Summerfest! Like the last three installments, the Big Gig is staking out three Thursday-Friday-Saturday blocks instead of the old 11-day run. In an effort to help you make some potentially difficult 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 27


Sleater-Kinney — 10 p.m. @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard
If our records are correct, legendary alt-rock band Sleater-Kinney hasn’t played Milwaukee since 2019. Plenty has happened in Sleater-Kinney Land in the ensuing years: a St. Vincent-produced album, the departure of founding drummer Janet Weiss, and two more albums. (The latest, Little Rope, was released earlier this year.) And hey! Here’s your chance to see Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and company at Summerfest! Tracy Bonham plays immediately before the group.

Also: Boys Like Girls — 10 p.m. @ USCellular Connection Stage


Gold Steps — 12:45 p.m. @ USCellular Connection Stage
Milwaukee’s own Gold Steps are one of the city’s hardest working bands—if there’s a neighborhood music festival, a weekend pop-punk showcase, or just a random Tuesday night, Gold Steps will be there. In the last few years alone, the alt/pop/rock group has released a record on Revival Recordings, toured the U.S., played a metric ton of local shows, released a pitch-perfect pop-punk cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” and unleashed the new “Narcissist” on the world. Phew!

Also: Tiffany — 3:30 p.m. @ BMO Pavilion


Certified Trapper — 7:15 p.m. @ Generac Power Stage
A 2022 Pitchfork feature invited readers into the “bizarre, confusing, and fun-as-hell world of Milwaukee rapper Certified Trapper.” That about sums it up: take a look at Certified Trapper’s YouTube page and you’ll find hundreds of clips ranging from slickly produced videos to CT just fucking around in his bedroom. And nearly all of them boast views in the tens—or even hundreds—of thousands. (The video for “Oi,” from November 2023, has 4.3 million.) Earlier this year, Certified Trapper released the terrific Trappernese.

Also: Sleepy Gaucho — 2 p.m. @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard


Throwback Thursday Presented By Pick ‘N Save
“$5 admission and 50% off select beverages. Enjoy a collection of music through the decades from Tiffany, Nappy Roots, Eve 6, and more. From 12-6 p.m. all beer, seltzer, Cherry Vodka Lemonade, Aquafina Water, and soda will be 50% off.”

Friday, June 28


Metric — 7:30 p.m. @ Uline Warehouse Stage
Okay, we’re cheating here, since The All-American Rejects follow Metric Friday night on the Uline Warehouse. And as much as we love The All-American Rejects, well, we love Metric just a little bit more! Remember when the Canadian indie-rock band played Rock The Green years and years ago? Remember when a pre-fame Imagine Dragons played that fest, too? Remember when post-fame Imagine Dragons played Summerfest a few years after that, and things got out of control? Good times. Anyway, Metric!

Also: REO Speedwagon — 9:30 p.m. @ BMO Pavilion


Milwaukee Remembers: A Celebration Of And Music From Artists And Loved Ones In The Milwaukee Music Scene — 3:15 p.m. @ Aurora Pavilion
We’re honestly not sure what—or who—this show entails, but color us intrigued. The Milwaukee music scene has lost far too many people in recent years, and we’re hoping this showcase will serve as a fitting tribute to them.

Also: Tommy DeCarlo – Formerly Of Boston — 3 p.m. @ Uline Warehouse Stage


Something To Do — 1:45 p.m. + 3:30 p.m. @ Johnsonville Summerville
Milwaukee ska standout Something To Do is so big (it is a ska band, after all) that it’s fitting the group is playing not once, but twice in the cozy Johnsonville Summerville picnic/brat area. Something To Do’s latest release is Here Comes The Panic, which features songs like “Draw Me Like One Of Your French Girls” and “No, I Don’t Want To Hear About Your Tattoo.”

Also: DJ Shawna — 9 p.m. @ Aurora Pavilion


Show Your College Pride Day With OnMilwaukee And CW18 & MY24
“All patrons who arrive between 12-3 p.m. wearing a shirt or hat representing a participating college or university, or students presenting a valid High School ID, will receive one FREE admission ticket. Tickets are only valid for the day and time of the promotion. Stop by the Mid Gate Promotions Booth to receive your ticket, then head over to your school’s booth to say hello and show your support! Only shirts or hats from the following colleges or universities will be accepted: Herzing University, Marquette University, Milwaukee Area Technical College, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.”

Saturday, June 29


The Church — 10:15 p.m. @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage
The Church is one of those “come for the big hit, stay for decades’ worth of other incredible songs” bands. Sure, the Sydney new wave/jangle-goth group scored big in 1988 with the timeless “Under The Milky Way,” but the rest of its catalog is just as rewarding. Be on the look out for “Reptile,” “Metropolis,” “Almost With You,” and maybe even a song or two from the new (!) Eros Zeta And The Perfumed Guitars.

Also: Amos Lee — 9:30 p.m. @ Uline Warehouse Stage


The Dandy Warhols + The Hold Steady + The Afghan Whigs — 4:30 p.m. @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage
We’re cheating again here, but oh well. The Dandy Warhols, followed by The Hold Steady and The Afghan Whigs? And all before The Church, no less? Buckle up, Gen X. This day/stage is for you.

Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs — 3:30 p.m. @ Uline Warehouse Stage


HOSTS — 1:45 p.m. @ Uline Warehouse Stage
There are a lot of Milwaukee country bands out there right now, and a lot of great ones. (Hi, Ladybird, who are playing Summerfest next weekend!) Then there are HOSTS, a Milwaukee indie-country band that sounds like no other. That’s partly due to the alternately sharp and dreamy instrumentation, but also due to the distinctive croon of singer-guitarist Miles Patzer. It all comes together on 2023’s wonderful Wade Low.

Also: Steve Da Stoner — 7 p.m. @ Generac Power Stage


Summerfest Military And First Responder Appreciation Day With Generac”
“All active-duty military personnel and veterans, police, fire and EMT (along with up to four family members) arriving between 12-6 p.m. who present a valid Military ID, copy or photo of a DD-214 form, driver’s license with Veteran classification, law enforcement or fire department agency-issued credentials at the designated turnstile at any gate will be admitted for FREE. Police and fire union ID cards will also be accepted with a photo ID.”

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 FREE admission ticket, valid for the day and time of the promotion only. Picture books and early readers for children ages birth through ten are preferred. All books collected at the Mid Gate Promotions Booth will be donated to Next Door.”

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