Summerfest wraps up its second week
As the second half of Summerfest commenced, many fans flocked to see artists like Steven Tyler, Bishop Briggs and Foster the People take over the stages on July 3rd. Before Bishop Briggs took the stage with a force of energy and stellar vocals, Joywave warmed up the crowd with their own set. The band, originally from New York, accomplished the task of hyping up the crowd and keeping their attention throughout their set. Foster the People, which was the most crowded performance of the night, had all-star vocals, and one of the most memorable sets of July 3rd. Mark Foster’s (lead vocals) voice, spunky dance moves, and all around attitude towards the crowd proved to be a perfect combination for a memorable festival performance.
On July 4th, it seemed like Summerfest had seen one of its biggest crowds yet. Many festival goers were decked out in red, white, and blue, waiting all day to catch the sets of artists like Kesha, Pixies, and The Fray. During the middle of the day, severe rain hit the festival. Instead of forcing fans to leave and miss out on the headlining performances, the rain led attendees to find cover and wait it out. The Wombats, despite being housed in a semi-indoor stage, were forced to wait until the rain was not as severe. As a result, the band had to cut their set down to 30 minutes, which left us wanting more. Tom Knudsen, bassist, had some of the craziest energy we had seen yet from an artist at Summerfest. Despite remarkable vocals and upbeat energy from the band, The Wombats did have a slightly disappointing crowd for the first few songs, who seemed to be tired from the rain. Later that night, Pixies graced the same stage with a presence that felt almost legendary. Their set and all around vibe made us feel as if we were far away from a festival, and more-so being transported back the the early 90s. Nearly opposite of Pixies, Kesha entertained a much younger crowd. The singer, who was the most expensive act this year, was named one of the best and worst shows a fan had seen this year at Summerfest. Fans all seemed to agree that while the singers set was great, the crowd was much too overwhelming.
The next day, Machine Gun Kelly managed to surprise us with one of the most energetic and entertaining shows of summerfest. Surprisingly, the rapper, originally from Cleveland, drew out a crowd of all kinds of people. Perhaps one of the greatest days of Summerfest, however, was the day that followed. That night, artists such as The Flaming Lips, Janelle Monae, and Borns graced the stages of Summerfest. The Flaming Lips blessed their fans with an unbelievable amount of stage props, including a giant pink robot that was brought out during their performance of “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”. With a beautiful and almost theatrical set, The Flaming Lips was easily our most favorite performance of Summerfest 2018. Across from The Flaming Lips, Janelle Monae put on a performance that did not shy away from a celebration of empowerment for the black, queer, female singer. Sitting in throne at one point during her set, Monae proved herself to be the queen of the night to many fans that Reflektor spoke to afterwards. One stage down, Borns delivered on-point vocals to a much larger crowd, which had one of the most demanding cheers for an encore we had seen this year.
On Saturday, Phantogram drew in a bigger crowd as the night went on. Still, the band managed to have one of the most underrated performances of Summerfest 2018. Performing with intense light changes, beautiful and rapid images on the screen behind them, we were left wondering why Phantogram didn’t have one of the biggest crowds this year. The indie band even invited Outkast’s own Big Boi out to perform their final song with, recreating the duos lesser known group “Big Grams” once again.
On the last day, Summerfest welcomed artists like Cheap Trick and Anderson East to close the festival until next summer. Hours before Anderson East took control of the stage with killer vocals and a surprisingly lively set at Johnson Controls World Stage, bands like Soccer Mommy and Early Eyes kept festival goers entertained. Soccer Mommy started her 9 song set with “Henry”, an earlier song of hers from her first album. The band eventually left Sophie Allison, Soccer Mommy herself, to sing both “Still Cool” and “Allison” on her own. Finishing her set with a beautiful performance of “Scorpio Rising” off of her new album, Soccer Mommy left us hoping she’d be back for another Summerfest sometime soon. Later, Early Eyes took the same stage. Spreading an upbeat personality throughout the room as they performed, Early Eyes provided their crowd with feel good grooves, and one of the best performances from the Summerfest Emerging Artists Series this year.