SUMMERFEST June 27th – Milwaukee, WI

Summerfest – Friday June 27th:

The Whiskeybelles

The Pretty Reckless


The Cadillac Three

Stars in Stereo

Darius Rucker

Five Finger Death Punch

Brad Paisley


Tammy and I kicked Friday off by catching the last half of the three-piece girl band, the Whiskeybelles, as they played the BMO stage. We were thoroughly impressed by their unique spin on covers like “Hell on Heels” and “Jolene” and then they dazzled us with their original “Stealing Glances.” They had such a great sound and southerly appearance we just assumed they were from the south, never guessing they were a local band from Milwaukee!

Walking over to the Harley Davidson stage after, we began watching the crowd grow larger and larger as everyone awaited The Pretty Reckless. The size of the audience drew passerby’s attention, making people stop to ask who was about to take the stage. Upon hearing the answer, many forgot their previous paths and stuck around to check out the band. Everyone who watched, old fans and new, left with TPR’s lyrics stuck in their head after chanting “Heaven Knows.” You can bet Taylor Momsen’s hauntingly dark, one-of-a-kind voice echoed in the back of their minds the rest of the day.

The crowd began to clear out after TPR, but when Crobot took the stage they played with just as much enthusiasm and passion as if they were headliners. The un-parallalled energy they continuously bombard the stage with never fails to surprise the crowd. That presence, combined with their raw talent, high-hitting vocals, and all around sound that is unlike any other left people stunned, wondering about Crobot, gaining them a crowd full of new fans.

Lucky for us, the BMO stage was running a bit late, so we got to catch The Cadillac Three’s set as well, and again left with smiles on our faces and hair a mess from rocking out. Their down home, thick, southern, twangy rock n’ roll vibe was contagious. We caught ourselves later that night and into the whole weekend singing “I’m Southern” everywhere: waiting in lines, eating, making people around think we were really proud to be from the south when really we were just semi-obsessed with the amazing song.

Back at the Harley stage, Stars in Stereo drew another huge crowd, partly because people were beginning to hold their spots for Five Finger Death Punch, and partly because the band had some real die-hard fans. They ripped up the stage, each member emitting their own magnetic stage presence, and left the crowd excited and energized for FFDP.

All day, starting with Ivan and Chris Kael, members of Five Finger came out between sets to sign autographs and take pictures with the crowd. Giving back to the fans is something that shouldn’t be so out of the norm, and FFPD definitely shows that they appreciate everyone that supports them, coming out not just once or twice, but multiple times, making sure everyone got a chance to shake their hands or snap a picture.

Once they took the stage, the crowd had grown to overtake the benches, flowing into the walkways, around the bars and restrooms, and into the grass. FFDP delivered one of the best rock performances I’ve seen at Summerfest, never once pausing, going from screaming and shredding to “Burn MF” to an acoustic “Remember Everything” with just Ivan and Jason. Then, midway through the song, the rest of the band plugged in and powered onto the stage, creating a heart-felt sing-along that could be heard across the whole Summerfest grounds.

Overall, Friday left me speechless. Summerfest puts together lineups that people remember for years, and that is why Tammy and I are so excited to be a part of covering it! As the weekend went on, we constantly kept seeing more and more amazing bands. Check back for the rest of the weekend’s coverage here to relive the festival through our eyes, and make sure to look at Tammy’s photos from Saturday night’s Luke Bryan show here!

Kat Corbo is currently a student at UW-Madison studying Communication Arts and Business. She recently stopped writing for her school's newspaper and moved to the On Stage Review in order to keep her artistic freedom and to be able to freely write and review anything that she felt passionate about. 99% of the time you can catch Kat wherever Red is (don’t be fooled, they WILL drive 6+ hours for a good live show!). They’re a one of a kind duo that hopes to inspire young people their age to see that rock n’ roll is alive and well!