Summerfest! Like last year’s edition, “The World’s Largest Music Festival” is mixing things up in 2022 by staking out three Thursday-Friday-Saturday blocks instead of the traditional 11-day run. In an effort to help you make some potentially difficult Summerfest decisions, Milwaukee Record is offering Record Recommendations for all three weekends of Summerfest: a suggested headliner, a reason to show up early, a can’t-miss local act, and a tip for a way to have a cheaper and/or better experience. Here are our Record Recommendations for Summerfest’s second weekend.
Thursday, June 30
Todd Rundgren — 9:30 p.m. @ Uline Warehouse
Legendary musician, producer, and tech-head Todd Rundgren is no stranger to Milwaukee—hell, he even “played” here during the height of the pandemic via a “virtual tour.” He’s great, so why not see him in person! Rundgren’s 2022 Summerfest slot is part of his “Unpredictable Tour,” and you just KNOW he’s going to play the unofficial Packers touchdown song.
Craig Finn & The Uptown Controllers — 6 p.m. @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard
Whether solo or fronting The Hold Steady, Craig Finn specializes in plain-spoken poetry delivered in a plain-spoken voice. Speaking of Finn’s solo career…has it eclipsed his Hold Steady work at this point? Twenty-seventeen’s We All Want The Same Things and 2019’s I Need A New War were among the best records of their respective years, and the brand-new A Legacy Of Rentals is no slouch, either. But yeah, old Hold Steady songs like “Stuck Between Stations” and “Stay Positive” still rule.
Telethon — 3:30 p.m. @ Uline Warehouse
Milwaukee power-pop/pop-punk group Telethon is the kind of band you want to take home to your parents. Bright, brash, and fun/funny, Telethon is also ambitious—just look at 2017’s 30-track The Grand Spontanean, a “sprawling five-act rock opera about the internet, culture, human relationships, and the apocalypse.” The group’s latest album is 2021’s irresistible Swim Out Past The Breakers.
Never mind. (Get better, boys!)
THROWBACK THURSDAY PRESENTED BY PICK ‘N SAVE
“$5.00 admission and 50% off beverages. Enjoy a collection of music through the decades from artists including The FIXX, Tommy DeCarlo – Singer of Boston, Son Volt, and more. From 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., all beverages will be 50% off (excluding frozen drinks, specialty coffee drinks, and smoothies). In addition, Pick ‘n Save shoppers can earn four (4) FREE Summerfest tickets for every qualifying $50 spent at Pick ‘n Save and Metro Market locations, now – May 17, 2022. The offer is printed at the bottom of the receipt. To redeem the offer, bring the complete original receipt to the Summerfest ticket windows at the entry gates on June 30 from 12:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. Tickets are only valid for the day and time of the promotion. Limit three (3) offers / 12 tickets per transaction.”
Friday, July 1
The New Pornographers — 8 p.m. @ Johnson Controls World Stage
When folks talk about ultra-dependable indie-rock bands that have never put out a bad album, Spoon usually headlines the conversation. But don’t forget about long-running supergroup The New Pornographers, who have been on a roll since their 2000 debut Mass Romantic. The group last played Summerfest in 2015; their latest record is 2019’s In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights.
Blue Öyster Cult — 3:30 p.m. @ Uline Warehouse
Yeah, yeah: “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and the whole cowbell thing. But “Burnin’ For You” and “Godzilla” are stone-cold classics, too!
Nora Collins — 7:30 p.m. @ Uline Warehouse
Brookfield native Nora Collins has called Nashville home since 2016, but the country-tinged singer-songwriter remains a Wisconsinite (and a Wisconsinite favorite) at heart. Need proof? Collins’ latest single is titled “Midnight In Milwaukee.” She plays here in direct support of country-pop favorite Jessie James Decker.
KINSHIP COMMUNITY FOOD DAY PRESENTED BY PALERMO’S PIZZA
“The first 2,000 patrons who donate three (3) non-perishable food items at the Mid Gate receive one (1) free admission ticket valid for the day and time of the promotion only. Cooking oil and fruit snack packs (low-sugar applesauce and mandarin oranges) preferred. All donations benefit Kinship Community Food Center.”
Saturday, July 2
Third Eye Blind — 10 p.m. @ UScellular Connection Stage
Even if they’ve only played The Big Gig once or twice, Third Eye Blind seems like an especially Summerfest-y Summerfest band, right? You know, like Nelly (who’s incredibly not playing this year). Anyway, the last time we saw Third Eye Blind was when they headlined the now-defunct Rock The Green festival in 2012. The then-largely-unknown Imagine Dragons also played that fest; the following year, the then-wildly-popular Imagine Dragons nearly caused a riot when they played a free outdoor stage at Summerfest. Huh! Also, Third Eye Blind is the one that does “Semi-Charmed Life.”
Buffalo Nichols — 4 p.m. @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard
“I think a lot of what’s been lost in the blues since the early ’60s is the Black experience, so I try to sing about that.” So says Milwaukee native Carl Nichols, a.k.a. Buffalo Nichols. Since relocating to Austin, Texas, Nichols has found a wealth of national success. His self-titled debut was released on Fat Possum Records in 2021, and he performed on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in 2022.
Vincent Van Great — 8:15 p.m. @ Miller Lite Oasis
Vincent Van Great is a man of many talents. The Milwaukee singer, rapper, and producer has been showcasing his diverse set of skills for years, but he really started turning heads in his hometown and beyond with his attention-grabbing and award-winning Troublemakers EP collaboration he released with Amanda Huff last year. Catch him here in a sweet 8:15 p.m. slot immediately before Lupe Fiasco.
NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL MAKE A CHILD SMILE DAY
“The first 2,500 patrons who donate new or gently used children’s books with a $10 minimum value will receive one (1) free admission ticket, valid for the day and time of the promotion only. Picture books and early readers for children ages birth through 10 are preferred. All books collected at the Mid Gate Promotions Booth will be donated to Next Door.”
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