Summerfest: Monday, June 28
Eric Clapton w/ Roger Daltrey, Blue Öyster Cult and Hawthorne Heights
Amphitheater, 7:30 p.m.
When an admiring fan wrote â€śClapton is Godâ€ť on the wall of the London Undergroundâ€™s Islington station in 1965, the stage was set for the musical ascension of the then-20-year-old Eric Patrick Clapton. The illegitimate son of an unwed teenage mother and a Canadian soldier stationed in England has since risen to become one of the most influential voices in the blues guitar pantheon. Whether performing with blues giant B.B. King, channeling the music of the legendary Robert Johnson or adding to the blues lexicon as he did with Cream and Blind Faith, Clapton carries a musical cachet like none of the other â€śguitar godsâ€ť slinging their axes today. Clapton continues to reinvent himself at every turn, but always while thoroughly rooted in the blues, much to the pleasure of generations of blues fans worldwide.
Clapton will share the Marcus
Amphitheater stage with fellow music legend Roger Daltrey, the lead vocalist of
The Who, fresh from the legendary blues-rock bandâ€™s Super Bowl XLIV halftime
performance. Both together and separately, the pair should present an evening
that provides proof of why the blues never die. (Michael Muckian)
Blue Öyster Cult
M&I Classic Rock Stage, 9 p.m.
You know youâ€™ve made it as a classic rock band when youâ€™re part of multiple â€śGuitar Heroâ€ť video games, still have some original band members left in the lineup and continue to tour after 43 years as a band.
Thatâ€™s right, 43 years. That dates Blue Öyster Cult back
to the late â€™60s, minus the Summer of Loveâ€”call it instead the Season of Heavy
Metal. While Blue Öyster Cult found new audiences in the â€™70s with their
monster hit â€ś(Donâ€™t Fear) the Reaper,â€ť along with â€śGodzillaâ€ť and â€śBurninâ€™ for
You,â€ť the boomers among us remember the â€śrealâ€ť guitar distortions of â€ś7
Screaming Diz-Busters,â€ť â€śHot Rails to Hellâ€ť and â€śCities on Flame With Rock and
Roll,â€ť among other gems.
Hard to believe that these tough-looking,
tougher-sounding guys from New York
started out as Soft White Underbelly. Fortunately the name changed and the
sound was a forerunner to other heavy-metal bands of the time, despite Blue
Öyster Cult touring with groups as diverse as folk rockers The Byrds and jazz
fusionists Mahavishnu Orchestra (shock-rock meister Alice Cooper was a much
Eric Bloom (lead vocals, rhythm guitar and keyboards) and
Buck Dharma (lead guitar and vocals) still remain, while the group has added
some sonic youth in the form of Rudy Sarzo on bass (a veteran of the
Ozzy/Dio/Whitesnake circuit), Jules Radino on drums and Richie Castellano on
keyboards and guitar.
Expect Blue Öyster Cult to set the summer night aflame
with rock â€™nâ€™ rollâ€”they way theyâ€™ve been doing it for more than 40 years.
U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 10 p.m.
Hawthorne Heights has far more reason to
feel angst about their relationships than any of their emo brethren.The
Dayton, Ohio-based screamo quintet is at the center of a nasty, public breakup
(a litigious split from the notorious label Victory Records) that is still
festering years later. In a story that brought the band considerable bad
publicity, the label told street-team volunteers to sabotage a Ne-Yo album
released the same day as Hawthorne
effort, allegedly authorizing the mayhem without the bandâ€™s consent.
Hawthorne Heights comes to Milwaukee just a month after its first
non-Victory release, and itâ€™s their first album since their debut that doesnâ€™t
carry the weight of the awfulness of life. If 2006â€™s If Only You Were Lonely was marred by overaggressive business
tactics, its 2008 follow-up, Fragile
Future, was more tragically cursed by the death of backup screamer Casey
Calvert after he accidentally overdosed on prescription medications. The new
disc, Skeletons,is an admirable example of a band re-examining itself after
tragedy while trying to move beyond it. Itâ€™s the rare return to form that adds
a full-time lute player to the mix.
If this is the start of calmer times for Hawthorne Heights, they have certainly paid their dues to get here. So be nice and donâ€™t try to start any drama. Theyâ€™ve been through quite enough already.(Joe Uchill)