Grant Steskal is a huge bluegrass fan. And as an employee of local CBD, Delta 8, and Delta 9 retailer Kind Oasis (2169 N. Farwell Ave., 414-877-0253), he’s also capable of handling heroic doses those aforementioned (totally legal!) substances. Knowing Greensky Bluegrass was coming to Summerfest, we asked Steskal if he’d like to take a Milwaukee Record 69 mg Delta 8 gummy and review the show for us. Fortunately for us, he said yes. Here’s his review.
Was Summerfest the spot to be last night? The answer is a resounding yes! My wife and I went to the grounds Thursday to see Greensky Bluegrass, and before we go to there, we each downed a nice Milwaukee Record 69 mg Delta 8 gummy made by Kind Oasis. The vibes were good, the grass was blue, and the sky was green (get it?). And, yes, the Greensky guys put on one of the best shows this reviewer has seen at Summerfest in a minute! For a Thursday that started hazy, provided a couple torrential downpours throughout the day, and felt like the Gods and Goddesses themselves had adjusted the humidity to hot yoga-level percentages, Greensky Bluegrass brought the heat, the sweet and tender moments, and the spacey jams to start the second weekend of Summerfest off with a bang.
As we got off work and made our way down to Summerfest, the sun was setting, the city was lighting up, and we appropriately bought some great tickets off some folks, saving $8! As the moon made its way over the North Summerfest Gate, we downed our Milwaukee Record-sponsored adult candy. As we entered and got situated, we noticed that every single stage had something bumpin’. We walked by the UScellular Stage, we noticed that our across-the-hall neighbor was holding down the party up on the stage (big ups, DJ Mr. New York!). We stayed for a second and danced, spun around, and felt like the party was also starting in ourselves as well! We made our way through the new DJ stage (a way better use of that stage now than before, in my opinion) and we couldn’t help but dance our way through the “Gasolina” remix that was playing. If we didn’t feel good before—thanks THC!—we sure did now. We were primed and ready to get on down to the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard, past the crowds building for Vance Joy and the summer boho chic vibes of the Lord Huron experience, and experience some bluegrass!
As Greensky line-checked the stage mics, I took this opportunity to grab the big lemonade from the Lemonade stand, as the THC was making our mouths feel very cotton-y. I came back with the 32oz’er as Greensky took the stage to applause and shouts. It was all working out so nicely! As the first notes to the song “Windshield” rang out over the audience, I knew we were in for a special time here at the Big Gig. The groove was building, each member of Greensky looked to be in sync, and the band’s lighting director was right on point with these beautiful snowflake-like lights that spun, twisted, and circled back around to make the band look like shadows and the atmosphere feel even hazier than the past couple days had been in Milwaukee. It was truly one of the prettiest moments of the show as the band settled in, traded solos, and spun a silky and spooky path through its opening number.
Once they put that excellent 2022 song to rest, the band ripcorded with the best of ‘em (looking at you, Trey Anastasio!), and transitioned right into “White Freight Liner Blues,” a rollicking-good-time Townes Van Zandt bluegrass cover with Paul Hoffman trading Mandolin solos with Anders Beck on the Dobro and Michael Bont on the Banjo. We saw the moon come out over 794 as we danced away our troubles and pains, and felt the band take us into a positive uplifting jam phase with a great segue into “New And Improved” from Greensky’s Stress Dreams record. The chorus of “New And Improved” will get stuck in your head even if you’re stoned, as I’m still singing “New And Improved! State Of The Art!” this morning.
The band stretched it out with Michael Bont taking an extended banjo moment (oh yeah, there were many banjo moments here) while the band supported him underneath with a chugging rhythm that never let the song grow stale. As we all lifted our lemonades at the end of that one, the band took the time to extend a wave and a hearty “I’d trust those burgers” to Major Goolsbys’ stand in the back of the Big Backyard. We all waved, and they went on to say that they “rode the chair lifts all day” while waiting to play bluegrass to us all. How cute!
The band went into “Sweet Greensky” mode with their next tune, “In Control”, and my wife and I shared a tender moment as we felt the song’s message of not spinning out of control in life resonate with the crowd. This moment was Paul Hoffman at his sweetest and most uplifting, trading beautifully delivered story-telling vocals with sexy instrumental breaks between verses. As Greensky is wont to do, they abruptly put the shift on into 2018’s “All For Money”—which was as spacey and weird as “In Control” was sweet and lilting. The lighting shifted into reds and greens and purples, playing with shadows and extending that Greensky hazy vibe out through the crowd. Paul put on the echo machine on his vocals, the dobro, banjo, and mandolin were all filtered through many pedals and effects, and we were really treated to a “Drums/Space” moment from the band. It was strange, it was a little dark in spots, and the gummy had us riding those waves right up and down as our emotions were ready to flow with Greensky’s cues.
As they came out of the darkness with “Wish I Didn’t Know,” another cut from 2018’s All For Money release, they came back into that uplifting and beautiful Greensky rhythm, picking up the vibes from the beginning. “Stress Dreams” followed, the title track of their great 2022 release. Both songs were classic jam vehicles, from top to bottom! The calmness of the band’s demeanor onstage really added to the vibe that we felt. We honestly felt like we weren’t at Summerfest, and removed from all the chaos and rowdy people all over. We felt like we were in a bubble where the drunks and the loud-yellers weren’t allowed to interrupt this moment. Kudos to Greensky for proving they really can hook us in and make us forget the rest of the world existed for a minute.
The show rolled on and we were treated to multiple teasers in the back half of the set. We heard some “Smoke On The Water” riff references and then the band really got cooking on a cover. That cover, of course, was an homage to BMO stage headliners Cypress Hill, with Paul Hoffman NAILING the first verse of “Hits From The Bong,” bluegrass-style! I felt like we had seen the best version of “Hits From The Bong.” It was amazing to see the boys pull off the cover so well. That cover led into “Broke Mountain Breakdown,” an old-fashioned guitar ripper, and then wrapped it up with a cover of “Ain’t No Bread In The Breadbox,” penned originally by Norton Buffalo (of Steve Miller Band fame) and made famous as a live hit by the Jerry Garcia Band. It’s always an audience-pleaser to cover anything Dead-related, and this cover was a great example of how the Greensky musicians can hold you in the palms of their hands while they trade solos and interweave a beautiful crescendo of an ending.
We, in good Alpine Valley stoner fashion, left right before the encore and headed down the main avenue in search of some popcorn. They launched into “Kerosene” as we strolled away, the music following us as we got our snack. We headed on past the crowd for Vance Joy belting out every word and passed through the main gates, away from the madness and on our way home for the night. Greensky Bluegrass has the ability to whisk you away for the evening and transport you into a realm that surpasses anything else going on. I give them 5 out of 5 for the evening.
The 69 mg gummy also receives a 5 out of 5 for the evening, as it helped us really lock in with the band and how they were playing. We felt like we were part of the experience, and we would definitely use THC to unlock those levels of interplay between audience and band even more in the future. Plus, the vibes were excellent, and it was 69 degrees as we headed home. Nice. In short: see Greensky Bluegrass and pick up some of those Milwaukee Record gummies to help you achieve the total experience!