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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summerfest Daily Highlights: Friday, July 1

Toby Keith, Girl Talk and Third Eye Blind

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Toby Keith w/ Eric Church
Marcus Amphitheater, 8 p.m.


It's hard to think of Toby Keith as the granddaddy of country music, but at 49, with 13 studio albums, 19 No. 1 country singles and countless awards (and a grandchild in real life), Keith has earned that title and then some. Whether it's the patriotic fervor of “Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American)” or tongue-in-cheek tunes of good times (“I Love This Bar” and the Willie Nelson duet “Beer for My Horses”), the Clinton, Okla., native is passionate about his beliefs, good times and otherwise. Keith likes to change things up, too: He's toured with the likes of Ted Nugent and sang a duet with Sting on a cover of “I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying.”

Fans should make a point of coming early to see opening act Eric Church, another talented country singer-songwriter. Church will feature songs from his upcoming third studio album, Chief, which is due for release three weeks after his Summerfest appearance. (Harry Cherkinian)

Girl Talk
Miller Lite Oasis, 10 p.m.

On his breakthrough album as Girl Talk, 2006's Night Ripper, Pittsburgh DJ Gregg Gillis compiled the most epic mash-up ever produced, a 42-minute collage built from hundreds of samples of pop, rock, rap and R&B, some recognizable, some chopped into bits too tiny to place. Gillis refined that technique on 2008's Feed the Animals, before tweaking his approach on last year's All Day, which he released as a free download. Gillis drops as many samples as ever on All Day—372 of them, to be exact—but this time they last longer and shift less frequently. The opening track introduces this less-hurried pace, letting the riff from Black Sabbath's “War Pigs” ride out for a good two minutes under a full chorus and verse from Ludacris' “Move Bitch.”

"With the past two [albums], I'd already shown what I can do as far as cramming in as many different samples as possible in a short amount of time,” Gillis told the Shepherd last December. “It seemed pointless to sneak in smaller samples, quicker [on this record]. I'd rather use similar techniques to build things that are more musically interesting." (Evan Rytlewski)

Third Eye Blind
Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard, 10 p.m.


“I think we're a really great rock band, frankly, and I think that we've been pretty slammingly misunderstood,” Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins lamented in a 2009 interview with the Shepherd Express.

Third Eye Blind got a bum rap in the late-'90s, Jenkins contended, because they were a pop band at a time when it wasn't cool to be pop, and their songs (including the hits “Semi-Charmed Life” and “Jumper”) were often dismissed for their superficial silliness while their subversive undertones or hidden meanings went unnoticed. “We believe that you could have something that was catchy but also conveyed some irony, and some ambivalence,” Jenkins said. “We could not get that across, though, with the way we were marketed.”

The band no longer has that problem. After Elektra Records dropped them in 2004, they created their own label to release their 2009 album, Ursa Major, and took on a greater role by communicating directly with fans online.

“Technology has democratized our ability to make and distribute music straight to fans,” Jenkins said. “It's funny, because our band was a beneficiary of the last of the big-machine model of music, but we're also experiencing the cusp of a new model, one that works much better.” (Evan Rytlewski)