live shows annually, circling the country and playing dates regularly throughout Europe, Australia and South America. In 2008, KC celebrated 35 years entertaining us, writing songs, performing around the world and he has no intention of stopping.  KC’s songs have stood the test of time and you can ask any one of the thousands of fans who spend the entire concert on their feet, dancing and shaking their booty.

 

The band released their latest single, “Movin’ Your Body,” on June 2, 2017. Written by founder, Harry Wayne Casey (KC), the song impacted the Billboard Dance Chart at No. 46 giving him his fourth consecutive Billboard Dance charting single. “With all the tension in the world right now, I wanted to write a song to help people escape and leave their worries behind,” said Casey. “I want people to get onto the dance floor and shake their booty, like we did in the old days and are still doing today.” 

 

The deluxe remix collection features hot versions of the single served up by a who’s-who of dancefloor deliverers, including the legendary Tony Moran and Brian Cua, Ralphi Rosario, Eric Kupper, Bob Rosa, LA Rush, Vauxhill, Joe Gillan, Serbiscan and Mark Hagan. 

 

KC and the Sunshine Band released, Feeling You! The 60s, in March 2015, their first album in over a decade. The album is a tribute to the era that shaped H.W. Casey into the revolutionary artist he became in the 70s, as a young person becoming acquainted with the world around him. Just like the rest of America during that time he was shaped by the music, conflicts, innocence, sex, social and political movements and counterculture of the era – which led to him founding the Dance Revolution and teaching the world how to boogie. “The widespread social and political issues of the 1960s was, in part, the inspiration to do something that would make people forget about their problems and be happy,” said Casey. “People were looking for something that would divert their attention from the negative aspects of everyday life surrounding them.”

 

Part one of the two-part Feeling You project, the release featured covers of songs by sixties legends Bob Dylan, Ben E. King, The Kinks, The Righteous Brothers, Jackie DeShannon, Aaron Neville and many more. “I’m excited for my fans to hear this album,” said Casey. “I really went outside of the box vocally and creatively. Feeling You! The 60s is autobiographical, showing how I feel about love, life and the world through the music of that era.”

 

Continuing his legacy as The Founder of The Dance Revolution, just a few years ago, KC headlined KC’s Boogie Blast: The Ultimate Dance Party tour with stops throughout the US and Canada.  The dance extravaganza also featured Gloria Gaynor, Sister Sledge and fellow ‘SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER’ soundtrack alums Tavares.

 

H.W. Casey started working in the music business at age 17, performing menial tasks around the T.K. Records/Studio complex in his hometown of Miami.  The Sunshine Band originated in 1973.  Their first record, ‘BLOW YOUR WHISTLE’, made the top 15 on the R&B chart.  Their second album, ‘KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND’, was released in 1975, went triple platinum and contained the #1 hits “GET DOWN TONIGHT”, “THAT’S THE WAY (I LIKE IT)”, “BOOGIE SHOES” and “ROCK YOUR BABY”.   KC and the Sunshine Band became the first act to score four #1 pop singles in one 12-month period since the Beatles in 1964.  Three of those singles crossed over to become #1 R&B, as well.

 

KC’s third album, PART 3, released in 1976, also went triple platinum and contained the #1 singles “I’M YOUR BOOGIE MAN”, “SHAKE YOUR BOOTY” and “KEEP IT COMIN’ LOVE”.  The band’s string of hit singles continued with “BOOGIE SHOES”, which was included on the ‘SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER’ soundtrack, “PLEASE DON’T GO”, and “YES, I’M READY”, a duet with high school friend Teri DeSario.  KC returned to the charts in 1983 with “GIVE IT UP”, which also hit #1 in the UK.

 

KC won a songwriting Grammy in 1976 for best R&B song for “WHERE IS THE LOVE”, which was recorded by Betty Wright.  He also received Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, as well as Producer of the Year in 1978 for his work on the ‘SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER’ soundtrack.  

 

In 1975 he won the American Music Award for Best R&B Artist.  In 2001, KC was honored with the NARAS Governor’s Award, the highest honor given by a chapter of the Academy.

 

KC’s music continues to be a favorite today.  His songs have appeared in ads for companies like General Motors, Burger King, Payless Shoes, Papa Jon’s Pizza, Old Navy, and Nick at Night.  

His music has also been featured in over 200 commercials and movies such as Forrest Gump (“Get Down Tonight”), Boogie Nights (“Boogie Shoes”), Boys Don’t Cry (“Rock Your Baby”), Rush Hour (“Get Down Tonight”), Carlito’s Way (“Rock Your Baby”, “Shake Your Booty” and “That’s The Way I Like It”), and Austin Powers in Goldmember.  In the summer of 2003, KC had a cameo in the feature film The In-Laws starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks.  

 

KC’s songs are regularly heard at sporting events, featured during Opening Ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy and performing a free concert in Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.  No stranger to the small screen, KC’s songs have been featured in such shows as Desperate HousewivesAlly McBeal, American Bandstand’s 50th Anniversary Party and most recently on American Idol and Dancing With The Stars with the help of the USC marching band.  KC and the Sunshine Band have the distinction of having made more appearances on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve than any other artist in the program’s history!

 

Music acts like White Zombie, Baha Men, Beyoncé Knowles and American Idols Kelly & Justin have covered his music.  Additionally, KC and the Sunshine Band’s grooves and bass lines have been sampled in everything from R&B by R. Kelly to Rap by Snoop Dogg and Trick Daddy to Dance by Ultra Nate and many, many more.

From the time of his biggest hits, KC has toured regularly in the U.S., Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.  In 1995, he recorded ‘Get Down Live,’ a concert album that was gleaned from his performances in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Peru and Melbourne, Australia.  KC’s ‘The Best of KC and the Sunshine Band’ went gold in 1999.  KC and The Sunshine Band celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1999 with a commemorative double CD release titled ‘The 25th Anniversary Collection,’ and in fall of 2001, KC released an album of all-new material entitled ‘I’ll Be There For You.’  Proceeds from the title song, released as a single, were donated to the September 11 relief effort.  From the beginning, KC and the Sunshine Band wrote songs that spoke to a generation and in the 90’s a new generation began discovering disco with fresh ears and that discovery continues to this day.

In 2002 KC received the coveted Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where Dick Clark and music producer Michael Lloyd turned out to honor him.   This particular honor represents the passion that KC has in writing music, implementing elements of various eras with his songs being a powerful signature from a passionate veteran craftsman.

That’s The Way I Like It – The Harry Wayne Casey Story, a book that chronicles KC’s career, was published in the Fall of 2002.

You can count on hearing his music on the radio, at a nightclub, at the movies, in a sports arena or at one of the 100-plus concerts KC and the Sunshine Band plays every year.  It is always fun and truly makes all who hear it happy enough to dance!

 

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for KING & COUNTRY

for KING & COUNTRY

Performances

July 9 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

for KING & COUNTRY

Two-time GRAMMY award-winning duo for KING & COUNTRY makes a powerful statement with their much-anticipated third album, Burn the Ships, an epic, sweeping musical landscape that explores themes of new beginnings, forgiveness, hope, and love.

            The album’s soaring debut and GRAMMY® nominated single, “joy,” which features a 100-person choir and a hypnotic wave of rhythm and electronic sounds, hit No. 1 and has been streamed more than 18 million times. The lyrics cut through the cacophony of societal noise to remind us about what is important: “Oh, hear my prayer tonight. ‘Cause this is do or die. The time has come to make a choice. I choose joy.”

            The inspiring pop masterpiece also represents the exciting adventure into unchartered territory for brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, who were propelled into superstardom with the release of their critically acclaimed sophomore album, RUN WILD. LIVE FREE. LOVE STRONG., which debuted at No. 1 on iTunes and was certified gold. In addition to winning two GRAMMYs and four Dove Awards, the duo performed internationally on a hugely successful 60-date arena tour.

            They have garnered four No. 1s (“joy,” “Priceless,” “Fix My Eyes,” and “Shoulders”), nine Top 10 hits, and had songs featured on the Emmys, Super Bowl, Sunday Night Football and many other high-profile events, including performances on The Tonight Show, Today and Jimmy Kimmel Live!

            But as they reveal in Burn the Ships, there is no looking back, no resting on their laurels. There is much more to explore and explain, especially during this time of great unrest when answers don’t seem immediately apparent. With a new level of vulnerability and honesty, they wrote every song on this project, which they also co-produced with longtime collaborators Aqualung, Tedd T. and Seth Mosely. “It isn’t perfect – far from it – but there is a sense of truthfulness and a heart and a personality and an ideology behind this record,” Joel says. “It feels like the most mature version of for KING & COUNTRY.”

            The title track was inspired by a 1500s Spanish explorer who boldly landed his ships on enemy shores without any knowledge of what awaited his arrival. To ensure that the men were committed to their mission, he proclaimed, “Burn the ships!” The only way to go was onward; retreat was not an option.

            “That is the big statement that this collection of songs is making,” says Luke. “We don’t want to live in the past; we want to move forward. There are things in everybody’s pasts that you have to get rid of—in some cases physically burn and in other cases you just need to get rid of them however you can emotionally. For us, that is the name that represents this collection of art and work best.”

            These songs fit in perfectly with today’s pop music arena, where artists ranging from Kesha to Drake are exploring themes of religion, prayer and God. The Smallbones’ words are a soothing salve for a hurting nation in need of healing.

            “People are hungry for truth and hope,” Luke says. “I don’t think they want something that is false. So when it comes to people seeking out God, they are receptive because they are trying to figure out what is true and real. I think that is a good thing. I hope our music can play a role in that, but ultimately people have to figure it out for themselves.”

            Burn the Ships may be the duo’s most personal work to date because the songs are about some of the most meaningful and terrifying moments of their lives. For instance, “Need You More” was inspired by the near-death of Luke’s infant son, Leo. His wife Courtney found Leo in his crib, blue from not breathing. She began CPR while praying over their son, who soon came back to life. While driving to the hospital, the words, “I need you more/more than ever before,” came to Luke, who hit record on his phone. That original recording, including sounds from the car, was included in the final mix.

            “My hope is that if I have gone through some form of suffering, maybe there is someone else who has gone through something similar who can take a bit of hope that there was someone else just like them,” Luke says. “I feel like God has given me these struggles to share those stories.”

            “joy.” was inspired by Luke’s late-night marathon scrolling through social media. “I couldn’t articulate in that moment why I was sad, but it sent me on a pilgrimage, and that is where ‘joy’ came from.” I realized I needed to do something if I want to have joy. I can’t just scroll and find it.”

            While “Fight On, Fighter” continues the duo’s focus on a woman’s worth, it is first and foremost a musical letter of support to their wives.

            Joel and Luke, who have become American citizens, learned about hope, love and support from their tight-knit family. Their parents raised seven children in Sydney, Australia, before moving to Nashville in 1991. Music became the family business. Their charismatic father was a music promoter and sister Rebecca St. James became a successful Christian music artist, so the duo’s teen years were spent working as part of her road crew.

            When Luke was 19 and Joel was 21, they formed a band and began writing and recording the body of work that would become for KING & COUNTRY. They released their debut album, Crave, in 2012 and won New Artist of the Year at the 2013 Dove Awards, where they received six nominations.

            In what has become a full-circle moment, they wrote “Never Give Up” with sister Rebecca for the new album. Once novices, they are now their sister’s peers and have a shared understanding of the difficulties of being frequently away from home. “We learned the craft of music and fell in love with it on the road with Rebecca, “ Joel says. “In some ways, for KING & COUNTRY is a legacy band of Rebecca’s. It’s a real special moment to be able to have that creative collaboration after all of these years with her.”

            The album’s theme of adventure and exploration ends poetically with “Pioneers,” a lush song about the romance and realities of long-term commitment. Fittingly, wives Moriah and Courtney join them on the final track. “In a time where commitment can be hard to come by—the through-thick-and-thin/death-do-us-part kind of commitment—it’s a song that celebrates that kind of love,” Joel says.

            Perhaps it’s no surprise that the duo felt compelled to embark on this musical pilgrimage because they have been two of our most prescient storytellers in recent years, addressing issues even before they became part of the national conversation. It’s as if they know what we need to hear exactly when we need to hear it. For instance, their 2016 No. 1 hit “Priceless”, which also inspired the Smallbones’ human-trafficking themed movie by the same name, celebrates a woman’s worth. Several years before the #MeToo phenomenon, the Smallbones sparked a movement highlighting a woman’s value that continues to grow and evolve today.

            They began writing and recording songs about hope and love several years ago for Burn The Ships, messages that are vital during these tumultuous times. Their music provides answers, comfort and affirmation, while offering a constant reminder that we aren’t alone, even in our darkest times.  “We never want to be a voice of critique or criticism, but a voice of, ‘Maybe if we shifted our perspective, what would we see?’ That is the beauty of music,” Joel says. “We ask the questions of ourselves: ‘I want to have joy. I want to find a way. When I am faced with despair, struggle or hardship, what can I do?’”

            Luke adds, ” The thing I am most proud of with this album is that when I look at all 10 songs, they all have a special place in my heart and there is a real significant story with each one. This album is about those songs in our hearts being exposed to others, and hopefully others will expose their hearts too.”

In Winter 2019 Joel & Luke are performing in their Australian homeland for the very first time as part of the burn the ships | world tour and have sold out 6 of the 7 Australian cities, including the iconic Sydney Opera House.

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Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco

Performances

July 2 - 10:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Lupe Fiasco

Chicago-born, Grammy Award-winning rapper Lupe Fiasco gained national attention with his 2006 album Food & Liquor, which helped cement a new wave of Chicago rappers in the national conversation. Revisit the album that put Lupe Fiasco on the map, and changed the course of Chicago hip-hop forever.

 

The independent rapper who parted ways with his former label, Atlantic Records, following the release of 2015’s Tetsuo & Youth, is pegged as one of the most gifted lyricists and visionaries to grace the mic.  Rising to fame in 2006 following the success of his debut album, Food & Liquor, Lupe has released six acclaimed studio albums; Drogas Light, released in 2017 on his own label, 1st & 15th.   These albums have netted 3 platinum singles, 3 RIAA Gold Certifications, 12 Grammy nominations and one Grammy Award in 2008 for his infectious single, “Daydreamin,” feat Jill Scott.  With a trilogy of albums set for 2018 and beyond, Lupe is at his creative peak as an artist.  Most recently, Drogas Wave released on September 21st, 2018 via 1st & 15th. His efforts to propagate conscious material helped solidify him as GQ’s Man of the Year in 2006, and garnered recognition as a Henry Crown Fellow.

 

While musical genius and ingenuity are at the forefront of Lupe’s achievements, the artist extends his innovation to projects that aim to foster creative discourse and opportunities in underprivileged and impoverished communities.  As the co-founder and co-owner of community initiatives such as, We Are M.U.R.A.L, The Neighborhood Start-Up Fund, Society of Spoken Art, and Studio SV, Lupe Fiasco proves that he is more than just a mouthpiece for change, but a committed facilitator of intellectual community discourse and outreach.

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Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

Performances

June 23 - 4:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

Femi Kuti was born Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti on June 12, 1962 in London.  He is the eldest son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, and grandchild of traditional Nigerian aristocrat, political and women's rights activist Funmilayo Ransome Kuti.  He grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, where at age 15 he started playing saxophone in his father's band, Egypt 80. 

In 1986 Femi formed his own band, The Positive Force, with his sisters Yeni and Sola as the lead dancers, where he began establishing himself as an artist independent of his father's massive legacy.  The band’s first show was at the University of Lagos in that same year. 

His first record, No Cause for Alarm, was released in 1989 (Polygram) followed by MYOB in 1991 (Kalakuta Records).  Four years later he released title album, Femi Kuti (Tabu/Motown), and then in 1998 Shoki Shoki (MCA), which garnered widespread critical acclaim.  In 2000 he opened The New Africa Shrine, his nightclub in Lagos, where he later recorded the live album Africa Shrine (2004).  In 2001, he collaborated with Common and Mos Def on Fight to Win (MCA), which garnered Femi's first Grammy nomination in 2003, and started touring the United States with Jane’s Addiction. 

After releasing the live album Africa Shrine in 2004, there was a four year absence from recording due to personal setbacks, and Femi re-emerged releasing Day by Day (Wrasse) in 2008 and Africa for Africa (Knitting Factory) in 2010, both of which earned Grammy nominations.  In 2012, he was both inducted into the Headies Hall of Fame (the most prestigious music awards in Nigeria) and was the opening act on the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ European Tour.  His 2013 album, No Place for My Dream (Knitting Factory), garnered a fourth Grammy nod. 

Like his father, Femi has shown a strong commitment to social and political causes throughout his career and continues to fight for a free and fair Nigeria.  In 2012, he became an Ambassador for Amnesty International helping the organization to spread its human rights message across the world. 

This summer, Femi Kuti and the Positive Force are bringing their high energy Afrobeat back to North America for an extensive tour.

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Anthrax

Anthrax

Performances

June 23 - 10:00 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Anthrax

TV has soap operas, literature has Shakespeare, and metal – well, metal has Anthrax, that fire-breathing, thrash-spitting, multi-headed beast of a band that – 30 years since the day Scott Ian and then-bassist Danny Lilker searched a biology textbook for the disease that would become their moniker – smiles back at you with a monstrous, upturned middle finger and refuses to fucking die. But then, if you have an inkling about heavy metal, you’ll have heard of their meteoric rise in the 80s alongside the likes of Slayer, Megadeth, and a little band that once crashed on Anthrax’s studio floor known as Metallica. You’ll know all about their game-changing, crossover hit with Public Enemy on Bring The Noise in 1991. You’ll have listened to generations of bands that owe everything to their signature stomp and crushing riffs. And in more recent times, you’ll have witnessed an almost irrational will to survive in defiance of monumental odds. And that, true believers, is the story of one of the most doggedly heroic bands in metaldom on the cusp of their greatest release to date. The road has not been easy.

 

Rewind to 2005. Hot on the heels of 2003′s rapturously received We’ve Come For You All, a unanimously praised, end-to-end scorcher spearheaded by vocalist John Bush, Anthrax shocked the metal world with the announcement that singer Joey Belladonna would be re-joining the band for a classic, 80s-era reunion that would sweep them around the world on a wave of head-banging nostalgia, but more importantly, reconnecting the band as friends and as the brutal thrash machine that gave the world Among The Living.

Once that tour finished, Anthrax returned to discover that John Bush had moved on, and they would need to recruit yet another singer for the recording of their follow-up to WCFYA, the album that would become Worship Music, their tenth studio album. The band worked with one singer for a period of time, but in 2009, they were still without the right vocalist.

“There was no way I was going to let anything derail my life’s work,” says Scott Ian. “We’ve been through more drama than most bands experience in a lifetime. Granted, we didn’t have to deal with somebody dying or some tragic situation but at the same time we really did face an uncertain future. For lack of a better way to explain it, I am a tenacious prick, and if I want something to happen I will make it so. It’s always been like that. It touches on the 30th anniversary. I think back to July 18, 1981. Danny Lilker and I were friends and I always said to him, ‘when White Heat [Lilker’s band at the time] break up, we’re forming Anthrax,’ and he was like, ‘we’re not breaking up.’ I’ve always been like that, and with such an amazing record to put out, there’s no way I was going to let anything screw that up.”

Refusing to accept their predicament, the remaining members rallied themselves in a spine-tingling gesture of conviction and self-belief for what would become the single greatest metal event of the 21st century, the first-ever performance of The Big 4. According to Charlie Benante, getting the band’s proverbial excrement together for that gig was just the motivation that Anthrax needed to spit out the blood and get back on their feet.
“The genesis of this whole Big 4 idea – and you could say the idea of getting Joey back in the band full time – was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Benante continues. “It was me, Lars, and Scott talking at the bar, bullshitting, and Lars just blurted it out. It was such a surreal moment, we weren’t sure if he was taking the piss out of us and all of a sudden it just happened. It made us really say ‘we need to step this up and get this thing going.’ It was because of that that we were pushed into this direction. Metallica gave us the kick in the ass that we needed.”
“Joey was the band’s vocalist from ’85 to ’92, the time period when ‘The Big Four’ started,” added Scott, “so we felt he had to be the guy to represent us on these Big Four shows, and he had to be the guy on the new record.”

Rob Caggiano picks up the story – “So Charlie called Joey, they started talking and Joey expressed an interest. Then we all met with him in New York and while the vibe was really good, none of us really knew what to expect. Then we did the first Big 4 show with Joey, I think that’s when we all knew that this was right. The vibe was amazing, he sounds better than he’s ever sounded, including the reunion tour.”

Reuniting with Joey Belladonna for a whirlwind, globe-stomping tour that would see Anthrax playing shoulder to shoulder with Slayer, Megadeth and old pals Metallica, the explosive success of The Big 4 would suddenly beg the question of what would happen next, and more to the point: who would sing on Worship Music, and how would Anthrax approach the follow-up to We’ve Come For You All? It wasn’t easy, but – from the ferocious attack of “Earth on Hell” to the red-blooded might of “Fight’em ‘Til You Can’t,” the results have been nothing less than horn-conjuring.

“The majority of this record was about 55% done before we even had a singer in mind,” explains Charlie. “It was me, Scott and Frankie in our rehearsal room, the same way we wrote Spreading the Disease – with no singer in mind. But I’ll never forget the day I first heard Joey singing, I got goosebumps, I got excited – all I could think of in my mind was ‘how will he sing this song’ and it was just amazing to me. Every time I heard the next song I would be like, ‘this rules.’”

“The process leading up to it was painful but I think being in Anthrax is painful,” says bassist Frank Bello with a laugh. “I think everything happens for a reason and to listen to this record now, this is the reason it had to happen that way, and I am loving Joey’s voice. I’m listening and I’m thinking ‘you know I can’t tell you when he sang better.’ I’m not gonna kiss his ass that much but I really think the guy just doesn’t age. He weirds me out because he just goes out there and sings like a bird, amazingly, with power. He came into a hard situation. He really rose to it. When Joey came in it was like the icing on the cake for me. ”

Joey agrees: “It’s not easy to throw someone in there and try to wash away what you’ve done and how you’ve done it,” says Joey. “I feel honored, but I also feel like I’ve done a lot to be there, I wasn’t just saying ‘oh I’ve got a chance again.’ I just thought I’d be who I was without being like ‘can I be like someone else?’ I just went in and sang with the best intentions. I just did whatever came from my heart to the best of my abilities, and it worked.”

 

And that is an understatement. Co-produced by Rob Caggiano and Jay Ruston (both Grammy-nominated producers), the album takes its name from one of Charlie’s late-night bouts of insomnia where, while flipping through TV channels he stumbled upon a religious-themed infomercial entitled “Worship Music.” A fitting sentiment for an undeniable masterwork of skewering melodies powered by herculean riffage and a tunefulness that bespeaks Anthrax’s utter supremacy as songwriters. From the haunting, ethereal tones of “Worship” – an atmospheric piece composed by Charlie himself – to the punch-in-the-face assault of opening track “Earth On Hell,” the results are positively badass. But that isn’t to say Worship Music is without its deeper subtexts.

“The song “In the End” has a melancholy feel to it,” says Charlie. “It has nothing to do with the band, but two people who had a lot to do with our band, Dimebag and Ronnie James Dio. They were both heroes and huge influences on us. Darrell played on the last three Anthrax records, a sixth member if you will, and Ronnie was always a champion for us, taking us on tour, just being so amazing to us always. It had to be made, and it was very cathartic.”

“It’s just an epic piece of music,” adds Scott. “Of course in the back of my mind I was thinking, ‘if somehow I could get this in the lyrics without it being completely cornball, that song would just lend itself to expressing the feelings and emotions about how we felt about what those guys meant to us — Did we ever tell you how much we loved you tearing my head off tearing my face off ripping my heart out.” I meant that in a good way. The first time I ever heard Ronnie James Dio, my world was fucked forever.”

Of course, Worship Music also features a far more obvious musical tribute about Anthrax’s greatest inspiration, Judas Priest, mysteriously entitled… “Judas Priest.”

“We wrote it right at the time the announcement came that they were retiring,” says Scott. “I just got so bummed out about it, almost the same way I felt with Ronnie dying or Darrell getting killed, it was a similar emotion, like: ‘is this what it’s like now, I’m just going to see my heroes go?’ It kind of depressed me. The thought of a world without Judas Priest is just weird, so I remember talking to Charlie and we agreed we should just write a song called ‘Judas Priest.’ It was such an overtly, metal song, and that in of itself is the tribute.”

Alongside the colossal crescendo of “Crawl” and the irresistible catchiness of “The Devil You Know,” Worship Music is a record of mass destruction to be released upon the world, and to the delight of fans everywhere it already began when, in July, the Anthrax.com was updated with new artwork by universally acclaimed comic artist Alex Ross and an offering of “Fight’em ‘Til You Can’t” as a free download that swept across the internet like a thrash metal hurricane.

“Basically, we made our fans wait so long so it was like ‘why make our fans pay for it?” says Charlie. “They’ve waited so long, so here’s a gift.’”
“’Fight’em ‘Til You Can’t’ is about humans fighting the Cylons,” adds Scott, referring to the title’s relationship to a famous line in the recently re-imagined space epic “Battlestar Galactica.” “My take is more Zombie-oriented than Cylon oriented, but I think you could absolutely read it as Anthrax fighting until we can’t. I’m sure that was in the back of my mind. As much as I like the idea of it just being a fun-filled Zombie killing romp, that emotional thread pretty much runs through everything I’m doing lyrically, you can’t keep me down, I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do.”

Given that this year Anthrax celebrates its 30th anniversary of fighting the good fight, Scott’s sentiment is a poignant one. So how does it feel to be releasing a new record over three decades since you began?

“It freaks me out actually, that that much time has gone by,” says Charlie. “In my mind I still feel like the same person from back then, but if we were to do this ten years ago, I would be more concerned about staying relevant and this time I could care less about staying relevant. It’s about doing what I think our fans enjoy.

“I truly can’t put it into any kind of context because we’re just so busy, you know? We’re sitting here with this setup of a record in the middle of playing shows with so much going on, so I guess I could say nothing is changed, things are exactly the same as when we’re working toward the next thing and that’s maybe somehow some way we’ve always been able to move forward, always looking forward and never stopping – it’s never been that way with Anthrax, even just this constant struggle to find band members who would commit to rehearsing for four nights a week and having to fire them, it was constantly moving forward until we recorded Fistful of Metal, well we’ve gotta go on tour and sell t-shirts, and we’ve gotta get rid of Neil Turbin, and then we found Joey… In 2011 my day is still filled with what’s happening with Anthrax, and I love this new record and how it represents our whole career in Anthrax. I can’t wait for people to hear it.
*****
Over the past 30 years, Anthrax has achieved sales in excess of 10-million. The band has also received multiple Gold and Platinum albums, multiple Grammy nominations, and a host of other accolades from the media, industry and fans.

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Violent Femmes

Violent Femmes

Performances

June 24 - 9:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Violent Femmes

Gordon Gano: lead vocal, guitar

Brian Ritchie: acoustic bass guitar, baritone guitar, vocal, percussion

John Sparrow: BBQ, snare, tom, percussion, vocal

Blaise Garza: baritone, contrabass and sopranino saxophones, vocal, piano, harmonium, theremin, percussion

Violent Femmes 10th studio album, HOTEL LAST RESORT, resides among the groundbreaking band’s finest work, simultaneously refining and redefining their one-of-a-kind take on American music, mingling front porch folk, post punk, spiritual jazz, country blues, avant garde minimalism and golden age rock ‘n’ roll into something still altogether their own. Founded and fronted of course by singer/ guitarist Gordon Gano and acoustic bass guitarist Brian Ritchie, the Milwaukee-born combo remains as warm, wise and weird as ever before, with such new favorites as “Another Chorus” and “Everlasting You” continuing to mine the vast range of ideas, melodic complexity and organic sonic craftsmanship that has characterized the band’s body of work since their landmark self-titled 1983 debut.

“I think it’s probably the best [album] we’ve made since HALLOWED GROUND,” Ritchie says. “We didn’t really know that we had something to say, but it turns out that the songs are really good and we were able to sink our teeth into them and come up with something which is just as good as anything we’ve ever done. I’m even a little bit surprised myself.”

Violent Femmes are undeniably one of the most inventive and original bands of this or any other era, constantly pushing forward with their singular blend of folk and punk, sarcasm and spirituality. Founded in 1981, the originally Milwaukee-based band’s remarkable three-decade-plus career has produced a series of truly iconic singles – among them such classics as “American Music,” “Gone Daddy Gone,” “Nightmares,” “Add It Up” and of course, “Blister In The Sun” – along with cumulative worldwide album sales in excess of 10 million, with 1983’s VIOLENT FEMMES awarded RIAA platinum eight years after its initial release.

The turn of the millennium saw Gano and Ritchie – who are based in the United States and Tasmania respectively – take a much-needed hiatus from Violent Femmes, returning to live action in 2013 with a wide-ranging tour that included both headline dates and ecstatically-received festival sets around the world. Femmes have been recording prolifically of late. 2015’s HAPPY NEW YEAR EP was followed by the band’s acclaimed ninth studio album and first full-length collection in nearly two decades, 2016’s WE CAN DO ANYTHING. Next was 2 MICS & THE TRUTH: UNPLUGGED & UNHINGED IN AMERICA, a 2-LP collection of the Femmes reinventing their catalog with all-new live interpretations recorded in-studio at radio stations around the country.

Nearly non-stop touring coincided with these releases, augmented by percussionist John Sparrow and multi-instrumentalist Blaise Garza, both longtime members of The Horns of Dilemma, the band’s ever- evolving cabal of multi-instrumentalist backing musicians. Having spent much of 2018 on the road, Violent Femmes decided to hit the studio in November before returning to their respective homes for the holidays.

“We just kind of felt like [making a record],” Ritchie says. “That’s the main reason to do it nowadays. The record industry as we knew it has kind of collapsed, so the main reason to [record] is for fun.”

“There’ve always been songs,” Gano says. “More often, making a record is just about schedules. We live on opposite sides of the planet. Sides? It’s round! I don’t know, but we live far away from each other.”

Five November days were booked at Denver, CO’s Mighty Fine Productions with GRAMMY® Award- winning producer Ted Hutt (The Gaslight Anthem, Old Crow Medicine Show) and GRAMMY® Award- winning engineer Ryan Mall behind the board. Working with such a skilled production team allowed

Violent Femmes to be their idiosyncratic selves while still taking full advantage of the studio’s potential.

“Ted is a musician himself,” Ritchie says, “and he understands the Femmes’ sound. He had no interest in trying to recreate us into something else. He wanted to bring out the best of what the band is already good at.”

“Ted did a great job working with us,” Gano says. “It’s all us, but [the album’s] also as good as it is because of his involvement, for sure.”

As is their wont, Violent Femmes did little if any pre-production, preferring to track together live whenever possible. The band’s goal, as ever, was to get as close to the moment of creation as possible, while also capturing the natural sound of natural instruments.

“Our usual way of going about things was very much get in, start doing it, and figure things out as we go,” says Gano. “See what sticks, see what’s the situation we’re in, and then decisions are made in the moment.”

“We go in with an open mind” Ritchie says, “and just try to suspend any kind of judgment and do what’s best for the material.“

HOTEL LAST RESORT comprises “a mix of new songs and songs that really go back quite a ways,” says Gano, with some dating back almost three decades, and others written in the weeks before recording. Songs like “Not Ok” and “Another Chorus” bear all the marks of the Femmes canon – “I’m sure it doesn’t sound like this to anybody else, but to me in my head it sounds like A Tribe Called Quest,” says Gano of the latter – while others, like “Everlasting You” and “Adam Was A Man,” represent significant stylistic departures, adding new sonic elements and heretofore untapped flavors to the Violent Femmes’ musical palette.

“To me, it’s about the song,” Gano says. “Absolutely and completely. And now that I’ve said that, it’s also about us doing the song. There are certain things that are a part of our sound that we gravitate towards because that’s what this thing called “Violent Femmes” has done from the beginning. It includes an acoustic bass guitar; it includes brushes on a non-traditional percussion and drums setup, and, a lot of acoustic guitar. These are things that we’ve always had and it’s nice to continue with them.”

“The Femmes have a couple of trademark sounds,” Ritchie says. “Gordon’s voice, of course, and the acoustic bass guitar. Since we came back out of retirement I’ve only used the acoustic bass guitar on our recordings because I realized that’s what people associate with us. It’s like when they hear Mick Jagger’s voice, they want to hear Keith Richards’ guitar. And when they hear Gordon’s voice, they want to hear my acoustic bass guitar.”
That seemingly simple core has long been the foundation for adventurous arrangements and unique rhythmic approaches. Sparrow’s novel use of a Weber Grill as a rhythm instrument, along with the extreme tones of Garza’s central instrument – the massive contrabass saxophone – bring a stunning depth to the Femmes’ famous sound, imbuing songs like the moving “Paris To Sleep” with a striking richness and imaginative edge.

“We’ve put a lot of energy into mentoring [Sparrow and Garza],” Ritchie says. “We probably steer them in the wrong direction sometimes. It’s a bit counterintuitive to encourage people to play a barbecue, or saxophones that are too big to even lift, but it has helped them find their own unique sound.”

Violent Femmes’ enduring interest in collaboration and community continues on HOTEL LAST RESORT in the form of a pair of special guests, first and foremost being iconic Television co-founder Tom Verlaine, who lends his immediately identifiable guitar to the LP’s powerful title track.

“One of the greatest thrills of a long recording career is getting Tom Verlaine to play on one of our songs,” Gano says. “It’s just amazing to hear that sound.”

The only true studio construct on the album, “Hotel Last Resort” began with just Gano and a drum machine, though this being Violent Femmes, it was “a weird drum machine from the 40s or 50s” that Ritchie found in the hidden recesses of the studio. Bass, drums, sax and vocals were all put down, but it was clear to all some space remained in the arrangement.
“Originally I thought about putting a keyboard or maybe some flute on there,” Ritchie says, “something flowing, something legato…but then it started to come into my mind- we need some Tom Verlaine- style guitar on here. I thought we might just, you know, imitate Tom but then wisely decided to ask him to do it.”

Ritchie – who first met Verlaine as a young rock journalist during Television’s final tour in 1978 – reached out and received an affirmative e-mail literally within minutes.
“We didn’t really give him much instruction,” Ritchie says, “but he did exactly what we hoped he’d do. He clearly has an affinity for the song. He must’ve really clued in on the lyrics and he really interpreted them with a guitar.”

HOTEL LAST RESORT also includes a featured appearance from pro skateboarder Stefan Janoski, a lifelong Femmes fan who lends vocals to a rambunctious new rendition of the band’s classic “I’m Nothing.” A polymath athlete, artist, and musician in his own right, Janoski reached out to the band to discuss collaborating on a Violent Femmes skate shoe for his Nike SB product line. The words “I’m Nothing” in Janoski’s handwriting will be screen printed on the tongue of the shoe, while his artwork will be included on the custom sockliner. Chain stitched on the left shoe will be the word “VIOLENT” and on the right shoe, the word “FEMMES,” with a vulc tape mirror applique in Tour Yellow.
Delighted by his passion, especially for “I’m Nothing,” Violent Femmes decided to re-record the song with a few new lyrics and their new friend on guest vocals.

“We’re kind of like jazz musicians or folk musicians,” Ritchie says. “We don’t really see the harm in revisiting a song or doing a new version. So here’s Stefan, coming from the outside and having such enthusiasm for ‘I’m Nothing,’ we thought it was a good time to revisit it and invited him to help out on the vocals. He was so enthusiastic about it, it was like he was floating on clouds while he was in the studio.”

Along with Gano’s ever-original original songbook, HOTEL LAST RESORT is marked by a pair of truly stunning interpretations, including “I’m Not Gonna Cry,” originally performed by Greek rock superstars Pyx Lax as “Δεν θα δακρυ´σω πια για σενα” and now adapted and translated from the original Greek by Gano himself. Violent Femmes have enjoyed a long friendship with Pyx Lax founders Filippos Pliatsikas and the late Manos Xydous, with Gano even joining them on record for “Χαρου´μενοι (Happiness),” a Greek version of the Femmes’ “Used To Be” (from 1991’s WHY DO BIRDS SING?). Violent Femmes returned the favor, performing “Δεν θα δακρυ´σω πια για σενα” whenever they toured through Greece, or sharing stages with Pyx Lax whenever the opportunity arose. A lifelong language buff, Gano’s fondness for both the song and its creators prompted him to attempt an English translation.

“I just felt compelled to do it,” Gano says. “It’s very close to a literal translation. There’s just a slight change, just to have a little bit of a flow in English. I’m very gratified because I’ve been told that the translation is very good, and so that just means the world to me.”

“Some of that early Greek folk music, like rembetika, is quite similar to the American music of the same era,” Ritchie says. “It’s almost like the blues or backwoods music of Greece. So we have an affinity for that. We’ve dabbled with bouzouki and baglamas on some of our earlier recordings, but this time we just went for doing a Greek song.”

HOTEL LAST RESORT concludes with Gano’s decidedly non-ironic new arrangement of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” He first conceived the stark interpretation soon after 9/11, recording an acoustic guitar and vocal version for KRISTY’S SMILE, a benefit album produced by his friend and longtime collaborator Brendan Ryan (The Bogmen, Gordon Gano & The Ryans), whose wife was killed in the attacks.

“There’s an aspect of mournfulness but also a great love,” Gano says. “The song is completely sincere. Other times in our career we’ve recorded things that people thought were sarcastic which were not. I’m thinking particularly of gospel songs that for me are completely sincere but people thought we were making fun of the words and the genre itself.”

Remarkably, Gano’s heartfelt solo performance somehow flows into an extraordinary ad hoc coda, a full-throttle swirl of rustic primitivism and cosmic jazz exploration that serves as an ideal encapsulation of both the American spirit and Violent Femmes’ own remarkable contributions to the country’s musical canon.

“Brian had the idea, let’s just do free improvisation,” Gano says. “I said, well I don’t know, what does this have to do with this song exactly? He just said, America is a place where we can play this kind of music, it’s where this music we play came from. And I thought, that’s beautiful, let’s do a take!”

With HOTEL LAST RESORT Violent Femmes have crafted something particularly true to the progressive heritage of American folk music, linking past and present while synthesizing elements of myriad traditions into something that speaks clearly to our own contemporary time.

“That’s the thing,” Gano says. “American music is international. It comes from all over the world. That’s what created it and that’s what still continues to keep influencing it. And influencing us.”

“To me, America is kind of losing its soul because it’s losing its musical soul,” Ritchie says. “We stand for traditional American music… just done in a very quirky and strange way.”

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The Breeders

The Breeders

Performances

June 24 - 7:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

The Breeders

People change over the years, and the you that is you never changes. Yesterday you were a kid, and tomorrow you'll be old, and you think you're the same person you were, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Music slices you in time.

Once upon a time we lived in a world of information scarcity. We knew too little about things, and finding out about what we loved took time and effort and money and luck.

The first time I heard of Kim Deal, it was because the co-owner of Dark Carnival, the bookstore in San Francisco I was signing in had been mistaken for her the night before by a waiter, who had taken her protestations that she was a bookshop person as a cover story and brought her and the people she was with, bookstore people whom he believed to be the rest of the Pixies, free drinks all night. I now knew a band called the Pixies existed.

I owned a tiny black and white television that sat on the corner of my desk, and kept me company when I wrote, all alone, too late at night, playing badly dubbed European Detective shows, late night rock shows, cheap television. Somewhere in 1989 it played a Pixies video. A week later I had every Pixies CD you could find in London record shops. I loved the aesthetic as much as the music: the Vaughn Oliver art and typefaces.

Information scarcity. I didn't know who these people were.?I was 29 years old, writing Sandman, in England, with two small children. I bought the CD of Pod, and I wrote Sandman to the jangly Breeders music.

I knew nothing of the Breeders beyond what I read on the minimalist CD notes. I knew the names of the songs because they were on the CD themselves, and I recognised "Happiness is a Warm Gun", Lennon's Snoopy-and- gun-ad inspired song of murder and addiction. It's my favourite Beatles song and that seemed appropriate. Pod is a sequence of songs that come towards you, unstoppable, not needing to be liked. Not to be anything except themselves, glorious in their emotional flatness. The Berlin wall had crumbled and technology would save us all, and there was a new optimism in the air, and despite the optimism the Breeders music felt like a note of warning. Melodic and discordant all at the same time, women's voices singing from the darkness, uncompromising; not soft, not strident, more like a chorus of ghosts, their faces set and expressionless, singing to us while fighting to feel emotions, to feel something.

After Pod came the Safari EP and then Last Splash. I was moving to America, to a little Wisconsin village, and I played both albums over and over as I wrote. I loved the feeling in the songs that there was something I couldn't touch, something that slipped through my fingers if I tried to articulate it. It was what it was, and the sound was something that felt like late nights and old neon signs and people who stare at you from the shadows. I had a disturbed and shadowy cat named Pod whom almost nobody ever saw.

In 2002 I went back to Sandman for the first time in five years, and the Breeders CD Title TK came out. The title was a meta-title, almost a joke, but the music was as sharp as ever and no joke at all. Mountain Battles, with its glorious Vaughn Oliver cover, came out when my life was upside down, in the weeks between my divorce and my meeting the woman that I would, three years later, marry. I played it as I drove. I loaded it onto my iPod and the Breeders followed me along the silk road in China. The flatness of affect, the intersection between noise and intelligence that I expected from the Breeders was there, along with a surprising gentleness, an unexpected kindness.

Now I'm twice the age I was when I first heard Kim Deal sing, and I live an ocean away from the English village in which I first played Pod. All of the things that were going to make life brighter and easier make life stranger and more confusing. Nothing feels as good as it used to feel, nothing tastes like it did. I used to think that the world was run by conspiracies of brilliant people. Now I would love to feel that there was any agenda, other than short-sighted greed and power-hungry bluster. I'm writing this a two minute walk from what I am told was once the finest analog recording studio in the US, now a home for a man who hoards broken things. The locals whisper that it's now a meth lab, but that's just the kind of small town gossip you hear about the odd and the frangible. Everything went digital and the world went bland. In American small towns opiates really have become the religion of the masses, pills that have escaped their prescriptions pushed to dull the ache of living. The music I loved loses value and importance as it becomes audio wallpaper: Spotify as Muzak.

And then All Nerve arrives and it's as if no time at all has passed. Music slices us in time, and I get to remember what it means to be excited by music all over again. For a start, All Nerve sounds like a Breeders album: it's not retro, it's not 90's, it just is what it is: smart rock music with a Breeders sound and an oblique Breeders point of view.

There is too much information now. We could pay people not to know things on our behalf, pay them to forget our surplus knowledge. Still, Kim Deal is songwriting, deadpan vocals and guitar, Kelley Deal is still guitar and vocals, Josephine Wiggs is still steady on bass and vocals (and she co-writes two songs), and Jim MacPherson is still the rockingest of drummers.

And I don't know much about the songs: I play them over and over, a sequence that burns through my brain.

Nervous Mary, Wait in the Car, All Nerve, Metagoth (Josephine's words, based on a found poem written by her mother), Spacewoman, Walking with a Killer, Howl at the Summit (with Courtney Barnett's mob on background vocals), Archangel’s Thunderbird (an Amon Düül II cover, and also my shame, as I played a voice-treated CGI monster in a sad film of the same name in the 90s), Dawn: Making an Effort (which startles me with its beauty each time it comes on), Skinhead #2 (I love the crushed beetles on lips), and Blues at the Acropolis, which lets us fade away with junkies of the world draped across the monuments.

People change over the years, and we hope that the we that is us never changes. Yesterday we were kids, and tomorrow we'll be old, and we think we're the same people we were, despite all evidence to the contrary.

But sometimes we play music that lets us be us then and us now and us still to come, and it's all worth it, every minute, every aching second, every gaping now.

 

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Michael Ray

Michael Ray

Performances

June 30 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Michael Ray

For Michael Ray, music is his grandfather singing and sweating on a rural Florida stage. It’s the childhood refuge he found during the pain of his parents’ divorce. It’s family and stories, history and hope. Ray says music saved him, but it did even more: Music made him. In five short years, Ray has built an impressive foundation: four No. 1 songs – RIAA Platinum-certified “Think a Little Less,” RIAA Gold-certified “Kiss You in the Morning,” RIAA Gold-certified “One That Got Away” and RIAA Gold-certified “Whiskey And Rain” – plus “Get to You” and “Her World or Mine,” brings his tally to five Gold-certified singles. Ray has garnered over 1 billion global streams, over 650,000 album equivalents, over 100 million YouTube views and has performed at the Grand Ole Opry over 60 times. Now, two hit albums into that all-too-rare blend of critically acclaimed and commercially successful career, Ray has released Higher Education, a seven-song collection produced by GRAMMY-nominated producer Ross Copperman. Proof that heartbroken wallowing can feel good if it swings, “Whiskey And Rain” marked his first multi-week No. 1, cementing Ray as the ideal bridge between vintage country cool and modern country’s best sounds. 

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Dean Lewis

Dean Lewis

Performances

July 1 - 6:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Dean Lewis

Dean Lewis has over 5.8+ billion streams of his music with 3.1M+ albums and EPs sold worldwide. He was welcomed into the Spotify Billions club for his song ‘Be Alright’ and has over 1M YouTube followers and 1.1M Tik Tok followers. His most recent single ‘Falling Up’ is ARIA GOLD accredited in Australia with 45M+ Global Streams. 2019 saw Dean Lewis as an 'Apple Up Next' artist while his tours in the US and Australia were sold out, and he performed shows and festivals in the UK and Europe. He performed over 200 shows that year. In Australia, Dean Lewis performed on the mainstage at Splendour in the Grass and performed at the AFL Grand Final. Be Alright has over 2.9 billion streams and spent 5 weeks at #1 on the ARIA SINGLES chart. It has been certified 11x platinum in Australia, triple platinum in the U.S.A, platinum in the UK and platinum+ in 22 other countries.

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French Montana

French Montana

Performances

July 9 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

French Montana

Some artists blur genres, but multi-platinum selling artist French Montana blurs borders. His inimitable fusion of classic East Coast rhymes, wavy pop swagger, and international ambition elevated him to the forefront of the game on a global scale. In fall 2018 he released the first single off his upcoming album, “No Stylist” [feat. Drake]. The certified platinum single is a beat thumping track that was accompanied by a music video featuring cameos from A$AP Rocky, Cam’ron, Dapper Dan, Young Thug, Luka Sabbat and Slick Rick. In April 2019, French released the second single, “Slide” [feat. BLUEFACE & Lil TJay], off his upcoming album which has already garnered over 2.5 billion streams. Alongside the single, he released a movie-style music video that was shot with pops of color inspired by Mexico’s Day of the Dead and Dick Tracy alike which also debuted the “slide” dance which has transformed into a phenomenon of its own. In July 2019, French released hit single “Wiggle It” [feat. City Girls] followed by “Suicide Doors” [feat. Gunna] and the smash hit “Writing On The Wall” [feat. Post Malone, Cardi B & Rvssian] in September. In November 2019 he released his album MONTANA which was certified gold in the first 24 hours of its release. Tracks from the album have cumulatively tallied nearly 1 Billion streams pre-release.

 

Following the news of MONTANA, French was announced as the first “I Stand With Immigrants” Ambassador and launched his very own Karim Kharbouch Coding Fellowship Program. Partnering with The Knowledge House, his fellowship program will support immigrant youth residing in the Bronx, where French and The Knowledge House have already developed their reputation as changemakers in music and technology education, respectively.

 

French Montana ascended into superstar status in 2017 with his smash “UNFORGETTABLE” [feat. Swae Lee]", which cemented him in the “Billion Club for streaming and earned a quintuple-platinum certification from the RIAA. Meanwhile, his sophomore effort, JUNGLE RULES, went gold and dominated the charts. At the same time, he has left an indelible mark on communities around the globe. In addition to becoming the very first rap ambassador of Global Citizen, he staunchly supported humanitarian efforts, spanning DACA, the viral Mama Hope #UNFORGETTABLE Dance Challenge, which raised over $500,000-plus, and his Pan-African health and education movement into Morocco with Care Morocco. 2018 also saw him become a U.S. Citizen after emigrating to the South Bronx from Morocco at just 13-years-old.

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Guster

Guster

Performances

July 9 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

Guster

Look Alive is our 8th album. The bulk of it was recorded in a vintage keyboard museum in Calgary AB, during a January stretch when the temperature reached 30 degrees below zero. We ended up in Canada because our British producer, Leo Abrahams, couldn't turn around an American work visa fast enough, and we feel lucky to have discovered Studio Bell at the last minute. Despite having access to room after room of well-maintained analog keys, Leo gravitated to a cheap Ensoniq Mirage synth from the 1980's that made Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation-era sounds from floppy disks. Leo spent countless hours poring over these floppy disks while the band gawked at the mellotrons, harpsichords, and other vintage equipment housed at Studio Bell. It was the beginnings of a stylistic clash that would ultimately play out beautifully. Our band had always gravitated to "warm" sounds. Leo would introduce us to "cold" sounds and the way they challenge us as listeners. He was the perfect complementary piece for Guster.

After working with the late Richard Swift four years ago and discovering a more raw and vintage sound on Evermotion, we fully embraced studio production with Leo this time around. The sheer amount of production on Look Alive grew into its own statement. There is a lot to unpack.

One day in Calgary we arrived at the studio to discover that Leo had put in a few extra hours on our song "Summertime." He'd built an entire new intro using the Ensoniq Mirage overnight and played it for us. The band reaction wasn't too kind. Our beautiful song now had a jarring, harsh, disruptive introduction, instead of the soft mellotron flutes we'd known. After some days of light bickering about it, Leo finally shed his proper British diplomatic side and belted out that "the world doesn't need another fucking Beatles pastiche!" This would eventually become a rallying cry for the album as we strove to make something new and powerful together.

Title track "Look Alive" is an ominous, processed sonic collage with haunting words about waking up and becoming active in the midst of hollow words and fake heroes. "Hard Times," written in the studio, came out more like the dark pop of Peter Gabriel / Depeche Mode / Tears for Fears than what people might think of Guster. "Overexcited" felt like classic Brit-pop and so Ryan sang it with a British accent over an Ensoniq marimba. Some of Guster's critics will say "but you can't do that" -- and that's something we've heard our entire career. We don't subscribe to the same musical ideology they do and never have.

Writing songs for the second straight record with multi-instrumentalist Luke Reynolds (who joined the band in 2010) has been a key to our evolution. Working with artists like Leo Abrahams, John Congleton, and Collin DuPuis proved to be inspiring and adds to a "brain trust" that bolsters the songs. With Look Alive the plan is simple. Grow our musical community. Write better and better songs. Keep our minds open. Never repeat ourselves and create a legacy of music that is undeniable.

- Brian Rosenworcel, drummer of Guster

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The Wailers

The Wailers

Performances

June 30 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

The Wailers

There is no more legendary band in Jamaican music history than The Wailers. Formed in 1969, the group has created an extraordinary body of work whose echoes are heard in every corner of the world today. Original members included the man hailed as “The Artist of the 20th Century,” Bob Marley and his vocal partners Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, alongside the ground-breaking rhythm section of the Barrett brothers, Carlton on drums and Aston “Family Man” on bass. Today Aston leads the band as it continues its worldwide campaign of promoting peace, love and equality through the message of reggae and Rastafari.

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The Commodores

The Commodores

Performances

July 2 - 9:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

The Commodores

For three decades, the Commodores have remained a force in the music industry. “The Legends of Motown”, “Hit, After Hit, After Hit”, “Grammy Award Winners”, “All The Emotion, All the Excitement”, “If You Haven’t Seen Them Live, You Haven’t Heard The Commodores”.

The Commodores aren’t just any group. They have staying power. Just like their hit song "Brick House," the Commodores have created a foundation that just won’t budge.

After churning out hit after hit in the Motown days, the Commodores still hadn’t achieved Grammy recognition. This wasn’t to be until 1986, without Lionel Richie, when the Commodores released “Night Shift”.

In 1968 the group was formed while all the members were in college at Tuskeegee Institute.  After being discovered by Berry Gordy, the Commodores went on to sell over

60 million records for Motown. With hits like “Machine Gun” and “Sail On”, the Commodores became proven artists. They proved it then. They proved it in 1986 with “Night Shift”, and now they are ready to prove it again.

Unlike many other groups, the Commodores haven’t rested on their early hits. Quite the contrary, the Commodores have continued to put out quality work. With the creation of their new label, the Commodores released Commodores Hits Vol. I, Commodores Hits Vol. II, Commodores Christmas, and Commodores XX-No Tricks. The newest CD “Commodores Live” was recorded during the groups 1997 U.S. tour and released in December 1998  along with the  TV special of  the same name. The Commodores believe in their work, but they are not the only ones:

“Seventies phenoms return with a self produced album filled with some great music. The Commodores look set for a fantastic return.”

...BRE Music Report

“Venerable pop/R&B band issues its first single in five years engaging vocals woo with warmth and restraint.”

...Billboard

The successful Commodores of the present have not only produced six new albums, and embarked upon a world-wide tour, but have created their own record label, Commodores Records and Entertainment. Today the Commodores stand not only as talented and successful musicians, but as artists determined to continue their success into the future.

 

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Mt. Joy

Mt. Joy

Performances

July 2 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Mt. Joy

Mt. Joy's songs unfold like good political speeches: They amble and converse and pulsate fervently until it's time to get the crowd chanting along.” – NPR

Across various cultures and belief systems, the color orange symbolizes sunshine, creativity, heat, freedom, fascination, and fire. Mt. Joy channels this bright, bold, and brilliant energy on their 2022 third full-length offering, Orange Blood, which is set to release on June 17th via Island Records. The title track, which was released today across platforms, hinges on gently strummed guitar as woozy vocals echo over sparse swells of sound before the
central hummable harmony drifts in and out of focus. Watch the accompanying video here.

Orange Blood explores a sonic spectrum of eloquent daydreams, blissful guitar-propelled psychedelic rock, and artful alternative alchemy siphoned from sessions in the Southern California desert under a watchful sun. When the global pandemic upended the bands tour with The Lumineers in 2020, Matt and Sam retreated into the desert. Holing up in a house with Matt’s girlfriend and brother, shroom-fueled detours, late-night conversations about life, and a thirst for reprieve brought Orange Blood to life. “I was definitely drawn to the color orange,” explains lead singer Matt Quinn. “When we were in the desert, everything revolved around the sun. I started playing with the idea that the light we see is this sort of orange blood that runs through all of us and gives life to everything it touches.”

“Our last album was a breakup record,” notes Matt. “It had a darker feel. When we were in Joshua Tree, there were so many sad things in the world. We wanted to build something that found beauty in the fact the world has always been crazy. We were trying to find a way to be present enough to appreciate our surroundings even if they’re in decay.” Returning to Philadelphia, they put the finishing touches on the album in a house with the full lineup and
longtime producer and collaborator Caleb Nelson.

The Philadelphia quintet—Matt Quinn [vocals, guitar], Sam Cooper [guitar], Sotiris Eliopoulos [drums], Jackie Miclau [keys, piano], and Michael Byrnes [bass]— take their name from the quiet rural town in southwest Pennsylvania, about four hours from their Philadelphia base. Forming in 2016, they made their mark two years later when their self-titled Mt. Joy debut album spun off "Silver Lining," an uplifting power ballad that went to #1 at AAA radio (Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay) and has eclipsed over 120 million Spotify streams to date. Their second album, Rearrange Us (2018) drew widespread critical raves. Over the past four years Mt. Joy has amassed over half a billion streams and have earned acclaim from NPR, Billboard, Rolling Stone, The Line of Best Fit, and more. The band has performed at a variety of festivals such as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo and has toured with The Lumineers, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, The Revivalists, and The Head and The Heart. Additionally, the band has performed on Stephen Colbert, CBS Morning,  Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, and Conan.

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Alexandra Kay

Alexandra Kay

Performances

June 24 - 6:15 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Alexandra Kay

The coffee-making, sing-along videos and Facebook Live Streams that got millions of people through the Covid-19 quarantine put Alexandra Kay on the map. Generating millions of plays weekly on her videos and chart-topping original music she commands the attention of country music fans. With a voice reminiscent of Dolly Parton, Alison Kraus and Lee Ann Womack, she brings country music back to its roots. 

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Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

Performances

June 24 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

Raised on the East Coast and in the Midwest, McMahon began writing songs at age nine, drawing inspiration from singer/songwriter/pianists such as Elton John and Billy Joel. While still in high school, McMahon co-founded an early incarnation of pop-punk band Something Corporate, whose 2002 major-label debut hit No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers Chart. In 2004, he formed Jack's Mannequin and then on the cusp of releasing the band's 2005 debut was diagnosed with leukemia at age 22. Eventually fully recovered, McMahon went on to release two more studio albums with Jack's Mannequin and established The Dear Jack Foundation, one of the first Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) specific cancer foundations which advocates for and supports initiatives that benefit AYAs diagnosed with cancer. In addition, McMahon composed songs for the NBC series Smash which earned him an Emmy Award nomination. In 2014, he released Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness which featured the gold certified single "Cecilia and the Satellite".  Last year he released his debut memoir, Three Pianos.  McMahon is currently in the studio working on new music. He has performed on the Today Show, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live and more. McMahon lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 12 years Kelly and their daughter Cecilia, for whom the hit song was penned. 

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The Happy Fits

The Happy Fits

Performances

July 7 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

The Happy Fits

Lively alt-rock-pop trio The Happy Fits return with their second vibrant single, "Dance Alone," which wraps self-doubt and the fear of being alone into an irresistible melody, instantly quelling those worries. After an unforgettable run on the road with The Maine, The Happy Fits will return to the stage at Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta on May 1st at 6pm, and later will complete the second leg of their headline North American What Could Be Better Tour as it picks back up with Sarah & The Sundays in Louisville, KY on May 3rd. 10 dates are already sold-out, including Chicago, Nashville and NYC. Grab tickets now via thehappyfits.com/tour.

 

The Happy Fits Bio:

 

Cellist Calvin Langman and guitarist Ross Monteith started playing covers together in earnest, and when Langman revealed some original songs he’d been working on, drummer Luke Davis came aboard to join in a creative genesis that would result in the Awfully Apeelin’ EP from 2016.

 

After Awfully Apeelin’’s “While You Fade Away” scored a placement on Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist, the trio dropped out of college to focus on the band full-time; by the time the group’s debut album Concentrate was released in 2018, they’d amassed a growing following. After that album, the band hit the road two years before recording their second album What Could Be Better, which saw release in 2020 and was written with the band’s live audience in mind.

 

“We wanted a record that would be really electric live,” Langman explained—but right when the band was ready to hit the road behind it, the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Undeterred, The Happy Fits got resourceful and staged livestreams for fans on their YouTube and Twitch accounts, embracing a “crazy variety show” vibe that included turning their couch into a puppet and, eventually, making a music video for every song off What Could Be Better.

 

“A lot of our earlier stuff was centered around my coming of age,” Langman reflects while talking about the songwriting process behind this new album. “The pandemic made me take a step back from my personal experiences. It felt like a weird time to just continue writing about myself.”

 

With a massive anthemic sway and surging synth chorus, “Changes” aptly took many shapes during the recording process, reflecting the constantly-in-motion times in which the band was working. “It developed entirely through the recording process,” Monteith explains. “It had completely different lyrics and a different riff when we first recorded it.”

 

“Things changed so rapidly during the pandemic that it was hard to keep up,” Langman continues while talking about the song’s themes. “I started to get a little bit down on the world, but it’s a pretty dark path to go down if you’re nihilistic about everything. So the song’s about trying to find love in a world that’s very much on fire.”

 

(Larry Fitzmaurice)

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Indigo Girls

Indigo Girls

Performances

June 30 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Indigo Girls

On their 16th studio album, Indigo Girls tell their origin story. They have reunited with their strongest backing band to date to create Look Long—a stirring and eclectic collection of songs that finds the duo of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers chronicling their personal upbringings with more specificity and focus than they have on any previous song-cycle. These eleven songs have a tender, revealing motion to them, as if they’re feeding into a Super 8 film projector, illuminating a darkened living room: Saliers Ray are tackling the mechanisms of perspective. “We’re fallible creatures shaped by the physics of life,” says Saliers. “We’re shaped by our past; what makes us who we are? And why?” In this moment of delirious upheaval, Look Long considers the tremendous potential of ordinary life and suggests the possibility that an honest survey of one’s past and present, unburdened by judgement, can give shape to something new—the promise of a way forward. With the energy of an expanding, loyal audience beneath their feet, a weather eye toward refinement, and an openness to redefinition, Indigo Girls exemplify that promise.

 

Plans for Look Long materialized over morning tea with producer John Reynolds (Sinéad O’Connor, Damien Dempsey) on a stop during the duo’s recent, sold-out tour of the United Kingdom. “We were talking about life and music and by the end of breakfast we’d reached the conclusion that it was time to make another record together,” says Ray. Their relationship with Reynolds dates back to the summer of 1998 during the second Lilith Fair Tour when a shared main stage headlining slot with Sinéad O’Connor and her formidable backing band featuring Reynolds on drums, bassist Clare Kenny, keyboardist Carol Isaacs, cellist Caroline Dale, and lead guitar player Justin Adams blossomed into deep, mutual admiration, friendships, and eventually, collaboration. Ray has called the relationship, “one of the most important moments in our musical growth.” The group recorded Indigo Girls’ next album, 1999’s Come On Now Social, with Reynolds acting as both producer and drummer, before embarking on a worldwide tour together. Twenty years later, with the addition of longtime touring violinist Lyris Hung, Look Long marks the complete return of the lineup Saliers calls, “our musical compass.”

 

Tracking commenced in early January 2019 at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios, a state-of-the-art recording studio tucked into the English countryside outside the city of Bath. “Emily and I were so excited by John’s arrangements,” Ray remembers. “It was a good lesson in trust.” Before flying to England, the two had agreed, “Whatever happens in the studio will happen,” says Saliers. “A lot of magic unfolded because of that decision.”

 

A similar magic unfolded in 1989 when their eponymous major label debut shifted over two million units under the power of “Closer to Fine” and “Kid Fears” and turned Indigo Girls into one of the most successful folk duos in history. Over a thirty-five-year career that began in clubs around their native Atlanta, Georgia, the Grammy-winning duo has recorded sixteen studio albums (seven gold, four platinum, one double platinum), sold over 15 million records, and built a dedicated, enduring following. Collaborations with a new generation of devoted peers like Brandi Carlile, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Sierra Hull, and Matt Nathanson continue to bring newcomers to Indigo Girls’ audience. Says Vernon about growing up with Indigo Girls’ music, “I adored them more and more—the more they had strength in the face of their adversity…They’re my favorite group ever.” Committed and uncompromising activists, they work on issues like immigration reform (El Refugio), LGBTQ advocacy, education (Imagination Library), death penalty reform, and Native American rights. They are co-founders of Honor the Earth, a non-profit dedicated to the survival of sustainable Native communities, Indigenous environmental justice, and green energy solutions.

 

“I told myself I wasn’t going to put boundaries around what should be an Indigo Girls song,” Ray says of writing album opener “Shit Kickin’.” The funky, back road-strut is both a love letter to her Southern heritage and a refusal to be complacent about the region’s legacy of prejudice and racism. “Damn that trickery / it got the best of me,” Ray sings over Saliers’ slide guitar, “I’m gonna tear it down and start again.”

 

 “Everyone I know can sense Armageddon,” sings Saliers on title track “Look Long,” a masterful display of her compositional grace that coalesces past, present, and future into a unified perspective. “People feel lost in these political times,” she says. In the memory of her grandmother, “a Nixon Republican” who let the grandkids drink from her “Apollo Mission glasses / etched in red, white, and blue commemoration,” Saliers depicts an all but vanished form of American identity. She’s a patriot in the grand tradition of Woody Guthrie; “Look Long” is both a lament and a prayer of hope for the country she loves. “Look long / Look long,” she repeats over a soft, arpeggiating piano figure. “It means let’s lament our limitations, but let’s also look beyond what’s right in front of us, take the long view of things, and strive to do better.” 

 

Ray is equally focused on the search for common ground on “Muster,” a frank accounting of the American gun-violence epidemic she began writing after seeing a televised town hall meeting held in Parkland, Florida. “I was struck by these citizens’ willingness to meet and try in earnest to have a dialogue between the two sides.” She asks, “Is this the best we could muster / Custer or just prayers for the slain / I wanna get this right and not the same ole thing.”

 

Saliers’ angular electric guitar intro sends a current through “Change My Heart,” a rocker that pairs politics and physics. “The four fundamental forces came to play / In the American schism,” she sings. “I was reading about electromagnetism and gravitational law…we are physical beings, we vibrate. And we can achieve higher vibrations, so to speak.” Pulsing with psychedelic guitars and organ layers, “Change My Heart” does just that.

 

Saliers and Ray both became parents (each a daughter) since their last studio album; the experience permeates these songs of self-discovery. The twist-time, B-52s-tinged “Favorite Flavor” evolved out of a game of call and response between Amy and her daughter. “When I’m writing, she’ll come sit with me and play along on a drum or shaker. She knows I have a candy jar on my writing table,” laughs Ray. “One day we were singing back and forth about candy and fun things and I recorded it on my phone. I listened to the recording a lot when I missed her; I liked the way she interjected the words “dark, pink cherry” in just the right places and I started to realize there was the beginning of a real song there.” The song took on a more serious tone as Ray continued to write. “I’m a left-winger in a conservative county and a parent of a kid who loves playdates. It was hard to explain to her why my neighbors had stopped letting their kids wander down our gravel driveway to play.”

 

“I wrote about something that I’d been afraid to write about my entire life,” says Saliers of her elegy for her younger sister, “Sorrow and Joy.” “We have to hold these opposites in life. It’s the secret, it’s the key, it’s the way that things are made—by opposing forces that inform each other. I was looking at her photo, thinking how strange it is that when someone dies young, they’re forever frozen in your mind as youthful. The contradictory emotion of seeing their vibrancy and knowing that they’re gone.” 

 

“Howl at the Moon” is a joyful, rallying-cry for personal liberation. It began on a late-night walk around Athens, Ga after a 14-hour drive from Indianapolis on her recent solo tour. “I was feeling old, tired, and hungry. Everything I was thinking about as I walked ended up in this song: an apology, a confessional, and a quest for liberation—for all of us, regardless of age, gender, race, or sexuality.” Reynolds’ rhythmic approach brings the lyric to life in a “glorious swirl” of mandolin jangle and clever counter-melodies. “It’s a world of sounds and movement for a song about overcoming all the boundaries that hold us back and freeing ourselves from the pain we get mired in” says Ray.

 

“I wanna be that boy / I wanna be that girl / I wanna know what it’s like to fall in love like most of the rest of the world,” Saliers aches over a lovely layer of strings on “Country Radio.” “This is the way I felt doing those four-hour drives from Nashville, listening to country music radio,” she says. “I could almost put my own life story in these songs, but I can’t. There are gender divisions and heteronormative realities. There’s a lot of self-homophobia that I’ve had to work on in my own life that plays into this as well.” Indigo Girls have been previewing “Country Radio” in their live set; “I can tell it’s resonating with people; when I get to that line, ‘I’m just a gay kid who loves country radio,’ there’s an audible verbal response from the audience,” says Saliers.

 

Ray was reflecting on ride share apps when she penned “K.C. Girl,” a power pop, suburban nocturne. “It’s a transaction built on trust but also detachment. Even in silence, you’re both leaving clues about who you are. No one wants to be read the wrong way.”

 

“When We Were Writers” is a pop-savvy ode to what Saliers calls “the two most influential years of my life” spent at Tulane University in New Orleans. “Amy and I were starting to embark on really what was the beginning of our career,” remembers Saliers. “Today, we joke about being old, but what is old when it comes to music? We’re still a bar band at heart. We are so inspired by younger artists and while our lyrics and writing approach may change, our passion for music feels the same as it did when we were 25-years-old.”

 

“As time has gone on, our audience has become more expansive and diverse, giving me a sense of joy,” she adds. To hear those collective voices raise into one, singing along and overpowering the band itself, one realizes the importance Indigo Girls’ music has in this moment. In our often-terrifying present, we are all in search of a daily refuge, a stolen hour or two, to engage with something that brings us joy, perspective, or maybe just calm. As one bar band once put it, “We go to the doctor, we go to the mountains…we go to the Bible, we go through the work out.” For millions, they go to Indigo Girls. On Look Long they’ll find a creative partnership certain of its bearings, forging a way forward. 

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Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts

Performances

July 9 - 7:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts’ thought-provoking rock is dancing to a new tune. Sympathy For Life finds the Brooklyn band at both their most instinctive and electronic, spinning their bewitching, psychedelic storytelling into fresh territory, yet maintaining their unique identity.

Built largely from improvised jams, inspired by New York clubs, Primal Scream and Pink Floyd and produced in league with Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, Hot Chip, David Byrne), Sympathy For Life was always destined to be dancey. Unlike its globally adored predecessor, 2018’s Wide Awake! – a Top 30 hit here and an album of the year everywhere from Spin and The Skinny to NME and Australia’s Double J – the focus fell on grooves rather than rhythm.

“Wide Awake! was a record you could put on at a party,” says co-frontman Austin Brown. “Sympathy For Life is influenced by the party itself. Historically, some amazing rock records been made from mingling in dance music culture – from Talking Heads to Screamadelica. Our goal was to bring that in to our own music.

“Each of us, in our personal lives, has been going to more dance parties. Or rather, we were, pre-pandemic, which is when this record was made.”

Before sessions began at Brooklyn’s The Bridge studio in autumn 2019, as ever, the quartet (Brown and Savage plus bassist Sean Yeaton and drummer Max Savage) took time out to work on ideas separately. For co-frontman A Savage, that meant a trip to Italy armed with Mad Hatter acid.

“I took a lot of acid with me and started working out,” he says. “I call it trippy lifting. I would trip and work out during the day, then write songs at night. Three or four of the songs that made it on to album began there – Walking At A Downtown Pace, Pulcinella, Trullo. Most of my ideas for the artwork formed at that time too. I had a big piece of paper taped to the wall that read “CAN, CANNED HEAT, & THIS HEAT”. That was the sound I wanted to find.”

Back home, the jamming began.

“Most of the songs were created by taking long improvisations and moulding them through our own editing,” explains Brown. “The biggest asset we have as artists is the band. After 10 years together, our greatest instrument is each other. The purest expression of Parquet Courts is when we are improvising.”

Dreamy lead single Plant Life, released in June, was edited to 10 minutes from a 40 minute-plus jam and almost halved again for the album. Digital disco-punk anthem Marathon Of Anger, which began as a largely electronic jam inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests, was painstakingly snipped from 41 minutes to a neat four and a half.

In between was where the hard work occurred.

“More than any of our albums, this one was about the process,” says Brown. “It was about viewing the themes through a dance music lens and our own filter to discover where it would take us. Seven albums in, the pressure is on to do something new, but still sound like us.”

Key to the complex process was working with McDonald, first at The Bridge, then for an intense fortnight at The Outlier Inn, a sprawling, bucolic studio in the Catskills, where 2014’s Sunbathing Animal was recorded.

“I met Rodaidh when I was DJing in LA,” notes Brown. “I brought my records to his house and we spent days talking about what we wanted to do and sampling stuff from both of our collections for references. When he came to New York to record, we mashed up some of those samples to make beats and grooves and jammed over the top. It was a cool way to work, completely different for us.”

Also central was a Korg MS-20 synthesiser, through which the guitars were fed. Austin often switched to synths. Max Savage played lots of e-drums live. In the Catskills, they used a geodesic dome as a reverb tank and Brown manned a dub station.

“On some of the songs, I wasn’t playing anything but everyone else’s instruments,” he says. “For Plant Life and Marathon Of Anger, I ran everything through the mixer doing the echoes and delay. It’s the same way you’d mix a dub album.”

In March last year, the band decamped to Real World Studios near Bath to work with John Parish on Sympathy For Life’s Sandinista!-esque title track and the sensual, strung-out Pulcinella.

“While we were there, the papers were full of Covid stories, but we were too busy to read them,” explains Savage. “We thought the headlines were unnecessarily alarmist until we arrived at the airport to fly home and people were wearing masks. We left two days before lockdown.”

By then, the album was almost finished and all of the lyrics were written. Spookily, Sympathy For Life opens and ends with songs which reference masks. Closer Pulcinella was inspired by a souvenir of the masked Commedia dell’Arte character of the same name.

“Only afterwards it occurred to me that Commedia dell’Arte was very popular during the Great Plague,” says Savage.

Why did he gravitate to this character while in Italy?

“Perhaps I had a plague premonition,” he smiles.

As everything shut down around the world, so – inevitably - the album release was postponed too. It finally arrives this October, exactly a year late, yet also right on time.

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Jessie James Decker

Jessie James Decker

Performances

July 1 - 9:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Jessie James Decker

Singer, songwriter, TV personality, fashion designer, beauty and lifestyle influencer/entrepreneur and 2x New York Times?best-selling author, Jessie James Decker has emerged as a multi-platform juggernaut juggling fashion brands like her personally designed Kittenish line with three retail stores and growing, along with her television hosting duties. Signed to Warner Music Nashville, Jessie’s passion for music has made the multi-talented artist one of music’s true breakout firebrands. The singer’s authentic style immediately captivated listeners everywhere on her 2009 self-titled debut. She continued to keep it real with her second studio album, 2017’s Southern Girl City Lights, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. Now it’s onto a new musical chapter of growth and empowerment with her new single "Should Have Known Better" and The Woman I’ve Become EP, out now. Jessie lives with her husband, retired NFL player Eric Decker, and their three children, in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Village People

Village People

Performances

July 2 - 7:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Village People

Village People is one of the most iconic music groups in the world. Their music is part of the international songbook and has been featured in numerous motion pictures, on Broadway, and in commercials. Of course, "Y.M.C.A" (along with its namesake dance) is played at almost every party, wedding, bar mitzvah and sporting event in the world. They've sold over 1 00 million records worldwide.

 

The debut album, released in 1 977 featured the hit singles "San Francisco (You've Got Me)," and "In Hollywood (Everybody is a Star). At that time however the group was just Victor Willis with use of session background singers. So, the original Village People was simply Victor Willis. Auditions were later held, and a group of characters were assembled around Victor for a 1977 television appearance on American Bandstand which became the first or original version of Village People.

 

Soon Village People became a real group but was revamped to form a second iteration in time for release of the Macho Man album. This second version of Village People soon became an international phenomenon and the second album, Macho Man, soon went platinum (over one millions albums sold) featuring the album's namesake platinum single, "Macho Man.

 

This was followed by the third double platinum album titled "Cruisin" which featured the blockbuster hit "Y.M.C.A." Next up was the platinum album Go Westfeaturing the gold single "In the Navy." The group's sixth album went gold, titled: Live & Sleazy, which featured Victor Willis performing all the prior hits live from the Greek Theatre, while introducing new lead singers for the Sleazy portion of

the album as Victor Willis prepared to exit the group.

 

In November 1979, Willis exited the group during filming of the Can't Stop the Music movie and motion picture soundtrack. This marked the group's first album to not be certified gold or platinum by the RIM coinciding with Willis' exit. Willis wrote the songs "Magic Night" and "Milk Shake."

 

The disco era ended, and Village People soon disbanded. Willis returned to the group in 1982 to record the Fox on the Box album, and soon exited again.

 

A touring version of the group (without Willis) with use of pre-recorded music/tracks and numerous replacement members followed in the late-1 980s. Over the years, various replacement members continued to tour as a track act well into the 2000s.

 

Willis returned once again as lead singer in 2017 leading up to the group's 40th anniversary. Village People's iconic cop and writer of the group's biggest hits, including "YMCA," "Macho Man," "Go West." and "In the Navy," is once again at the helm of Village People with live musicians backing the group as he originally intended.

 

The group returned to the charts in 201 9 with a Christmas Album and in 2020 with "Happiest Time of the Year,' and "If You Believe," both written by Willis, which quickly broke into the top 20 of Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.

 

The 2020, YMCA was inducted into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry. The following year, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The group continues to perform worldwide and is more popular now than ever.

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JoJo

JoJo

Performances

July 8 - 5:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

JoJo

JoJo [born Joanna Levesque] is a chart-topping, award-winning singer, songwriter, and actress who, at just 30 years old, is already a veteran of the music industry. 17 years into her career, JoJo made a “triumphant return” [Uproxx] last year with her fourth studio album good to know, debuting at #1 on the Billboard R&B Albums Chart and earning widespread global acclaim from Vulture, TIME, Variety, NYLON, NPR, The FADER, and more, with Associated Press proclaiming “good to know is more than good. It’s grand.” At just 13, JoJo burst onto the scene with her self-title debut album, whose breakout smash “Leave (Get Out)” made her the youngest-ever solo artist to have a debut #1 single in the U.S. JoJo went on to sell over four million copies and became the singer’s first Platinum record, which she followed with a string of additional hits, including the Top 3 single “Too Little Too Late.” In 2016, following 10 years of legal battles with her former label that prevented her from releasing new music, JoJo returned with Mad Love., which debuted in the Top 10 on the Billboard Top 200. In 2018, JoJo re-recorded and re-released her first two albums (JoJo and The High Road) under her own label Clover Music, so her fans could finally get the nostalgia they had been missing for so many years. She has also pushed herself outside the confines of genre, collaborating with artists ranging from PJ Morton [on the GRAMMY Award-winning R&B hit “Say So”] to Jacob Collier [lending her vocal stylings to the jazzy “It Don’t Matter”]. On October 1, 2021, JoJo released Trying Not To Think About It. The capsule project is a musical expression of her continued honesty, vulnerability, and transparency around mental health, tackling the different shades of it – including anxiety, depression, negative thoughts, relationship self-sabotage, and emotional immaturity. Following its release, JoJo embarked on a sold out run of six live performance dates across the United States in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nashville, and Los Angeles.

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Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Performances

June 23 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Celebrating over 40 years since their founding in 1977, New Orleans-based Dirty Dozen Brass Band has taken the traditional foundation of brass band music and incorporated it into a blend of genres including Bebop Jazz, Funk and R&B/Soul. This unique sound, described by the band as a ‘musical gumbo,’ has allowed the Dirty Dozen to tour across 5 continents and more than 30 countries, record 12 studio albums and collaborate with a range of artists from Modest Mouse to Widespread Panic to Norah Jones. Forty-plus years later, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a world famous music machine whose name is synonymous with genre-bending romps and high-octane performances.

 

Roger Lewis - Baritone Sax/Vocals

Kevin Harris - Tenor Sax/Vocals

Gregory Davis - Trumpet/Vocals

Kirk Joseph - Sousaphone

TJ Norris - Trombone/Vocals

Julian Addison - Drums

Takeshi Shimmura - Guitar

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WAR

WAR

Performances

July 2 - 3:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

WAR

Multi-platinum-selling WAR, the original street band, has been sharing its timeless music and message of brotherhood and harmony for over 4 decades before millions across the globe. The long list of hits includes “Low Rider,” “The World Is A Ghetto,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” “The Cisco Kid,” and many more. The phenomenal group has been honored twice by its hometown of Los Angeles for making positive contributions to the betterment of the community with its powerful music and has been honored by President Obama as “All Day Music” was placed on his official playlist of the Summer. More recently, LA Weekly declared WAR in the top 10 concerts of 2018. With 12 Billboard Top 40 Hits, 7 top 10 ten hits, over 50 million records sold to date, and countless samples and nods by artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Flo-Rida, Tupac, Smash Mouth, Janet Jackson, Dave Matthews, Korn, and countless others, WAR has not only sealed their status as a household name, but has also proven that their music and message continues to be as relevant as ever today as they have always been.

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Chiiild

Chiiild

Performances

July 8 - 6:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Chiiild

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Sir Mix-a-Lot

Sir Mix-a-Lot

Performances

June 30 - 3:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Sir Mix-a-Lot

Sir Mix-A-Lot might be best known for Baby Got Back but, what most saw as a pop inspired track aimed at the mainstream was actually a song written about his distain for how Hollywood viewed & casted women of color in the 80s and early 90s. “Although there were exceptions (Phylicia Rashad, Diane Carrol, etc.) many women of color were cast as struggling prostitutes who doubled as police informants or streetwise single mothers struggling to make it in the ghetto and of course….maids.” -Sir Mix-A-Lot BGB was written in a way to poke at what were then the beauty police (Cosmo, Hollywood, TV, etc.) in way that would go almost unnoticed by those not hearing lines outside of “I like big butts”. By the time the powers that be figured it out, it was already #1 on the charts. But even before he struck crossover gold, Sir Mix-A-Lot was one of rap’s great D.I.Y. success stories. Coming from a city — Seattle — which at that time had a strictly local Hip Hop scene, Mix-A-Lot co-founded his own record label, promoted his music himself, produced and mixed all his own tracks, built his own studio by himself and essentially pulled himself up by the proverbial American bootstraps. Even before Baby Got Back, Mix-A-Lot was a platinum-selling album artist with a strong following in the hip-hop community, known for bouncy, danceable, bass-heavy tracks indebted to old-school electro. Even though Mix had sold over 2million units on an independent label, it took signing with Rick Rubin’s Def American label — to carry him into the mainstream. With three straight platinum albums and a multi-platinum single, some still think he is a one hit wonder. Lyrically, his best material came after Baby Got Back. Songs like Poppi Grande, Daddy’s Home, Mob Style and the Nas West Coast remix of Where Are They Now to name a few. Posse on Broadway,” which referred to a street in Seattle pushed the album SWASS to platinum with minimal video or radio play. Contrary to popular belief, most of Mix’s sales were not in Seattle. Also in 1989, Mix-A-Lot released his follow up album Seminar, which produced three charting singles in “Beepers,” “My Hooptie,” and “I Got Game”. All performed well on the rap singles chart, and helped Seminar become Mix-A-Lot’s second straight platinum album. Def American head Rick Rubin stepped in to offer him a major-label contract and Mix’s third album Mack Daddy gave us “Baby Got Back,” which became a pop phenomenon virtually from the moment MTV aired its provocative video (it was eventually consigned to evening- hours only). When it comes to live performance Mix-A-Lot often publicly comments on his hatred for lip- syncing and refuses to lip-sync or rap over his own verses, but what he is least known for is one of his greatest strengths…. His business acumen. Owning publishing is something he preaches to artist often but, understanding the licensing process and how brands work is crucial when placing tracks. “Income diversification is a must in the entertainment industry… it’s the very thing that can make it easy to say no to degrading, stereotypical projects”

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Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Oyster Cult

Performances

July 1 - 3:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Blue Oyster Cult

For over four decades, Blue Öyster Cult has been thrilling fans of intelligent hard rock worldwide with powerful albums loaded with classic songs. Indeed, the Long Island, NY---based band is revered within the hard rock and heavy metal scene for its pioneering work. Blue Öyster Cult occupies a unique place in rock history because it's one of very few hard rock/heavy metal bands to earn both genuine mainstream critical acclaim as well as commercial success.

The band is often cited as a major influence by other acts such as Metallica, and BÖC was listed in VH1's countdown of the greatest hard rock bands of all time.

Upon the release of BÖC's self-titled debut album in 1972, the band was praised for its catch-yet-heavy music and lyrics that could be provocative, terrifying, funny or ambiguous, often all in the same song. BÖC's canon includes three stone-cold classic songs that will waft through the cosmos long after the sun has burned out: The truly haunting "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" from 1976's Agents of Fortune, the pummeling "Godzilla" from 1977's Spectres and the hypnotically melodic "Burnin' for You" from1981's Fire of Unknown Origin. Other notable BÖC songs include "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll," "Then Came the Last Days of May," "I Love the Night," "In Thee,""Veteran of the Psychic Wars," "Dominance and Submission," "Astronomy," "Black Blade" and "Shooting Shark."

The intense creative vision of BÖC's original core duo of vocalist/lead guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Eric Bloom are complemented by Richie Castellano on guitar and keyboards, and the longtime rhythm section of bass guitarist Danny Miranda, and drummer Jules Radino.

We realized we're a 'classic rock' band. That's what we are, that's what we do best, and that’s what we know. The band members are proud of BÖC's classic sound, and pleased the band is creating vibrant work for disenfranchised music lovers who don't like the homogenized, prefabricated pop or sound---alike, formulaic rap---metal, which monopolizes the radio airwaves and best---seller charts.

BÖC has always maintained a relentless touring schedule and an album of new material THE SYMBOL REMAINS was released October 9th 2020 to rave reviews.

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The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers

Performances

July 1 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers: In the Morse Code of Brake Lights

 

 

What happens when a nation that was born to run, and to rev engines into the wild frontier, runs into the full stop that is our current social and political climate? The answer, my friend, is somewhere “In the Morse Code of Brake Lights,” as The New Pornographers would have it on their eighth album. There’s a deep climatic unease running through these 11 tracks that’s matched only by the sheer musical glee with which the band addresses the prevailing mood of the moment. It’s an album in which foreboding and bliss somehow go hand in hand—mixing founder A.C. Newman’s nearly symphonic levels of pop arrangement and harmony with a careening quality that feels unsafe at any speed (to quote the famous Ralph Nader phrase that the opening track also borrows).

 

“Sometimes unintentional influences come in, and then after you start to notice them, you start consciously doing it,” says Newman. “I was about two-thirds of the way through the record when I began to notice that lyrically so much of it was pointing toward car songs. The opening track is ‘You'll Need a Backseat Driver,’ and that was a metaphor that seemed to be running through other songs, too. Next to the love song, I feel like the car song is one of the most iconic kinds of songs in pop music, from Chuck Berry to the present. There was so much of that throughout it that I started thinking: ‘Oh, no, there’s too many references to cars on this record!’ And then I thought, no, that's good—people might think it’s a concept album,” he laughs. “Let’s roll with that.”

 

But Newman’s automotive concerns are very different from Chuck Berry’s, or Bruce Springsteen’s. “Of course, because I’m a person with some degree of empathy and it’s 2019, there couldn’t help but be this sort of anger and panic at the state of the world that runs through everything,” Newman says. “And I think that lends itself to the car metaphor. We’re in this vehicle and it doesn’t stop moving and we don’t know where we’re going.” In a time of heightened shared anxiety, maybe it’s better not to know. “I think it was Robert Louis Stevenson who said, ‘Better to travel hopefully than to arrive’—which I basically paraphrase in the first chorus of the first song.”

 

The New Pornographers have been road-worthy since their founding in 2000. But there’s no mistaking that, with In the Morse Code of Brake Lights (their second release for Concord, following 2017’s Whiteout Conditions), what has long been referred to as a “supergroup” has actually coalesced into something like, you know, an actual group—one with a regular, solidified lineup, the presence of someone as independently famous as Neko Case as co-lead vocalist notwithstanding.

 

Newman is doing all the songwriting now, save for a few lines contributed by former (and possibly future) member Dan Bejar. Drummer Joe Seiders is into his second album with the group, and you’ll notice his presence on the kit especially in the opening couple of tracks. “If there was any song that had the biggest influence on us in terms of its drumming, it's ‘Dreaming’ by Blondie,” Newman says. “I always loved that that song is essentially a drum solo, and at times we do that.” His niece is a greater instrumental presence this time: “In terms of keyboards, this record has such a Kathryn Calder stamp. There was a point where she started playing this part on ‘Solomon’ and I feel like it just changed the record. When I heard what she did with it, I said, ‘Do this on every song.’” Longtime touring member Simi Stone is participating on record for the first time, as well.

 

At the same time, Newman is also sharpening his auteur chops a little by taking over as sole producer. Bassist John Collins, his usual co-producer, “was having a kid, and that coincided with me becoming a lot more savvy in the studio,” Newman says. “John was always the guy who was doing a lot of the audio manipulation and messing with arpeggiators and echoes, and I was always the guy standing behind him going, ‘Yeah, that’s cool. Let's do more of that.’ On this record it ended up that I was the guy doing it and the guy going, ‘That’s cool. Let’s make sure we don't lose it.’ So that to me was the big difference. And it was very fun. Although I had to be careful not to spend too much time with myself, because you can just descend into madness.”

 

The New Pornographers still remain one of the few bands of any significance to employ multiple lead vocalists—a province usually left to obscure and un-influential little bands like the Beatles, so you can see why it never caught on much. “If you listen to this record, it has slightly more Neko than usual,” Newman points out. “But I didn't really think of the balance as much this time around. Especially when Dan was singing on the records, how much to use each singer was always on my mind, in the sequencing and in general. And on this record, I didn’t really care at all. I thought, if it’s almost all me, then so be it, or if it’s more Neko, then so be it… Maybe it’s just the way the music industry has changed—in that it's going off in directions that we don’t even understand—that when I’m making a record, I think, why even guess what the right thing to do is? Just do it, whatever makes sense to you.”

 

These questions do come up, even as the lineup finally stabilizes. “I’ve always liked the idea of the Pornographers kind of morphing as we go along,” Newman says. “When we put out the first record, I didn't think of the reality of what are we going to do if this thing becomes popular? I used to joke around that I wanted it to be a computer program that you could feed songs through and they would come out the other side as The New Pornographers, and it didn’t necessarily matter who was in the band. But then a weird thing happened where people in the band became semi-famous. And then my dream of being the Alan Parsons Project, with everyone being faceless, went up in smoke. There’s too many people with personalities in this band,” he jokes, knowing that, even as an “I Robot” fan, that’s not such a bad problem to have.

 

When Whiteout Conditions came out two years ago, Newman openly acknowledged the Jeff Lynne influence, along with the simultaneous addition of a kraut-rock pulse. This time it was less about Lynne’s influence on the synth stacking than on actual strings, with the quartet Strength of Materials playing parts written and arranged by Newman’s fellow Canadian Ford Pier. “There are about four songs on the record that are fairly string heavy, and I didn’t want them to sound like your average strings,” says Newman. “If they were going to sound like anything, I wanted them to sound like ELO, because I will always love ELO. It’s an influence I will never be embarrassed about. We use a string quartet that was doubled—which I think is the early ELO method, before he could afford entire orchestras.”

 

That’s not to say the entire record feels ornate, by any stretch of the hard-driving indie-pop-rock-and-roll imagination. Even as Newman was considering how to add strings onto some of the songs, he was thinking about how to strip others further back.

 

“The influences that made us do Whiteout Conditions felt like a natural progression, and those are still with us,” he says. “But I was also wanting to do songs that felt more like a throwback to older songs we used to play. The second song on the record, ‘The Surprise Knock,’ had a different feel when we first recorded it—and I wouldn’t mind releasing that version at some point. But as I was listening to it, I thought, ‘Why don’t we play this song like New Pornographers 2005?’ Then we just replayed it with that feel. I thought enough time has passed that I feel like I can play songs that sort of sound like a classic Pornographers sound and not feel like I’m repeating myself, because it’s been so long. That was definitely a part of it: just wanting to…I hate to say ‘get back,’ but just get more slightly raucous and sounding more like a band.”

 

The track “You Won’t Need Those Where You’re Going” definitely doesn’t sound like a band, because it’s just Newman and a piano, an approach he modeled with the simplicity of Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm” in mind. But that, too, felt reminiscent of a previous period in the Pornographers’ oeuvre. “That felt like a throwback to something like Twin Cinema, which I think was the first record where we really branched out and just decided that we can do whatever we want, and we get to decide what a Pornographers song is or what it sounds like.”

 

Lyrically, no one will accuse In the Morse Code of Brake Lights of simplicity, with its fantastic rushes of wordplay. He’s the first to admit that this isn’t just a “cars” album, but that there are mixed metaphors everywhere. It’s the way he works, as he tries to cloak the blatant social and political statements he might make in interviews or on Twitter in a language that is both wittier and ultimately more mystical.

 

“There is so much politics that runs through all the lyrics, and it’s inescapable,” he says. “I try not to constantly go on about it, but it’s a very scary time. I try not to be too explicit, and I’m going to try to make it a little more wrapped up in metaphor and playing with the sound of words. Sometimes I do wonder to myself, is this completely inscrutable, or just completely too straightforward? In a song like ‘Colossus of Rhodes,’ the lyrics are very much about this time. I began to think of the Colossus of Rhodes as this metaphor for America, like the eighth wonder of the world, and nobody knows quite what happened to it, but it fell. The fear is that we’re kind of at the end of the American Empire. I read the news and try and piece everything together, and more and more I can’t see a way out of this, there's nothing to go back to. We can’t go back to 2008 or 2009 and everybody’s excited because Obama won, because those eight years caused something to become very rabid. But I don’t want to write the ‘I hate Trump’ song—even though I wish somebody would. I’m worried that the kind of song I write, unlike hip-hop or something, might make that message seem less serious or more flippant, so I try to be a little bit more obscure.

 

“The question is, is it acceptable in this day and age to be an artist who has no opinion, or who says, ‘Oh, I just want to have fun and entertain people’? I think of World War II, where there were these songs that were there just to entertain people, like ‘Ain’t We Got Fun’—light music so people could have fun, because it was not a fun time and they needed something to distract them. But now we have nothing but distraction. Now we have a thousand times the distractions we had in World War II, and I think, do I really want to add to them? It makes you think about pompous things like the role of the artist in society.”

 

It comes out in songs like “We’re Gonna Need Some Giants,” which is “just about the politics of right now. You want somebody to come save us—or the Mueller report is going to save us!—but you realize nobody’s going to come save us.” The title of that song came about when Newman was playing a tape backward and heard himself singing what sounded like the title phrase. He then fashioned that into a song and had Caldwell sing those words—forwards—over his backwards version.

 

The first single, “Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile,” has both light and serious origins. “There are so many songs like ‘the something of love’—you know, there’s ‘The Book of Love,’ ‘The Freeway of Love’…Then I thought of ‘falling down the stairs of your love,’ and I thought, that kind of works. I think it has that element of how do you deal with the ideas of love and happiness in this world right now? When current events are stressful, that makes a stress on people’s relationships, and you’re trying to figure out how to be happy in this loving relationship in this world that seems ugly at every turn, which is not as easy as it seems. Of course, ‘love’ ultimately morphed into ‘smile,’ but I like the metaphor of love as something that you fall down.”

 

Falling, or imminent crashing…it’s all related in The New Pornographer’s “Morse Code” worldview. But there is more than one interpretation to many of the songs, as Newman points out with “You Won’t Need Those Where You’re Going,” the emancipating title of which could portend either fleeing into the arms of a freeing love or doom. “It can be both, you know,” he points out. “I like that ambivalence. And considering I start each line with ‘my love,’ I guess it's a love song. Just because you have found a love doesn’t mean you’re not doomed, and just because you’re doomed doesn’t mean we can’t find love.”

 

In the end, for all its automotive motifs, In the Morse Code of Brake Lights is the opposite of something like a traditional rock & roll “Thunder Road.” But for Newman, there is catharsis is in the traveling, even if there is no exit. “The longer I play music,” he says, “I realize how much just defiance there is in all the music I've always made. Not just against some societal injustice, but also just defying sadness, or defying your lot in life. I want to use music to get to a better place, which is what I’ve always done, I realize. It’s a way to reach out of yourself.” The album may not offer an escape from these sometimes terrifying modern times, but it’s a hell of a revivifying rest stop.

 

 

 

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Billy Howerdel of 'A Perfect Circle'

Billy Howerdel of 'A Perfect Circle'

Performances

June 25 - 4:15 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

Billy Howerdel of 'A Perfect Circle'

Billy Howerdel has been putting the finishing touches on his debut solo album. A preview from the forthcoming collection was shared last month with the release of “Poison Flowers”. BBC Rock Radio 1’s Daniel P. Carter said: “If you’re a huge fan of A Perfect Circle, you’re gonna love it hands down. Has shades of A Perfect Circle in there but also a lot of his early influences really coming through like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Echo & the Bunnymen. Solid!” Loudwire said “Howerdel paints a haunting visual with a dark palette,” Guitar World commented that “the A Perfect Circle man has channeled his early influences… which treads a line between Pink Floyd and Nine Inch Nails,” and Revolver described the five-and-a-half minute song as “an ethereal, brooding and intensely stark creeper with gothic vocals and oodles of atmospheric textures.” Billy Howerdel has perhaps one of rock music’s most well-rounded and interesting resumes. Growing up in West Milford, New Jersey, he spent hours listening to WLIR emanating out of Long Island, New York. Lying in bed, he would scribble down playlists and then scout out the records he loved in stores, among them The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, Dead Kennedys, and Elvis Costello. However, it was the experience of seeing Pink Floyd at Giants Stadium that triggered his lust for finding a way to work in the music industry. Howerdel initially racked up experience in stage lighting, working for almost any band or theater production that would ask, while at the same time devoting the rest of his free time to practicing guitar. A few years of work led to a chance meeting with Fishbone, a move west and quickly becoming a sought-after road and studio tech, working with David Bowie, Guns N’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails, and oh yeah, being roommates with Tool’s Maynard James Keenan. It was that friendship that birthed the multi-platinum alternative rock supergroup, A Perfect Circle.

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The Record Company

The Record Company

Performances

June 25 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

The Record Company

The Record Company is breaking old habits on Play Loud. The Los Angeles trio was ready for a change when it came time to make their third album, and they got it: Play Loud pushes the group into uncharted territory with a dozen new tracks that move beyond the homemade sound of The Record Company's first two albums. Band members Alex Stiff, Chris Vos, and Marc Cazorla brought in GRAMMY-winning producer Dave Sardy (Oasis, Wolfmother, Modest Mouse, LCD Soundsystem) to help broaden their sound.

"We came to the table for our third record with strong demos on songs that could have passed for our first two records, and asked, 'Can we beat it?'" says singer Chris Vos. "And for the first time, we allowed talented people to come into our small circle to push the music higher."

"In the past, we were really insular. Everything was just us," says Stiff, who also played guitar and keyboards and sang on the album. "We totally flipped the process on this record to allow for every idea and possibility, so it wasn't just the three of us, closed off in our bubble. It was like, 'Let's take some risks and see what we can really do.'"

As the title implies, Play Loud is a bigger sounding album, with songs packed full of taut grooves and stick-in-your-head hooks. It's upbeat, and you can hear why Chris Vos described a common theme in the process as simply: "Fun." Though there are echoes aplenty of The Record Company's origins -- including recording all the basic tracks together live in the studio during a brief window in May 2020 -- there's also a willingness to try out new sounds and styles. Lead single "How High" pairs bristling guitar with a sleek bassline and distorted vocals, while "Paradise" lays back in a deep pocket with a spare, locked-in rhythm from bass and drums, bright bursts of guitar and, on the chorus, swelling keyboards that give the song a sense of lift. There's dirty electric guitar and a '90s hip-hop influence on the pulsing track "Gotta Be Movin,'" and a punchy bassline, tight backing vocals and just the right amount of a pop sensibility on "Never Leave You."

"We definitely wanted to expand," says Cazorla, who played drums and keyboards on the new album. The Record Company got started in 2011 and were selling out small venues in Los Angeles before they released their first album, 2016's GRAMMY-nominated Give It Back to You. Stiff produced the debut which yielded three Top 10 hits at Triple-A radio, including "Off the Ground," which reached No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs chart. Stiff also produced the trio's 2018 follow-up, All of This Life, which cracked the Billboard 200 albums chart and launched another Adult Alternative chart-topper with "Life to Fix." Yet when it came time to make their third record, the musicians knew they wanted to try something different.

Why did you shake things up on Play Loud?
Vos: You can't stay the same and expect new things. Where is the fun in that? Sardy said at the very beginning, "to make a great record you need to be around people who lose sleep over it." He did. We did.

Stiff: I stated right off the bat that we should try a new producer. I was ready to learn from someone with tons of record making experience, and focus on being creative, rather than wearing so many hats at once.

What did you learn from working with new collaborators?
Cazorla: That we don't have the answers to everything. We were fortunate to work with

some great people, and it's helpful to listen to them and take some guidance where needed, and also to stand firmly up for the stuff that we believe in and find that great end result together. The best possible version of the song.

Vos: We collaborated in our writing process with a couple of people, like Shungudzo or Sam Hollander and Kevin Griffin or Dave, who awoke inspiration within us to find new ideas, or greatly improve upon existing ones. Every second of every song on the record is authentic to both who we are and where we are as people. It was a fresh feeling to have that experience because you got to participate with others in a process that adds to your own, and that opened new possibilities up.

What did Dave Sardy bring to the process?
Stiff: Even the first time we met him, all of us left that day with new knowledge about how to make something bigger than what we could conceive on our own. He also has an amazing studio with a lot of crazy gear that inspired ideas. It's not just about expensive mics, sometimes we'd use a mic from an '80s boombox to record. He brings a craft of experimentation that is an art in itself.

Vos: Nothing gets past Dave. He demands ideas and performances achieve a certain level. We as a band feel the same. I easily had a couple of nervous breakdowns making the record, and I think that's what it takes. The melodies on this record, alongside Dave's production, made me step away from a lot of my moves as a singer. It got me out of my normal comfortable zone and made me grow through the challenge of singing authentically from a different place. To refine and redefine how I saw singing and melody. That's a delight.

What effect did the pandemic have on making this album?
Cazorla: We had much more time, so we took a few months before we went into record in May 2020 to really go over everything with a fine-tooth comb: every word, every phrase -- everything, and it felt really great to be able to do that.

Vos: From the beginning, Alex was in his home studio making rock solid inspiring demoes for us to feed off of. That started the whole ball rolling from a strong place. There was nothing else to do but work on these songs and make them the sole central focus in our lives. We'll probably never have a chance quite like that again. Through the whole process it is the band's job to make sure we know what we want to say, to work as hard to get the best results, and to always do music you feel opens your heart to the listener.

What do you hope Play Loud does for the band?
Vos: I want the record to reach the people it's supposed to reach. I don't know how many that is -- I don't care about the numbers so much as the record is just finding its way to people who can hear the honesty that we put into it. We worked harder on this record than we've worked on any other record. We made a record we love.

Stiff: When this album drops is exactly our 10-year anniversary, and we just feel like it's our time. It's different than what some of our fans might expect from us, but we felt we had to evolve, and we found new ground and a bigger sound.

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Chevelle

Chevelle

Performances

July 9 - 10:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Chevelle

After more than two decades together, numerous top-charting releases, and countless worldwide tours, CHEVELLE—the outfit consisting of brothers Pete Loeffler [guitars, vocals], Sam Loeffler [drums]—have confidently sailed through decades of uncharted waters and have emerge with a sound that is equally intricate as it is intimate. Now, the understated musical powerhouse, who have consistently delivered rock anthems, will unleash their ninth full length album, NIRATIAS, on March 5th, 2021.

 

After almost 5 years between studio albums, the band felt despite the musical landscape growing more uncertain during unprecedented times, the time was right to unleash the new collection of songs.

 

"We decided that pandemic or not, we are a rock band. Writing and releasing music is just what we do,” the band says. “Even for our mental health, it's reason enough to put NIRATIAS out and feel some normalcy and pride in what we have been working on. As music fans, we appreciate this from the bands we follow, and we hope our fans will appreciate it, too.”

 

NIRATIAS draws upon Pete’s fascination with space travel, simulation theory and a healthy distrust and skepticism of the unknown. NIRATIAS was recorded over 2019 and 2020 with longtime producer Joe Barresi.

 

The album builds upon the pair’s impressive discography. To-date, Chevelle has achieved Multi- Platinum, Platinum and Gold certifications across 8 studio albums and 7 number one hits, with 17 songs reaching the Top 10 on the Rock charts. The band has sold over 5 million albums in the US, and more world-wide. Their extensive body of acclaimed work includes the 2002 Multi-Platinum selling genre staple Wonder What's Next and the 2004 Platinum selling follow-up This Type of Thinking Could Do Us In, which debuted #8 on the Billboard Top 200. The releases that followed held their own against the ever changing faces of popular music: 2007’s Gold record selling Vena Sera reached #2 on the Billboard Rock Albums Chart while 2009’s Sci-Fi Crimes debuted #6 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the Alternative Chart. 2011's Hats Off to The Bull (#5 on Billboard Top 200), 2014’s La Gargola (#3), and 2016’s The North Corridor (#8, #1 Rock) built upon the success. In 2018, Chevelle released a B-sides and rarities collection entitled 12 Bloody Spies while they wrote and recorded the new album.

 

With no signs of this Chicago alternative rock staple slowing down, their numerous chart topping releases have certainly earned this band their place in American rock music history. NIRATIAS will be sure to add another chapter to the extensive catalog of this successful music career.

 

"You don't want to repeat yourself," affirms Sam. “We want to seize something different with each song. Every record has to take on its own identity. As an artist, you have to progress and evolve." As they continue to master their craft, Chevelle take on the critics and prove time and time again that they are a force to be reckoned with.

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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Performances

July 9 - 8:15 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB – WRONG CREATURES

by Eve Barlow

 

For a select few, rock'n'roll is a life sentence. It's in every muscle in your body, it's in every thought you have, it's written all over your face. When you arrive at Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's headquarters in East Hollywood, you know you're sidling up to the home of some of rock's most primal prisoners. In the driveway there are motorcycles. In the living room there is gear splayed everywhere; random bits of drum kits, a pedal steel guitar, stacks of vinyl. Answering the door is a bleary-eyed, chain-smoking Peter Hayes (guitar, vocals) and his co-habiting bandmate Leah Shapiro (drums). In walks bassist Robert Levon Been too, Hayes' BRMC co-founder, dark shades on, an even darker all-black ensemble. As a trio, they seem forever unsettled, even in the safety of each other's companies. They take time over answers, seeking for perfect responses. It's the same approach they have to rock'n'roll. If the end result is not flawless, they're not interested.

 

In this house is where they're currently putting the finishing touches on their forthcoming eighth album, the follow-up to 2013's 'Specter At The Feast'. Titled 'Wrong Creatures', it began in the summer of 2015. Shapiro was six months clear of a brain surgery. The trio had come off a tour and began sketching out new songs in their private lockout space appropriately nicknamed ‘The Bunker’ in North Hollywood.  “Just mumble tracks, inside big walls of noise” explains Hayes, lyrics would often morph out the sounds later.

 

For Hayes, in particular, this record proved to be one of the more tumultuous given the length of time it's taken from start to finish. “This one's been so long I have come around the other side,” he admits. “I've gone from hating it to enjoying it.” A hesitant sense of pride is shared among them. On a good day, BRMC remains a democracy. Their lifestyle is anti-establishment, and it's reflected in their approach to being a band, too. There is no chief lyricist, for instance. That makes for a delicate balancing of egos. “We've always been anti frontman,” reasons Hayes.

 

Sharing the load, however, doesn't necessarily make the task at hand any easier. The longer BRMC exist, the deeper they have to search to mine the gold dust. The difference between them and your typical band is that they work themselves into the ground to get there. “Every record gets a little harder figuring out what to say, trying not to repeat yourself,” admits Hayes. The reason for their cantankerous relationship with critics is a result of being their own harshest judges. “We beat the shit out of ourselves trying to come up with something meaningful. So when someone else beats the crap out of it we're like, 'Yeah that's fair.'”

 

Back to 'Wrong Creatures' though… Once the trio had enough “mumble” tracks to get going, they'd move into their LA studio to record properly. Where most of this album could be described as an Angeleno affair, some of the songs are older. 'Spook', for instance came from writing sessions in Santa Cruz and was recorded out in Joshua Tree. ‘Bandung Hum' was started in Indonesia on tour. Writing on the road, however, is never the most optimum place. It was back home where they toiled and drove themselves to breaking point. Producer Nick Launay came in to assist. Famed for his work with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire and most significantly here Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Launay became a fundamental part of the BRMC machine, providing the band with a sounding board.

 

“Your perspective goes away when you've been down the rabbit hole for too long,” admits Shapiro. “Having someone come in and say that it's good and you can stop working yourself to death… If we don't have a sounding board like that we'll never stop working. We'll stay in that rehearsal studio forever.” Hayes chuckles to himself. “We're stuck up our own ass a bit much.”

 

Despite the travails of pushing themselves to evolve, this time they found that they could lean on all the different iterations of BRMC over the years. As a band that's refused to be locked into one genre, they found a sense of freedom in their abilities to float from bluesy rock'n'roll, to psychedelia and back to a more rootsy Americana sound. 'Wrong Creatures' takes a journey throughout rock's history, taking unlikely twists and turns, both peppered with historic influences but also having one foot firmly in the present. Their biggest focus remains in developing their own musicianship, never resting on their laurels, preparing to enhance the live experience they can offer fans. “We caught some cool performances on this record,” says Hayes. 

 

'Little Thing Gone Wild' – a dirty, rollicking ride of big licks and heavy bass – is the first taste for the album. It's also the inspiration for the LP's title, drawing on a lyrical passage. “Lord you hear me loud into my soul speaker, why won’t you let me out, you’ve got the wrong creature’. Somehow this was a reoccurring theme throughout this album though,” says Been. "That feeling of always being locked inside yourself, and you’ve always gotta scratch and claw your way out. With some gnawing sense that maybe we’re all just built wrong?  Maybe we’re not all these precious divine beings, and we want to believe we're cut from some sort of better cloth, but we usually just wind up like all the other pigs rolling around in each others shit fighting over a few truffles. Who knows though, maybe somewhere along the line god just got us wrong.”

 

Provocation aside, 'Wrong Creatures' is an exercise in getting back to the core of BRMC's alchemy. From the Cave-esque murder balladry of 'Haunt' to the garage punk of 'Little Thing Gone Wild', it runs the gamut of classic rock, allowing BRMC to flex every muscle in their armour. They remain opaque about the songs' greater meanings, fearful of past misunderstandings. “I find myself writing about death a lot,” says Hayes. “I find myself having a discussion with death, which sounds dark. For me, it's dark humour.” Talking about mortality allows Hayes to explore life's great mistakes and regrets. Channelling them through rolling riffs and dirge-laden rhythms, however, extolls the demons within. It's a great catharsis for the band, and it's a great unifier for their audience who can also seek solace in the emotional heft.

 

Ultimately, BRMC are survivors during an era where rock'n'roll can often be overshadowed by garish pop and domineering hip-hop. Having come out the other side of years' worth of internal drama and their fair share of good and bad press, BRMC have learned how to cut out all the noise and concentrate on what matters. “We are truly an island – insular and our own thing,” says Been. “Most rock bands are like couples that got married way too young, knocked out 12 kids immediately, and eventually ends up hating each other sooner or later, but you also share this magic and history that can’t always be measured. Your kids are the songs though, and no matter what band fights there are, you keep coming back, you keep falling in and out of love together, because of this thing that you share and love.” They half-smile at each other. “It's brutal but it's also beautiful.”

 

The most beautiful part of it is that even this far down the line, they can still surprise themselves. “There's a strange thing that happened on this record where I connected more to music rather than words and that gave me something,” says Hayes. “It pulled on my heart string.” As dark and heavy as things get for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, there's still a ray of light.

 

Tracklist:

 

WRONG CREATURES:

 

1. D.F.F.

2. Spook

3. King of Bones

4. Haunt

5. Echo

6. Ninth Configuration

7. Question of Faith

8. Calling Them All Away

9. Little Thing Gone Wild

10. Circus Bazooko

11. Carried From The Start

12. All Rise

 

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are:

Peter Hayes (vocal, guitar, harmonica)

Robert Levon Been (vocal, bass, guitar)

Leah Shapiro (drums)

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The FIXX

The FIXX

Performances

June 30 - 5:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

The FIXX

Alternative rock pioneers The FIXX have just revealed the title and release date of their forthcoming studio album: EVERY FIVE SECONDS is due out June 3rd via BFD/The Orchard.  The album is produced by Stephen W Tayler (Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks, Peter Gabriel) for Chimera Arts (except for “A Life Survived” and “Lonely As A Lighthouse,” which are produced by Nick Jackson) and mastered by Alex Wharton (Paul McCartney, My Bloody Valentine, The Chemical Brothers) at Abbey Road Studios in London. 

 

Of the new album, their first in nearly a decade, lead singer Cy Curnin commented, “Life can either be a series of broken obsessive thoughts or it can be a wonderful mosaic of moments.  EVERY FIVE SECONDS reflects this human paradox. The constant struggle between betterment and bewilderment.”  Click here to access EVERY FIVE SECONDS cover art.  Click here to pre-order EVERY FIVE SECONDS.  Please see below for the track listing.  In addition, The FIXX have made another track from the album available for fans; “Closer” can be accessed here.

 

The FIXX has been heralded as one of the most innovative bands to come out of the “MTV” era. For four decades, the style and substance of the band has always created a special connection with its audience. The FIXX’s themes are often complex, introspective and thought-provoking, but not without widespread mass appeal.  The band has garnered three #1 hits, five more in the Top 5 and a dozen which reached the Top 10.  With millions of albums sold worldwide, songs such as “One Thing Leads To Another,” “Red Skies” and “Saved By Zero” remain everyday staples on the playlists of the Rock, AAA and Alternative radio stations that continue to break new acts inspired by the era that The FIXX helped to define.  The FIXX’s classic lineup remains intact, Cy Curnin (vocals), Jamie West-Oram (guitar), Rupert Greenall (keyboards), Dan K. Brown (bass guitar) and Adam Woods (drums).

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Skid Row

Skid Row

Performances

June 24 - 9:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Skid Row

Erik Grönwall – vocals Snake Sabo – guitars Scotti Hill – guitars Rachel Bolan – bass

Rob Hammersmith – drums

 

 

 

Remember that first time you heard Skid Row?

 

“Youth Gone Wild” was on MTV. “18 and Life” was a summertime hit single and the band was on the covers of Hit Parader, Circus, and Metal Edge magazines. That exhilarating sound of being young was everywhere. We saw and heard ourselves in the band and rallied around their oversized choruses of camaraderie and rebellion.

 

Rob Hammersmith saw himself in that gang mentality. “I was looking for that,” he remembers. “Everybody goes through that phase of me against the world, where you just have to stand up and assert yourself. Every kid goes through that, and Skid Row made you realize that you're not alone.”

 

Snake Sabo realized he wasn't alone after striking up a songwriting partnership with Rachel Bolan. “I saw all this talent he had — and has — and he brought something out of me. It made me go, man, this is the start of something. I'm like, yeah, this is where we're supposed to be at this moment in our lives. It was the birth of what would be Skid Row.”

 

That something — and that name — represented the unrelenting impulse of rambunctious kids, channeling their love of punk and metal into something understood by a worldwide audience of other kids just like them.

 

“Right when we came up with the name — Skid Row — that's when I realized we were going to build something really special that really drew on our influences,” Rachel remembers.

 

Their attitude and swagger was palpable in those songs. It was obvious. A demo of songs Rachel and Snake wrote together was the first time Scotti Hill heard Skid Row, and he wanted in. “It had three songs on it — including 'Clock Strikes Midnight' — and I loved all three of those songs.

Right from the beginning, I loved where the music was going. I was like, I gotta be in this fucking band!”

 

That fucking band built something powerful and so timeless that years later, halfway around the world, it roused a young Swedish singer. “You're young, a bit crazy — fist in the air and fuck yeah — that kind of feeling,” recalls Erik Grönwall. “Skid Row are the youth gone wild, and I wanted the same thing. I wanted that lifestyle.”

 

It's cliché to say that a band has all their lives to write a first album. The truth is that they spend the rest of their lives trying to understand how they did it. The Gang's All Here is the octane of an attitude that's been festering since the band formed in 1986. Producer Nick Raskulinecz lit a creative wildfire by challenging them to deconstruct good ideas and rebuild them into something even better. Something timeless. He became the arbiter of their legacy, daring them to revert to instinct and be the same rambunctious kids who made their first two albums.

 

“On 'World On Fire,' I had written this very cool riff. Nick said, play the chord up here, an octave up from the original notes. It created a difficult move, and I didn't know how to physically do that, but he challenged me. The one time I got it right, he goes, now that's Skid Row. That was a heavy moment for me, this guy having to bring something that is Skid Row out of me, yet I'm a founding member of the

 

band!”

 

“We were kids,” Rachel says about writing songs that debuted Slave To The Grind at #1 on Billboard and made the self-titled album a #6 multi-platinum hit. “We wrote from a vastly different perspective. Nick got us back to that train of thought: what approach did we take on those first two records? What were we doing?

 

“I wound up feeling the same as when we wrote “18 and Life” and “Youth Gone Wild,” he says. “I felt like, whoa! We're doing something really cool here!”

 

Making the new album did feel just like the beginning, when the gang meticulously crafted songs together in a garage in New Jersey. “It's so much fun doing it like that, in a room banging it out,” Scotti says. “This felt like we were back in that garage again, like the old days. The only difference is now we've got air conditioning and we're not breathing kerosene heater exhaust.”

 

Rob knows the feeling. “The way we spent eight to ten hours a day, just trying ideas and playing things, that took us back to the feeling of being a kid in the garage with your friends,” he says. “This album truly is a group effort, and I really enjoyed how much of a close knit group of guys this whole experience has been.”

 

That creative closeness led to the spontaneity of actually writing new songs during rehearsal. Someone demonstrating new riffs quickly turned into “World On Fire” and “Not Dead Yet”

 

being written on the spot. “We've never done that,” Rachel says. “The other guys giving their input from square one, that really makes you work off instinct.”

 

Still, Scotti says Rachel and Snake writing together is most characteristic of Skid Row. “The best stuff is what they do together, just the two of them. Let them do what they do. That's how it was in the beginning, and I think that's the best result now, that combination of the guy who writes the giant guitar riffs with the guy who has the punk influence and poetic type of street poetry.”

 

“I wish I wrote these songs,” Erik laughs. “There are a lot of great songs here. It's a nice problem to have when you have too many potential singles. There's a lot of old school Skid Row in these songs on this album, like 'Tear It Down,' which I like, as a fan.”

 

That old school style makes The Gang's All Here immediately familiar. It's the sound of having a good time. “A lot of the songs are fun,” Rachel says. “They're songs you can sing and move to, which is what our first two records did. You can fight to these songs. Drink to them. Strip to them. All the bases are covered.”

 

Raskulinecz encouraged them to not be afraid to incorporate the signature accents that define their classic songs. He strove to make the band sound like the band, keeping the same philosophy producer Michael Wagener used to record them years ago.

 

“Nick is completely cognizant and respectful of the past,” Snake says. “But it's more about the essence and soul of why we started this thing in the first place. He said, everything from the beginning of 1985, when I met Rachel, to 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee, is all Skid Row, and he was there to remind us of it.”

 

Another déjà vu is Erik Grönwall and his snarling sound of a curled lip sneer that can turn on edge to soaring sweetness. “We wanted him to show his range,” Rachel says. “We wanted him to really draw on his influences — Skid Row just happens to be one of them — but mainly just let go and do what he does best.”

 

“That was my approach,” says Erik. “ A good balance between the old school stuff and the way I sing. I just had so much fun recording this album because I really enjoy singing this kind of music.”

 

The first song he heard was “The Gang's All Here,” and it made him feel like a kid all over again. “It was old school Skid Row for me — the Skid Row I fell in love with. I thought, wow, they're really going back to the old school sound, and I think I can add some value here. I knew what I was going to do with it the first time I heard it.”

 

From songwriting to performances, the whole band agrees that the ten tracks on The Gang's All Here are some of their best songs — ever. There's also a noticeable connectedness in the songs that often gets lost in the technology of making music. “There's a thing Snake and I did together

— October's Song — that we played a double lead at the end. It's real cool, and it was really fun to do. He stood on the left side of the room, I stood on the right, and we played together. That's how it needs to be done, and not a lot of people are doing that these days.”

 

There will always be uncompromising expectations about how Skid Row needs to be done. Erik expects rigorous comparison to other singers throughout the history of the band, but people caring so much is a good thing, he says. “People actually giving a fuck speaks to the greatness of the band. If they care so much, that means the band is relevant.”

 

“A lot of people have taken this ride with us,” Snake says. “But even though we've all grown older — and somewhat wiser — the essence of who we all are still exists.”

 

You won't be disappointed. The Gang's All Here is a revival of everything you ever loved about Skid Row. Snake calls it a rebirth. “There's a newfound energy and passion — and excitement — because we were challenged. When we're challenged, we rise to that challenge. We still have a lot left inside that we need to say. Making this album has shown me that we still have a lot left in the tank.”

 

The gang's all here — you, the band, and the attitude of being forever wild and young at heart. The Gang's All Here will rekindle everything you felt that first time hearing this band. It's like the first time you heard Skid Row, all over again.

 

Better work up the money, because someone is getting busted.

 

— Roger Lotring

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Deep Sea Diver

Deep Sea Diver

Performances

July 7 - 6:45 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

Deep Sea Diver

The third full-length from Deep Sea Diver, Impossible Weight is a work of sublime highs and mesmerizing lows, its restless intensity both unsettling and transcendent. For bandleader Jessica Dobson, the album’s sonic and emotional expanse stems from a period of sometimes-brutal self-examination—a process that began not long after the Seattle-based four-piece finished touring for their acclaimed sophomore effort Secrets.

“We went into the studio pretty quickly after the tour ended, and I sort of hit a wall where I was feeling very detached from making music, and unable to find joy in it,” says the vocalist/multi-instrumentalist, whose bandmates include her husband Peter Mansen (drums), Garrett Gue (bass), and Elliot Jackson (guitar, synth). “I realized I had to try to rediscover my voice as a songwriter, and figure out the vocabulary for what I needed to say on this album.”

As she stepped back from the studio, Dobson focused on dealing with the depression she’d been struggling with, and soon started volunteering for Aurora Commons (a drop-in center for unhoused people, most of whom are drug-dependent and engage in street-survival-based sex work). “I spent a lot of time with the women who frequent the Commons, and it taught me a new depth of empathy,” she says. “They’re people who don’t have the luxury of going back to a home at the end of the day and hiding behind those four walls, so they’re sort of forced to be vulnerable with what their needs are. Talking with them and listening to them really freed me up to start writing about things I’d never written about before in my songs.”

Co-produced by Dobson and Andy D. Park (Pedro the Lion, Ruler) and mainly recorded at Seattle’s Studio X and The Hall of Justice, Impossible Weight brings that emotional excavation to a more grandiose sound than Deep Sea Diver has ever attempted. Along with revealing the limitless imagination of Dobson’s guitar work—a prodigious talent she’s previously shown in playing lead guitar for artists like Beck and The Shins—the album’s lush textures and mercurial arrangements more fully illuminate the power of her vocals. “’I’d never produced a record before and I started out with low expectations for myself, but at some point I realized, ‘I can do this,’” Dobson recalls. “I decided to completely trust my voice and make really bold decisions in all my production calls—just push everything to the absolute outer edges.”

On the title track to Impossible Weight, Deep Sea Diver prove the incredible precision of those instincts. Featuring guest vocals from Sharon Van Etten, “Impossible Weight” unfolds in radiant grooves and frenetic fits of guitar, its lyrics presenting a bit of wisdom extracted from Dobson’s time at Aurora Commons. “In the past I’d often tell myself, ‘This other person is going through something worse than I am, so their pain weighs more,’” she says. “‘Impossible Weight’ is about finding more compassion for yourself, instead of discrediting your pain in that way.”

The luminous opening track to Impossible Weight, “Shattering the Hourglass” makes for a perfect introduction to the album’s sonic complexity, beginning in intimate reflection before shifting into a wildly sprawling anthem. But despite its kinetic orchestration, the song’s dynamics never overshadow its central lyric: “You don’t have to be strong enough.” “I wrote that one the same week my friend and former bandmate Richard Swift was spending his last days in hospice because of complications from alcoholism,” notes Dobson, referring to the beloved singer/songwriter/producer, also known for his work with The Shins. “I was thinking about how everyone’s facing some kind of battle, and how I wish we could all talk more openly about these things. I wish we could give ourselves that license to fall apart, so that others can help carry us to a better place.”

In her commitment to radical vulnerability, Dobson lays her own needs bare on songs like “Lights Out”: a defiant yet strangely delicate track that takes on a thrilling momentum as she cycles through an entire world of moods, her voice careening from growling to tender. “‘Lights Out’ was written around the time I hit that wall when we first started working on the record; it’s about fumbling through the darkness and knowing I damn well need help getting out,” she says. Meanwhile, on “Wishing,” Deep Sea Diver deliver a stormy and psych-leaning number sparked from Dobson’s viewing of a documentary on Nina Simone. “She had a husband who was physically and emotionally abusive to her, and it made me think about the idea of being under the thumb of someone else, and not knowing how to get in control of your life again,” Dobson says. “I have a tendency to try to resolve the narrative by the time I get to the end of the song, but for that one I didn’t—which felt right, because that’s what life is like.”

On “Eyes Are Red (Don’t Be Afraid),” Impossible Weight reaches its glorious climax, a seven-minute epic that builds to an instrumental breakdown centered on Dobson’s beautifully unhinged guitar work. Not only a triumphant turning point in her musicianship and production approach, “Eyes Are Red (Don’t Be Afraid)” marks a major leap in Dobson’s songwriting. “Lyrically that’s the most uncomfortable song for me on the album,” she says, noting that the track was partly inspired by Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Brett Kavanaugh and the collective trauma endured by women everywhere. “There’s so much anger and frustration in it, and it made sense to express that in plainspoken lyrics. I ended up with these phrases that are almost like mantras: ‘Don’t be afraid. Don’t be ashamed.’ A lot of my musical heroes tend to be very poetic, but sometimes there’s so much more meaning in saying things simply.”

For Dobson, redefining the limits of her artistry goes hand-in-hand with certain identity issues she faced during the making of Impossible Weight. “I was adopted and just recently met my birth mother, and found out that I’m half-Mexican and half-Jewish,” she explains. “Discovering my heritage and learning things about myself that I never knew before really fed into that question of ‘Where do I belong?’” At the same time, Dobson restored the sense of possibility she felt in first embarking on her music career, which included landing a deal at Atlantic Records at the age of 19. “I think being signed at such a young age messed me up in terms of the expectations I put on myself,” she says. “Somewhere along the way I lost confidence in my own vision, but after making this record I feel a much larger freedom to go in whatever direction I want with my music.”

With the release of Impossible Weight, Dobson hopes that others might reclaim a similar sense of freedom in their emotional lives. “Especially right now when the world is in disarray and there’s so much fear, I want this record to give people room to feel whatever they need to feel,” she says. “I hope it helps them recognize that it’s okay to fall apart, and that they’re meant to let others in instead of trying to work through everything on their own. Because the point is that the impossible weight isn’t yours to carry alone—that’s why it’s impossible.”

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Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes

Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes

Performances

June 25 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes

In a business where success is defined as getting a second single and longevity measured in nanoseconds, simply surviving for thirty-plus years is a rare accomplishment. But Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes have not only survived, they have flourished: more than thirty albums, several Eps and a box set; thousands of live performances around the globe; a legion of dedicated and enthusiastic fans; dozens of classic songs; a release named by Rolling Stone one of the “top 100 albums of the 70s and 80s.”

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes emerged from the New Jersey shore scene in 1974, and though they carried over a significant influence (and some key personnel) from Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, the Jukes evolved as more of a white R&B horn band in the Memphis Stax Records tradition. Organized by singer John Lyon, guitarist/songwriter Steve Van Zandt (who decamped for the E Street Band in 1975, but continued to produce, manage, and write songs for the Jukes) and Richie Rosenberg, the band is well known for high-energy shows and no-holds-barred songs, including “I Don’t Wanna Go Home,” “Havin’ a Party,” “The Fever,” “Talk to Me,” “Trapped Again,” and “This Time It’s For Real.”

Still tinged with the exuberant rhythm and blues feel that is the Jukes’ trademark, and loaded with the driving sound of the legendary Jukes horn section, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes continue to expound their signature Jersey Shore sound – all for the sheer joy of it.

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Skillet

Skillet

Performances

July 8 - 9:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Skillet

Not every rebellion gestates in darkness. As one of the best-selling rock bands of the 21st century, Skillet continue to rebel against conventions, doubts, expectations, and rules with the intent to uplift in light. The two-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated Pandora Billionaires Club members and multiplatinum Kenosha, Wisconsin quartet—John Cooper [lead vocals/bass], Korey Cooper [guitar/keys], Jen Ledger [drums/vocals], and Seth Morrison [lead guitar]—never compromise their integrity. Instead, they’ve traveled their own path to unprecedented heights with an urgent sound, undeniable energy, and unbreakable spirit.

On their eleventh full-length album, Dominion [Atlantic Records], Skillet encourage a different kind of revolt when the world could really use it…

“I call it positive rebellion,” exclaims John. “It’s a rebellion against those internal elements such as fear and anxiety. It’s a rebellion against external forces wanting you to be something you don’t want to be. It’s a celebration of the freedom we have in our lives. It’s very anti-establishment. It’s a rally call to stand up for what you believe in and not be silenced. It might be unpopular in certain places, but there’s nothing more rock ‘n’ roll than that,” he smiles.

Skillet have embodied rock ‘n’ roll’s evolution from day one. Selling 12 million albums worldwide to date, they’ve earned over a dozen RIAA certifications in recognition of gold, platinum, or multiplatinum status. Landmark album Awake notably went 3x-platinum and picked up a Billboard Music Award. Plus, it housed the 2x-platinum track “Awake & Alive,” 3x-platinum track “Hero,” and 4x-platinum track “Monster.” The latter stands out as “one of the most-streamed rock songs in history” with over 1.2 BILLION global audio streams. 2019’s Victorious marked the group’s fourth consecutive Top 20 debut on the Billboard Top 200. The album concluded the year on LoudWire’s “The 50 Best Rock Albums of 2019” and yielded the Top 10 rock radio smash “Legendary,” racking up north of 100 million streams. The band’s music also resounds throughout culture, landing syncs from WWE, Marvel, ESPN, MLB, NHL and NFL. As a touring phenomenon, they regularly sell out arenas worldwide, playing in over 26 countries and 6 continents, and have earned acclaim from Billboard, USA Today, The New York Times, and many more. Not to mention, their debut graphic novel, EDEN: A Skillet Graphic Novel with Z2 Comics, emerged as the publisher’s best-selling book of all-time and launched a fan favorite series, with their second graphic novel releasing the fall of 2020, EDEN: The Aftermath.

As the Global Pandemic brought 2020 to a halt, Skillet creatively pushed forward. The musicians logged on to ZOOM and recorded what would become Dominion with producer Kevin Churko [Papa Roach, Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch] and co-writer Kane Churko over the course of the year. The Churkos inspired the band to stretch their sonic palette once again.

“We recorded the entire album together, and we were never in the same room at the same time,” recalls John. “We’d write together and discuss the direction. Kevin and Kane would send us tracks; we’d send them tracks. I’d record on the bus or at home. It made the process go extremely quickly. Once everything opened up a little more, we could’ve flown to Las Vegas, but it was going so well remotely. It made us willing to try some new things that I don’t think we would’ve if it was in person.”

Speaking of, the first single “Surviving Game” opens with a spoken word intro before snapping into a jagged sidewinder riff encased in an electronic hum. Right out of the gate, the track reacted with audiences, generating millions of streams.

“The song is about defiance towards fear,” he goes on. “Even though it’s hard, you’re going to survive. Each day is another day to keep that oath to yourself and not give up. Surviving connotes both optimism and realism in the same word. You’re acknowledging things are difficult, but you’re going to make it through.”

The title track “Dominion” upholds this theme. Harmonic squeals pierce a chugging distorted riff as John’s aggressive delivery collides full force into the pre-chorus, “Our rebellion has begun.It culminates on the screeches of a fiery fret-burning solo.

“For me, it’s lyrically powerful,” he continues. “You’re not going to bow down to what anybody says. When people try to act like God, they need to be put back in their place. It’s a rebellious rock song.”

Elsewhere, “Destiny” slips into a trudging groove as John and Jen lock into a call-and-response tempered with a head-nodding bounce.

“The line ‘This darkness ain’t my destiny’ is important,” he reveals. “You have a say over your own life regardless of outside forces - you have a say over your own life regardless of outside forces - you can choose forgiveness instead of anger, and life instead of death. Musically, it’s fresh for us, because the bridge and programming have this hip-hop flavor.”

Delicate piano and strings underscore “Valley of Death” as John delivers one of his most emotionally charged and pensive vocal performances. “The message is even if you feel like you’re alone, you’re not, he elaborates.

“Beyond Incredible” tosses and turns between an anthemic arena-ready chorus fueled by hummable shredding.

“We’re living in a world with so much hatred and anger,” he observes. “Sometimes, you don’t know how to move forward. The song is about raising yourself up to a higher plane.”

Then, there’s “Standing In The Storm.” It swirls around a key line, “I’ve still got some life in me, culled from one of Korey’s journals. A slow trap-inspired beat gives way to sirens and syncopated guitar as he declares, “Time to be defiant.

“We’re getting older, our kids are getting older, and the world is falling apart, so there’s a part of me that’s like, ‘Do you really want to go back on the road in the midst of a Pandemic?’,” he admits. “Do we want to keep this business going? Then, I saw that passage in Korey’s journal. I was really impacted. I started to think, ‘Yes, there’s a lot of crazy things going on, but I’m not done!’”

In the end, Skillet’s greatest rebellion begins now.

“I hope this album strengthens you to be steadfast—even in the face of unpopularity,” he leaves off. “Maybe it will inspire you to say something you haven’t had the strength to say. We love playing music, and we’re very blessed to be doing it still. We’ve carved a very tiny little niche in rock music for ourselves by going against the grain, and we’re not going to give up. This is another new era for Skillet.”

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Jackopierce

Jackopierce

Performances

July 2 - 6:45 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

Jackopierce

A river runs through this swath of ranch land, snaking in serpentine contours through willows and winters, destined for the nearby fertile plain to the south. Just before she empties into the basin, she joins another moving band of water, on her own journey from headwaters in the same mountain range.

 

Their power and beauty is greater at the confluence.

 

I walk that river now, alone, almost there, lost in song. Well, almost alone.

Are you haunted by your dreams/do you walk with ghosts/do they call out and you don’t know what it means/or do you make a stand/turn around and shake their hand/on 191st street

 

I walk with ghosts, too, along this riverbank. Divorces, struggles with sobriety, crises of faith and confidence... we all walk with them, though we may call them by different names. And when we find the courage to shake those ghosts’ hands, brushing their fingers in mutual acknowledgment and respect, sometimes we can let them go.

 

For good.

 

And then, finally free, we can turn to the future, and run into the joyful arms of breezy melodies, joy, and hope.

 

Decline defeat politely/then we reassess/lift our heads up/on we press/don’t you know there ain’t no magic potion/life it ebbs and flows just like the ocean/ride the waves but don’t get carried away/turn those lemons into lemonade/ahhh-we’re back again

 

Cary Pierce’s ‘Back Again’ is that joyous morning-after to Jack O’Neill’s ‘Cadillac Kings’ evening spent dancing with ghosts, the juxtaposition of dark and light reflected in their own deep pool journeys.

 

Jack and Cary started playing together at SMU in Dallas, TX, when music was shared via mix tape, not mp3. They’d spend the next 10 years recording albums and touring the world, sharing stages with the biggest names of the era.

 

Those names don’t matter here. There’s does.

 

Their inaugural decade ended in a short-lived sabbatical, with Jack heading to New York to pursue acting and Cary embarking on a solo career. The duo reunited 5 years later, shook the dust off, and launched another twenty-year run of successful albums and

 

tours, bookended by sold-out shows featuring an all-star backing band (Vertical Horizon, anyone?) and popular destination events.

 

Along the way, Jack and Cary’s personal journeys followed turns and drops unique to them, but familiar to us all. And now, as this river meets the next, both peace with the past and excitement for the forward-view is palpable.

 

And best heard through their songs. Take a listen.

But not because they’ve been making music together for over 30 years, or because of their half-million albums sold, or late-night talk show appearances, or influence on an entire genre of acoustic-driven rock.

 

Listen because these two theater-major undergrads, with headwaters in the same late-80s collegiate mountain range, have stumbled over their own stones and through their own canyons over the last three decades.

 

And now, they meet again, where their power and beauty is the greatest. Here, at the confluence.

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Max Weinberg's Jukebox

Max Weinberg's Jukebox

Performances

June 25 - 8:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Max Weinberg's Jukebox

Performing over 150 shows since April of 2017, Max Weinberg’s Jukebox continues to barnstorm the country, blasting out the hits!

As Chuck Berry instructed us in his classic “School Days,”…drop the coin right into the slot” audiences have thoroughly embraced the idea of picking and calling out the songs the band pays—in real time and in a variety of intimate venues.

From Beatles to Bruce and Stones to Steppenwolf the band infuses these classics with the respect the songs deserve.

As one fan said, “It’s not a concert—it’s party! The bar was packed!”

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Marc Steczyk, director of the Lincoln Amphitheater, in Indiana, had to say:

“Max Weinberg’s Jukebox was one of the most interactive, energetic performances that we’ve ever had at the Lincoln Amphitheater! Max, literally, leaves the stage to be amongst the crowd—his fans—and lets them pick the set list from a scrolling list of 300+ songs…and they play it…on the spot…spot on! Max is a pro’s pro, as was his entire band—tremendously professional to work with and a great asset to our entire performance series!”

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Lilith Czar

Lilith Czar

Performances

July 7 - 5:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Lilith Czar

Lilith Czar arrives with the force of an otherworldly thunder, arising in visceral rebirth from an untimely grave of surrender and sacrifice. Her voice is the sound of supernatural determination, summoned with a confessional vulnerability and unapologetic authenticity. The girl who was Juliet Simms - her dreams discouraged and dismissed, her identity confined and controlled - is no more. In her place stands Lilith Czar, a new vessel forged in unbridled willpower and unashamed desire.

 

Her motivation is simple: if it's truly "a man's world"? She wants to be King.

 

Created from Filth and Dust, the debut album from Lilith Czar, is an evocative invitation into her bold new world. It's aggressive music with warm accessibility; huge hooks with driving hard rock—the new larger-than-life icon channels the fierce combativeness of Fiona Apple and Stevie Nicks' seductive witchery. Lilith Czar arms herself with sonic power, theatricality, and confidence. It's a sound where the pulse of Nine Inch Nails, Halestorm's songcraft, and the libertine spirit of David Bowie converge, all in service of a ritualistic ache for a more just and equitable world.

 

Lilith Czar is more than music. Her songs - like "King," "Bad Love," and "100 Little Deaths" – are anthems. She sounds both larger than life and hauntingly intimate, baring all in the ballad "Diamonds to Dust" or unleashing hell with the banshee wail of "Feed My Chaos." As much as Lilith Czar's music is perfectly suited for modern rock radio, it's simultaneously timeless. Thanks in no small part to Czar's rich voice, Created from Filth and Dust wouldn't sound out of place in any significant rock era.

 

"I know who I am now, completely,” the singer declares. “I’ve found my purpose, creating art to inspire others to stand up for what they believe, to fight for their dreams, and to never give up.”

 

She summarizes the Lilith Czar origin story like this: “When you find yourself beaten down by the world, in those times you can either let it destroy you or let it create you.” 

 

Created from filth and dust, destined to be King… Lilith Czar. 

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Houndmouth

Houndmouth

Performances

July 2 - 6:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Houndmouth

In late 2011, Matt Myers, Zak Appleby and Shane Cody started playing music together in a historic home in New Albany, Indiana dubbed “The Green House.” Its rooms were adorned with relics from times past, so it was no surprise that songs such as “Penitentiary” bounced off the walls. Nostalgic sounds from their first album seemed to serve as a welcome escape for listeners from the relentless demands of the digital age. But if you asked any one of the guys, they were ‘just having fun.’

Houndmouth signed with legendary indie label Rough Trade Records in 2012. From The Hills Below The City landed them on several world-famous platforms such as fellow lovable Hoosier, David Letterman’s stage. When vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Matt Myers first spoke with big-name producer Dave Cobb prior to working together on their sophomore LP Little Neon Limelight, the two laughingly agreed to “not make another fucking boring Americana record.” A natural sounding album captured in a familiar fashion came together, except this time with a #1 adult alternative radio single in “Sedona.” “I never once thought of us as an Americana band,” says drummer Shane Cody. “The four of us were just a rock band, but some of us had Southern accents,” he laughs. Cue Golden Age, the third album featuring some of the band’s most innovative and experimental songs yet. Coining the term “retro future”, Houndmouth combined creative songwriting with avant-garde instrumentation like the synthesized roar of an actual black jaguar on the track “Black Jaguar”.

The band finds themselves recording and also touring their upcoming untitled fourth album expected to release in 2021. From their humble start, genre-defining hits, and experimentation, Houndmouth has and continues to make their impactful felt with the unique take on storytelling through music.

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Jameson Rodgers

Jameson Rodgers

Performances

July 8 - 5:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Jameson Rodgers

Cliches make Jameson Rodgers cringe.

But here goes.

“This is a dream come true,” he gushes of his debut album Bet You’re From a Small Town, a gritty, country music masterpiece that most certainly will have the soft-spoken yet edgy country traditionalist landing in superstar territory. “I can remember a time, not so long ago, when none of this was going on and it seemed like it would never happen. I mean, things like this don’t happen to guys like me.”

He speaks in somewhat hushed tones, as if speaking too loudly about all that he has already achieved might make it somehow all go away. But with the success of his Platinum-certified, No. 1 debut hit “Some Girls” and his follow-up Top 10 smash “Cold Beer Calling My Name,” Rodgers is in fact cementing his place amongst the future legends of the genre, finding that truth and toughness mixed in with a whole bunch of authenticity can form a career for even the most skeptical of artists.

“I’m a simple dude that likes simple things, and that’s about it,” the 33-year-old with the long stare and the slight smile says with a slight shrug of his shoulders. “I like writing songs and playing shows and making people feel something through my music. That’s about it. That’s who I am.”

You see, Rodgers is not the kind of guy who stays up to see the latest charts, praying for a spot amongst the greats. He’s not the guy who copies the latest trends or counts his social media followers.

Instead, he’s a hardworking man with a heart and soul that loves country music for what it is and doesn’t set out to make it any more than that. He's the kind of guy that can sell out a venue at night and go hunting in the morning.

That’s Jameson Rodgers.

A native of Batesville, Mississippi, Rodgers grew up not only on 90’s country music, but on the work ethic demonstrated during those days by the people who surrounded him and the artist who inspired him – artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Merle Haggard, and Eric Church.

Sinners Like Me stayed in my truck for probably two straight years,” Rodgers laughs. “I was just getting started in music and just starting to take it seriously. I remember being struck by how his music was speaking to the guys even more than the girls. It just resonated with me.”

 

In 2010, Rodgers moved to Nashville and started laying the groundwork of his career at a myriad of open mic nights in Music City. Eventually, Rodgers laid down his first month of rent on a tiny apartment he found in the Bellevue neighborhood in Nashville and began to Google open mic nights in an effort to get some much-needed experience under his belt. It was at those open mic nights that he met people like Michael Hardy and Hunter Phelps and Brandon Lay, all who found themselves joining him in the trenches in pursuit of something more than what they had always known.

Soon, Rodgers’ talent as a songwriter began to get noticed, as he co-penned multi-Platinum-selling hits for Florida Georgia Line (Top 10 single “Talk You Out of It”) and Chris Lane (No. 1 standout “I Don’t Know About You”), along with “Camouflage Hat” on Jason Aldean’s most recent album 9 and the title track of Luke Bryan’s latest release Born Here Live Here Die Here.

But soon, it was his turn to shine under the spotlight.

Currently out on his 27-date headlining COLD BEER CALLING MY NAME TOUR 2021, Rodgers finds himself finally being about to relish in the reaction of the crowd to his monster hit “Some Girls,” a career-defining song that unbelievably gained much of its traction during the uneasy years of the ongoing pandemic. The song went on to earn more than 207 million on-demand streams and was ranked No. 17 on Billboard’s 2020 year-end Country Airplay Songs chart.

“It was like seven or eight months before I even got to play a show with a No. 1 under my belt,” says Rodgers, who might soon have another chart-topper to celebrate thanks to “Cold Beer Calling My Name.” “Now, I get chills every night on stage now that I can see and hear people knowing the songs. I'm not saying I didn't have fun in the early years playing when nobody knew who I was, but it is way more fun to get on stage when they do.”

And it’s this guy that has gone and established himself as one of country music’s most intriguing powerhouses as he releases his debut album Bet You’re from a Small Town, an album that came up out of the mess of the pandemic, destined to become one of the greats.

“I will never be as cool as Merle Haggard or John Mellencamp or any of those guys, but in a way, with the making of this record, I was trying to find a way to honor them for paving the way for guys like me.”

And like those he has spent a lifetime looking up to, Rodgers finds a way on Bet You’re from a Small Town to effortlessly travel both sonically and lyrically between love songs (“Porch with a View”) and breakup songs (“Girl with a Broken Heart”) and between party songs (“Cold Beer Calling my Name”) to songs that tell the story of his deepest of losses (“Good Dogs.”)

And as a co-writer on every song but one on this album, Rodgers goes and proves that he isn’t looking for quick hits without substance. He sings anthems without gimmicks and stays in his lane, and once he’s put a hard day of work in, he retreats to the people who made him who he is at his core.

“All these songs make me feel something. That’s the whole goal of music, isn’t it? I just feel like I'm writing the best songs I've written and I'm singing the best stuff I've ever said.”

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Noga Erez

Noga Erez

Performances

June 25 - 7:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Noga Erez

Noga Erez burst onto the scene with her debut album ‘Off The Radar’ in 2017, winning acclaim across the globe. While the music she makes in collaboration with her partner, co-writer and co-producer Ori Rousso, exploits many of the more physical, dynamic elements of electronic, hip hop & pop music, it also embraces a cerebral sensitivity that’s made her one of her home city’s most exciting, idiosyncratic artists. The grainy textures and potent atmospheres forged with her synths and ingenious beats bravely straddle an array of genres. Her 2021 follow up album, KIDS, continued to see her forge a path of uncompromising and unpredictable, gritty, truth-seeking alt-pop. Her music explores themes of tension and release, anxiety and remedy, and masterly melodic licks in swipes of stomping brass, all wrapped around Noga’s versatile vocals that quick-switch from clipped flow to smoky purr; from stadium chorus to street-ready beats. 

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Phil Vassar

Phil Vassar

Performances

June 25 - 7:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Phil Vassar

Country music hitmaker Phil Vassar is a piano-pounding powerhouse on stage who taps into his audiences via social media for song requests throughout his more than 135 shows a year. Phil’s reign of signature songs includes 10 No. 1 singles and 26 Top 40 hits, including Carlene, Just Another Day in Paradise, Six-Pack Summer, When I Love You; and many more. Vassar was racking up hits on the radio long before he even began his own recording career that has seen the release of six albums, two ASCAP Songwriter of the Year trophies, ACM’s Top New Male Vocalist, and sold-out shows across the country. Vassar's songwriting career blossomed in the mid- ’90s when he landed a publishing contract with EMI and penned hits for Collin Raye (Little Red Rodeo), Alan Jackson (Right on the Money), Tim McGraw (For a Little While), Jo Dee Messina (Bye Bye, Alright), and Blackhawk (Postmarked Birmingham). He signed a record deal of his own with Arista in 1998 and was named ASCAP's Country Songwriter of the Year in 1999. Vassar continues to churn out incisive, soulful lyrics and infectious melodies that capture the heart and soul in the unique and special way that only he can.

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Niko Moon

Niko Moon

Performances

July 7 - 6:15 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Niko Moon

ABOUT NIKO MOON: RCA Nashville breakthrough recording artist Niko Moon kicked off 2021 by topping multiple charts with his Platinum-selling debut single “GOOD TIME.” With more than 250 million on-demand streams, “GOOD TIME” helped catapult Moon to No. 1 on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart and has been lauded as “a bottle-passin' campfire daydream” (Tennessean), solidifying the genre-defying entertainer’s reputation as “One of the most genuine and creative artists in country music right now” (THINK Country Music). Born in Tyler, TX, Moon relocated to Douglasville, GA at age 10, equidistance from hip-hop hub Atlanta and country breeding ground Newnan, GA, inspiring his artful persona: a mix of hooky melodies, shrewd wordplay and edgy, electronic beats. With five songwriting No. 1 hits (Zac Brown Band’s “Loving You Easy,” “Homegrown,” “Beautiful Drug,” “Keep Me In Mind,” and “Heavy Is The Head”) plus co-pen credits on singles by Dierks Bentley and Ashley Monroe, among others, Moon continues to turn heads and has been named an artist to watch by CMT, Amazon Music, MusicRow, NY Country Swag, and more. He is currently self-producing his debut full-length project alongside longtime collaborator and friend Joshua Murty.

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Modern English

Modern English

Performances

July 1 - 7:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Modern English

Bands are like families, bound by something deeper than friendship – and liable to implode just as irrevocably. Yet that familial bond can equally draw you back, and so it is that four-­-fifths of the original Modern English have recorded their first album together in 30 years.

 

Funded by PledgeMusic and released via Kartel Music Group, Take Me To The Trees not only reconnect the band to their roots, in the fervent and fecund world of late 1970s/early 1980s post-­-punk Britain, but they have co-­-produced it with Martyn Young of Colourbox and M/A/R/R/S fame, whose last production job was 1986. Moreover, the album’s beautiful cover is by venerated art director Vaughan Oliver, whose very first sleeve design was Modern English’s ‘Gathering Dust’ single in 1980.

 

Original members Robbie Grey (vocals), Mick Conroy (bass), Gary McDowell (guitar) and Steven Walker (keyboards) first reunited in 2010, to tour the US, UK and Paris, before accepting an invitation to re-­-record ‘I Melt With You’ for Mark Pellington’s film of the same name. The band’s most famous track was a US Top 50 single in 1984 after being featured in the rom-­-com film smash Valley Girl following Sire licensing its parent album After The Snow from their UK label 4AD. “It all went haywire from there, in a Beatles and Stones way, with all the trappings that went with it,’ Grey recalls.

 

Given Modern English’s roots were post-­-punk icons Wire and Joy Division – dark and austere while still melodic and passionate – it was strange to be treated like the new Duran Duran, and the band split after the third album, Ricochet Days (1986). “4AD was a family-­-run label, where we felt taken care of,” Grey recalls (he, McDowell and Conroy were part of the first version of 4AD’s so-­-called ‘house band’ This Mortal Coil, born in 1983 with covers of Modern English songs ‘16 Days’ and ‘Gathering Dust’), “and then we entered the shark-­-infested waters of the mainstream, but business wasn’t why we got into music in the first place. It wasn’t enjoyable, or creative, but stifling.”

 

Which explains the sense of unfinished business to Take Me To The Trees, a return to the sound and vision of Modern English’s debut single ‘Drowning Man’ (on their own Limp label) and, after becoming just the second band (after Bauhaus) to sign to 4AD, the singles ‘Swans On Glass’ and ‘Gathering Dust’ and the debut album Mesh And Lace (1981), of which James Murphy of LCD Soundystem says, “That record is a sneaky secret that everyone writes off, because they just think it's going to be a ‘Melt With You' but it sounds way scarier than any Joy Division record."

 

“Scary”, though, was no longer on the agenda, not when Grey and Conroy reformed Modern English for 1990’s Pillow Talk album, or when Grey fronted a new version for 1996’s Everything’s Bad and 2010’s Soundtrack. But when Conroy moved from London to Suffolk in 2008, which turned out to be 20 minutes from where Grey lived (when he wasn’t spending time at his home on the island of Koh Mak in Thailand), the pair met up and realised what they’d been missing: the original band.

 

McDowell had also been living in Thailand, though in Pattaya: “party central!” says Grey. “He loves riding his motorbike around. While my thing is beaches and the weather.” They hadn’t seen each other in over 20 years; no one had seen Walker either, until they all started rehearsing for the 2010 tour. “It was like the intervening years hadn’t happened,” says Conroy. “And the old songs still sounded as good.”

 

After the tour, they started swopping new ideas, “some from jamming in a room, like we used to do,” says Grey. “We looked at each other, just laughing. It was amazing.”

 

Grey vouches for McDowell’s guitar style: “Nobody else I know plays like Gary, maybe John McGeoch [Magazine, the Banshees] is closest, all abstract and interesting. It’s been hard writing Modern English songs without someone like him.” Conroy is equally complimentary about Walker, who’d been working in record retail rather than making music: “Stephen was the non-­-musician, the Eno of the band, thinking outside the box. Sometimes he’ll do something that none of us would have dreamt of.”

 

The final part of the jigsaw was Martyn Young, who Conroy had known since school, while Modern English and Colourbox were peers at 4AD, and had stayed in touch. “Martyn saw us live a few years ago, and said that one new

 

song especially affected him,” Conroy recalls. “We said we were recording new material, but it wasn’t happening as we’d hoped, and he said, ‘sounds like you need a producer…’ He’d always said no to us before! Martyn brings an amazing set of ears, and an incredible knowledge of computers and sound. He also understands what we’re doing, and didn’t try and change us. And who else was going to design the cover but Vaughan? We were so relieved when he also said yes!”

 

The band’s fired-­-up vitality is palpable in the album’s pulsating opener ‘You’re Corrupt’, laced with Grey’s rant against corporate greed, “and the throwaway nature of modern culture. It’s a time when even the truth is watered down.” ‘Sweet Revenge’ and ‘Flood Of Light’ equally have the “edgy style” Grey reckons, of their Mesh And Lace era, “and lyrically cut up, and strange.” Some lyrics, like ‘Don’t Seem Right’, were written in Suffolk, “so they’re gloomier,” while others were penned in Thailand, like “Moonbeam”, “under starry skies and a full moon.” The album title Take Me To The Trees (a line from the song ‘Trees’) was also inspired by nature: “it seemed like a sister title to [1982 album] After The Snow, and to us getting lost along the way.”

 

The band have also found room for a new, spectral mood in the ballads ‘It Don’t Seem Right’ (“a love song of people forced apart”) and ‘Come Out Of Your Hole’ (which started as a sexual image “before evolving into something else altogether”). As the album finally took shape, the band toured America again in the summer of 2016, playing Mesh And Lace in its entirety, as the album was reissued by the US indie Drastic Plastic. “It’s been brilliant,” says Grey. “The audiences were, in the main, young. I’m out of the loop in the modern world, but the music we used to make is fashionable again. We’ll play the new album next time, and we’re writing new songs.”

The family that is Modern English look like sticking together a while longer.

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The Tubes

The Tubes

Performances

July 7 - 3:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

The Tubes

The Tubes formed in 1972 in San Francisco from two bands that moved there from Phoenix, The Beans along with the Red, White and Blues Band. While musically influenced by groups like Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, who actually recorded a song with the group on their third album, their theatrical satire was evident from the very beginning. All these years later, The Tubes still consists of, original members, the irrepressible front man Fee Waybill, world-class drummer Prairie Prince, virtuoso guitarist Roger Steen and oh-so-steady bassist Rick Gator Anderson, and continue to delight fans across the country and around the world with their iconic live shows.

Led by singer Fee Waybill – known for his classic characters, including the glam-rocking, stack- heeled Quay Lewd, the dangerous Mr. Hate or the gnarly punk parody Johnny Bugger – The Tubes released five albums on A&M Records, starting with the Al Kooper-produced self-titled debut in 1975, which included “White Punks on Dope,” dubbed an absurd anthem of wretched excess” later covered by Motley Crue, German chanteuse Nina Hagen and most recently the Joe Elliot led Down-n-Outs, as well as set staple, “Mondo Bondage.” “What Do You Want from Life?” was yet another signature song for the band, a prescient satire of consumerism and celebrity culture that calls out Bob Dylan and Randy Mantooth along with “a herd of Winnebagos, we’re givin’ em away”. With the help of Kenny Ortega, they mounted the stage show for which they’re still known, using videos as part of the presentation long before MTV was born.

After Young & Rich (1976), produced by Ken Scott (of Beatles fame) highlighted by the salacious “Don’t Touch Me There,” The Tubes released Now (1977), the live What Do You Want From Live (1978) and the concept album Remote Control (1979) their final album for A&M before leaving for Capitol Records.

Their new label teamed them up with producer David Foster for the group’s most commercially successful (and radio-friendly) release to that point, with two hit singles in the power ballad, “Don’t Want to Wait Anymore” (their first to land in the Top 40 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart) and the now classic Top 10 Rock radio anthem, “Talk to Ya Later,” a collaboration between Fee, Foster and Toto guitarist Steve Lukather that was #1 in 17 countries.

“David had just produced Earth, Wind & Fire’s Boogie Wonderland, and we loved that album,” said Fee about the approach on the very funk-flavored The Completion Backward Principle (1981), which also includes the beach party set piece, “Sushi Girl,” and the Steely Dan-ish “Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman”. Foster then produced the next album, Outside Inside (1983), with the chart topping She’s a Beauty”.

The Tubes, for the first time ever, have been on tour performing The Completion Backward Principle live from start to finish, and now the album has been re-released on 180-gram audiophile blue vinyl.

“The whole satire of the corporate business world and its double-speak is very timely right now with the current President,” says Waybill about the album’s relevance. “The album’s theme –

 

that imagination creates reality – still resonates today. It’s as appropriate now as it was back then, although we were parodying corporate rock, today it has to do with the same absurdities in politics. We’re even wearing gray flannel suits again.”

The original concept was a take off on a spoken-word vinyl record of the same name, touting the art of a particular sales technique, the group discovered in a San Francisco record bin. Waybill delivers some quasi-presidential-like speeches – dubbed Tube Talks -- in his live performances.

In addition to playing the complete Completion, The Tubes’ current tour set list includes such classics as “White Punks on Dope”, “Mondo Bondage”, “What Do You Want from Life”, “Out of the Business”, “I Want It All Now” and “She’s a Beauty”.

Fee enthuses, “It’s so great that people still love our music and sing along at shows. The best part is, we’re a way better band today than we ever were.”

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Bob Mould

Bob Mould

Performances

July 9 - 3:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Bob Mould

Legendary musician Bob Mould announces his “Distortion and Blue Hearts!” tour starting September 16, 2021, in Boston at Paradise. The tour is in two parts. For the first three weeks, Bob will be joined by Jason Narducy on bass and drummer Jon Wurster. Beginning October 15 in Bloomington, IL, Mould will perform “Solo Distortion” electric shows (full run of dates and locations below).

On July 16, 2021, before any tour dates happen, Demon Music Group will conclude their year-long Bob Mould retrospective campaign with their fourth vinyl box, Distortion: Live. The 8 LP set includes live recordings from Mould’s solo career and his band Sugar.

This box follows October 2020’s 8 LP Distortion: 1989-1995 vinyl set, which took in Mould’s early solo outings as well as his records with the much-beloved Sugar, January 2021’s 9 LP Distortion: 1996-2007 box set continuing through the next steps in Mould’s solo career and his outings as LoudBomb and Blowoff, April 2021’s 7 LP Distortion 2008-2019 covering District Line to Sunshine Rock, and the 24 CD Distortion: 1989-2019 box, which covers the entirety of his post-Hüsker Dü output.

Mould’s live shows will span his entire 40+ year career, including songs from the Distortion collection and from his landmark band Hüsker Dü, as well as songs from last year’s explosive and critically acclaimed album Blue Hearts — about which Rolling Stone’s 4 out of 5 star review raved, “feels like a lost Hüsker Dü album with Mould howling invective over his buzzsawing guitar.”

“It’s been a year and a half away from the stage. I’ve missed the noise, the sweat, and seeing your smiling faces. I’m fully vaccinated, and I hope you are too, because this Fall will be a punk rock party with the band — and the solo shows will be loud and proud as well. It’s time to make up lost time, reconnect, and celebrate together with live music!”

As with the previously released box sets in the Distortion collection, each album has been mastered by Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice at Peerless Mastering in Boston and is presented with brand new artwork designed by illustrator Simon Marchner and pressed on 140g clear vinyl with unique splatter effects. This box set includes 4 live albums: Live At The Cabaret Metro, 1989; the Sugar album The Joke Is Always On Us, Sometimes; LiveDog98 (first time on vinyl), and Live at ATP 2008 (first time on vinyl). In addition, the set includes a 28-page companion booklet featuring liner notes by journalist Keith Cameron; contributions from Bully’s Alicia Bognanno; rare photographs and memorabilia, and a bonus LP Distortion Plus: Live, which features live rarities including B-Sides and stand-out tracks from the Circle of Friends concert film.

Discover more about the box sets including full track listings and FAQs here:
https://www.demonmusicgroup.co.uk/bob-mould-distortion/

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Material Issue

Material Issue

Performances

June 23 - 7:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Material Issue

Chicago power pop trio Material Issue married the tight and melodic commercial appeal of acts like Cheap Trick and the Knack with the jangly guitars and cockiness of early-'90s Britpop. Formed in the late '80s as a songwriting vehicle for guitarist/lead singer Jim Ellison, the band included bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko.

In 1987, after doing time in and around the Windy City club scene, the group released an eponymous EP that resulted in a contract with Mercury Records. Their major-label debut, the rock- solid International Pop Overthrow, found itself a place on modern rock radio with the raucous single "Valerie Loves Me," and thrust the group to the front of the burgeoning alternative rock movement. Produced by ex-Shoes member Jeff Murphy, the album's electrifying blend of teen angst and rock & roll confidence won over critics and fans alike, resulting in the band's immediate return to the studio to craft their follow-up, 1992's Destination Universe, which included the single "What Girls Want" in addition to ballads such as "Next Big Thing" and "Everything". Material Issue continued to tour heavily across the country in support of both albums.

In 1994, the band released the excellent -- and sadly underrated -- Freak City Soundtrack. Produced by Mike Chapman (Blondie, the Knack, Sweet) and featuring a guest appearance by Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, it seemed that Ellison and crew could do no wrong in critics' eyes, yet the public remained oblivious, prompting their inevitable departure from Mercury. Polygram put out the live album Goin' Through Your Purse that same year, and the band began recording what was to become their final album. Telecommando Americano was released posthumously by Rykodisc in 1997, just one year after Jim Ellison's death.

 

In 2011, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the International Pop Overthrow album, the two surviving members, Mike Zelenko and Ted Ansani, reformed the band under the name Material Reissue. Chicago based singer-songwriter Phil Angotti (who had recorded as The Idea) joined them, filling in for Jim Ellison. The show was part of the International Pop Overthrow festival, named after the album.

 

Since then, the band continues to perform to packed crowds at a select number of shows and prove time again and time again why they are placed near the top of the Power Pop pyramid.

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BoDeans

BoDeans

Performances

July 2 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

BoDeans

Long known as one of the best live acts in the business, BoDeans continue to tour year round and continue to deliver amazing, high energy, performances. "I realized some time ago that the key to the BoDeans identity is the fans' connection to our music-nowhere is that more evident or rewarding as when we come together-live. We love to connect with the fans who have supported us for so long and who have brought us so much inspiration." said Kurt Neumann, the band's founder and frontman, "We will continue to play as long as they continue to come out and sing along."

BoDeans’ made an appearance and their music is featured throughout the NetFlix original series, “The Ranch” which features Sam Elliott, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson and Debra Winger. The band has been featured on “The Today Show,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Imus In the Morning,” CNN, ESPN, Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, and had their own PBS special.

Chart topping songs like “Fadeaway,” “Only Love,” and “Dreams” won them Rolling Stone's readers poll for “Best New American Band” in 1987, and they were part of a small contingent of bands that inspired a new radio format known as Adult Alternative, Album Rock-Triple A. Their reputation for delivering a dynamic live show garnered support slots with U2, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, George Thorogood, The Pretenders, David Bowie, and Chris Isaak. They’ve shared the stage with Los Lobos, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Joan Osborne, Train, The WallFlowers, Cheap Trick, Robbie Robertson, Daniel Lanois, and many others.

The BoDeans signed their First recording contract with Slash/Warner Brothers Records in 1985 and their First record, “Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams” was released May, 1986. In the 36 years that followed, BoDeans have released 13 studio albums with ten records that hit the Billboard Top 200 Chart, and numerous singles on the Mainstream Rock, Top 40 and Triple A radio charts. Bodeans 14th studio album, ‘4 the Last Time’ will be released this June and the band intends to tour extensively in support of its release.

BoDeans songs have been used in various television shows including “Party of Five,” ABC News, NBC Monday Night Football, “The Simpsons,” “Northern Exposure,” Dawson’s Creek” and many others. FOX used the song “Closer To Free” as the opening theme of their hit TV show, “Party of Five,” which became the band’s biggest hit, peaking at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Their songs have been in movies such as “The Color of Money,” “The Player,” “Opportunity Knocks,” Heavyweights” and many others.

BoDeans now reside in a small group of bands that have managed to survive the ups and downs of the industry, remaining true to their sound and their style, for over 35 years. The BoDeans have a permanent installation at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland as part of their Midwest Artists exhibit.

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Stryper

Stryper

Performances

June 25 - 4:15 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Stryper

When it comes to groundbreaking bands in the Christian hard-rock genre, Stryper is renowned for its distinctive brand of “heavenly metal,” extraordinary crossover success and venerable endurance. The group ascended to prominence in the 1980s with Billboard Top 40 hits like “Calling on You,” “Honestly” and “Always There for You.”

Stryper’s career album sales exceed 10 million worldwide, including 1986’s multi platinum release To Hell with the Devil. The band also made history when it notched two songs simultaneously in MTV’s Top 10 with videos “Free” and “Honestly.”

Today, some 35+ years after emerging from the southern California nightclub scene, the foursome continues to record, tour and perform for loyal fans around the globe. Comprising three original members including brothers Michael Sweet (lead vocals, guitar) and Robert Sweet (drums), Oz Fox (guitar) and newest bandmate, seasoned bassist Perry Richardson (formerly of Firehouse), the group finds itself creating their finest, most powerful music yet.

Proving its lasting durability once again, Stryper is now set to unveil Even the Devil Believes (Frontiers Music Srl), the band’s thirteenth studio album.

“We’re incredibly happy to write a new chapter in the book of Stryper,” says Michael Sweet, who has served as the band’s primary songwriter since its inception in 1983. “This album was recorded during the pandemic, and I believe its message pertains to the times we are living in so perfectly. It’s a recording of hope and inspiration and a light in the darkest of times.”

Filled with the band’s signature riffs, harmony-laden melodies and positive themes, the 11-track project is Stryper’s first studio album that features Perry Richardson on bass and background vocals.

“Perry helped take things to a new level for us,” Sweet says. “We’re honored to have him with us.”

Sweet revealed that the band members delivered focused determination, a collaborative spirit and spot-on execution for the new record. The result is a collection of remarkable songs that leaves a strong impact on listeners.

“It has an energy unlike any other album we’ve done,” he asserts. “We even pulled a song from the past that has never been heard or released, and by doing so we brought a little bit of 1989 back into the mix.”

Standout tracks include “Blood from Above,” “Make Love Great Again,” “Do Unto Others,” “How to Fly”, “Divider” and the heart-stirring ballad “This I Pray.”

“The music and lyrics are rock-solid,” says Sweet. “God really blessed this one, and hopefully it will bless everyone who hears it as well.”

 

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Geese

Geese

Performances

July 7 - 8:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Geese

Geese is a band from Brooklyn.

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ABC

ABC

Performances

July 8 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

ABC

Fusing electro-pop, funk and a unique post-punk vision, original lead singer Martin Fry faithfully delivers hits that span the 80’s which included:

WHEN SMOKEY SINGS
BE NEAR ME
THE LOOK OF LOVE (PART ONE)
(HOW TO BE A) MILLIONAIRE
POISON ARROW

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The Far Side (formerly of The Pharcyde)

The Far Side (formerly of The Pharcyde)

Performances

June 25 - 5:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

The Far Side (formerly of The Pharcyde)

The Far Side (formerly of the Pharcyde) 

 

We’re not going to talk about how IMANI, Slimkid3, and Fatlip created two of the most classic back-to-back Hip Hop albums in the 1990s as the Pharcyde (Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde and Labcabincalifornia). 

 

We’re not going to talk about how the Pharcyde was one of the most popular Hip Hop acts of that era nor are we going to talk about the necessary lineup changes needed to move forward. 

 

No. We’re going to talk about where they are now and how IMANI, Slimkid3, and Fatlip made what was once only a dream finally come true. Officially reunited as The Far Side (formerly of the Pharcyde), the talented West Coast trio is preparing to embark on a six-week spring tour in April. 

 

But before that was even a possibility, IMANI had to go through some spiritual transformations that took him to a place of forgiveness and acceptance. After all, in a 2015 interview, IMANI said it would essentially take an act of God for him to reunite with Slimkid3 and Fatlip, who’d been performing as Bizarre Ride following the Pharcyde’s split. But after the death of his grandmother, life looked different. 

 

“That's just really what it was, just to keep it real,” IMANI says. “I was dealing with issues inside my own head, and I thought it was the world, but it was inside my own mind. I created my own demons. 

 

“I asked myself, ‘What do you want if you don't have to worry about what anybody else's wants or to make anybody else happy?’ And the first thing that came up to me, the universe said, ‘You got to make it right with your brothers.’ And the universe didn't say, "Make music with them." It said, ‘Make it right.’”

 

And that’s precisely what he did. The Far Side (formerly of the Pharcyde) is currently working on new music and a 30th-anniversary project to commemorate the release of Bizarre Ride II. A limited-edition producer’s tape was released on January 22nd featuring The Far Side (formerly of the Pharcyde), Wu-Tang Clan luminary Inspectah Deck and more. Executive produced by Spear of the Nation, the tape kicks off yet another colorful chapter in IMANI, Slimkid3, and Fatlip’s story, one that’s just beginning and the guys are back in business!



Written by: Kyle Eustice

 

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Corinne Bailey Rae

Corinne Bailey Rae

Performances

July 7 - 7:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Corinne Bailey Rae

From Leeds, England, singer/songwriter/musician Corinne Bailey Rae shot to stardom with her self- titled #1 UK debut album in 2006, featuring the global hits “Put Your Records On“ and “Like A Star”. Bailey Rae has received two GRAMMY AWARDS, two MOBOS, alongside multiple nominations including BRIT and BET Awards. She was awarded her first GRAMMY® in 2008 for Album Of The Year when featured on Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters. Her second album, The Sea (2010) was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. The subsequent EP Is This Love garnered a GRAMMY® for Best R&B Performance. In 2016 Bailey Rae returned with “boundary-defying, epic music” (NPR) for her third studio album, The Heart Speaks In Whispers, also declared “the best R&B of 2016” (The Guardian). The album featured the stunning "Green Aphrodisiac" named “10 best R&B songs of 2016” (Billboard) and selected by President Obama for his summer playlist. Bailey Rae’s success has lead her to composing music for film and television, including the theme to Stan Lee’s Lucky Man (SKY1). She recorded “The Scientist” for Universal Pictures’ Fifty Shades Darker opening title and soundtrack, which charted globally. 2020 included The High Note with Bailey Rae’s “New to Me”, performed in the film by Tracee Ellis Ross. Bailey Rae continues to collaborate and perform with artists across musical genres, including Mary J Blige, Al Green, Herbie Hancock, KING, Paul McCartney, Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Questlove, Salaam Rami, RZA, Tyler The Creator, Paul Weller, Richard Hawley, Stevie Wonder, Tracey Thorn, Pharrell, Logic, Mick Jenkins, and many more including a performance in Theaster Gates’ video installation Do you hear me calling? Mama Mamama or What Is Black Power? Leading to a recent live in conversation with the artist for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Throughout Bailey Rae’s career she has performed worldwide including Glastonbury, Byron Bay Blues Festival, BST Hyde Park, Newport Jazz Festival, Central Park SummerStage, London Jazz Festival, Delicious Festival (Johannesburg, SA), Rio Montreux Jazz Festival, The O2 (London), and Billboard Live Osaka & Tokyo. Most recently Bailey Rae performed Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” as a duet with Leslie Odom Jr. at the 2021 BAFTA’s in London at The Royal Albert Hall. For more information visit corinnebaileyrae.com.

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Howard Jones

Howard Jones

Performances

July 1 - 9:30 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Howard Jones

Howard Jones’ career has always been about the big picture. The singer, songwriter and keyboardist’s songs explore universal themes including enlightenment, transcendence, and seeing past one’s struggles in order to embrace the wider horizon beyond it. He’s sold millions of albums and had 15 top-40 global singles. And while his music often overflows with addictive pop hooks, soaring vocals and creative arrangements, when you dig deeper, you’ll find those larger perspectives embedded within.

 

Jones remains a household name for anyone who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Global hits including “Things Can Only Get Better,” “No One is to Blame,” “What is Love?” and “New Song” are permanent parts of the pop culture tapestry of the era. Major movies and television shows including Breaking Bad, Bumblebee, GLOW, Eddie the Eagle, Halt and Catch Fire, and Everybody Hates Chris have featured them in recent times. His 1984 debut album Human’s Lib and the 1985 follow-up Dream into Action continue to transcend generations, with 2018 super- deluxe reissues on Cherry Red Records selling out based on pre-orders alone.

 

“I think the ‘80s work continues to resonate because it offers little chunks of philosophy to listeners,” said Jones. “People have taken the lyrics to heart and they’ve become part of who they are. It’s why I’ve always got a connection to my fans. There are people who say art can’t change the world, but that’s not my view. I think music and lyrics can have a profound effect on people. Otherwise, what’s the point in doing it?”

 

Jones is a keyboard and electronica pioneer. From the dawn of his career in the early ‘80s, he integrated cutting edge analog synths and samplers of the era, including now-classic Roland, Moog, Simmons, and Emulator keyboards. People were so fascinated by Jones’ approach that he was asked to take part in the 1985 Grammy Awards, where he performed alongside Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, and Thomas Dolby, affirming his enormous influence on the global music scene.

 

Perhaps the biggest signifier of Jones’ cultural impact at the time was his appearance at the UK Live Aid show at Wembley Stadium in July 1985, during which he played a solo piano version of “Hide and Seek” that was broadcast to 1.9 billion viewers—40 percent of the Earth’s population.

 

Since those halcyon days, Jones’ musical approach has dramatically expanded and evolved. In addition to electronic pop output, he’s explored the realms of solo piano, string quartets, minimalism, and choral music. Much of that work has been released on his own label Dtox, which he established in 1993 to maximize creative freedom and ensure close contact with his worldwide fan base. Dtox featured many innovations countless artists have since gone on to embrace. Jones was the first musician to make recordings of shows available to artists immediately after the gig. He created personalized piano solos for fans. The packaging of Dtox recordings have also included lavish books and bespoke artwork.

 

“I’m very grateful for having the launch pad of a major label at the start of my career,” said Jones. “I had a name in many territories around the world, which gave me a great head start. But with Dtox I could make any record I wanted to make. I was in charge of every creative element. When you’re your own boss, you’re responsible for getting into the studio, producing the work, getting on tour, and doing all the things you need to do. It really developed me as a person.”

 

In 2001, Jones received an unexpected call from Ringo Starr who asked him to tour as part of his All-Starr Band that year, together with Sheila E, Roger Hodgson, Ian Hunter, and Greg Lake.

 

“Playing with Ringo was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” said Jones. “In

 

addition to playing Beatles classics, I was asked to play keyboards on some Emerson, Lake and Palmer material like ‘Karn Evil 9’ and ‘Lucky Man.’ Playing those songs was like paying back a debt of gratitude to Keith Emerson for being such a great inspiration for my keyboard playing.”

 

In the mid-to-late 2000s, Jones released two career highlights: 2005’s Revolution of the Heart and 2009’s Ordinary Heroes. The former saw Jones revisiting the buoyant electronic direction of his early work. The latter showcased Jones’ songwriting at its most personally revealing, with string and choir arrangements.

 

He unveiled Engage, his most ambitious project to date, in 2015. It was an expansive, interactive experience that crisscrossed myriad disciplines. It’s part boundary-breaking album, film, mobile app, book, and live performance. Musically, it brought together the worlds of pop, electronica, contemporary classical, and ambient. Engage marked the beginning of a four-part series. The second chapter, Transform, is due in 2019. It includes three collaborations with the celebrated American electronica musician and producer BT.

 

“Engage explored the idea that virtual life is okay and a digital link between us will do fine sometimes, but our development as human beings comes from actually being around one another. It’s what defines us and pushes us forward. We can’t exist on our own in a vacuum. There’s no chance for development if we do. Transform will discuss the idea that if we want to change the world for the benefit of everyone, first we have to start with ourselves. The third one is Dialog, which will be about the fact that we have to talk and thrash things out in order to communicate at the most profound level. The fourth piece is Global Citizen. It’s about our responsibility toward the planet. We’re part of a global group of human beings and I believe each and every one of us has to understand and embrace that.”

 

His influence on newer generations of musicians is substantial. In 2013, French house music artist Cedric Gervais released a new version of “Things Can Only Get Better” featuring Jones on vocals, which spent 14 weeks in the top 40 of the Billboard dance charts. Dutch DJ and producer Ferry Corsten released the electronic dance track “Into the Dark” featuring Jones in 2008 to worldwide acclaim. Eric Prydz, the Swiss DJ and producer, remixed “Things Can Only Get Better” and retitled it “And Do You Feel Scared,” which appeared on the 2006 FIFA World Cup video game.

 

Jones performs dozens of shows a year worldwide in varied formats. His electric band features keyboardist and programmer Robbie Bronnimann and guitarist Robin Boult. It delivers hard- hitting, four-to-the-floor versions of material from across his career. He also plays in an acoustic trio with Boult and bassist Nick Beggs. In addition, Jones does many intimate solo shows in which he tells the stories behind the songs, prior to playing piano-based versions of them.

 

“The performance formats are different, but they’re all related,” said Jones. “Music created using software, computers and keyboards is entirely connected to music played solo on piano. Some people criticize electronic music as people pushing buttons and claim there’s no emotion. But a piano is also a series of switches and playing it well is about learning how to press the switches in a very precise way. What all the formats have in common is that there’s a lot of freedom and flexibility. There are also elements of risk and improvisation. Regardless of the format, I’m always extending pieces, mixing up elements and incorporating audience interaction. The shows are about the creativity that’s brought to the instruments being played, not the instruments themselves. My goal is simply to move the audience, no matter what the format is.”

 

Jones’ music is significantly influenced by spirituality. He has a wide-open perspective

 

inclusive of a multitude of worldviews. He believes different faiths and paths are complementary, including his focus as a practicing Buddhist for more than 20 years.

 

“Buddhism is a central part of my life that influences everything, including how I behave towards other people,” said Jones. “Buddhism promotes the idea of absolutely respecting every single person, as well as respecting oneself. When you start from that point of view, it helps create harmonious situations around you, including with my band, managers, and other people involved in what I do, as well as with my audiences.”

 

One constant has remained across Jones’ four-decade career: using music as a force for good.

 

“I want to make a real contribution to people’s lives,” said Jones. “I believe music is almost unfairly powerful in the sense that you can really get into someone’s head with it. It provides an entry into people’s consciousness. If you’re going to have that power, I feel you should put it to good use. Life is just a crazy thing to be involved in. I feel it’s my job to make great music that supports people in some way and helps them get through it.”

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Hockey Dad

Hockey Dad

Performances

July 2 - 8:15 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Hockey Dad

What began as something to do while there was no surf has become so much more for Zach Stephenson and Billy Fleming aka Hockey Dad. In 2013 the two who had been friends since early childhood started jamming in their parent’s garage because there were no waves. With Zach on guitar/ vocals and Billy behind the drum kit the two quickly progressed to writing their own songs and had a set together to start playing some shows locally across Wollongong.

 

Early 2014 saw the duo take the next step of recording the tracks, they enlisted Tom Iansek on production duties and headed down to Melbourne to record five tracks that would become their debut EP ‘Dreamin’. Released in June of 2014, it instantly clicked with music fans both across Australia and internationally, with the release gaining the band a cult following. With that the band then hit the Australian live circuit hard through the back half of 2014 and into 2015 while also writing plenty of new music.

 

Between shows during the 2015 they managed to once again hit the studio to record their debut album and were also invited to the USA for the first time to play CMJ festival in New York. The first US tour would prove pivotal in the bands international plans with agency and label representation in North America coming from their showcases and the event and as a result they would return to the US in March 2016 to play SXSW.

 

August of 2016 saw the band release their debut album ‘Boronia’, named after the street the duo grew up on the band were now taking their sounds well beyond that humble little street in Windang. On release day the band kicked off a coast to coast North American headline tour before heading across to do album release shows in the UK, Netherlands and France. Following their international touring schedule Hockey Dad returned home for the Australian leg of the ‘Boronia’ tour with shows selling out almost immediately on the back of strong radio and media support.

 

Following the touring cycle for the debut album, they hit the festival circuit in Australia playing main stages on most of the countries favourite festivals before it was time to begin work on their sophomore album. This time they took a totally different approach to recording by heading to Seattle to record with producer John Goodmanson.

 

Released in February of 2018, the second Hockey Dad album propelled the band further in both their home country and abroad.  In Australia the album was a Triple J feature album, debuted in the top ten of the album charts and eventually was shortlisted for Australian album of the year, in the US it topped college radio charts and in the UK/Europe it gained positive press across the board. It was backed up with headline touring across the USA, Canada, UK, Europe and Australia, selling out iconic rooms in London, New York, Amsterdam and plenty more. Once again the band followed up the album cycle by hitting the festival circuit both in Australia and across the UK and Europe.

 

After working so well with John Goodmanson for the recording of ‘Blend Inn’, Hockey Dad returned to Seattle in mid 2019 to begin work on their third album. ‘I Missed Out’ the first single from the release dropped in late 2019 and despite only having a few weeks of eligibility entered Triple J’s famous Hottest 100 countdown (the third straight year they’d made an appearance). Originally schedule for a May release, Hockey Dad’s third album ‘Brain Candy’ was a victim of the pandemic and held back until late July release. With most of the world in the grip of lockdowns, some alternate ideas to touring in support of the release had to take place so the band played a release week livestream that was globally supported by Youtube, as well as a hometown Drive In Show. It helped the album debut at number two on the Australian charts.

 

With touring stalled for much of 2020 and 2021, Zach and Billy alongside live bass player Steve Bourke have been writing and recording new music for album four, while keeping engaged in alternate ways. The 2020 drive in show had been professionally recorded and in October 2021 was released as a limited edition vinyl. Their loyal fanbase has also kept rolling with the band with their single Seaweed’ hitting platinum status in Australia, while the singles ‘Join The Club’ and ‘I Need A Woman’ have gone gold.

 

Hockey Dad are now ready to get back on the stage and deliver new music in 2022.

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A Flock Of Seagulls

A Flock Of Seagulls

Performances

July 8 - 6:15 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

A Flock Of Seagulls

As well-known for their bizarrely teased haircuts as their hit single "I Ran (So Far Away)," A Flock of Seagulls were one of the infamous one-hit wonders of the new wave era. Growing out of the synth-heavy and ruthlessly stylish new romantic movement, A Flock of Seagulls were a little too robotic and arrived a little too late to be true new romantics, but their sleek dance-pop was forever indebted to the short-lived movement. The group benefitted considerably from MTV's heavy rotation of the "I Ran" video in the summer of 1982.

 

Hairdresser Mike Score (lead vocals, keyboards) formed A Flock of Seagulls with his brother Ali (drums) and fellow hairdresser Frank Maudsley (bass) in 1980, adding guitarist Paul Reynolds several months later. The group released its debut EP on Cocteau Records early in 1981, and while the record failed to chart, its lead track, "Telecommunication," became an underground hit in Euro-disco and new wave clubs. The band signed a major-label contract with Jive by the end of the year, and their eponymous debut album appeared in the spring of 1982. "I Ran (So Far Away)" was released as the first single from the album, and MTV quickly picked up on its icily attractive video, which featured long shots of Mike Score and his distinctive, cascading hair. The single climbed into the American Top Ten, taking the album along with it. In the U.K., "I Ran" didn't make the Top 40, but "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" reached number ten later that year; in America, that single became a Top 40 hit in 1983, after "Space Age Love Song" peaked at number 30. "Wishing" was taken from the group's second album, Listen (1983), which was moderately successful.

 

The band released 1984's The Story of a Young Heart failed to produce any hit singles but Reynolds left after the album and was replaced by Gary Steadnin; the band also added keyboardist Chris Chryssaphis. The new lineup was showcased on 1986's Dream Come True. Shortly after its release, the band broke up. Mike Score assembled a new lineup of A Flock of Seagulls in 1989, releasing the single "Magic" and touring the U.S.A. The band continued to tour worldwide, although with major changes to its members, and in 1996 released a new album, The Light at the End of the World.

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Priscilla Block

Priscilla Block

Performances

July 7 - 4:15 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Priscilla Block

Country artist Priscilla Block draws listeners in with her unfiltered, relatable songwriting and catchy melodies. Pegged as a 2021 Artist to Watch by Amazon Music, PANDORA, Spotify, CMT, The Boot, MusicRow, HITS, Sounds Like Nashville, Country Now, Music Mayhem and more, Priscilla’s honest and upfront approach promotes self-love, empowerment, and acceptance through her own blend of country pop and southern rock, dubbed the Block Party sound. 

 

In early 2020, Priscilla was struggling to make ends meet after losing her job and her apartment. Unable to get out and play in person due to Covid-19, Priscilla began experimenting on TikTok and quickly developed a rabid fanbase with songs like “Thick Thighs,” “PMS” and “Just About Over You.” Fans rallied together to independently fund Priscilla’s recording and since its release, “Just About Over You” peaked both the iTunes Country and All-Genre song charts making it to the Top 15, the song was named one of The New York Times Best Songs of 2020, and recently received a RIAA Gold Certification. Priscilla’s streaming has topped 305 million, and her major label debut album, Welcome to the Block Party, was released in February of 2022. 

 

Originally from Raleigh, NC, Priscilla moved to Nashville to pursue music shortly after high school. In Nashville, the affable, hardworking, student of life worked multiple jobs to make ends meet, then a chance encounter with her idol – Taylor Swift – was the sign she needed to dive all the way in on her music. Since their inspiring chance encounter, Priscilla has devoted herself to her music and her hard work has taken her to her national TV debut on The Tamron Hall Show, followed by appearances on The Kelly Clarkson Show and ELLEN, and garnered her an ACM Nomination for “New Female Artist of the Year” at the 2022 awards show in Las Vegas, NV. Her warm and vibrant personality landed her the role of Pre-Show Red Carpet correspondent at the 2022 ACMs where she had the opportunity to interview numerous nominees and the legendary Dolly Parton. 

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The Marshall Tucker Band

The Marshall Tucker Band

Performances

July 9 - 5:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

The Marshall Tucker Band

When you wake up and want to put a smile on your face, you think of the songs that always manage to reach down and touch your soul the moment you hear the first note. The Marshall Tucker Band is one such group that continues to have a profound level of impact on successive generations of listeners who’ve been "Searchin’ for a Rainbow" and found it perfectly represented by this tried-and-true Southern institution over the decades. “I’ve been in tune with how music can make you feel, right from when I was first in the crib,” explains lead vocalist and bandleader Doug Gray, who’s been fronting the MTB since the very beginning. “I was born with that. And I realized it early on, back when I was a little kid and my mom and dad encouraged me to get up there and sing whatever song came on the jukebox. It got to the point where people were listening to me more than what was on the jukebox! There’s a certain gift I found I could share, whether I was in front of five people or 20,000 people. I was blessed with that ability and I’m thankful I can share with others."

 

The Marshall Tucker Band came together as a young, hungry, and quite driven six-piece outfit in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1972, having duly baptized themselves with the name of a blind piano tuner after they found it inscribed on a key to their original rehearsal space — and they’ve been in tune with tearing it up on live stages both big and small all across the globe ever since. Plus, the band’s mighty music catalog, consisting of more than 20 studio albums and a score of live releases, has racked up multi-platinum album sales many times over. A typically rich MTB setlist is bubbling over

 

with a healthy dose of hits like the heartfelt singalong “Heard It in a Love Song,” the insistent pleading of “Can’t You See” (the signature tune of MTB’s late co-founding lead guitarist and then-principal songwriter Toy Caldwell), the testifying “Fire on the Mountain,” the wanderlust gallop of “Long Hard Ride,” and the explosive testimony of “Ramblin,’” to name but a few.

 

Indeed, the secret ingredient to the ongoing success of The Marshall Tucker Band’s influence can be seen and felt far and wide throughout many mainstream digital outlets (Netflix, Amazon, etc.). In essence, it’s this inimitable down-home sonic style that helped make the MTB the first truly progressive Southern band to grace this nation’s airwaves — the proof of which can be found within the grooves and ever-shifting gears of “Take the Highway,” the first song on their self-titled April 1973 debut album on Capricorn Records, The Marshall Tucker Band. “We had the commonality of having all grown up together in Spartanburg,” explains Gray about his original MTB bandmates, guitar wizard Toy Caldwell and his brother, bassist Tommy Caldwell, alongside rhythm guitarist George McCorkle, drummer Paul T. Riddle, and flautist/saxophonist Jerry Eubanks. “The framework for Marshall Tucker’s music is more like a spaceship than a house,” Gray continues, “because you can look out of a lot of windows and see a variety of things that show where we’ve been and what we’ve done, and how we’ve travelled through time to bring those experiences out in all of our songs.”

 

The Marshall Tucker Band’s influence can be felt far and wide through many respected contemporaries and the artists who’ve followed the path forged by their collective footsteps and footstomps. “MTB helped originate and personify what was to become known as Southern rock, and I was privileged to watch it all come together in the ’70s, night after night,” said the legendary late Charlie Daniels. “In fact, The Charlie Daniels Band has played more dates with The Marshall Tucker Band over the past years than any other band we’ve ever worked with. Even after all these years — after the tragedies, the miles, the personnel changes, and the many developments in the music business.” Daniels added that he never got tired of seeing his MTB brothers on the road: “Whenever Doug Gray walks into my dressing room with that big ol’ smile of his and then we hug each other and sit and talk for a while, the evening is complete.”

 

“I remember seeing Marshall Tucker and The Outlaws play together in Jacksonville many years ago, when I was just a kid,” recalls Lynyrd Skynyrd lead singer Johnny Van Zant. “And I heard them all over the radio back then too. They were just so cool and so unique that I fell in love with the band, and I also fell in love with the music. Having them open for us on all those dates was like a dream come true, and they’re still as good as I’ve ever seen them. It brought back a lot of memories for me, because I really looked up to those guys when I was first starting out.”

 

Ed Roland, the lead vocalist and chief songwriter for Collective Soul, adds “The Marshall Tucker Band had a big influence on me and they still do.” Roland, who’s lived the majority of his life in and around Atlanta, also proudly points out that his band’s biggest hit, “Shine,” owes a clear debt to the musical structure of “Can’t You See,” and he’ll often start off by singing the opening line to that song — “I’m gonna take a freight train” — whenever Collective Soul performs “Shine” live. “We don’t want to stray from what we grew up listening to,” Roland continues. “I think that’s something important for people to hear. It’s just who we are, and I don’t think we should run from it. Hopefully, people see that southern connection to the bands we love like Marshall Tucker in our music.”

 

Doug Gray sees no end to the road that lies ahead for The Marshall Tucker Band, whose legacy is being carried forward by the man himself and his current bandmates, drummer B.B. Borden (Mother’s Finest, The Outlaws), bassist/vocalist Ryan Ware, keyboardist/saxophonist/flautist/vocalist Marcus James Henderson, guitarist/vocalist Chris Hicks, and guitarist/ vocalist Rick Willis. “You know, I think it was Toy Caldwell’s dad who said, ‘There’s more to gray hair than old bones,’ and we still have a lot of stories yet to tell,” Gray concludes. “People ask me all the time what I’m gonna do when I turn 80, and I always say, ‘The same thing that we’re continuing to do now.’ We’re road warriors, there’s no doubt about that — and I don’t intend to slow down.” May the MTB wagon train continue running like the wind on a long hard ride for many more years to come. One thing we absolutely know for sure: If you heard it in a Marshall Tucker Band song, it certainly can’t be wrong.

 

Mike Mettler, this ol’ MTB chronologist

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Slaughter

Slaughter

Performances

June 25 - 8:15 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Slaughter

1990 Slaughter hit radio, MTV and the U.S. touring circuit like a tornado- coming seemingly out of nowhere to roll through everything in its path and turn it upside down. Touring the world with bands that they loved, Kiss, Ozzy, and others meant the good times were just a song away , and their first hit single, "Up All Night" certainly fit into that mold, their second chart-topper, "Fly To The Angels" was more representative of the spirituality and awareness that goes into most of the band's music and lyrics. But never were Slaughter more accurately represented that live onstage in front of their legions of devoted fans over the last ten years.

1991-during this time filmed what became a platinum home video "From the Beginning" depicting the bands rather different and humorous lifestyle. To showcase the live prowess the band had garnered during their first tour, the band released "Stick It Live" a five song EP collection which entered the billboard charts and went gold as quickly as it was released. This was certainly a shock to the non-believers in the world.

Slaughter was contacted by Orion pictures and Record Producer Jimmy Iovine to write and record what would become the theme song for "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey" and later made a video featuring clips from the film as well. This CD was alsoGold.

1992 -the band went on to record the "WildLife", it's second record after a consistent schedule of touring behind the multi-platinum debut, "Stick It To Ya." During this time the band was awarded the prestigious American Music Award. The "WildLife" CD entered the billboard charts the first week of release in the top ten at # 8 and was shortly their after certified platinum. The band also filmed what became a second gold home video documenting the making of the "WildLife" CD. The band embarked on a tour that would take them through their first challenging obstacle to overcome.

During the Ozzy Osbourne Tour (June 1992), Singer Mark Slaughter was diagnosed with a nodule on his right vocal chord that required surgical attention that was later performed in August 1992. The band would not perform again until Halloween of 1992 on the Dick Clark's Halloween Special from Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA. The band continued to tour with the Damn Yankees bringing them midway through the 1993 season. After receiving the most media attention for a second CD effort, the band began to make plans to record their next Chrysalis release (Fear No Evil). The next series of challenges was soon to come. The writing of "Fear No Evil" in Las Vegas seemed to start out with a normal timber as all other records thus far. However midway into writing, guitarist Tim Kelly and then tour manager were arrested in Las Vegas by drug enforcement agents for a six plus year old charge involving narcotic trafficking. From this point through completion of the record, it was not known if Tim Kelly would ever tour with the band again. Soon to add gasoline to the fire was the small dirt bike accident within a half mile of Dana Strum's house in Las Vegas, NV causing multiple broken bones including a left wrist and two fingers on the left hand (the hand he plays bass with). Once again the band was determined to continue on.

1994-The band played it's first engagement on new years debuting material from the forthcoming CD at the Hurricane in Las Vegas at a meager price of $100 dollars per person (THIS DATE WAS A SELL OUT). "Fear No Evil" was completed in February 1994 with the band touring with Damn Yankees from February on . After flying to New York to debut the album for the record company at the mid year point, the group soon realized that no one involved in the promoting of