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Friday, Aug. 10, 2012

Barenaked Ladies w/ Blues Traveler, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and Cracker

Tonight @ Wisconsin State Fair Main Stage, 7 p.m.

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When singer/guitarist Steven Page left the Barenaked Ladies in 2009, after 20 years with the lighthearted alternative-pop group, plenty of fans wondered how the loss of a founding member would affect the band. The answer turned out to be “not much.” Page's departure made more room for bassist Jim Creeggan and keyboardist Kevin Hearn to share singing duties with remaining singer/songwriter Ed Robertson on the group's 2010 album, All in Good Time, so the free, collaborative spirit that defined hits like “One Week” and “It's All Been Done” remains undiminished. Barenaked Ladies share their current Last Summer On Earth tour with three other bands that found success under alternative's wide umbrella during the '90s. Blues Traveler may look a bit different than casual fans remember, since frontman John Popper has shed Jared-from-Subway amounts of weight, but he still wails on the harmonica with magnificent force on the group's new album, Suzie Cracks the Whip. Lately, Big Head Todd and the Monsters have also been indulging their bluesy side. On last year's 100 Years of Robert Johnson, they teamed with blues legends like B.B. King and Hubert Sumlin to honor the late Johnson's songbook. And the sardonic, country-leaning alt-rock band Cracker has been in the studio working on a follow-up to their fine 2009 record Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey.