I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this band gets better every time I see them. A typical thing fans say about their favorite artists, but I’m not a typical fan of this band as this concert was RMC show #19 for me, and 8th of 2013. I’m very curious to know if there’s someone else out there that’s seen this band more than I have.
Roster McCabe is an “electrorock” jam band, hailing from Minneapolis, MN, consists of Alex Steele (vocals, keyboards), Michael Daum (guitar), Scott Mullenberg (bass) and Jeff Peterson (drums). It’s also worth noting you won’t find a band with better hair.
RMC opened the show with perhaps their most defining song, “Take a Breath.” TAB is a great song that really captures all the elements that RMC is about: Steele’s soaring vocals over a dance-infused melody blending together a perfect mix of rock with electronic, hence the “electrorock.” The set also included 2 new songs, an outstanding cover of Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” and an incredible sit-in from guitar virtuoso Mark Joseph during the encore. These guys are NOT to be missed next time they come through your town. Never disappoints and always a dance party!
Setlist: Take a Breath, Make My Move, Traveler, Nothing to Lose, Virtual Insanity@, Chasing#, In Our Hands, Trance 2#, Bad$, Only Truth, Stargazer, Tell Me Something Good%, Black Rose, Critical Speed
# new song
$ Michael Jackson cover
% Rufus & Chaka Khan cover
& Ginuwine cover
& with Mark Joseph on guitar, Michael Daum playing keyboard
Videos: Take a Breath http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUxWba1niYI&feature=youtu.be
September 29th marked the 5th time I have been lucky enough to see Michael Franti and Spearhead in concert. And as always, he brought the love and energy that’s expected, and then some, to liven up the crowd. Unfortunately I was only able to catch a little more than half the show, as it was an early start time and I had to drive over 2.5 hours straight after class ended on Thursday to get there. He was the opening act for Train, but that didn’t take away from the quality of his show at all.
Fresh off the debut of his latest album, All People (which I wrote about here: http://summercampfestival.com/2013/08/03/album-review-michael-franti-spearhead-all-people-deluxe-edition/), many of the songs from the setlist were off tracks from the love-spreading album. Nearing the Grandstand entrance, Closer to You could be heard already from afar and the excitement settled in. Michael kept the crowd jumping throughout the rest of the set, as several times he went in and out of the crowd keeping the fans engaged and enthusiastic. In the midst of the Sound of Sunshine track “Hey Hey Hey” he snuck in a verse from Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” a pleasant surprise that excited the portion of the crowd that was only there for Train, the evening’s headliner. The next song actually featured Train’s saxophonist, “Let it Go,” with a nice little jam for him to lead which featured a tease from their hit song, Hey Soul Sister. Michael Franti and Spearhead then closed their show with his two most popular song, I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) and Say Hey (I Love You). As per Michael’s tradition, he brought all the children in the front rows on stage to help him out for Say Hey, and gave one little girl the microphone to sing the lines, “Seems like everywhere I go, the more I see the less I know, but I know one thing, that I love you.” We love you too, Michael!
Latter part of the setlist:
Closer to You, Life is Better with You, All People, Hey Hey Hey@, Let It Go#$, I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like), Say Hey (I Love You)%
@ with Get Lucky verse (Daft Punk)
# featuring Brian from Train on saxophone
$ Hey Soul Sister tease (Train)
% with children on stage and one girl singing a verse (with help from Michael)
After he finished, my girlfriend and I were able to sneak up to the front and snag a picture with him as he was greeting fans in the front row
We then ventured around the Minnesota State Fair grounds for a little bit, as neither of us were that committed to seeing Train, and it was our first time at this fair. We returned to the Grandstand to see about the last half hour of Train’s performance, which was an entertaining show. As we entered, Train, like Franti, had several kids up on stage and teased a little bit of Bob Marley’s Can be Loved in one of their songs. Everyone left the stage, and front man Patrick Monahan invited a girl on stage to help sing their latest single, “Bruises.” At the conclusion, they played a 2 minute medley mix of pop songs with a tease of dubstep as well. They then played their hit “Hey Soul Sister” that segued right into Macklemore’s “Ceiling Can’t Hold Us,” before closing the set with “Drive By.” For the encore, they performed their long time hit song “Drops of Jupiter,” and then surprised the crowd with a final cover of Aerosmith’s classic “Dream On.”
My birthday. Christmas. Packers’ playoffs. Summerfest. That’s the ascending order of my favorite days of the year (at least until Summer Camp becomes a yearly tradition). I’ve been to every Summerfest since ’99 (when I was 7), and I know my parents have brought me along earlier than that, I just have no recollection of it. My father has been to every single Summerfest since the opening in ’68, but that’s a whole other story. Maybe I’ll share that in a future post. Anyways, this is the 11 day span I make sure I get off work months in advance every year. The last Wednesday of June through the first Sunday of July. Every year. The most I ever attended was 8 nights back in 2010. This year I will total 6 appearances, the first 3 I will share below.
^mid gate entrance
Thursday, June 27
Thursday morning, I had no plans of attending Summerfest. I didn’t have a ticket, there were’t any bands playing that I was real committed to seeing, and I was already going to the Brewer game in the day. Some of my college buddies were in town and had never experienced The World’s Largest Music Festival, so I had to show them a good time. Being a Thursday night, it wasn’t too crowded, so we stage-hopped around a bit. We started at REO Speedwagon, a band I am not all too familiar with (just the main radio songs) for about a half hour. They were on the Big Backyard stage, which is probably my favorite side stage on the grounds. It’s smaller and more confined, creating an intimate feel between the crowd and the band. The crowd was loving the show, as the band members displayed a lot of enthusiasm and showmanship up on stage.
The next stop was to go see Blues Traveler, the most fun I had in the night. It was my first time listening to Blues Traveler, and after seeing them, it won’t be my last. I didn’t know any of the songs, but I loved their sound – I’d describe it as a mix of southern blues jam rock.
Friday, June 28
This was the day I had marked on my calendar for some time. I got to the grounds by 6 to catch an hour long set of Roster McCabe, who was performing on the Tiki Stage. I’ve written about these guys before and I can’t say enough about their talent and potential. The sky is the limit for this small time electro-rock reggae jam band from Minneapolis. Here is a video I took of their original, Critical Speed. This song makes me feel like I’m in a video game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D9gEfWOu_o
After Roster McCabe, I ventured to the south end of the grounds near the Marcus Amphitheater to find myself a Tom Petty ticket. Honestly, I just would have been fine with a lawn seat for $50 (~face value). I spoiled myself a little bit, and found a ticket in about the 20th row for just $80. Such a steal. I walked through the gates into the Amphitheater with the BIGGEST smile on my face. It’s been 4 years since I’ve last seen Petty, and I was worried that I’d never get the chance again. First thing I got to say is, we need to start reconsidering the Heartbreakers as a jam band. They’re not there yet, but 3 different times during the show the band displayed some serious extended pieces of improv from their tunes, sparking more dance moves from across the stands. Highlights of this show for me include the three consecutive greatest hits of Here Comes My Girl, MJ’s Last Dance and Free Fallin’. As I’ve said before, little concert moments have compared to Free Fallin’ live. One of my all time favorite songs, as well as I’m sure the rest of the sold out crowd at the Marcus Amphitheater. Even into his old age, Petty still brings the love and energy every night and shows his passion on stage. You can just tell he absolutely loves being up there, and that he’ll do it as long as he sure can.
Setlist: (source: http://instagram.com/p/bJhmihyB1G/)
Rock & Roll Star, Love is a Long Road, I Won’t Back Down, Baby Please Don’t Go, Here Comes My Girl, Mary Jane’s Last Dance, Free Fallin’, Woman in Love, Cabin Down Below, Band Introductions, Tweeter and the Monkey Man (Traveling Wilburys), Rebels, Melinda, Learning to Fly, You’re So Bad, I Should Have Known It, Refugee, Running Down a Dream.
Encore: Don’t Come Around Here No More, You Wreck Me, American Girl
Here are some videos I was able to capture:
Here Comes My Girl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8vHWZu6-kM
Free Fallin’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=784Jett6cZU
Don’t Come Around Here No More: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdRutD0-_AA
^ sell out crowd at The Marcus Amphitheater!
Saturday, June 29
I do not consider myself a very big electronic music fan. I prefer the good ol’ rock and roll. A handful of talented musicians up on the stage pouring their souls through their instruments. Pretty Lights, however, is one of 2 exceptions (Big Gigantic being the other). This was my first Pretty Lights show, so I wasn’t too sure of what to expect. The Harley Davidson Roadhouse Stage was just PACKED with people, shoulder to shoulder. I will estimate about 15,000 were in attendance for Pretty Lights on this hot summer night in late June. Of all the shows I’ve been to, Pretty Lights (Derek Vincent Smith) instantly put himself in the top tier of a good time. One word to describe the atmosphere? Party. As crowded as it was, everyone there was having a blast and dancing to the best they could with limited space. I am sad to admit that it was difficult to take pictures and videos, but for good reason: the picnic table I was standing on was shaking! Too many people dancing. I suppose that’s a good problem to have at any concert! I can’t wait to see him again. The highlight for me was definitely his remix of Time by Pink Floyd, considering there was a Floyd cover band playing Summerfest earlier that day that I missed. I wish that I was closer, but if I had tried any further up there I would have been too uncomfortable to move and dance.
Let’s Get Busy, Around the Block, A Million Tomorrows, So Much in the Dark, Can’t Stop Me Now, Finally Moving, Cold Feeling, I Put a Spell on You, Done Wrong, Time, How We Do, SummerTime, If I Could Feel Again, Out of Time, World of Illusion, One Day They’ll Know, So Bright, I Know the Truth, Yellow Bird, Total Fascination, Still Night Remix, I Can See It In Your Face, Up & Down I Go, Hot Like Sauce, Exodus
Here’s my video of Finally Moving: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omCT4Bzak5U
^ my 2 best pics from Pretty Lights.
After PL finished, I caught the tail end of Roster McCabe’s set again at the Tiki Stage. I could hear their hit “Take a Breath” from a whole stage over and ran up to join the small frenzy of dancing Summerfesters. Take a Breath is the perfect song I think to set an example for Roster McCabe’s sound: a mix of reggae, rock, and EDM. Here is their released live album version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmedpaoyw34.
They encored with Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” a great cover choice as it drew the attention of even more passer-byers in and added to the fun. I saw Roster in mid June in La Crosse, where they also covered the MJ classic. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX8ENXjfj5I
At the end of each show, Alex, the lead singer, takes a picture of the crowd and posts it to their facebook. Here is the photo, which doesn’t quite do justice to how many people were in the tiny little area
^ Roster family photo!
And that sums up my first 3 nights of Summerfest! My next recap will be Umphrey’s McGee from July 2nd, followed by another blog of Dark Star Orchestra and 311.