Summerfest June 28, 2018

Though Summerfest officially started off on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, we hear at Bah Magazine covered “Throwback Thursday,”. Which offered familiar sounds from the past at a number of stages throughout the festival grounds.
There was a vintage booking suited for almost any musical taste Thursday, at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., the stage offered three acts who combined to sell more than 20 million albums, accumulated a handful of Platinum records, and became cultural touchstones during one of the most all-around amazing time in modern music history. As short-lived “nu metal” genres, each of these acts first achieved close to 20 years ago and, in most cases, receded from the public eye shortly after. So how would Alien Ant Farm, Lit, and P.O.D. go over live in the year 2018? Surprisingly, amazingly Awesome!

The five-hour block of rock was set into motion by Alien Ant Farm, with one (of their own, another by Michael Jackson) which helped them reached mainstream awareness in 2001 with Anthology. The record sold more than five million units, largely based on their catchy cover of the King of Pop’s “Smooth Criminal” and secondary single, “Movies.” After that, AAF enjoyed success with 2003 follow-up, Truant. Then along the way, they endured lineup changes, leaving vocalist Dryden Mitchell and drummer Mike Cosgrove as the only original Ants left on the farm.

As the crowd filled the Summerfest grounds Thursday, Alien Ant Farm took the stage and played a set mostly made up of cuts from those two releases albums. After establishing themselves as an affable and energetic late-afternoon force in their first two songs, the band used one of the biggest weapons in its arsenal when they played “Movies” as its third song. Though the 2001 track had infectious guitar licks and the still-infectious chorus it got the crowd going and even inspired some to sing along.

A few minutes after 6 p.m., Lit chased that cover with a crowd-pleasing tribute of their own. With the bleachers now full, they started their set with a performance of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” that was true to the original. Lit’s presence was interesting because unlike the other two acts that followed them. They have that one song, of course, which is unavoidable the 1999 anthem “My Own Worst Enemy,” which propelled the band’s breakout album, A Place in The Sun, to Platinum status.

After “American Girl” was in the books, the band tried to keep listener attention with micro-singles “Zip-Lock” and “Miserable” (the video of which features Pamela Anderson tantalizing a shrunken-down Lit) early on (with some success) before playing material off their new album. They have released four records since A Place in the Sun, including one last year. The band’s singer also teased a new album that they hope will be ready to release next month.

As their set neared completion, they played a song that was apparently on the American Pie soundtrack, a new-ish song called “Fast” (which they debuted on CMT), and a couple other Kid Rock-adjacent cuts before giving the vast majority of the building crowd the one and only thing they wanted. Like “Smooth Criminal” two hours earlier, “My Own Worst Enemy” prompted cheers, and a large fraction of the audience singing along to each and every word.
Finally, this early 2000s triple-headers were brought to a close by the biggest of the three bands in my opinion. Since first forming as a Christian rock band in 1992, P.O.D. has sold more than 12 million albums, been nominated for a few Grammys, and dominated rock radio airwaves between 1999 and 2003 with a steady stream of nu-metal singles. Though a fraction of the amazing turnout of fans at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage might’ve been just holding their spot just to see (P.O.D.). Right before they took the stage, Linkin Park’s “In The End” played over the house P.A. system and elicited a small-but-noticeable applause from the bleachers. P.O.D. then came out and pulled no punches, opening with “Boom.” Two songs later, their now-dreadless singer was welcoming us to “Southtown” with album-like precision. “Youth of A Nation” immediately followed in the top-heavy setlist.

Though songs pushing 20 years old populated most of the set, it didn’t seem to deter people from singing along and enjoying the new-look, new-sound, and nu-metal take on Throwback Thursday. By the time P.O.D.’s closer “Alive” rolled around, the audience seemed to share the song’s uplifting sentiment. As hard as it might be to come to terms with popular songs you can clearly recall making the swift transition to “oldies,” this collection of three early-2000s made for a surprisingly fun experience on the second day of Summerfest.
then, to close out Bah Magazines night we cover another blast from the past Nelly. But despite past appearances, Nelly was still able to draw sizeable, enthusiastic crowd that spanned generations to the recently renovated U.S. Cellular Connection Stage Thursday night. Almost in perfect unison, clearly eager for him to single-handedly start the party. As soon as he emerged, Nelly’s years of performance experience was obvious. His set was played practically without effort, relying on the swagger of a rapper who’s performed that same set a thousand times before.

Nelly’s demeanor was cheery, and he vocalized his appreciation for the crowd almost immediately. He thanked the audience countless times throughout his 90-minute set, paying special attention to fans who have been by his side since day one. Though there were plenty of 30- and 40-somethings in the crowd, a high percentage of the audience were baby-faced members of Gen Z who were probably born around the same year that Country Grammar was released. Despite what happened to Nelly in the past, it was refreshing to watch a cherished rapper do what he does best: party. Within the first 20 minutes of his set, Nelly had performed some of his biggest hits, including “E.I.,” “Shake Ya Tailfeather” and “Country Grammar,” much to the crowd’s delight. Nelly’s arsenal of greatest hits managed to keep the crowd’s attention, and his high spirits were shared with the audience.


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