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Green Day

Green Day

Performances

September 1 - 5:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Green Day

Five-time Grammy Award-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Green Day unleash their brand new song “Pollyanna” out today. Formed in 1986 in Berkeley, CA, Green Day is one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time, with more than 70 million records sold worldwide and 10 billion cumulative audio/visual streams. Their 1994 breakout album Dookie, which sold over 10 million and achieved diamond status, is widely credited with popularizing and reviving mainstream interest in punk rock, catapulting a career-long run of #1 hit singles. Entertainment Weekly calls Green Day, “The most influential band of their generation,” while Rolling Stone attests, “Green Day have inspired more young bands to start than any act this side of KISS, and that doesn't seem to be changing.” In 2004, Green Day released the rock opera American Idiot which captured the nation’s attention, selling more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone and taking home the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. Mojo declared “It's exhilarating stuff, the kind of record that sets new parameters as to what is possible from a punk rock'n'roll band in the 21st century.” In 2010, a stage adaptation of American Idiot debuted on Broadway to critical and commercial acclaim.  Released last year, Green Day’s thirteenth studio album Father Of All... (Reprise/Warner Records) debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Album Sales Chart and #1 in both the U.K. and Australia. Pitchfork declared, “Green Day’s most fetching and youthful songs in ages. The trio sounds reinvigorated, more like hungry newcomers staking their claim.” claim.” On June 24th, 2021 Green Day will embark on a global stadium tour, The Hella Mega Tour, with Fall Out Boy and Weezer.

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Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy

Performances

September 1 - 5:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy have cemented their position as one of rock music’s biggest-selling bands. Their seventh studio album M A N I A debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 in January 2018 and garnered a GRAMMY nomination for Best Rock Album. The record, released on Island Records/DCD2 Records, marks the band’s third consecutive and fourth overall #1 album respectively, and features the hit tracks “The Last of the Real Ones,” “Champion” and “HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T.” Their worldwide M A N I A tour in support of the record included a hometown show at Wrigley Field. Next summer, Fall Out Boy will embark on THE HELLA MEGA TOUR alongside Green Day & Weezer. The global tour, which marks the first time these three bands have head out on the road together, kicks off June 13, 2020 in Paris and will visit cities across Europe and the UK throughout the month including Glasgow, London, and Dublin. All three UK dates on the tour are sold out. Presented by Harley-Davidson and produced by Live Nation, the 20-city North American outing beginning July 17 will bring the bands to some of the most renowned stadiums including sold out dates at Chicago’s Wrigley Field & Boston’s Fenway Park. Other stadiums will include Dodger Stadium, Citi Field, and more. In 2015, Fall Out Boy released their platinum, sixth studio album AMERICAN BEAUTY/AMERICAN PSYCHO, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and peaked at #1 on iTunes in more than 22 countries upon its January 2015 release. The album’s first two singles “Centuries” and “Uma Thurman” have been RIAA-certified 4x and 2x platinum, respectively. AMERICAN BEAUTY/AMERICAN PSYCHO followed the GRAMMY-nominated band’s gold-certified album SAVE ROCK AND ROLL, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on iTunes in 27 countries upon its April 2012 release and features the multiplatinum hit “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” and hit “Alone Together.” SAVE ROCK AND ROLL was the band’s second #1 debut; Platinum selling “Infinity On High” topped the chart in 2007 which followed multi-platinum breakthrough album “From Under The Cork Tree” released in 2005. They were most recently nominated for a 2019 MTV Video Music Award for BEST ROCK VIDEO (“Bishops Knife Trick”) and have won FAVORITE ARTIST: ALTERNATIVE ROCK at the 2015 American Music Awards, BEST ROCK VIDEO at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards and BEST ALTERNATIVE BAND at the 2014 People’s Choice Awards. Fall Out Boy has also written the song “Immortals,” featured in the Oscar®-nominated Disney hit movie Big Hero 6, which topped the box office upon its November 2014 release and has already surpassed $222 million at the domestic U.S. box office and topped $650 million globally. Hailing from Chicago, Fall Out Boy—Patrick Stump (vocals/guitar), Pete Wentz (bass), Joe Trohman (guitar) and Andy Hurley (drums)—has appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone and other prestigious publications. They have performed on Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan, The Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Good Morning America and many more. More information can be found at www.falloutboy.com

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Weezer

Weezer

Performances

September 1 - 5:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Weezer

Weezer is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, CA in 1992, currently consisting of Rivers Cuomo (lead vocals, lead guitar), Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian Bell (rhythm guitar, backing vocals, keyboards), and Scott Shriner (bass, backing vocals). Weezer has sold 10 million albums in the U.S., and over 35 million records worldwide. Their catalogue has included such megahits as “Buddy Holly,” “Undone (The Sweater Song),” “Say It Ain’t So,” “El Scorcho,” “Hash Pipe,” “Island In The Sun,” “Beverly Hills,” “Pork and Beans,” and more.   Weezer has won Grammys, MTV Video Music Awards, and more throughout their career. Following massively acclaimed album releases in 2016 and 2017 (Weezer [The White Album] and Pacific Daydream, respectively), and two sold out amphitheatre tours with Panic! At the Disco (in 2016) and Pixies (in 2018), Weezer released a fan-inspired cover of Toto’s “Africa.” The cover propelled the band back into the charts across the board, giving Weezer their FIFTH #1, TENTH Top 5, and SIXTEENTH Top 10 at Alternative Radio, in addition to landing Top 5 on the Hot AC chart.   It has since gone Platinum. They then surprise dropped a covers album at the start of 2019 -- Weezer (The Teal Album) -- which has been streamed over a hundred million times since its release. In 2021, Weezer will release two very different but equally Weezer albums – OK Human, an orchestral pop album meditating on technology and disconnectedness, and Van Weezer, an homage to the band’s shared metal roots growing up. They will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of Weezer (The Green Album) and the 25th anniversary of Pinkerton.

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Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan

Performances

September 2 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan’s music has always reflected life in all its complexities, both the challenges and the unbridled joy. The award-winning superstar does that yet again on his seventh studio album Born Here Live Here Die Here and its deluxe version with six new songs, Born Here Live Here Die Here (Deluxe Edition) released April 9, 2021. Just after the announcement of the deluxe music and its immediate pre-order availability, it claimed the #1 spot on the Apple Music Pre-Add Chart.

“With all my albums I want to have a diverse group of songs and Born Here Live Here Die Here does that,” says Bryan. “We have songs that you could fall in love to. We have some songs that are pretty emotional, and then we have some big, fun party songs. It just checks all the boxes for me. There are songs I’ve co-written with other writers and there are outside songs that when I heard them, I knew they had to be on this album. I’m proud of each one.”

 Born Here Live Here Die Here was originally set to release in April 2020 but due to the pandemic it was moved to August 2020. “We all know 2020 was hard on all levels for many,” shared Luke. “Things were put on hold in the entertainment business, but it did allow more time to make music and I’m excited to share the new songs on the Deluxe album. They represent the core of what I am. The core of me that just wants to go drive around my farm and put my boat in and do some fishing — do a lot of the same things that I grew up doing in Georgia. I think a lot of these songs tell that story of a rural, small upbringing. I want music that really, really speaks to who I am as someone that loves being out in the country and singing music about it and telling the story of that."

            Great songs have always been the foundation of Bryan’s career. From his early days in Nashville as a songwriter, penning such notable hits as Billy Currington’s chart-topping “Good Directions,” to his status as one of country music’s reigning superstars, Bryan’s career has been populated by songs that have had lasting impact. Country Aircheck declared him the “Most Heard Artist of the Last Decade,” an honor he earned with such No. 1 hits as “Rain is a Good Thing,” “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,” “Crash My Party,” “That’s My Kind of Night,” “Strip it Down,” “Most People Are Good” and “Fast.”

Since his debut, Bryan has amassed 26 No. 1 hits and more RIAA certified digital singles than any other country artist with 54.5 million. Bryan has sold 12.5 million albums and scored 14.6 billion streams. He’s earned four platinum albums, two 4X-Platinum albums, seven RIAA certified albums, 22 Platinum singles and 12 Multi-Platinum singles. At the close of 2019, Luke became the first-ever recipient of the ACM Album of the Decade Award for his 2013 Crash My Party album and was also named the Most Heard Artist of the Decade” by Country Aircheck. Luke was most recently named Billboard’s Top Country Artist of the 2010s. Based on their charts, he ranks at the top by placing 11 #1s on the weekly Hot Country Songs chart and nine #1s on the Top Country Albums chart during the last decade.

This February, the Country Radio Broadcasters honored Luke as the 2021 Artist Humanitarian Award recipient for his ongoing philanthropic endeavors.

Bryan debuted Born Here Live Here Die Here at No. 1, making it his sixth consecutive #1 debut on Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart. The album was certified Gold in February 2021. Since its release, the album has placed four consecutive #1 singles on the top of the charts, “Knockin’ Boots,” “What She Wants Tonight,” “One Margarita,” and “Down To One.”

The Born Here Live Here Die Here (Deluxe Edition) released on April 9, 2021 contains six new songs, three co-written by Luke- “Drink A Little Whiskey Down,” “Bill Dance,” “Floatin’ This Creek,” as well as “Country Does,” “Waves”- his new single, and “Up.”

The Leesburg, Georgia native and “American Idol” judge has been named Entertainer of the Year five times- most recently this April by the Academy of Country Music, his third win in that category overall, and also twice by the Country Music Association. He was honored as a CMT Artist of the Year six consecutive times. He’s won over 40 major music awards and has performed for nearly 12 million fans in the last decade while headlining seven major tours, including 36 stadium concerts, 11 Farm Tours, six years of Spring Breaks shows and six sold-out Crash My Playa events.

That’s not bad for the son of a Georgia peanut farmer and fertilizer salesman who grew up singing at the First Baptist Church and majored in business administration at Georgia Southern University. The work ethic he learned from his daddy and the small-town values he grew up with still inform every aspect of his life today, and helped shape Born Here Live Here Die Here. “The reason why we chose to name the album ‘Born Here Live Here Die Here’ is that song talks about an important part of my life and where I grew up in Leesburg, Georgia,” he says in that familiar warm Southern drawl. “The song paints such a beautiful picture of rural life and a rural mindset. Every line in that song really talks to that person who is proud of that small-town life. They know they don’t need to go look anywhere else. They’re happy. They’re content. They’ve got everything they want right there. There’s something really, really special about those types of people. The song just feels so real for me. It told a big story in my life because there were many, many years I was that guy that was going to be born there, live there and never leave. Somehow, I left and became a country music singer, but I still love to sing about those topics.”

Fans got their first taste of Born Here Live Here Die Here with the chart-topping hit “Knockin’ Boots.” “It’s just a fun song,” he says of the single that became his 23rd No. 1 hit. “It’s not this huge intricate story song. It’s just about dancing, having fun, swinging your loved one around and having a great time.”

The new album has also produced the sultry No. 1 “What She Wants Tonight.” “I co-wrote this with Ross Copperman, Jon Nite and Hillary Lindsey. Ross had a track going and he and Jon worked on some melodic stuff. With Hillary in the room sharing the girls’ perspective it made the song come together. In the moment, I felt like it was going to be a big, big song for me, and I was excited that we had written something that I was really proud of.”

Fans quickly embraced the raucous anthem “One Margarita,” which became the party hit of the summer of 2020 with a double week reign at No. 1, banking his 25th career No. 1 single. Bryan had the opportunity to shoot the video that January during his Crash My Playa event in Mexico, prior to the pandemic that gripped the world. “From the first time I heard it, I knew it was the catchiest, most fun party song I’d heard in a long time! We knew we had something special,” recalls Bryan. “And what better place to do the video than Crash My Playa. The video just feels fun and it came together amazing and it gives fans a little glimpse of what Crash My Playa is if they’ve never been. And hey, it makes you want to have a margarita.”

Bryan can easily be the life of every party with his upbeat personality and seemingly perpetual smile, but as an artist he’s never afraid to shift gears and record a song that tugs at the heartstrings. “Sometimes you just have to record an unbelievably written beautiful, emotional song and ‘Build Me a Daddy’ is just that,” he says of this poignant song from the album. “It speaks about a child that has lost their dad, and the way he explains how he wants to get his dad back for he and his mom is one of the coolest ways I’ve ever heard a song written. Country music has always been so important to really dive in and talk about tough subjects, talk about loss.”

Bryan explores lost love in “A Little Less Broken.” “What drew me to the song is just the classic sound of it,” he shares. “It’s about a guy ducking out into the shadows of a bar after seeing his ex and realizing she’s doing a little better than him at moving on. I just love the classic feel. I’ve never really had a song with this throwback sound, and it feels like a straight up, slow dancing, honky-tonk song.”

Bryan penned “Where Are We Going” with fellow Georgia native Brent Cobb and Chancie Neal contributes the sublime female vocal. “Brent and I grew up pretty close to one another and I’ve followed his career for years before he moved to Nashville. Oddly enough, Brent and I had never gotten to write and that one particular day we wrote two songs. I’ve got a lot of high hopes for this song. The production is really, unique for me and I just love what it says. Chancie sang on the demo and just felt right to keep her voice on this song as it really paints an even prettier picture.”

One of the album’s many highlights is the poignant “For a Boat.” “I grew up sitting on a bank fishing with my grandfather, my papa and my dad,” he says. “This song really touches on the simplicities of a father and son sitting there, looking out at the boats on the water and this kid dreaming of them but also being really content that the fish are biting right there from the bank. It’s a beautiful story about humility and contentment.”

Bryan says of the closing track and his current radio single, “Down to One,” it’s “quintessential me, about a guy and a girl out there in the woods,” he grins. “It’s written by Dallas Davidson, who I’ve had a lot of success with as a co-writer through the years. It sounds like something girls want to hear; a couple in the middle of nowhere enjoying a romantic night together. I always feel like you’ve got to have those on an album.”

It’s that understanding of how his audience lives and how his music can provide a soundtrack to their best moments that has made Luke Bryan a superstar. And the reason Bryan’s music resonates so strongly with millions can be summed up in one word—authenticity. Despite his success, he has remained that same small-town guy at heart. He’s someone who respects his parents, adores his wife and is always looking to be the kind of man his kids can look up to and count on. Chances are if you talk to any of Luke’s fans, they feel like he’s their best friend, even if they’ve never met the man because he’s one of them. Whether it’s in search of the biggest buck in the woods or the tastiest margarita on the beach, he’s been there, done that and there’s a song or two that echoes the moment. It’s that ability to capture life—to shed a tear or celebrate big that continues to make Luke Bryan the voice of the common man, and in an unsettling time, few things feel more reassuring than being understood.

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Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott

Performances

September 2 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Dylan Scott

Curb Records recording artist Dylan Scott is the total package – a powerful singer with a deep, resonating drawl; an old-soul songwriter with a young spirit; a heartthrob with an easy smile; and a dreamer who followed in his father’s footsteps to Nashville. The Double Platinum-certified “My Girl” became his first #1 at radio, followed by Platinum-Top 5 single, “Hooked.” His Nothing To Do Town EP hit #1 on the Billboard Country Album Sales chart, and the project’s title-track was recently certified RIAA Gold, as was his self-titled debut album.  With career on-demand streams at 1 billion, the Louisiana-native has headlined shows and opened for Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan and Chris Young. Scott garnered his first career nomination for Best New Country Artist at the all-genre 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards and was named among Country Radio Seminar’s coveted New Faces of Country Music® Class of 2019. Additionally, he released a seven-song EP honoring legendary singer/songwriter Keith Whitley with An Old Memory (A Keith Whitley Tribute). His current, Top 10 radio single, “Nobody,” which debuted on NBC’s TODAY with Hoda & Jenna, can be found climbing the Country radio charts.

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Chance The Rapper

Chance The Rapper

Performances

September 3 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Chance The Rapper

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24kGoldn

24kGoldn

Performances

September 3 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

24kGoldn

Every decade, music fans are gifted a prodigy with a talent and vision transcendent of their age, from Pharrell Williams to Tyler the Creator. The next generation arrives courtesy of RECORDS LLC. San Francisco native, 24kGoldn is an 18-year-old rapper, singer and arranger who already possesses the adventurous delivery of a Young Thug and song craftsmanship of Future. Add on the fact that he is also a freshman at the University of Southern California and his special begins to crystallize.

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Teezo Touchdown

Teezo Touchdown

Performances

September 3 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Teezo Touchdown

Even amidst the ever-changing world of hip-hop, Teezo Touchdown is pushing things forward. The Beaumont, Texas-raised musician has whipped up a viral frenzy by way of his genre-blending music, infusing the trippy emotiveness of modern rap with R&B's airiness and the propulsion of pop-punk. He emerged with viral tracks "100 Drums" and "Slice," and with more new music to come in 2020, you'll be hearing and seeing a lot more of Teezo in the future.

While growing up in Beaumont, Teezo was drawn into music immediately due to his father's DJ career, as he inhaled the sounds of R&B from an early age. He decided to pursue music as a career in 2016, after his then-girlfriend who was an early supporter of his musical endeavors passed away from being a victim of gun violence—a formative moment that inspired him to take his craft more seriously. "Once that happened, I clicked on to life," he remembers. "The week that she passed, I couldn't tell you what I was doing from hour to hour. That was the worst pain that I'd ever felt, and after that, I knew I couldn't feel any worse. Once I experienced that, I could look at things different and feel more fearless."

He's since established a unique and appealing style that blends melodic soul-searching and the brightness of emo and pop-punk. But ultimately, Teezo claims no greater influence than the world around him: "Life inspires me," he states. "My music is about what happens day-to-day. What I do is journalistic. I'm writing from my experiences and writing from within, because that's where the best influence comes from." 

Equally important to Teezo's artform is his inventive visual style showcased in his music videos, which he's had a hand in constructing since his days of filming music videos on his phone for him and his friends.  "I'd be shooting music videos on my phone, and my friends were like, 'You really gotta start doing real music videos,'" he recalls; eventually, Teezo became friends with a videographer named Denzel Seale, and learned tools of the trade. Before long, he was renting out cameras to help shoot his friends' music videos. "I gained an eye for visuals, and all the stuff I learned helps me to this day when it comes to the videos I shoot now." 

Stylistically, Teezo's all about the current moment and being as direct as possible: "Less is more—what you see is simplistic as possible. We have the vision, shoot it, edit it, and give it to the world." And that approach is perfectly realized in his inventive performance video for the Panic!At The Disco-sampling "100 Drums." The single "Slice" soon followed, a mellow and darkly shaded tune that was put together at his dad's house in Beaumont. "It was the first thing I made there, and it was my birthday. My dad came upstairs and we got into it," he recalls on the track's creation. 

Since then, Teezo's been co-signed by a variety of high-profile musical peers ranging from Brockhampton and Chance the Rapper to Chris Brown and Trippie Redd—and as he's hard at work on more music coming from him later this year, including the just-released single "Strong Friend," he's keeping his eyes on the prize. "It's about throwing paint on the wall, and learning from the last song I did," he explains while discussing his creative process. "I like going back and listening to my old music because I can go back and reflect."


"I'm working on evolving and taking this journey—seeing where my music is going to take me," he continues. "At the end of the day, I'm taking this to the next level." Above all else, Teezo Touchdown is continuing to strive for the engaging relativity that he's expressed in his music so far: "I'm a survivor. I've been motivated to keep going whatever happens, and I'm hoping to motivate too. I'm your friend who happens to be a musician—that's my perspective, and I'm so grateful for it."

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DJ Oreo

DJ Oreo

Performances

September 3 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

DJ Oreo

DJ Oreo has been around the globe for playing music for your favorite rappers.

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twenty one pilots

twenty one pilots

Performances

September 4 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

twenty one pilots

News of the tour dates follows the recent release of Twenty One Pilot’s acclaimed new album, Scaled And Icy, which is available via all streaming platforms and in a variety of formats at store.twentyonepilots.com. Scaled And Icy debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top “Rock Albums” and “Alternative Albums” charts while landing at No. 3 on the “Billboard 200,” marking the biggest opening week for a rock album in 2021. The new record is highlighted by standouts “Saturday,” “Choker” and lead single “Shy Away,” which is currently #1 at Alternative Radio for an eighth consecutive week. Having ascended to #1 at the format in just three weeks, “Shy Away” places the duo in an elite group of acts with multiple songs to rise to #1 at the format in three weeks or less including: U2, R.E.M., The Cure, Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Foo Fighters.

 

Furthermore, Twenty One Pilots recently shared a performance of “Shy Away” from their first-ever global streaming event, “Twenty One Pilots - Livestream Experience.” Originally broadcasted around the globe on May 21st, “Twenty One Pilots - Livestream Experience” ushered in a new standard in the livestreaming space with Billboard declaring, “After seven months of meticulous planning and two weeks of marathon rehearsals, Twenty One Pilots pulled off a home-brewed Las Vegas-worthy spectacle.”

 

Written and largely produced by Tyler Joseph in isolation over the course of the past year at his home studio, with Dun engineering the album’s drums from across the country, Scaled And Icy is the product of long-distance virtual sessions and finds the duo processing their upended routines along with the prevailing emotions of 2020 - anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and doubt. The duo had to forgo their normal studio sessions but reached a new of level of introspection in the process, adopting a more imaginative and bold approach to their songwriting. The result is a collection of songs that push forward through setbacks and focus on the possibilities worth remembering. Scaled And Icy is Twenty One Pilots’ first studio album in three years and follows their RIAA Platinum certified LP, Trench.

 

In 2020, Twenty One Pilots surprised fans with standalone singles “Level of Concern” and “Christmas Saves The Year.” “Level of Concern” reigned at Alternative Radio for 12 weeks straight and cracked the Top 25 on Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart, while also achieving RIAA Gold certification. The track propelled the band to victory at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards where they took home “Alternative Rock Song” and “Alternative Rock Artist Of The Year” awards, in addition to an American Music Award in 2020 for “Favorite Artist – Alternative Rock.” Furthermore, the history making regenerative video for “Level of Concern” broke the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ for the longest music video. “Christmas Saves The Year” arrived at the tail end of 2020 and debuted on Billboard’s “Alternative Airplay” chart becoming the first holiday-themed song to make the list since 2012.

 

Twenty One Pilots’ 2018 LP Trench ushered in a new era for the duo from Ohio. Earning Platinum certification from the RIAA, the album was met with critical acclaim with Billboard declaring, “Trench revels in the confounding genre-blurring and cavernous conceptualism that has defined Twenty One Pilots.” A true global phenomenon having surpassed two billion streams worldwide, Trench is highlighted by the RIAA Gold and Platinum certified alternative hits “The Hype,” “Chlorine,” and “Jumpsuit.” “Jumpsuit” stands as the decade’s fastest rising song to reach #1 on Billboard’s “Alternative Songs” chart and earned the duo their fourth GRAMMY® nomination (Best Rock Song). The acclaimed conceptual collection also features the RIAA Gold-certified “Nico And The Niners” and the RIAA Platinum-certified single “My Blood.”

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Jonas Brothers

Jonas Brothers

Performances

September 8 - 7:00 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Jonas Brothers

Following a six-year hiatus, Jonas Brothers took the world by storm in 2019 with the surprise release of their critically acclaimed and widely successful single "Sucker." The triple-platinum single debuted at #1 on Billboard's Hot 100, becoming the first #1 for the band and the first #1 debut from a group this century.  The band went on to release Chasing Happiness, an Amazon Original film documenting the brothers rise and return to music, before going on to deliver their third #1 album debut with the release of their platinum-selling album Happiness Begins (Republic Records). The band continued to soar with their sold-out “Happiness Begins Tour,” with over 1.2 million tickets sold.
 
What’s more, the album garnered the band a bevy of awards including three awards for “Top Duo/Group,” “Top Radio Songs Artist,” and “Top Radio Song” for “Sucker” at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards2019 MTV VMA for “Best Pop Video,” “Best Duo/Group” at the 2020 iHeart Music Awards, two Teen Choice Awards including their prestigious “Decade Award,” as well numerous American Music Award nominations, a coveted Grammy nomination and more.

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Kelsea Ballerini

Kelsea Ballerini

Performances

September 8 - 7:00 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Kelsea Ballerini

Kelsea Ballerini is recognized as one of the most influential women in country music today. She released two acclaimed albums in lockdown last year and has consistently made history since the start of her career. With the release of her debut album, she became the only female country artist to hit number one with her first three consecutive singles from a debut album, attaining her fifth number one in four years with the 2x platinum “Miss Me More.” Her critically acclaimed sophomore album Unapologetically marked her second Top 5 debut on the Billboard Top 200. 

 

Ballerini has garnered two GRAMMY® Award nominations, won two ACM Awards, and took home the iHeartRadio Music Awards honor for “Best New Artist.” The Black River recording artist has platinum and gold album certifications, a career total of eleven gold and platinum singles certifications and total streams exceeding 3 billion to date. In 2019, Ballerini received a CMA nomination for “Female Vocalist of the Year” and an American Music Award nomination for “Female Artist Country.”  Additionally, Kelsea leads the 2020 CMT Award nominations with nods for “Video of the Year,” “Female Video of the Year,” and “CMT Performance of the Year.” Most recently, Kelsea received a nomination for “Female Artist of the Year” for the 2021 ACM Awards, and was welcomed as the Grand Ole Opry's youngest current member.. In addition to touring alongside everyone from Kelly Clarkson to Keith Urban, she ascended to the status of arena headliner with her 2019 the Miss Me More Tour.

 

This all paved the way for Kelsea’s self-titled third full-length album, which was released on March 20, 2020. Her most personal effort yet, the album was met with critical praise including by NPR who said, “Kelsea Ballerini is definitely one of the most influential women in country right now… she’s defining the sound of the genre.” The debut single from the album, “homecoming queen?”, which the New York Times deemed “excellent,” was certified recently platinum, marking her fastest single to achieve this milestone yet. Her single, “hole in the bottle” recently reached Gold RIAA certification and earned Kelsea her sixth #1. Her latest single “half of my hometown” featuring Kenny Chesney hit radio April 2021.

 

In the fall of 2020, Kelsea debuted her newest album ballerini, which is the follow up and second half of the story to the singer’s album, kelsea. While under quarantine, Kelsea carefully deconstructed each song and re-recorded everything with minimal accompaniment and co-producing this new album. Highlighting the eloquent songcraft, the vivid storytelling and the heartfelt delivery of the thirteen tracks, Kelsea shows yet another side of herself with this reimagined take on the entire album. The delicate sonics highlight the lyrical power of the record as she has stripped all of the songs down to the bare essentials.

 

In addition to her artist projects, Kelsea launched her first ever radio show with Apple Music “kelsea radio”. On “kelsea radio”, an up-close-and-personal conversation between Ballerini and her fans, she opens up about the creative processes and personal experiences that have shaped her career.

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Spencer Sutherland

Spencer Sutherland

Performances

September 8 - 7:00 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Spencer Sutherland

The Ohio-born, Los Angeles-based alt-pop singer’s ability to fuse his neo-soul falsetto and honest, vulnerable and relatable lyrics with modern beats, electric licks and a retro, stripped-down production has established a fresh new sound in music, deftly blending genres & carving out a unique space in music that’s all his own. Finding inspiration in artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Prince, Boyz II Men, Bruno Mars, and others, Spencer plays multiple instruments, but considers the microphone his main focus. The unique charisma of his influences encourages him to be an Electric performer and not just a singer. His ability to add his own stamp on and quirks to his show and to his songs, makes for a memorable modern experience blending eras together, as anyone who has witnessed his energetic, cut-loose wiling out onstage can attest.

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Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton

Performances

September 9 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Chris Stapleton

Kentucky-born Chris Stapleton is a multiple Grammy, CMA and ACM Award-winner and one of the country’s most respected and beloved musicians. This past fall, Stapleton released his critically acclaimed new album, Starting Over—a record that examines life’s simplest joys and most serious struggles. Once again recorded at Nashville's legendary RCA Studio A with Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb, the album landed on several “Best of 2020” lists including NPR Music, Rolling StoneBillboardEsquire, Vulture, The Tennessean and The New York Times, who praises, “lands precisely where country meets Southern soul: with grit, details, clarity and ache." Moreover, The Associated Press declares, "a sure-footed masterpiece…one of the year’s finest albums" and GQ proclaims, “mixes beautifully stark songwriting with blues, country, and rock melodies, allowing Stapleton’s sturdy, propulsive vocals to carry the show.” His fourth studio album, Starting Over follows Stapleton's quadruple platinum breakthrough solo debut, Traveller, as well as his two #1 albums from 2017: From A Room: Volume 1 (certified platinum) and From A Room: Volume 2 (certified gold). Adding to an already triumphant career, Stapleton leads nominees at the 56th annual ACM Awards with six nominations including Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year and Male Artist of the Year.

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Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow

Performances

September 9 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Sheryl Crow

A nine-time GRAMMY AWARD recipient, Sheryl Crow is an American music icon. Her first nine studio albums have sold 35 million copies worldwide; seven of them charted in the Top 10 and five were certified for Multi-Platinum sales. In addition to such No. 1 hits as “All I Wanna Do,” “Soak Up the Sun” and “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” Crow has lofted 40 singles into the Billboard Hot 100, Adult Top 40, Adult Contemporary, Mainstream Top 40 and Hot Country Songs charts, with more No. 1 singles in the Triple A listings than any other female artist. For her current album “Threads”, Crow collaborated with a broad array of her musical heroes, including Stevie Nicks, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Chuck D, Joe Walsh, Kris Kristoffersson, and even a duet of her classic song “Redemption Day” with the late legend Johnny Cash. “Threads” also features contributions by young artists shaping music today, including Gary Clark Jr, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Andra Day, St. Vincent, and Maren Morris.

Crow is known as well for her passionate support of multiple charities, including The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, The World Food Program, Feeding America, ADOPT A CLASSROOM, the Elton John AIDS FoundationMusiCares, and the Delta Children’s Home and many other worthy causes. For more information, visit

www.SherylCrow.com

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Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown Band

Performances

September 10 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown Band is a multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning group led by front man, Zac Brown along with Jimmy De Martini (violin), John Driskell Hopkins (guitar), Clay Cook (guitar), Chris Fryar (drums), Coy Bowles (guitar), Daniel de los Reyes (percussion) and Matt Mangano (bass guitar). Since their debut, Zac Brown Band has developed a reputation with critics and fans alike as one of the most dynamic live / studio acts, marked by strong musicianship and a creative range that defies genre boundaries. The New York Times said it best when they described the band’s work as “a huge amalgam of soft rock, country-rock, hard rock, heavyish metal, big band music, bluegrass and, yes, a touch of electronic music,” in their official review of the band’s JEKYLL + HYDE.

 

Most recently, Zac Brown Band announced their long-awaited return to the road, with 2021’s “The Comeback Tour.” Arriving on the heels of a monumental year of live performances in 2019, playing to over three quarters of a million fans, the new tour represents an ethos of shaking the dust off after falling down and celebrates the collective resilience of our community, giving fans an opportunity to stage their comeback. Kicking off on August 5 in Holmdel, NJ and will include tour stops in cities including Denver, Boston and Charlotte. The tour concludes in Nashville, TN on October 17. In May, the band also performed their first-ever livestream performance event from the renowned Southern Ground Studios, in partnership with Sessions Live. 

 

In June 2020, Zac Brown Band released their single “The Man Who Loves You The Most,” which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Country Digital Song Sales chart. Written, recorded and produced while in quarantine, Zac Brown first debuted the heartfelt track on John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” in May to surprise a bride for a sweet father-daughter serenade during a couple’s virtual wedding. The beautiful, harmonious ballad is a tribute to this special bond, bringing joy and light during a difficult time. In July 2020, the band followed up with their latest single, “You and Islands,” a breezy song on blissful island time to bring positivity and provide escapist melodies, just in time for summer. Most recently, Zac Brown Band collaborated with the renowned Grammy, CMA and ACM Award-winning country music band Shenandoah on their first all-new album in 26 years, with the release of the lead single, “I’d Take Another One of Those.”

 

In 2019, Zac Brown Band released the highly anticipated and dynamic sixth studio album, The Owl, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Albums, Country Albums, Independent Albums and Digital Albums charts, and No. 2 on the Billboard 200 Chart. Featuring intricate melodies and dynamic vocal arrangements the group has long been known for, while also exploring new sounds through unexpected collaborations, The Owl marks Zac Brown Band’s most personal and genre-defying album to date. The album name is inspired by the lore surrounding the great horned owl, which can see perfectly at night, making it a reliable guide, even during dark times. The Owl earned early praise for its previously released songs including “Someone I Used To Know”, which won the 2019 CMT Award for Group Video of the Year, “Leaving Love Behind” which Billboard called “poignant” and “gorgeous,” “Need This” dubbed a “new party jam” and “undeniable banger” by Rolling Stone and veteran tribute “Warrior,” which Rolling Stone also applauded for its “infectious tribal drumbeat” and “rousing lyrics.”

 

Earlier that year, the band extended their Fenway Park sellout venue record with back-to-back sold out shows during “The Owl Tour” stop in Boston, marking their eleventh consecutive sold-out show at the famed venue. The tour was Zac Brown Band’s third consecutive national tour over the course of one year, coming on the heels of Zac Brown Band’s “Down The Rabbit Hole Live Tour,” with the second leg ending in April 2019. 

Throughout their career spanning over a decade, Zac Brown Band has had six consecutive albums reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart and five consecutive albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. To date, they have sold more than 30 million singles, 9 million albums, amassed more than 9.3+ billion catalog streams and have achieved 15 No. 1 radio singles. They are the second act in history to have topped both Country Airplay and Mainstream Rock Songs charts. They took the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart during their 2015 collaboration with the late Chris Cornell on “Heavy is the Head.”

 

The band released their debut major-label studio album, certified 5x platinum, The Foundation, in 2008 featuring their hit debut single, “Chicken Fried.” Since then, the band has released five studio albums (You Get What You Give, 2010; Uncaged, 2012; JEKYLL + HYDE, 2015; Welcome Home, 2017; The Owl, 2019), two live albums (Live From Bonnaroo, 2009; Pass The Jar, 2010), a greatest hits compilation (Greatest Hits So Far, 2014), and an extended play produced by Dave Grohl (The Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1., 2013).

 

In 2013, Zac Brown Band became a three-time Grammy Award-winning musical act when they accepted the honor for Best Country Album (Uncaged), following their previous wins for Best New Artist in 2010 and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals in 2011 for their song “As She's Walking Away (feat. Alan Jackson).” Another standout achievement among the band’s extensive list of accolades is their 2016 acceptance of the Recording Artists’ Coalition Award in Washington D.C. for their musical achievements and commitment to philanthropic causes.

 

Zac Brown Band is represented by William Morris Endeavor, mtheory, Warner Music Nashville and communications and branding agency JONESWORKS.

 

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Gabby Barrett

Gabby Barrett

Performances

September 10 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Gabby Barrett

Warner Music Nashville’s Gabby Barrett is setting the trend. Recently crowned the ACM New Female Artist of the Year, Barrett is set to perform and vie for Single of the Year (“I Hope”) at the 56th ACM Awards airing April 18 on CBS. Scoring previous CMA, CMT and American Music Awards nods, named Billboard’s Top New Country Artist of 2020, an Amazon Music Breakthrough artist, included in Variety’s 2020 Young Hollywood Impact Report, and one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Music, Barrett proves why she’s “the face of Gen-Z Country” (HITS). Her meteoric 5X PLATINUM debut “I Hope” was the most-streamed Country song of 2020, highlighted as one of the Best Songs of the year by the Associated Press and Billboard, and winning CMT’s 2020 Breakthrough Video of the Year award, simultaneously cracking the Top 3 on Billboard's all genre Hot 100 chart. Reigning atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for a record-breaking 27 weeks, “I Hope” was also the first debut single by a solo female artist to top the Country radio charts since 2017 and made her the youngest artist with a #1 debut at Country radio in over two decades. Adding to over 1 BILLION+ global streams, her top-streaming LP Goldmine includes the 4-week Hot AC #1 crossover version of “I Hope” feat. Charlie Puth – which earned the iHeartRadio Titanium Award for reaching over 1 BILLION radio spins and was named one of Rolling Stone's best Pop and Country collaborations of 2020 - alongside current Top 5 PLATINUM single, “The Good Ones.”

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Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle

Performances

September 11 - 8:00 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle is an award-winning American comedian, screenwriter, television and film producer, and actor. Recognized as one of the greatest comedians of all time, Chappelle is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. In May 2021, Dave Chappelle collaborated with Talib Kweli and yasiin bey to host The Midnight Miracle, a thought-provoking podcast that uniquely blends the salon and variety show traditions while providing a glimpse into the inner lives of the hosts. Chappelle’s work has earned him more than 30 nominations and awards in television and film for projects that include his groundbreaking sketch comedy television series Chappelle’s Show, comedy specials, and guest appearances on Saturday Night Live. Most recently he earned his third and fourth Emmy Awards for his comedy special Sticks & Stones in 2020. Chappelle has won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album three years in a row, 2018 through 2020. In 2017, Netflix cited Dave Chappelle: Collection 1 as the most-viewed comedy special ever on their network.

This event will be a phone-free experience. Use of phones, smart watches and accessories, will not be permitted in the performance space.

Upon arrival at the venue, all phones, smart watches and accessories will be secured in individual Yondr pouches that will be opened at the end of the event. Guests maintain possession of their devices at all times, and can access them throughout the event only in designated Phone Use Areas within the venue. All devices will be re-secured in Yondr pouches before returning to the performance space.

All pouches and equipment are routinely sanitized. The Yondr staff is trained and required to follow safety guidelines and hygiene protocols to practice social distancing, minimal contact and wear required personal protective equipment.

Anyone seen using a device (phone, smart watch or accessories) during the performance will be escorted out of the venue by security. We appreciate your cooperation in creating a phone-free experience.

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Dave Matthews Band

Dave Matthews Band

Performances

September 15 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Dave Matthews Band

With a career spanning more than 27 years, Dave Matthews Band is one of the most influential bands in rock history. In 1991, vocalist/guitarist Dave Matthews decided to put some songs he had written on tape and sought the assistance of drummer Carter Beauford and saxophonist LeRoi Moore, who were both accomplished jazz musicians in the local Charlottesville, VA music scene. 16-year-old bassist Stefan Lessard came on board shortly thereafter. Their infectious, distinctive sound garnered lots of early attention and a die-hard loyal fan base, catapulting the band into one of the most successful touring acts of the past three decades.

The group has since released nine studio albums and numerous live recordings, selling a collective 38 million CDs and DVDs combined since the 1994 release of its major label debut, Under the Table and Dreaming. The GRAMMY®-winning band's many hits include "What Would You Say," "Crash Into Me," "Too Much," "Everyday," "American Baby," "Funny The Way It Is," "Mercy" and "Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin)."

Founding member LeRoi Moore passed away in August of 2008 and the band paid tribute to him with 2009's Platinum-certified Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. Dave Matthews Band has since welcomed longtime collaborators/touring musicians Jeff Coffin (saxophone), Rashawn Ross (horns) and Tim Reynolds (guitar) into the lineup and -- most recently -- keyboardist Buddy Strong.

With 2018's Come Tomorrow, Dave Matthews Band became the first group in history to have seven consecutive studio albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. In a Critic's Pick review, The New York Times observed, "willed optimism fills the songs on 'Come Tomorrow,' while cynicism and irony are nowhere within earshot... each song notes the fears and sorrows it's determined to overcome. The music does that, with consolation in its melodies and a life force in its rhythms."

Renowned for their live performances, Dave Matthews Band has sold over 24 million tickets since its inception and ranked as the biggest ticket seller worldwide of the past decade. The group's Bama Works Fund, established in 1999, has raised more than $52 million dollars for humanitarian and environmental initiatives.

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Megan Thee Stallion

Megan Thee Stallion

Performances

September 16 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Megan Thee Stallion

Hailing from Houston, Megan Thee Stallion is a three time GRAMMY winner,  philanthropist and ever-evolving cultural icon.  From the release of her critically acclaimed and Gold certified debut album, Good News, to earning two global record breaking Billboard Hot 100 #1 hits with the “Savage Remix” featuring Beyoncé, and “WAP” with Cardi B, Megan has proven unstoppable.  Megan has been recognized for her musical achievements with three GRAMMY wins, including Best New Artist and five BET Awards.

Megan was honored as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020. In October 2020, following a powerful and politically charged performance on Saturday Night Live that demanded justice for Breonna Taylor, Megan published her monumental “Why I Speak Up For Black Women” op-ed and accompanying visual with The New York Times.

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Polo G

Polo G

Performances

September 16 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Polo G

Polo G has been unstoppable and is one of music’s top rising talents. Aptly named Polo G after his favorite lifestyle brand, Polo by Ralph Lauren, and his slain friend Gucci, Polo is determined to leave his mark. Following the highly anticipated release of the 22-year-old Chicago rapper’s latest single, “RAPSTAR”, the song has gone on to explode worldwide to instant chart success, earning Polo his first ever Billboard Hot 100 #1 single, while debuting at #1 on Spotify in the U.S. and #1 on the Apple Music global chart. “RAPSTAR” achieved the highest streaming debut of 2021 for a male artist and the 2nd highest streaming debut of the year for any artist in the U.S. with 56 million streams, only behind Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License” and coming in ahead of Drake’s “What’s Next”. His sophomore album THE GOAT debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 in May 2020 with 10 of the songs simultaneously charting on the Billboard Hot 100. The critically acclaimed album has accrued over 3 Billion streams, 7 Gold and Platinum RIAA certifications, has been a mainstay on the charts and landed in multiple year-end best albums lists. The album is certified Platinum by the RIAA along with his debut album, Die A Legend. His 2019 critically acclaimed Platinum debut album Die A Legend hit #1 on the Billboard Rap Chart and includes the massive 5x platinum Billboard hit “Pop Out” ft. Lil Tjay. Polo G’s artistry stems from necessity. He utilizes music as an outlet to constructively verbalize the perils he and others faced in impoverished communities focusing on real-life struggles like racial inequality, violence, and mental health, while maintaining a deep connection to his community by giving back to Chicago youth with his AAU team. Polo hosted a special benefit concert All Star Weekend called “Polo G & Friends,” which was dedicated to Chicago kids fighting depression and honored the late Juice WRLD. He also performed at the Lollapalooza x Chicago Bulls collaboration and at the 13th annual Roots Picnic in support of Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote initiative. Polo made his TV performance debut on the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk series and BET Hip Hop Awards. Polo was named one of XXL’s Freshman Class in 2020, an annual roundup of hip-hop’s brightest new stars, he also secured a spot on the coveted Forbes 2021 30 Under 30 list and was named a FUSE TV Future Black History Honoree for February 2021. Now, Polo G launched his own label, ODA/Capalot Records, in partnership with Columbia Records. His authentic message, coupled with the buzz he’s accumulated in a short time, positions him as one of the top artists to watch this year while he helps craft the next crop of talent to break. Polo is currently in the studio working on his forthcoming album Hall of Fame to be released this year.

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Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus

Performances

September 17 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Miley Cyrus

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Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa

Performances

September 17 - 7:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Wiz Khalifa

Multi-platinum selling, Grammy and Golden Globe nominated recording artist Wiz Khalifa burst onto the scene with mainstream success with the release of his first major label debut album, ROLLING PAPERS‎ in 2011. ‎ROLLING PAPERS spawned the hugely successful hits “Black and Yellow,” “Roll Up,” and “No Sleep” and gave Wiz the platform to win the award for “Best New Artist” at the 2011 BET Awards and “Top New Artist” at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards. As a follow up to ROLLING PAPERS, Wiz Released O.N.I.F.C. in 2012. This album featured tracks “Work Hard, Play Hard” and “Remember You” featuring The Weeknd. His third studio album released in 2014, BLACC HOLLYWOOD, ‎debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart and included hit single "We DemBoyz." Soon after, Wiz’s track,‎ “See You Again,” off the FURIOUS 7 soundtrack, catapulted to the top of the charts across 95 countries. Holding the #1 spot for 12 consecutive weeks, “See You Again” broke records by being Spotify’s most-streamed track in a single day in the United States and in a single week in 26 countries. In addition to winning 3 Teen Choice Awards in 2015, “See You Again” continued its success by winning a Critics’ Choice Award in the “Best Song” category, winning two Billboard Music Awards in the categories “Top Hot 100 Song” and “Top Rap Song,” earning three Grammy Award nominations in the categories “Song of the Year,” “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance,” and “Best Song Written for Visual Media,” and a Golden Globe nomination in the category “Best Original Song – Motion Picture.” Wiz released his album, KHALIFA, in February 2016 as a thank you to fans which included the tracks “Bake Sale” featuring Travis Scott and “Elevated.” In June of the same year, Wiz collaborated with Juicy J and TM88 to debut TGOD MAFIA PRESENTS: RUDE AWAKENING and embarked on his co-headlining “The High Road Summer Tour” with Snoop Dogg. On April 20th, 2017, Wiz launched his mobile app, Wiz Khalifa’s Weed Farm, which has garnered over 10.1 million downloads and is currently being played in over eight countries and six languages. Later that year, Wiz’s mixtape, LAUGH NOW, FLY LATER, was released in November and featured the chart-topping hit, “Letterman.” His latest studio album, ROLLING PAPERS 2, which is certified gold, was released in July 2018. Following the release, Wiz and rap duo Rae Sremmurd hit the road for their “Dazed and Blazed Tour” throughout summer 2018. In February 2018, Wiz partnered with Sovereign Brands to create McQueen and the Violet Fog, an Award winning gin and rated by the NY Times as the “Best Gin”. In April of 2019, Wiz released his 5-part docuseries with Apple Music, “Wiz Khalifa: Behind the Cam,” which gives viewers an exclusive look into his life and career. In the summer of 2019, Wiz went on his “Decent Exposure Summer Tour” with French Montana, Moneybagg Yo, Chevy Woods, and DJ Drama. In November 2019, Wiz starred in Apple TV+’s “Dickinson,” as the character of Death alongside Hailee Steinfeld, Wiz will also be featured in the upcoming second season, which will debut on January 8, 2021. Wiz is also a series regular in Fox’s animated sitcom, “Duncanville” which premiered February 2020 with a second season coming soon. Most recently, Wiz released his latest project, The Saga of Wiz Khalifa, which features his tracks, “Contact”, featuring Tyga and his latest single, “Still Wiz”. In October of 2020, Wiz, along with Nextbite, launched his latest business venture, a delivery only restaurant chain, HotBox by Wiz. The restaurant is now in all major metro areas.

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Guns N' Roses

Guns N' Roses

Performances

September 18 - 6:00 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Guns N' Roses

Following the group’s 1985 formation, Guns N’ Roses injected unbridled, unrivalled, and unstoppable attitude into the burgeoning Los Angeles rock scene. The spirit went on to captivate the entire world with the release of their 1987 debut Appetite for Destruction –the best-selling U.S. debut ever, moving 30 million copies globally. In 1991, the seven-time platinum Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II occupied the top two spots of the Billboard Top 200 upon release. Over the course of the past decade, Guns N’ Roses have performed sold out shows and headlined festivals worldwide following the critically acclaimed release of 2008’s RIAA platinum-certified Chinese Democracy. Six studio albums later, Guns N’ Roses are one of the most important and influential acts in music history, and continue to set the benchmark for live performances connecting with millions of fans across the globe. Guns N’ Roses’ are Axl Rose (vocals, piano), Duff McKagan (bass), Slash (lead guitar), Dizzy Reed (keyboard), Richard Fortus (rhythm guitar), Frank Ferrer (drums), and Melissa Reese (keyboard).

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Mammoth WVH featuring Wolfgang Van Halen

Mammoth WVH featuring Wolfgang Van Halen

Performances

September 18 - 6:00 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Mammoth WVH featuring Wolfgang Van Halen

First impressions last a lifetime. Wolfgang Van Halen has prepared a lifetime to make his first impression. The songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist worked tirelessly towards the introduction of MAMMOTH [Explorer1], his self-titled 2021 debut album. Playing every instrument and singing each and every note, his music presents a personal and powerful perspective, balancing memorable hooks and tight technicality. As many times as audiences have experienced his talent alongside the likes of Tremonti, Clint Lowery, and of course, Van Halen, they meet Wolf as an individual for the very first time now.

 

“You only have one chance to make a first impression, and I wanted to do so to the best of my abilities,” he affirms. “Throughout the whole process, I was finding who I am musically and by the end, I got a pretty good handle on a sound I can claim for myself.”

 

His father often played guitar against his mother’s pregnant belly, and Wolf absorbed those vibrations from the womb. At the age of 10, his Pop gave him a drum kit for his birthday. To this day, Wolf considers himself “a drummer before anything else.” As he developed as a musician, he learned how to play guitar in order to perform “316” — which his father penned for him — at a 6th-grade talent show.

 

It may come as a surprise, but outside of his father teaching him one drumbeat from an AC/DC song, Wolfgang taught himself every instrument. “My dad wasn’t the best teacher,” he laughs. “I would ask him to play something, and then he would just proceed to be Eddie Van Halen. He would look at me and say, ‘Do that.’ to which I would laugh and sarcastically reply, ‘Sure thing, no problem.’”

 

In the summer of 2006 when he was 15 years old, Wolf grabbed a bass and began noodling. While at the legendary 5150 Studios, his impromptu woodshedding inspired Eddie and Uncle Alex. Endless family jam sessions followed. By summer’s end, Wolfgang phoned David Lee Roth’s manager and by winter Roth showed up for rehearsal. They rocked “On Fire,” and “That’s how the 2007 tour began,” says Wolf.

 

Not only did Wolf canvas the world with Van Halen while in high school, but he also held down the low end on 2012’s A Different Kind of Truth—which debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200. When not on tour with Van Halen, he cut bass for Tremonti’s critically acclaimed Cauterize [2015] and Dust [2016] in addition to joining the band on the road. In 2019, Wolf handled drums and also played bass on half of the 10 songs for Clint Lowery’s solo debut, God Bless The Renegades.

 

In the midst of all this, at the beginning of 2015, Wolf broke ground on what would become MAMMOTH with producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette [Alter Bridge, Slash] behind the board. Wolf began to embrace his voice, inspired by everyone from his father, to bands like AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, TOOL, and Jimmy Eat World. “I’ve been singing my whole life, but it wasn’t until MAMMOTH that I really found my voice. Elvis was great, and he helped me gain the confidence to become a lead vocalist.”

 

“The name Mammoth is really special to me.” says Wolf. “Not only was it the name of Van Halen before it became Van Halen, but my father was also the lead singer. Ever since my dad told me this, I always thought that when I grew up, I’d call my own band Mammoth, because I loved the name so much. I’m so thankful that my father was able to listen to, and enjoy the music I made. Nothing made me happier than seeing how proud he was that I was continuing the family legacy.”

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Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels

Performances

September 17 - 10:15 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Run the Jewels

El-P and Killer Mike, two of the most distinctive and celebrated names in rap, might have seemed like an unlikely pairing on paper, but the duo subverted and pulverized all expectations with their critically lauded Run The Jewels collaborative LP. Tapping into the creative synergy they'd discovered in 2012 on Mike's R.A.P. Music album (produced by El-P) and El's Cancer 4 Cure album (featuring Mike), Run The Jewels cemented their musical alliance with a set of uncompromisingly raw, forward thinking hip-hop, garnering limitless critical accolades including the likes of Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, XXL, SPIN, New York Times, and many more.

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Brett Eldredge

Brett Eldredge

Performances

September 11 - 10:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Brett Eldredge

Nearly three years after the chart-topping success of his self-titled, fourth studio album, country superstar Brett Eldredge proves you can go home again with his latest album Sunday Drive. Joined by GRAMMY-winning producers Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk, he holed up in Chicago’s intimate Shirk Studios, where the album came to life. As a mental health advocate, Eldredge pulls from a personal place with the current single “Good Day,” which brings the message of keeping a healthy mindset. “Good Day” follows the wistful, piano-driven lead single “Gabrielle,” which made its TV debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and has been called “a breath of fresh air” by Rolling Stone. Having added a seventh country radio No. 1 to his name with “Love Someone,” the critically acclaimed entertainer filled arenas on his first ever sold-out headlining The Long Way tour, which included performances of his Gold and Platinum-certified singles spanning four albums. His highly celebrated Christmas album Glow debuted at No. 2 on the country charts and featured the Billboard Adult Contemporary and Holiday Music Chart-topping duet “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Meghan Trainor. In 2016, the album inspired a single live holiday show in Nashville, which has now grown into the annual Glow LIVE holiday tour, hitting major cities across the country. He continues to bring holiday cheer with his new duet “Under The Mistletoe” with Kelly Clarkson and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (Latin Version) featuring Sofia Reyes, both available everywhere now.

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G-Eazy

G-Eazy

Performances

September 10 - 10:15 PM @ Generac Power Stage

G-Eazy

Multi-platinum recording artist and producer G-Eazy has established himself as a leading force in the music and touring world. His third full-length studio album The Beautiful & Damned (2017) debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, garnered two No. 1 radio hits – “No Limit” ft. A$AP Rocky & Cardi B and “Him & I” ft. Halsey – and has since been certified platinum by the RIAA. The 5x platinum single “No Limit” has been streamed over 1 billion times worldwide to date. The Beautiful & Damned followed his platinum- certified sophomore album When It’s Dark Out (2015), which featured the 5x platinum single “Me, Myself & I” with Bebe Rexha.

Known for his smooth raps, pristine production and dexterous range, the Bay-area rapper has performed on Saturday Night Live, MTV Video Music Awards, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and many more. He has won a People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Hip-Hop Artist”, named one of Forbes “30 Under 30” and covered publications such as XXL and Flaunt. His influence also spans the fashion world where he’s frequently hailed as the James Dean of rap for his dapper style, and regularly appears on GQ’s best-dressed and grooming lists. Additionally, he will continue his partnership with PUMA, recently announcing their first collaborative shoe is in the works to be released in 2020.

PUMA will also continue to support his philanthropy, The Endless Summer Fund – a non-profit dedicated to helping Bay Area under-served youth reach their full potential and strengthening the community – and their joint program, “From The Bay to the Universe” in which G-Eazy selects a group of developing musicians to support their artistic efforts.

2019 saw G-Eazy’s career soar to new heights, including headlining Rolling Loud Music Festival in his hometown of Oakland, CA and making his critically-acclaimed acting debut in the global hit film Hustlers. In anticipation of his forthcoming fifth-studio album he has been slowly clearing out the vault by releasing tracks off his B-Sides series, and most recently with the surprise EP Scary Nights, released on October 18, 2019.

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Wilco

Wilco

Performances

September 10 - 10:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Wilco

Wilco return with Ode to Joy, out October 4th via dBpm Records. Ode to Joy comes three-plus years after the release of the “world-weary, wheezy – and wonderfully warm” (The GuardianSchmilco, and encourages the act of finding joy in a dark political climate. The album presents a unique rhythm track and a minimalist instrumentation, with lyrics at once observant, hopeful, morbid, tolerant, and abstract. “Love is Everywhere (Beware),” the album’s extrospective lead single, is an upbeat, guitar-driven track that explores the dual joy and threat of a community focused on love. Jeff Tweedy discusses it below.

“There MUST be more love than hate. Right?! I’m not always positive we can be so sure. In any case, I’m starting to feel like being confident in that equation isn’t always the best motivation for me to be my best self – it can kind of let me off the hook a little bit when I think I should be striving to contribute more love outside of my comfortable sphere of family and friends.

So. . .  I guess the song is sort of a warning to myself that YES, Love IS EVERYWHERE, but also BEWARE! I can’t let that feeling absolve me of my duty to create more.”

Following his two solo albums, WARM and WARMER, and memoir, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), Tweedy gathered Wilco to The Loft in Chicago. While all six members of the band can be heard on every song, Tweedy and Glenn Kotche were the launching pad from which most of the songs on Ode to Joy materialized – Kotche’s percussion propels the music forward while Tweedy’s measured words flesh out the cleared paths. As a result, the album is comprised of “really big, big folk songs, these monolithic, brutal structures that these delicate feelings are hung on,” as described by Tweedy. Across the entire album, drums pound and plod with a steady one–two pulse, meant to mimic the movement of marching—a powerful act utilized on both sides of the authoritarian wall. There’s also a sense of comfort that comes with the rhythmic marching sound.

Whether our joy is measured by sparks felt when clutching old sweaters to our chests, by the number of tiny digital hearts earned from a shared photograph, by a guitar solo or a drumbeat or a piece of cotton on a stick in your ear, or by something even greater, Wilco wants to sincerely remind us to wear that feeling loud and proud. This is Ode to Joy: pick it up, hold it tight.

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Diplo

Diplo

Performances

September 16 - 9:45 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Diplo

Thomas Wesley Pentz, better known as Diplo, is one of the most dynamic forces in music today. The Grammy-winning artist is as much an international brand as he is a musician/DJ/producer. Year after year, he’s proven himself to be a ubiquitous cultural figure, consistently bridging high and low, mainstream and underground, with remarkable tact and reverence.

A decade since its inception, Diplo’s original group Major Lazer continues to influence the sound of modern music. Most recently, Diplo’s Major Lazer unveiled “Que Calor,” featuring J Balvin and Dominican dembow pioneer El Alfa, alongside a brand new video to critical acclaim. The new track follows summer release “Make It Hot,” which features Brazilian superstar Anitta from Major Lazer’s forthcoming and highly-anticipated fourth album. This summer Major Lazer was also featured on Beyonce’s The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack alongside Shatta Wale on “ALREADY”. This all comes off the heels of history making singles “Lean On” and “Cold Water,” which have both surpassed one billion streams on Spotify. Their fourth album is forthcoming.

Earlier this year Diplo unveiled a new country project, Thomas Wesley, and released its first track, “So Long,” featuring Nashville superstar Cam, which Rolling Stone praised as “an impressively graceful dip into country.” The release was followed by a performance at Stagecoach Festival where at the first ever Stagecoach Late Night, he welcomed Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus for the live debut of “Old Town Road,” and promptly shared his remix of the viral hit. Wesley then unveiled a second track called, “Heartless” which was accompanied by a music video featuring Platinum artist, songwriter Morgan Wallen. This was the second of several forthcoming collaborations due to appear on Diplo’s country EP coming later this year.

Simultaneously, Diplo returned to his electronic roots with the deep house-inspired Higher Ground EP, debuted a brand new show at his Coachella headline set, and released the Europa EP for which he hand selected a cast of rising European artists. On his own, the producer continues to discover and collaborate with the most exciting new voices in music including Trippie Redd, Poppy, Bad Bunny and Octavian. As one of pop’s most in-demand producers, Diplo has worked with artists such as Beyoncé -- producing two songs on the Grammy-nominated Lemonade, Justin Bieber, Madonna, Lil Wayne, Bruno Mars, Britney Spears, Wale, Ariana Grande, 2 Chainz, Quavo, Travis Scott, Travis Porter, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Azealia Banks, Die Antwoord, Camila Cabello, Sean Paul, Robyn, AlunaGeorge and many more.

Diplo consistently exercises his collaborative spirit and singular talent for transcending genre and cultural boundaries. With the formation of two new groups, Diplo continues his streak as a global hitmaker -- LSD a psychedelic supergroup with Sia and Labrinth that was streamed nearly one billion times and Silk City, the disco-influenced venture with Mark Ronson. Since the debut of Silk City, the duo has collaborated with Dua Lipa for the Grammy winning house hit “Electricity,” as well as releases with GoldLink, Desiignerand Mapei.

Diplo’s rise to fame began in 2004 with his critically- acclaimed debut album Florida which caught the attention of then-breaking M.I.A., who partnered with Pentz to release the mixtape Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol. 1. and eventually the Grammy-nominated track “Paper Planes” in 2007, which hit #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart and has sold more than three million copies.

In 2005, Diplo founded label/culture lab Mad Decent to lend his globally-recognized voice to the sounds he encounters traveling the world. Mad Decent has gone on to release music from a dynamic range of artists that include Santigold, Omar Souleyman, Gucci Mane, Dillon Francis, Baauer and more. Diplo founded his global dancehall group Major Lazer in 2008 to great critical acclaim. Their 2015 smash hit, “Lean On” with DJ Snake and MØ, became the most streamed song on Spotify of all time and hit more than 1 billion views on YouTube, making it one of the Top 10 most watched music videos ever. The double platinum single “Where Are Ü Now” featuring Justin Bieber from his Jack Ü collaboration with Skrillex has enjoyed similar success and won the group numerous awards including an MTV European Music Awards as well as an American Music Award for Collaboration of the year. Both of Diplo’s 2015 releases-Major Lazer’s Peace Is The Mission and Skrillex and Diplo Present: Jack Ü- topped the Billboard charts for #1 Dance/Electronic Album. As one of pop’s most in-demand producers, Diplo has worked with artists such as Beyoncé -- producing two songs on the Grammy nominated Lemonade, Justin Bieber, Madonna, Lil Wayne, Bruno Mars, Britney Spears, Wale, Chris Brown, Ariana Grande, 2 Chainz, Quavo, Travis Scott, Travis Porter, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Azealia Banks, Die Antwoord, Camila Cabello, Sean Paul, Robyn, AlunaGeorge and many more.

His last EP, California, served as Diplo’s first body of work as a solo artist in more than five years, and the latest entry into a catalog that continues to defy genre and convention. Diplo continues to tour the world over, playing 300 shows a year with Major Lazer and under his own moniker, including headlining Mad Decent Block Parties worldwide and a legendary Vegas residency. Recent stops include Pakistan, Brazil, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Croatia, China, Mexico, Italy, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Hungary and beyond.

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Charlie Wilson

Charlie Wilson

Performances

September 17 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Charlie Wilson

Some people might say that after notching ten No. 1 singles, 13 Grammy Award nominations, a New York Times best-selling memoir and ongoing sold-out, coast-to-coast arena tours, Charlie Wilson has proven his point….and he isn’t planning to slow down anytime soon.

“I’ve been in this game for many years,” reflects the Gap Band founder and solo icon. “I’ve had some big hit records and sold a lot of records. But I need to still show people that I’m in it. It’s championship time.”

Wilson underscores that declaration with his latest album, In It to Win It (P Music Group/RCA, Feb. 17 2017) which includes a 2019 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B Performance for the track “Made For Love,” his enchanting duet with Lalah Hathaway. In 2018 Charlie was also nominated for three 2018 NAACP Image Awards, Outstanding Male Artist, Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration and Outstanding Album.  

The set boasts two number one singles which hit two different Billboard charts in April, 2018. “Chills” was #1 on the Adult R&B Songs chart and “I’m Blessed” ft. T.I. was #1 on the Hot Gospel Songs (and stayed in the top 5 for 65 weeks). This is the first time an artist has had two different #1 songs on these charts at the same time. “I’m Blessed” was also nominated for a 2018 Billboard Top Gospel song and was name one of the Top Songs of the Decade by the Associated Press.

“’I’m Blessed’ says exactly where I am in my life, blessed to still be making music that people want to hear,” says Wilson. "2018 has been a tough year for so many people around the world, so I’m proud to release a song to remind us that we can all find some blessings in our lives. And having T.I. bring his flavor, sharing who he is and how his journey is filled with blessings, is an added bonus."

Wilson continues his reign as “Uncle Charlie,” the lovable nickname originally given to him by Snoop Dogg, by being one of the most highly sought-after adult entertainers for today’s top Hip-Hop and Pop artists. In 2018 he stepped in as a replacement for Cardi B opening for Bruno Mars on his 24K Magic World Tour Finale performing for thousands of fans in Minneapolis, Detroit, Dallas, Los Angeles and Mars’ hometown, Honolulu, which made history selling out three nights at Aloha Stadium. The experience is one Wilson will never forget. “I have been a fan of Bruno’s from day one and it has been an honor to be able to share the stage with him performing to the thousands of fans on his record-breaking tour. The energy for our show in Hawaii at Aloha Stadium was beyond anything I can recall in my career. In the end I couldn’t be more proud and happy for Bruno and what he has accomplished in the evolution of his music” said Wilson.

He also joined Kanye West and Kid Cudi to sing the chorus on the track “No Mistakes” from West’s album Ye, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Wilson also united with long-time collaborator and friend, Snoop Dogg, on the track “One More Day” from Snoop’s “Bible of Love” gospel album, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart.

As a tribute to his 23 years of sobriety, helping homeless addicts and educating the African American community about prostate cancer, Wilson was honored at the 2018 NAACP Image Awards with the first ever Music Makes A Difference Award. “It was truly an overwhelming experience to receive this award,” stated Wilson. “There are numerous people who have been by my side these last 23 years and the most important person is my wife Mahin.”

In May, 2018, The National Museum of African American Music, scheduled to open in Nashville in 2019, honored Wilson with their Rhapsody & Rhythm Award at their Legends Celebration.

Coinciding with the release of In It To Win It, Wilson’s national U.S. tour sold out arenas around the country.  He is continuing to tour with dates in the U.S. and a special performance in London at the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park with Bruno Mars in July 2018.

Breaking away from the tradition of using his name in the album title, Wilson also recruited an A-Team of guest features for his seventh solo album. Joining T.I. as first-timers in that circle: Pitbull, Wiz Khalifa, Robin Thicke and Lalah Hathaway. Wilson, who executive produced the 13-track album along with long time manager, Michael Paran, reunited once again with The Cartoons (Emile Ghantous, Steve Daly and Keith Hetrick), Gregg Pagani and Wirlie Morris on the creative side. New to the mix this time around: fellow songwriter/producers J.R. Rotem (Jason Derulo, Gwen Stefani, Empire), Eric Hudson (Kanye West, John Legend) and Rob Knox (Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, T.I.).

“In addition to working with our talented core of producers, one of our goals was to add some new talent to the team,” stated Paran. “I was excited to bring in J.R. Rotem, Eric Hudson and Rob Knox to the project as they added an adrenaline shot to the recording process and really inspired Charlie to cut all kinds of music. I can truly say Charlie had a lot of fun recording this album and you can hear that reflected in the music.”

Together, the team crafted a package that fully encompasses Wilson’s unlimited reach. He explores the synergy between pop and R&B with Thicke on the mid-tempo “Smile for Me” (“You can’t tell our vocals apart sometimes,” says Wilson). Then he and Pitbull double-down on the party track “Good Time.” And who knew rapper Wiz Khalifa possesses an impressive singing voice, which he shows off on the noteworthy “Us Trust.” Another “oh wow” moment is the duet between Wilson and Lalah Hathaway on the scintillating 2019 Grammy nominated “Made for Love.” Their what-took-so-long pairing calls to mind the magic conjured between Lalah’s late father/soul legend Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack.

“She’s definitely got her own spirit, but I could see Donny’s aura as well,” notes Wilson of working with Lalah. “It just makes you feel good inside when you hear her sing. She nailed it.”

Never one to shortchange his fans, Wilson unleashes his powerful tenor on the uplifting title track, the inspirational “Amazing God” and romance songs “Precious Love” and “New Addiction.” To round out In It to Win It, Wilson reunites with “nephew” Snoop Dog for the sexy romp “Gold Rush.”

“Love is a powerful word and as men we need to let our women know that we love and respect them,” stated Wilson. “So, when guys bring their ladies to my show or have this album playing during a romantic dinner, they know I am speaking for them.”

Before launching his solo career in 2000, Wilson racked up a string of hits in the late ‘70s and ‘80s as front man with the Gap Band. The pioneering R&B/funk group charted such frequently sampled classics as “Outstanding,” “Yearning for Your Love,” “Burn Rubber on Me,” “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” and “Early in the Morning.”

Wilson signed to Jive (now RCA) in 2004 after landing his first No. 1 Billboard Adult R&B hit in 2000, “Without You.” Since then, he’s released six solo albums and become a consistent chart presence. His tally of 19 hits boasts seven more Adult R&B No. 1s. Among them: “My Love Is All I Have,” “You Are” and “There Goes My Baby.” While garnering 13 Grammy nominations and other industry accolades, including BET’s 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award, Wilson has stayed busy on the road, as he is a major concert draw, claiming the crown for top winter tour of 2015 with his Forever Charlie arena tour, or in the studio.

In the years between the Gap Band’s heyday and his solo success, Wilson survived drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness and prostate cancer. He chronicled his odds-defying life and career in his 2015 best-selling autobiography, I Am Charlie Wilson. Sober now for 24 years, the singer says, “I wouldn’t have believed I’d be where I am right now. That’s why I shout every night because I thank God for allowing me to be here.”

“I’m looking forward to continue touring and making new music. “And, I’m not stopping there, because I Am In It To Win It.”

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Kesha

Kesha

Performances

September 11 - 10:15 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Kesha

Kesha attracts a diverse, passionate, and socially-engaged global audience who believe in the messages behind her music. Over her career, she has earned 10 Top Ten singles, over a billion views on YouTube, 2 number one albums, 4 number one songs at top 40 radio, and nearly 40 million followers across social media.  

Kesha’s latest album 'High Road' was called a body of work “wise and wild in equal measure” (Billboard), that “electrifies from the inside out” (American Songwriter) and “strikes a believable balance between vulnerability and the bluster she made her name on” (Stereogum).

Her previous album 'Rainbow', called "an artistic feat" by Entertainment Weekly and "the best music of her career" by Rolling Stone, earned Kesha the first GRAMMY nominations of her career.

Kesha’s ventures outside of music include a top rated TV program, an award winning film, a book, a cruise, and a cosmetics line.

As a songwriter she has penned her own music as well as songs for artists including Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, The Veronicas, and Miley Cyrus. Kesha is an animal rights crusader as the Humane Society International's first Global Ambassador and a passionate advocate for equality, being honored with the 2016 Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award. In 2016 she won Billboard's Women in Music Trailblazer Award and in 2018 she was named one of Time Magazine's Time 100, their list of the most influential people in the world.

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ZZ Top

ZZ Top

Performances

September 11 - 9:30 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

ZZ Top

ZZ TOP a/k/a “That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” lay undisputed claim to being the longest running major rock band with original personnel intact and, in 2004, the Texas trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, there are only three of them – Billy F Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard -- but it’s still a remarkable achievement that they’re still very much together after almost 50 years of rock, blues, and boogie on the road and in the studio. “Yeah,” says Billy, guitarist extraordinaire, “we’re the same three guys, bashing out the same three chords.” With the release of each of their albums the band has explored new ground in terms of both their sonic approach and the material they’ve recorded. ZZ TOP is the same but always changing.

It was in Houston in the waning days of 1969 that ZZ TOP coalesced from the core of two rival bands, Billy’s Moving Sidewalks and Frank and Dusty’s American Blues. The new group went on to record the appropriately titled ZZ Top’s First Album and Rio Grande Mud that reflected their strong blues roots.   Their third, 1973’s Tres Hombres, catapulted them to national attention with the hit “La Grange,” still one of the band’s signature pieces today. The song is unabashed elemental boogie, celebrating the institution that came to be known as “the best little whorehouse in Texas.” Their next hit was “Tush,” a song about, well, let’s just say the pursuit of “the good life” that was featured on their Fandango! album, released in 1975. The band’s momentum and success built during its first decade, culminating in the legendary “World Wide Texas Tour,” a production that included a longhorn steer, a buffalo, buzzards, rattlesnakes and a Texas-shaped stage. As a touring unit, they’ve been without peer over the years, having performed before millions of fans through North America on numerous epochal tours as well as overseas where they’ve enthralled audiences from Slovenia to Argentina, from Australia to Sweden, from Russia to Japan and most points in between. Their iconography – beards, cars, girls and that magic keychain – seems to transcend all bounds of geography and language.

Following a lengthy hiatus during which the individual members of the band traveled the world, they switched labels (from British Decca’s London label to Warner Bros.) and returned with two amazingly provocative albums, Deguello and El Loco. Their next release, Eliminator, was something of a paradigm shift for ZZ TOP. Their roots blues skew was intact but added to the mix were tech-age trappings that soon found a visual outlet with the nascent MTV. Suddenly, Billy, Dusty and Frank were video icons, playing a kind of Greek chorus in videos that highlighted the album’s three smash singles: “Gimme All Your Lovin’, “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs.” The melding of grungy guitar-based blues with synth-pop was seamless and continued with the follow-up album Afterburner as they continued their chart juggernaut. ZZ TOP had accomplished the impossible; they had moved with the times while simultaneously bucking ephemeral trends that crossed their path. They had become more popular and more iconic without ever having to be “flavor of the week.” They had become a certified rock institution, contemporary in every way, yet still completely connected to the founding fathers of the genre.

They stayed with Warner for one more album, Recycler, released in 1990 and switched to RCA where they debuted with Antenna and followed with Rhythmeen, XXX and Mescalero. Beyond that, both a lavish four CD box set compilation, Chrome, Smoke & B.B.Q. and a two-CD distillation of that package, Rancho Texicano, were released by Warner prior to The Complete Studio Albums set.

In 2012, ZZ TOP unveiled LA FUTURA, their first studio album in nine years. Produced by Rick Rubin and Billy F Gibbons, and released on American Recordings, it reflected the solid blues inspiration that has powered the band since the very beginning with a contemporary approach that underscored the group’s inclination to experiment and explore new sonic vistas. The album included the widely lauded “I Gotsta Get Paid” that has become both a video and in-concert sensation. ZZ Top’s rich history became the subject of a box set release the following year. ZZ Top: The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990 offered no fewer than 10 of the band’s most lauded albums all with the original mixes restored.

ZZ TOP’s career retrospective The Very Baddest surfaced in 2014. It spans the entire course of their London, Warner Bros. and RCA years. Listeners can follow the evolution of the band’s sound from the early 70s into the 00s on either a 40 track double CD or a 20 track single CD. That same year Eagle Rock Entertainment released Live at Montreux 2013 on both Blu-ray and DVD formats, showcasing their live act, leaving no doubt as to why they have been such a huge concert draw for the last several decades. When it comes to the live experience, they’ve still got it.

2016 saw the release of ZZ TOP’s Live! Greatest Hits From Around The World album on Suretone, consisting of 15 songs recorded live in 13 cities across three continents. Guitar legend Jeff Beck joins the band on stage in his native London for two songs – “Rough Boy,” and a cover of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons,” the latter of which was inspired by a hoax YouTube video claiming to be ZZ TOP and Jeff Beck playing that very song. Their rendition matches the hoax video, in what Billy describes as “a mega meta kinda thang.”

The elements that keep ZZ TOP fresh, enduring and above the transitory fray can be summed up in the three words of the band’s internal mantra: “Tone, Taste and Tenacity.” Of course, the three members of the band have done their utmost to do their part in assuring that ZZ TOP prevails. As genuine roots musicians, the members of the band have few peers. Billy is widely regarded as one of American finest blues guitarists working in the rock idiom. His influences are both the originators of the form – Muddy Waters, B.B. King, et al – as well as the British blues rockers who emerged the generation before ZZ’s ascendance. In his early days of playing, no less an idol that Jimi Hendrix singled him out for praise. Part mad scientist, part prankster, he’s a musical innovator of the highest order and a certified “guitar god.” He’s a recurring small screen presence in the hit TV series Bones in which he plays a bearded, gruff, rock guitarist. No type casting problems for Billy.

Dusty has long had an affinity for rock’s origins; his earliest performances as a child included Elvis songs convincingly performed. Not only is he a bass virtuoso in his own right, his vocal prowess is awe-inspiring. He’s the lead voice you hear on “Tush” and his ferocious vocals are heard, to great effect, on his idol Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock,” these days, often a concert encore number and recorded by the band on Fandango! Good natured and diligent, Dusty is the rock solid bottom of ZZ TOP.

Frank has also been keeping the beat in that great tradition. As both a roots and progressive drummer, he has been acknowledged as key to the band’s powerful on-stage and in-studio presence. He and Dusty, in their early years together, served as Lightnin’ Hopkins’ rhythm section which, as Frank tells it, was a life changing experience. Frank, despite his last name, is the guy in the band without a beard. But when you’re with him, you’re with a Beard. He’s a rockin’ paradox who provides the pulse of ZZ TOP.

ZZ TOP’s music is always instantly recognizable, eminently powerful, profoundly soulful and 100% Texas American in derivation. The band’s support for the blues is unwavering both as interpreters of the music and preservers of its legacy. It was ZZ TOP that celebrated “founding father” Muddy Waters by turning a piece of scrap timber than had fallen from his sharecropper’s shack into a beautiful guitar, dubbed the “Muddywood.” This totem was sent on tour as a fundraising focus for The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi, site of Robert Johnson’s famed “Crossroads” encounter with the devil. ZZ TOP’s support and link to the blues remains as rock solid as the music they continue to play. They have sold millions of records over the course of their career, have been officially designated as Heroes of The State of Texas, have been referenced in countless cartoons and sitcoms and are true rock icons but, against all odds, they’re really just doing what they’ve always done. They’re real and they’re surreal and they’re ZZ TOP.

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Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys

Performances

September 16 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys come out swinging on their eighth full-length album, SIGNED and SEALED in BLOOD [Born & Bred Records/ADA]. This time around, everything has been cranked up past 10. The guitars are ballsier, the gang vocals are louder, the hooks are catchier, the lyrics stop you in your tracks. The brashest moments of SIGNED and SEALED in BLOOD feel like the last 30 seconds of a Stanley Cup hockey game: frenetic, on the edge, dangerous. The softest songs are testaments to the values that pump through the Dropkicks’ veins: family, neighborhoods, honor, respect, roots and remembering those who are gone. Every second of SIGNED and SEALED in BLOOD is evidence of one thing: Dropkick Murphys aren’t just loud and brash, they’re at the top of their game as songwriters.

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Rise Against

Rise Against

Performances

September 4 - 10:00 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Rise Against

If ever there was a perfect time for a new album from the outspoken, socially-conscious, multi-Gold and Platinum punk rock band Rise Against, it’s right now.  Nowhere Generation, due out June 4 on Loma Vista Recordings, is blazing and aggressive, fusing old-school punk attitude with post-hardcore fury.  Lyrically, the eleven songs were influenced by input from the band’s vocalist/lyricist Tim McIlrath’s two young daughters, and the band’s community of fans, and point an enormous spotlight at the social and economic deck that has been stacked against younger generation’s pursuit of The American Dream.  Today, there is the promise of The American Dream, and then there is the reality of The American Dream.  America’s “historical norm” that “the next generation will be better off than the one that came before” has been diminished by an era of mass social, economic, and political instability, and a sell-out of the Middle Class.   The brass ring that was promised by hard work and dedication no longer exists for everyone, and as was the case with the counterculture of the 1960s, disruption becomes the only answer for the Nowhere Generation.

Nowhere Generation was recorded at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado under the tutelage of Jason Livermore, Andrew Berlin, Chris Beeble and long-time producer/engineer Bill Stevenson (Black Flag, The Descendents) who has worked with the band on nearly all of their acclaimed releases since their sophomore effort, 2003’s Revolutions Per Minute, and is often described as Rise Against’s fifth member.

Rise Against is rhythm guitarist/vocalist McIlrath, bassist Joe Principe, drummer Brandon Barnes, and guitarist Zach Blair.

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Fitz And The Tantrums

Fitz And The Tantrums

Performances

September 16 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Fitz And The Tantrums

Multi-platinum artists Fitz and the Tantrums have quickly grown from independent upstarts to bonafide hitmakers.  The LA-based band recently released their much-anticipated, fourth full-length album “ALL THE FEELS,” featuring singles “123456” and “I Just Wanna Shine.” “ALL THE FEELS” follows the band’s 2016 release “FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS,” which spawned the group’s biggest hit to date, “HandClap.” The RIAA-certified 2x Platinum single has logged more than 400 million global streams, went top 5 on both the Hot AC and Alternative Radio charts, and also enjoyed major airplay across the country at Top 40.  The band has brought the infectious energy of their live shows to the small screen, with nationally televised performances of “HandClap” on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars,” “Good Morning America,” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” NBC’s “TODAY,” “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “America’s Got Talent,” and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the syndicated “Ellen DeGeneres Show” among others.

Fitz and the Tantrums’ eponymous album followed their breakout major label debut, “MORE THAN JUST A DREAM,” which featured back-to-back Platinum-certified, #1 Alternative Radio singles in “The Walker” and “Out Of My League.”   Both singles also enjoyed Top 15 success at Hot AC.  The band has performed countless, sold-out headlining shows and is always a standout at music festivals around the world, including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and more.

Fitz and the Tantrums are Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick (vocals), Noelle Scaggs (vocals), James King (saxophone, flute), Jeremy Ruzumna (keyboards), Joseph Karnes (bass), and John Wicks (drums, percussion).

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311

311

Performances

September 11 - 9:45 PM @ Generac Power Stage

311

2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of 311, an incredible milestone.

311 was formed in 1990 in the city of Omaha, Nebraska. The group still features it’s original lineup 30 years later including drummer Chad Sexton, singer / guitarist Nick Hexum, singer SA Martinez, guitarist Tim Mahoney, and bassist P-Nut. At 30 years old, 311 has become one of the longest running original lineups in rock music, joining an elite list of other original lineup units like U2 and Radiohead.

Having played over 2,000 shows across 27 countries over their 30 year career, 311 mix rock, rap, reggae and funk into their own unique hybrid sound - and have developed a reputation as one of the most entertaining & dynamic live bands in the U.S.

To honor their 30th Anniversary, and in an effort to include all of their fans in the celebration, 311 have announced that they will play concerts in all 50 U.S States this year.  The 50 Dates in 50 States Tour will kick off with a bang in February as 311 laissez le bon temps rouler at one of the world’s biggest parties - Mardi Gras in New Orleans. From there, other highlights will include a record-setting, sold out run of 3 nights of their biennial 311 DAY celebration in Las Vegas, Nevada. The more than 15,000 fans scheduled to attend come from all 50 U.S States, as well as 10 other countries. Hometown fans of the band can look forward to a special summer tribute concert in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska in July.  However, the center piece of their "50 Dates" tour will feature one of the summer’s hottest tour packages of 2020 including Incubus, 311, and Badflower.  The 36 show run will hit most major markets this summer in Live Nation’s biggest Amphitheaters.

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Dirty Heads

Dirty Heads

Performances

September 16 - 9:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Dirty Heads

Following in the footsteps of their California brothers Sublime, Huntington Beach's Dirty Heads mix hip-hop, reggae, and rock along with that laid-back So Cal attitude. The group formed in 2003 when punk rocker Dustin Bushnell (aka Duddy B) asked his friend, rapper Jared Watson (aka Dirty J), to collaborate on a project that would focus on positive vibes and infectious grooves. Watson added singing to his vocal skills, and with percussionist Jon Olazabal, an acoustic trio version of Dirty Heads began playing shows and building an audience.

They soon hooked up with producer Rob Cavallo and headed into the studio to record their debut album for Warner Bros., but differences with the label had them looking for other opportunities. Still, the band was able to retain most of its work, including sessions with drummer Josh Freese, along with the late-Beatles collaborator Billy Preston in one of the keyboardist's last recordings. The finished album, Any Port in a Storm, would arrive in 2008, with a deluxe edition following in 2010. The deluxe version featured the track "Lay Me Down" with special guest Rome Ramirez of Sublime with Rome. The song would top Billboard's Alternative Songs chart just before the summer of 2010.

They followed up two years later with Cabin by the Sea and later recorded an acoustic version of the title track. This, in turn, led to an entire acoustic album in 2013 called Home: Phantoms of Summer. Dirty Heads' next album, Sound of Change, would prove to be a breakthrough for the now-veteran band, debuting at number eight on the Billboard Top 200 while topping the Independent and Alternative Albums charts upon its May 2014 release.

Building on their renewed success, Dirty Heads enlisted a bevy of industry hitmakers to work on their self-titled 2016 follow-up, which -- thanks to its mainstream appeal -- again charted high on the Billboard Top 200. The following year saw the band drop its sixth studio album, Swim Team, featuring the singles "Vacation" and "Staloney." Also included on the album was the track "So Glad You Made It," featuring 311's Nick Hexum. The single "Listen to Me" arrived in early 2019 and was later included on Dirty Heads' Dave Cobb-produced seventh album Super Moon.

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Jake Owen

Jake Owen

Performances

September 17 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Jake Owen

Multiple chart-topping singer/songwriter Jake Owen’s new single “Made For You” is rapidly climbing the Billboard Country Airplay charts. With eight #1 songs to his name, “Made For You” follows Owen’s fastest-rising career #1 single, “I Was Jack (You Were Diane)” and most recent #1 single, “Homemade.” Owen’s songs have resonated with listeners and audiences everywhere with 2X PLATINUM anthem and Most Played Song of the Decade “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” PLATINUM-certified hits “Beachin,’” “Anywhere With You,” “Alone With You,” “The One That Got Away,” and GOLD-certified “American Country Love Song.” Owen’s sixth studio album, GREETINGS FROM... JAKE, produced three Top 10 singles, including two #1 singles and his current top 30 and climbing “Made For You.” Signed to Big Loud Records, Owen is reunited with award-winning Joey Moi, who helped produce his breakout Barefoot Blue Jean Night album, which landed at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and garnered four consecutive #1 hits. Owen is gearing up to join Moi once again to record his seventh studio album. For tour dates and more information, visit http://www.jakeowen.net.

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Bleachers

Bleachers

Performances

September 17 - 10:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Bleachers

After building a devoted fan-base through a year and a half of non-stop touring behind his band Bleachers’ well-received debut album Strange Desire, Jack Antonoff was spending time in studios in Los Angeles and Atlanta spit-balling ideas for a second album when he had a powerful realization. It struck him, as he was sitting in hip-hop producers Organized Noize’s studio in Atlanta, that the records that meant so much to him growing up— are rooted in a specific place. “They came from somewhere!” he says excitedly. “There’s an energy there and the artist is telling a story of how they were raised. It's a sound from a city, and they’re planting a flag in that city and saying, ‘This is what it's like to live here.’" 

The New Jersey-born, New York-based Antonoff knew he needed to go home to the East Coast and build a studio. “It’s like you have to go sit in your bedroom and hear the music on the speakers you heard Graceland on the first time,” he says. “You gotta listen through the speakers you heard Smashing Pumpkins on the radio the first time. I had to get back to that space. So I did. I grabbed all this shit from my childhood bedroom in New Jersey and built a studio in my apartment in New York and I literally didn't leave it. I thought, ‘This album is going to sound like New York and New Jersey and the actual space I grew up in, in the most specific way. And that, to me, is the most I can offer.” 

It was there in that room — surrounded by posters and flyers from punk shows he saw as a kid and his old baseball trophies and Star Wars figurines — that Antonoff created the epic, synth-driven anthems that appear on Bleachers’ second album entitled Gone Now, which is set for release on June 2, 2017. As a result, the album sounds like “the way the space looks,” he says. “It sounds like someone alone in their room, wrestling with their thoughts. It sounds like someone trying to create something very direct and simple amongst the chaos.”

Critics praised Strange Desire’s modern nostalgia and remarked that the ’80s-influenced songs could have served as a soundtrack to a never-made high-school-themed John Hughes film. On that album, Antonoff set emotional meditations on anxiety, depression, loss and picking yourself up after a tragedy (in his case, the death of his younger sister from a brain tumor when Antonoff was 18 and his struggled with a panic disorder in the aftermath) against a backdrop of earworm melodies and shouty choruses on songs like the gold-certified “I Wanna Get Better” (which topped Billboard’s Alternative chart) and “Rollercoaster.” 

“The songs were about growing up and still sort of existing in the past,” Antonoff says. “The crux of the new album is my desperately trying to find a way to become some version of an adult, and not just be a giant child. I thought a lot about things like, ‘Where do I want to go from here? Do I want to be a person who has this extremely vibrant relationship with their art, but their life suffers in a million other places? Where do I want to go with my life?’” 

Antonoff sought to answer those questions on every song on the album. On “I Miss Those Days,” he pines for a simpler time when “I knew I was fucked up and didn’t know why I was fucked up,” he says referencing the years he spent as a high-schooler touring with his first punk band, Outline, “driving around in a van and playing to no one. I was lost, but I miss those days because there’s a weight to having a purpose in something.” On “Hate That You Know Me” Antonoff realizes that when you build a life with someone and make plans for the future, “it makes you really exposed to the ways in which you’re a disaster,” he says. “There’s this accountability that is so intense. But it’s also about how amazing that can be if you’re willing to go there with someone.” Then there’s “Let’s Get Married,” which Antonoff wrote the day after Donald Trump was elected. “Marriage is such a wild, absurd concept, but the world was falling down into flames around my eyes, and I wanted to write this absurd celebration song that could play at weddings for the next hundred years.” 

On each track, Antonoff searches for ways to illuminate humanity’s communal emotions, like the fact that no one is exempt from the experience of loss. “I think everything I do is always going to be rooted in that,” Antonoff says. “After my sister died, I started writing lyrics that weren't just angsty teen stuff. That’s when I started talking about very intense things. Fourteen years later, I’m still reflecting on that loss but through a different lens.” Antonoff’s current vantage point resonates on the song “Everybody Lost Somebody.” “At my worst moments, I see people on the street and think, ‘Which one of you motherfuckers voted for Trump?’” he says. “At my best moments, I see people on the street and I think, ‘Everybody has lost somebody.’” 

On the album’s first single, “Don’t Take The Money,” Antonoff laments how our society has culturally lost the concept of what selling out means. The song was inspired by his buying a cut-rate phone charger at a Rite Aid when his phone died as he was running late to a meeting. “I got there and plugged the phone into the charger and I had this out-of-body experience where I could not believe how cheap the material was,” he recalls. “And I thought to myself, ‘That's the real problem.’ Whether you're making art or making a sandwich, you know when something could be better. Don't make it cheap. That's the last thing people need.” 

As far as what Antonoff feels like people need from him as artist, he says: “I feel like they just need me to somehow capture the lightning in a bottle of what it’s like to be me, to grow up with loss, and then to try to move through the world within that. All I’ve wanted to do my whole life with my work is just take another step closer to myself.” 

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DJ Diesel

DJ Diesel

Performances

September 3 - 10:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

DJ Diesel

Shaquille O'Neal is one of the most dominant basketball players in NBA history and is now also one of the greatest entertainers on earth. At 7'1" and 325 pounds, Shaq's larger-than-life personality and powerful athleticism have resulted in worldwide admiration and one of the most passionate fan bases in sports and entertainment. The Hall of Famer first discovered electronic dance music after crashing the festival TomorrowWorld in 2014, a milestone event that changed his life forever after being exposed to DJ's such as Steve Aoki and Skrillex.

Shaquille has been passionate about music from a very young age -- at just 14 after O'Neal saw Public Enemy live for the first time, while sandwiched in a crowd of 5,000 people, he became fixated on DJ'ing. He cut his neighbors' grass, walked dogs, and scraped together any cash that he could until he saved up $200 to buy his first set of turntables at a local pawn shop. Fast forward to 1993, Shaquille's rap album, 'Shaq Diesel,' did the unthinkable of selling over a million copies and peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard 100 cementing O'Neal as the only athlete ever with a platinum-selling album. SHAQ aka DJ Diesel's dance music debut was at TomorrowWorld 2015, as the Hall of Famer took the stage for the first time in front of tens of thousands of fans mixing the best of Trap, EDM, and Hip-Hop. From there DJ Diesel's career was born as he cemented the title of 'the biggest DJ in the world.' DJ Diesel recently embarked on a 15+ date 'Summer of SHAQ' tour, has graced main stages around the globe from Tomorrowland, Lost Lands, Life in Color, and even launched his own festival series -- Shaq's Fun House.

Part festival, part carnival, part circus, Shaq's Fun House pops up at leading cultural events around the world. Shaq's inaugural Fun House in March of 2018 was one of the most viral events of the year with surprise performances and appearances by Diplo, Steve Aoki, A-Track, DJ Carnage, Rob Gronkowski, Von Miller, designer Alexander Wang, and Shark Tank's Daymond John. Shaq's Super Bowl Fun House featured performances and appearances from Migos, Diplo, Tiesto, Lil Jon, T-Pain, Adam Levine, Jamie Foxx, Akon, Patrick Mahomes, Reggie Bush, Adrian Peterson, Evander Holyfield and many more cementing it as one of the most legendary events of all time. Shaquille O'Neal's off-court accolades rival his athletic accomplishments, having found success in acting, music, television, gaming, and while SHAQ is already a platinum recording Hip-Hop artist, this is just the beginning for Diesel.

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Black Pumas

Black Pumas

Performances

September 18 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Black Pumas

Sometimes, a life-changing connection can be closer than you think. In 2017, singer and songwriter Eric Burton made his way from California to Texas. Born in the San Fernando Valley, he grew up singing in church and then got heavily involved in musical theater. He started busking at the Santa Monica pier, where he brought in a few hundred dollars a day and developed his performance skills. Burton traveled through the Western states before deciding to settle down in Austin, TX -- setting up his busking spot on a downtown street corner, at 6th Street and Congress, for maximum exposure.

Meantime, Grammy Award-winning guitarist and producer Adrian Quesada was looking to collaborate with someone new. He reached out to friends in Los Angeles, in London, but nothing seemed right. A mutual friend mentioned Burton to Quesada, saying that he was the best singer he had ever heard. The two musicians connected, but Burton took a while to respond ("My friends were like 'Dude, you're a mad man, you need to hit that guy back!'") Finally, he called Quesada and sang to him over the phone. "I loved his energy, his vibe, and I knew it would be incredible on record," Quesada says. "From the moment I heard him on the phone, I was all about it."

The results of that inauspicious beginning can now be heard on the acclaimed self-titled debut album from Black Pumas, the group that Burton and Quesada assembled. In just a couple of years' time, Burton and Quesada turned their unplanned meeting into a Grammy-nominated act that with songs that have racked up millions of streams and won overwhelming critical praise and multiple sold-out tours across North America and Europe. The album was nominated from Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammy Awards and has won acclaim from Rolling Stone, who praised "the tireless, charismatic energy of singer Eric Burton," Pitchfork, who wrote, "The duo's flair for drama is so stirring, they can seem acutely cinematic," NPR, The Fader, The Guardian, Billboard, Essence, and many more. Their anthemic single "Colors" -- nominated for Record of the Year at the 2021 Grammys -- hit #1 at AAA Radio and has been streamed over 176 million times across all platforms. Meanwhile, the official live video of "Colors" has been viewed over 77 million times on YouTube. In their highest profile appearances yet, the band performed "Colors" at President Biden's official 2021 Inauguration and then delivered a stunning performance at the 2021 Grammys. "They're not an Austin band any longer," raved NPR Music, "they belong to everyone now, and the world is waiting to see what they do next."

Quesada had a storied reputation from playing in bands like Grupo Fantasma and Brownout, accompanying artists from Prince to Daniel Johnston, and producing such acclaimed projects as 2018's Look At My Soul: The Latin Shade Of Texas Soul. For the tracks that kicked off this project, though, he had a different direction in mind. "I was looking for somebody with their own identity," says Quesada, "who liked Neil Young as much as Sam Cooke."

Burton's taste, range, and experience proved to be exactly what Quesada was seeking. "We just take to the same kind of music," he says. "I listen to East Coast hip-hop, old soul music, folk music. We were on the same wavelength from the get-go." KCRW would eventually describe their sound as "Wu-Tang Clan meets James Brown."

The first day they got together in the studio, they wrote and recorded the dusty funk that would become the Black Pumas' first two singles, "Black Moon Rising" and "Fire." Quesada had produced the music for "Black Moon Rising" on the day of the 2017 solar eclipse, and Burton took that concept and ran with it. "Right away, the hair stood up on the back of my neck," says Quesada. "I knew, 'This is it -- this is the guy.'"

The duo also knew that they didn't want their sound to be too retro or imitative. "We didn't want to just do throwback soul and pretend that hip-hop never happened," says Quesada. "It had to feel sincere coming from us. I have a certain aesthetic in the studio, Eric has a voice that evokes a certain era, but I don't think we reference that too directly."

"Adrian has had the time and the interest to really dive into a specific sound, to recreate something he heard on a Motown record," adds Burton. "And because of that specific knowledge, he provides an interesting sandbox for me, whose background is in theater, to do something super-unorthodox -- to be an art student and play with all the colors I have, but to put it on something that's more familiar to listeners' ears."

With Black Pumas having evolved from an idea to a session and eventually an album, they decided to put a band together to see how the music sounded live. They booked a residency at Austin's C-Boy's Heart & Soul. "We only rehearsed twice, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into," says Quesada. "But with the first show, we knew it was unique, special -- the chemistry and fire were there immediately. And what Eric could do as a frontman was like nothing I'd ever seen." As word got out, the C-Boy's shows turned into a local phenomenon ("the hottest party in town," according to the Austin American-Statesman), with lines around the block despite the fact that the band had only released one song. That strong local support led to Black Pumas being awarded Best New Band at the 2019 Austin Music Awards.

The release of Black Pumas was followed by an incredible breakout year, crowned by the duo's Grammy nominations in 2020 for Best New Artist alongside the likes of Lizzo, Billie Eilish, and Lil Nas X and in 2021 for the night's biggest awards -- Album and Record of the Year. The band sold out multiple tours across North America and Europe, thanks to a massive fanbase now known as the Puma Pack. They have brought their incredible live performances to The Ellen Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live, CBS This Morning, The Late Late Show With James Corden, Good Morning America, The TODAY Show, PBS's Austin City Limits, Late Night With Seth Meyers, and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, who premiered their powerful live version of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car," a song that has a particular resonance for Burton and his nomadic past.

Quesada and Burton both return, over and over, to the almost mystical connection they felt from the beginning. It's this sense of common purpose, of shared vision, that gives Black Pumas its focus and power -- and that points to even more great things ahead.

"It's so seamless, it's like we're musical brothers to some degree," says Burton. "It feels so easy to meld together that what's most important for us now is to continue to look for new sounds -- to make sure we're feeding ourselves the knowledge to continue to evolve. Every time we get together, it's better than the last time."

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Big Wild

Big Wild

Performances

September 2 - 10:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Big Wild

As Big Wild, producer, composer and now-turned vocalist, Jackson Stell crafts lush soundscapes and sweeping melodies that challenge the status quo of electronic music. Formerly a hip-hop beat producer, known as J Beatz, in his native Massachusetts, Stell switched creative lanes following a life-altering trip to Big Sur, California. He adopted influences from the state’s natural glory and open spaces to create the atmospheric and wide-spanning Big Wild sound, which today traverses electronic, indie, pop and beyond.

Since officially launching in 2012, Big Wild has become one of the fastest-rising dance/electronic artists in recent years. He first broke out in April 2015 with the incendiary track “Aftergold” (Foreign Family Collective), which topped the Spotify Global Viral Chart upon release. He followed the success of “Aftergold” with his debut EP, Invincible, in February 2017 (Foreign Family Collective).

As the next progression, in February 2019 Big Wild released his debut album, Superdream, on Counter Records. The new album sees Stell pushing the boundaries as a producer and artist like never before, as he serves as the primary lyricist, singer and songwriter for the first time ever. Each song is diverse in sound and scope and represents the full spectrum of emotions and experiences that are central to the essence of being: in one moment, you’re dancing out of your seat, only to find yourself in joyful tears seconds later. The album title, thus, reflects this amalgamation: a super dream combining all of life’s curious, inspiring occasions.

“The album was inspired by a need to create music that was a greater reflection of who I am now,” Stell says of Superdream. “This led me to feature my voice and songwriting as the main focus for the first time ever. I wanted to create a personal record that people could relate to using my own life experiences. When I listen to Superdream, it feels more like me than any of my other music.”

As a performer, Big Wild is one of the most progressive live acts on the electronic circuit today. His live show has him switching between multiple instruments (drum pads, synths, keyboards & live vocals) to deliver unique energetic performances every night. www.bigwildmusic.com

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Flo Rida

Flo Rida

Performances

September 4 - 10:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Flo Rida

Born Tramar Dillard on September 17, 1979, Flo Rida was raised by a single mother in Miami's rough neighborhood of Carol City, Florida. Music helped Flo Rida stay on the straight path. This father was a talented musician who encouraged his son to express himself through music. Growing up, Flo Rida was exposed to all kinds of music, thanks in large part to his sisters, some of whom formed a local gospel group. When he was a teenager, Flo Rida found local success rapping with a group called the Groundhoggz. At 18, he became the hype man for Fresh Kid Ice from 2 Live Crew. Eventually, Flo Rida caught the attention of DeVante Swing, formerly of famed R&B group Jodeci and spent a few years in Los Angeles working with him. Unable to land a record deal, Flo Rida returned home to Miami and in late 2006 hooked up with Poe Boy Entertainment and its CEO Elric "E-Class" Prince.

On December 20, 2006, Flo Rida inked a deal with Atlantic Records and in 2009 started his own management company, Strong Arm, with longtime friend and manager, Lee "Freezy" Prince. With the success of his management company Flo Rida and Lee "Freezy" Prince launched their own record label IMG, in June 2011. With his musical success Flo Rida got back to his roots of giving back and started "Big Dreams for Kids" a nonprofit foundation that is committed to inspirting future leaders.

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Quinn XCII

Quinn XCII

Performances

September 9 - 10:00 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Quinn XCII

With his ability to seamlessly blur the lines between pop, hip-hop, electronic and soul, Quinn XCII has quickly paved his own lane with his unique sound. He released his debut album, The Story of Us, in September 2017 via Columbia Records. The album debuted at #6 on the iTunes Pop Chart and is led by the standout single "Straightjacket," which has accumulated more than 100 million streams to date and been Certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. He released his sophomore album From Michigan With Love in early 2019. The 12-track album features collaborations with Jon Bellion, Elohim, Yoshi Flower, Noah Kahan, Ashe and Louis Futon and serves as a deeper dive into who he is as an artist, while therapeutically unleashing his inner thoughts and battles with anxiety and mental health into his music.

In 2020, Quinn XCII is set to have his biggest year yet as he recently achieved a spot in Rolling Stone's Breakthrough Artists. He kicked off the year with the release of his new single "Two 10s." The track is the first taste of his upcoming third album, which is set for release later this year on Columbia Records. The album will also feature previously released single "Stacy," which has accumulated over 40M streams to date.

Over the last 5 years, Quinn XCII has consistently grown his audience and expanded his crowd, currently drawing over 7 Million monthly listeners on Spotify and accumulating over 1.2 billion streams worldwide. He has played major music festivals across the globe including Lollapalooza, Governors Ball, Bonnaroo, and many more, and has sold out 4 consecutive nationwide headline tours since 2017, selling over 80,000 total tickets in the US alone.

Quinn XCII has also been featured on Gryffin's "Winnebag," Phoebe Ryan's "Middle Finger," Louis The Child's "The City" and MAX's "Love Me Less," which reached #17 at US Top 40 radio.

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Coheed & Cambria

Coheed & Cambria

Performances

September 9 - 10:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Coheed & Cambria

“What we’re doing is weird,” Claudio Sanchez admits to Rolling Stone writer Ryan Reed. “Concept records in themselves are not weird, but for a band to continue a concept over their discography can be a little intimidating to somebody on the outside. It’s like a monthly issue comic book, like, ‘I don’t want to get invested into this 10 issues in.’"

With that in mind, Coheed and Cambria have returned to the sprawling sci-? world of The Amory Wars with their seventh concept album (eighth overall), but with a fresh start. Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures, is part of the epic universe Sanchez has created, but it’s a brand-new story. In fact, it's the ?rst of a “pentalogy,” — a new ?ve-story arc that introduces bold new characters and intense new locations — brought to life in 15 songs that match the scale of the high concept.

The new story arc follows the non-?cBonal sojourn of their previous record, 2015's The Color Before the Sun.

"I always knew I'd come back to the concept,” Sanchez remarks. "It's been a lot of fun trying to ?gure out where this story falls in the timeline, who our main characters are, and ?nding a way to make the music help inspire some of the visuals."

 

The protagonists of The Unheavenly Creatures are star-crossed lovers-turned bank robbers, Nostrand, AKA "Creature," and Nia, codename "Sister Spider, and their vindictive 'third-wheel,' "Colossus." The story starts in a planetary prison called "The Dark Sentencer" — which ?Xngly, is the opening track of the album -- Nostrand and Nia have been apart for years, thanks to the machinations of the monstrous Colossus. Except they're not as far apart as they think -- Nia is now known as "The Glass Widow," the prison's reluctant executioner, while Creature is nearing his execution. Despite the very different places they've ended up, they may be each other's only hope.

 

Creating a completely stand-alone ?ve-part story within an already elaborate science-?ction universe takes a considerable amount of focus, and it's something Sanchez achieved a]er the rarest of modern indulgences: a break from social media.

"It was taking my concentration away," says Sanchez. "When you get to a certain spot, you feel like you need to reward yourself, and that was it. All of a sudden, you're down the rabbit hole, and you don't always return to your work. So I let that go, and songs started to really percolate."

Tracks like "The Pavilion (A Long Way Back)" started early in the process, and developed independently of the album's bigger picture. But as Sanchez progressed, songs like "Old Flames" were written with very clear visuals in mind — like the one seen on the album's cover, with Nostrand and Nia embracing as The Dark Sentencer collapses.

"All of a sudden it started to come together and presented itself to me as the appropriate story to tell,” Sanchez explained.

Musically, on The Unheavenly Creatures, Sanchez and the rest of Coheed -- guitarist Travis Stever, bassist Zach Cooper, and drummer Josh Eppard, decided that in order to properly take on this fully immersive world of music and ?cBon, they couldn’t rely on outside forces to oversee the making of the record. They needed to be fully in the driver’s seat, and thus stepped into the role of producing the album themselves.

Part of that meant they all needed to understand the world of Vaxis. “Normally, the music always comes ?rst. However, this Bme, I really wanted the band to be invested in the concept," says Sanchez. "So I made an e?ort to put prose to paper so they could read it, and put imagery in front of them so they could visualize the ?cBon. We actually contacted a couple of concept artists to start putting together the imagery ahead of Bme, so the band could witness this story come alive and have some places of inspiration -- seeing the characters, seeing locations.”

It's readily apparent from "The Dark Sentencer" that this approach has paid o?, with a heavy, operatic 10-minute opening statement that con?dently introduces the new narrative territory Coheed has set out to explore. The tapestry unfolds further in the poppy Btle track, and Edgy prog-pop of “Toys,” each of which feel distinctly modern yet underscore the album’s beautifully grandiose 70’s rock in?uences ala groups like Supertramp, ELO, and Queen.

Coheed and Cambria have never been easy to pin down, genre-wise -- existing at the intersection of prog, metal, and post-hardcore -- and in new songs from "Love Protocol" to "It Walks Among Us," that's clearly still the case. For The Unheavenly Creatures, the band found creative saBsfacBon in abandoning any existing expectations.

"Sometimes you fall into these patterns," says Sanchez. "You fall into this loop where you subconsciously have this idea of what's expected of you, and that's kind of what comes out. On this one, I felt like I did away with that.” The result is Coheed and Cambria’s longest (78 minutes) and most expansive recording to date.

The widescreen feel of the album extends to the release itself: The Unheavenly Creatures arrives with a box set edition including an 88-page hardcover novel illustrated by Chase Stone and written by Sanchez and Chondra Echert, a "Creature" mask, a fold-out poster, the album itself, and a bonus demo CD.

"It is the beginning of a new chapter," acknowledged Sanchez. "I wanted this to feel like a metamorphosis -- like a new beginning for us."

"I think you can hear that on songs like 'Black Sunday' or 'True Ugly,'" says Sanchez. "It reminds me of being younger, and writing songs from some of those ?rst early records, where I didn't have expectations for what the ultimate outcome was going to be. I was writing music because it was a form of expression and allowed a release. A]er all these years, I feel like I’ve come full circle to that state of mind and it feels good.”

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Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey Stirling

Performances

September 10 - 10:00 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey Stirling remains fearless enough to always dream big. In the over five years since the release of her 2012 self-titled debut, the electronic music impresario, violinist, dancer, and artist quietly and humbly became one of the 21st century’s most innovative stars by clinging to her groundbreaking vision of cinematic violin-driven electronic music. After bowing at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the Dance/Electronic Album Chart, holding #1 on the Classical Album Chart for 21 consecutive weeks, and receiving a Billboard Music Award for “Top Dance/Electronic Album,” her sophomore opus Shatter Me would not only garner an RIAA Gold certification, but it would rank as the #2 Dance/Electronic Album and #1 Classical Album on Billboard’s 2015 Year-End charts. Attracting over 11 million subscribers and 2 billion-plus views on YouTube, in 2015 Forbes placed Lindsey at #4 on its yearly YouTube artists list, making her the highest-ranked female. Her headline tours would play to a cumulative audience of over 500,000 people worldwide, and her literary debut The Only Pirate at the Party—co-written with her sister Brook S. Passey—became a New York Times Bestseller.  Lindsey’s third-studio album Brave Enough, debuted at #5 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart, went on to score the #1 spot on Billboard’s year-end Top Dance/Electronic Album list and earned Stirling a 2017 Billboard Music Award for “Top Dance/Electronic Album”. In 2017, Lindsey released her first ever holiday album titled Warmer in the Winter.  Featuring classic and original songs, the album went on to become the #1 new Christmas album of 2017, ahead of pop music heavyweights such as Gwen Stefani and Sia.  It was also the best-selling new holiday album and the best performing holiday album on Pandora with over 40 million spins.   She was also the runner-up on Season 25 of ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars” with her partner Mark Ballas A motivational speaker in her spare time, Stirling uses her own story to show teenagers that you’ve got to have confidence in the very thing that makes you unique – then wait for the world to catch up.

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Goo Goo Dolls

Goo Goo Dolls

Performances

September 10 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Goo Goo Dolls

If you live every day to the fullest, you will never run out of scars to show off, stories to share, and things to say.

As life goes on for Goo Goo Dolls, the ensuing music connects even more closely, embracing experimentation, exhibiting assurance, and exuding experience. Drawing on over three decades together, the four-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated record-breaking multiplatinum rock band—John Rzeznik and Robby Takac—supply a real sense of hope and a whole lot of heart on their twelfth full-length album, Miracle Pill [Warner Records].

“There is always hope,” affirms John. “Things may look dark or dire, but there’s a chance to make a connection, nevertheless. I’m writing from as honest of a place as I can at this time in my life. That’s something I want everyone to understand about the album. A lot of our fans have grown up with us. I think they’ll be able to relate to where we’re at in our lives, because they tend to be at the same place. We’ve still got a lot to say.”

As such, everyone also continues to grow. Following a sold-out 20th anniversary tour in support of the 1998 quadruple-platinum classic Dizzy Up The Girl and the recent live releases The Audience is This Way and The Audiences Is That Way (Rest of the Show) [Vol. 2], the duo immediately hit the studio in late 2018. Rather than “have a long break, John and Robby feverishly wrote upon returning from the road.

As they worked with everyone from Sam Hollander [Train, Weezer] to  Derek Fuhrmann [A Great Big World, Kygo], the musicians retreated to familiar territory in order to record: the world-renowned Capitol Studios in Hollywood.

“We’ve made records through so many different phases of the band and the industry,” says Robby. “Even so, we were actually in the same room where we recorded a lot of older music this time. It felt like some of the vibe made it into our current process. We always try to keep it fresh, find new avenues, and keep moving forward.”

“The process is more enjoyable than ever,” adds John. “We work with whoever we want to, and we get to experiment. You never know if this may be the last time you’ll get to make a record. It’s a privilege, so you need to have fun. It’s a joy to sit down, try out ideas, and push the limits of the band.”

That’s exactly what the boys do on the first single and title track “Miracle Pill.” Backed by ragtime piano, handclaps, and dreamy production flourishes from Hollander and Grant Michaels, John’s voice swings from theatrical verses into an intoxicatingly irresistible hook.

At the center of the tune, he asks, “Baby, would you be my miracle pill? And I could be somebody else. So sick of living inside myself.”

“As soon as we finished Miracle Pill, it was the obvious title for many reasons,” John elaborates. “Miracle Pill is a metaphor for instant gratification or relief. If you’re feeling sad, you take a pill. If you need approval, you go on Instagram and receive it immediately. It speaks to the second decade of 21st century angst. We’re inundated by bullshit, garbage, and false solutions to every problem we have. The real path is to work hard, be nice, and keep going. However, this route gets overlooked, because we’re all looking for the ultimate shortcut and escape.”

Produced by Fuhrmann, the follow-up single “Fearless” pairs stark synths with driving guitar and an uplifting hook, “I’m gonna be fearless.  The tune addresses the state of the world and urges finding confidence among each other.

“I’m speaking to my daughter,” John says. “I want her to pursue what she wants, but we’re living in a scared and unfair world. You have to bravely go out and enact the changes you want to make in order for this to be a better place. I’m also apologizing to the next generation for leaving a big mess. They’re up for the challenge though.”

Elsewhere, “Step In Line” spotlights Robby’s gravelly delivery and shimmering electronics as it offers comfort “about getting older…Since you can’t stop it or slow it down, embrace it.Then, there’s “Lost” where John reassures his daughter, “she will never have to feel lost,just above finger-picked guitar. Meanwhile, “Money Fame & Fortune” incorporates background vocals from Valerie Broussard over ethereal acoustic strumming, tambourine, and synth transmissions.

“Everybody wants to be rich and famous in cyberspace, which is just bizarre,” sighs John. “We’re in an era where people are incredibly popular for I don’t even know what. Me, I just want three really good friends I can count on. I’m saying everything I need is in you and not in the world.”

Upheld by violin and viola, the conclusion “Think It Over” stretches towards heavenly heights on the harmonies of a soul choir and in between intimate confessions such as, “I am my father’s son. I tried to shake his fate, but it’s too late to die that young, fighting to make a change.

“I have this problem in my life where I feel low-grade chronic separation from everything and everyone,” John goes on. “I hate it. I’m trying to fill the gap, so the songs always push towards this. Not too much though, you need a little misery to create right?” he laughs.

Miracle Pill serves as the next step on a long life journey together for John and Robby. To date, Goo Goo Dolls’ sales exceed 12 million albums worldwide. Not to mention, the group garnered four GRAMMY® Award nominations and seized a page in the history books by achieving 14 number one and Top 10 hits at Hot AC—"the most of any artist in history. As a result, they hold the all-time radio record for “Most Top 10 Singles.Among a string of hits, “Iris” held #1 on the Hot 100 for 18 straight weeks and would be named “#1 Top 40 Song of the Last 20 Years. Thus far, A Boy Named Goo [1995] went double-platinum, Dizzy Up The Girl went quadruple-platinum, and Gutterflower [2002] and Let Love In [2006] both went gold as Something for the Rest of Us [2010] and Magnetic [2013] bowed in the Top 10 of the Billboard Top 200. 2016’s Boxes attracted the praise of People and Huffington Post as Noisey, Consequence of Sound, and more featured them. Their music has been covered by everyone from Taylor Swift to Leona Lewis. Additionally, they’ve performed for millions at sold out shows everywhere. Among many accolades, John received the prestigious “Hal David Starlight Award” in 2008 as well.

In the end, the music might just be the true Miracle Pill for Goo Goo Dolls.

“I want people to walk away satisfied, relating to it, and feeling like they’re a part of it,” John leaves off. “Personally, I can’t walk away from Miracle Pill  without feeling like I left a piece of me in there.”

“The connection continues here,” Robby agrees. “We’ve known each other for 33 years now. When you know somebody that long, you know what it takes to make it work forever. We decided we want it to work for as long as we can.”

 

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Chris Janson

Chris Janson

Performances

September 3 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Chris Janson

Who is Chris Janson? He’s a “live legacy in the making” (Rolling Stone). Breakout country star Janson is a platinum-selling recording artist, high-octane entertainer, multi-instrumentalist, and award-winning singer/songwriter. In the fiveyears since the release of his debut album, the three-time CMA nominee has collected prestigious accolades that place him amongst country music greats. He took home the trophy for ACM Video of the Year for his Gold-certified, inspiring hit song “Drunk Girl,” which also earned the Song of the Year title at the 2018 MusicRow Awards and was named one of the “Ten Songs I Wish I’d Written” by NSAI. His chart-topping, triple-Platinum smash “Buy Me A Boat” earned the same NSAI honor, making him one in a handful of the industry’s most elite artists to earn the title multiple times, as well as the iHeartRadio Music Awards Country Song of the Year.

Janson has 4 #1 hits including multi week chart topper” Done”, “Good Vibes, Fix a drink, But me a boat & award winning Drunk Girl . His current single, “Waitin’ On 5,” can be heard now on the airwaves. In addition to his own successes, the talented songwriter has lent his pen to industry peers including Tim McGraw (“Truck Yeah,” “How I’ll Always Be”), LOCASH (“I Love This Life”) and the legendary Hank Williams Jr. (“God Fearin’ Man,” “Those Days Are Gone”) & many more. Chris is a Grand Opry member.

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T-Pain

T-Pain

Performances

September 2 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

T-Pain

“I didn’t have a chance to come into the game with my natural voice,” T-Pain told Nick Cannon as he removed his monster costume as winner of The Masked Singer. “A lot of my peers did and they get accepted. This helped me get my voice out there even more.” For a decade and a half we’ve witnessed the Auto-Tune tinged legend create hit after hit, but now he’s out to 1UP himself. It’s a brand new day for T-Pain.

2005 was the year we first met the artist born Faheem Rasheed Najm with the release of his debut album Rapp Ternt Sanga. By 2007, T-Pain had the game in a chokehold, topping the charts with his follow-up Epiphany, which carried the colossal single “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’).” The Tallahassee, Florida native continued to deliver high energy, charismatic tunes and garnering a gargantuan fan base.

He collaborated with everyone from Lil’ Wayne (collectively known as T-Wayne) to Taylor Swift, while grabbing two Grammys: one for his collaboration with Kanye West on 2008’s “Good Life” (off West’s Graduation) and the other with Jamie Foxx on 2010’s “Blame It” (off Foxx’s Intuition). His projects Thr33 Ringz (2008) and Revolve? (2011) both proved T-Pain’s staying power in an ever-changing market, as the artist’s undeniable personality and skill reflected in both his music and his celebrity status (see his cameo on SNL comedy troupe Lonely Island’s Grammy nominated track “I’m On A Boat” for further evidence).

After dominating hip-hop and R&B for over five years (including the creation of an Auto-Tune app and Super Bowl commercial), T-Pain went silent. “I was becoming somebody that I didn’t like,” he admits. “I was living an unhappy lifestyle and it started affecting my family. I was hurting and scaring a lot of people.” He returned shortly thereafter to drop two more efforts, including 2015’s Stoicville: The Phoenix and 2017’s Oblivion.

However, T-Pain raised the stakes in 2018. He launched his clothing line Wiscansin University, locked a TV series with Fuse, T-Pain’s School of Business, hosted Red Bull’s Remix Lab, and found his way to Good Morning America thanks to his cut “Catchy Song” for the Lego Movie 2 soundtrack.

By 2019, T-Pain kept the momentum going, and at the close of February dropped his long awaited 1UP project via Cinematic Music Group. From the title track to the singles “A Million Times” (with O.T. Genasis), “All I Want” (with Flipp Dinero), and “Getcha Roll On” (with Tory Lanez), T-Pain proved once again that not only is he the master of Auto-Tune, but also can finesse his own natural chops as he did on that Masked Singer stage. Other cuts including “Here It Comes” (with Russ) and “Goat Talk” (with Lil Wayne) further that claim. T-Pain is a star and has been since he first entered the scene.

If there’s one valuable lesson to glean from the life of T-Pain, it’s consistency. The singer, songwriter, producer, and celebrated performer/entertainer has spent the greater whole of his career bringing masses together with feel good music. The party won’t stop here. T-Pain is only getting started.

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Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges

Performances

September 3 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Leon Bridges

Grammy Award-winning R&B recording artist and songwriter Leon Bridges will release his third studio album Gold-Diggers Sound on July 23rd. Gold-Diggers Sound, which Leon spent over two years conceptualizing, writing and recording, features Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin and Ink. The album has all new tracks, as well as “Sweeter,” which Leon released last year after the murder of George Floyd and ultimately performed at the Democratic National Convention. Leon launched Gold-Diggers Sound with his track “Motorbike” and its corresponding music video directed by Anderson .Paak.

 

Gold-Diggers Sound is an R&B album birthed from extended late nights at the Los Angeles speakeasy and studio of the same name. The album celebrates Leon’s immersive experience of creating music in the same East Hollywood room where he lived, worked and drank over the course of two years. What began as nightly all-night jam sessions where Leon and his fellow musicians could just vibe and let loose away from crowds, cameras and structured studio schedules, quickly began to form into what he realized was an album. The soulful collaboration between Leon as an artist and the space itself was so encompassing that he chose to name the album after the soon-to-be legendary complex.

 

Gold-Diggers Sound is the third solo from Leon Bridges in a career trajectory that saw him going from working as a dishwasher and busking on the streets of his beloved Fort Worth, TX to being signed to a major label and performing at the White House for Former President Barack Obama within a two-year span. Following the release of his Grammy Award winning sophomore album, Good Thing, Leon issued a steady stream of music including tracks with John Mayer, Kacey Musgraves, Kiana Ledé, Lucky Daye and Noah Cyrus as well as Texas Sun, a collaboration project with fellow Texans, Khruangbin. Other career highlights include opening for Harry Styles on an arena tour, his breakout track “River” being certified Platinum, portraying Gil Scott Heron in Damien Chazelle’s First Man, appearing in a global GAP holiday campaign, garnering a CMT Award for his Crossroads collaboration with Luke Combs, performing at the Tom Ford NYFW show and MoMA’s Film Benefit honoring Tom Hanks, selling out Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Hollywood Bowl and back to back nights at Radio City Music Hall.

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REO Speedwagon

REO Speedwagon

Performances

September 2 - 10:00 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

REO Speedwagon

Formed in 1967, signed in 1971, and fronted by iconic vocalist Kevin Cronin since 1972, REO Speedwagon’s unrelenting drive, as well as non-stop touring and recording jump-started the burgeoning rock movement in the Midwest. Platinum albums and radio staples soon followed, setting the stage for the release of the band’s explosive Hi Infidelity in 1980, which contained the massive hit singles “Keep On Loving You” and “Take It On the Run.” That landmark album spent 15 weeks in the No. 1 slot and has since earned the RIAA’s coveted 10X Diamond Award for surpassing sales of 10 million units in the United States.

Today, REO Speedwagon has sold more than 40 million albums around the globe, and Cronin and bandmates Bruce Hall (bass), Neal Doughty (keyboards), Dave Amato (guitar), and Bryan Hitt (drums) are still electrifying audiences worldwide in concert with hits and fan-favorites such as “In Your Letter,” “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “Time For Me To Fly,” “Roll With The Changes,” the aforementioned “Keep On Loving You” and  “Take It On the Run,” and many, many more.

REO Speedwagon’s Not So Silent Night: Christmas with REO Speedwagon is available for purchase here.

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El Gran Combo

El Gran Combo

Performances

September 9 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

El Gran Combo

El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico

“WHAT THE ROLLING STONES ARE TO ROCK ’N’ ROLL, EL GRAN COMBO IS TO SALSA! DURING THEIR 50+ YEARS OF PERFORMANCE, THIS LEGENDARY, 14 MEMBER SALSA ORCHESTRA FROM PUERTO RICO, HAS SOLD MORE THAN 100 MILLION RECORDS WORLDWIDE AND SHOWS NO SIGNS OF SLOWING DOWN.” - BARISTANET.COM

Led by pianist and musical director Rafael Ithier, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico is one of Puerto Rico’s greatest dance bands. Four decades after their inception, the 13-piece salsa group continues to inspire with its Latin rhythms and lush vocal harmonies.


Officially named “Ambassadors of Our Music” by the Puerto Rican Senate, El Gran Combo’s many hits include such classics as El Menu and Timablero. Their 1978 album, En Las Vegas, sold more than one million copies, and its follow-up, In Alaska: Breaking the Ice was nominated for a GRAMMY. They have sold over 120 records worldwide and holds the record for Most # 1 Latin Hits in all Latin Music Charts.

A longtime member of the popular Latin band, Cortijo y Su Combo, Ithier formed El Gran Combo in 1962 with eight of his bandmates, including percussionist, dancer, chorus singer, and salsa bandleader, Roberto Roena.


El Gran Combo continued to expand its following in the early ’60s, performing to enthusiastic crowds in New York, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela. In Puerto Rico, they appeared regularly on the popular television show, El Show de Las 12.

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Ludacris

Ludacris

Performances

September 16 - 10:15 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Ludacris

Recording artist, actor, philanthropist, restaurateur…just a few of the befitting titles for Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, who first gained worldwide acclaim more than 10 years ago with his debut album, Back for the First Time (2000). Ever since, his unrivaled lyrical prowess, dynamic performances and timeless hits including “Stand Up,” “Get Back,”, “Number One Spot,” “Money Maker,” and “My Chick Bad,” have solidified him as one of music’s best entertainers and led to the sale of more than 20 million albums domestically. With the 2013 release of LUDAVERSAL, fans can look forward to more great music from Ludacris.

In addition to immense commercial success, Ludacris' consistent output of stellar music has garnered the admiration of his peers, as well as numerous awards and honors including three Grammys.

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Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Performances

September 9 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett is an originator, an innovator, and a visionary. As the leader of the hard- rocking Blackhearts, with whom she has become a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, she's had eight platinum and gold albums and nine Top 40 singles, including the classics "Bad Reputation," "I Love Rock 'N' Roll," "I Hate Myself For Loving You," and "Crimson and Clover." Her independent record label, Blackheart Records, was founded in 1980 after she was rejected by no less than 23 labels. Blackheart is one of the longest running indie labels and continues to give voice to new bands. Jett has acted in movies and television, including 1987's Light Of Day, and in a Tony-nominated Broadway musical, The Rocky Horror Show. She has appeared on such acclaimed television shows as Oprah (the last season) and Law and Order.

As a producer, she has overseen albums by Bikini Kill, Circus Lupus, as well as the Germs' LA punk masterpiece, GI.

Her music has become a permanent force in mainstream culture. A version of "I Hate Myself for Loving You” was reworked for NBC's Sunday Night Football theme song, “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night”, and was performed for 9 seasons by the likes of Pink, Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood. Her music is heard in countless films and TV shows including Easy - A, Kick Ass, The Runaways, Shrek, Baby Mama, and many more.

Since co-founding the Runaways, the pioneering all-girl punk quintet, at age 15, Jett's determination and drive have kept her in the public eye. Jett was able to see her story told in The Runaways, the film based on (lead singer of The Runaways) Cherie Currie's book Neon Angel starring Kristen Stewart as Jett, and her fellow A-lister Dakota Fanning as Currie. Jett was close to the project: She served as an executive producer. Jett and the Blackhearts released their latest record, 'Unvarnished,' in 2013 and continue touring the globe to throngs of adoring fans.

Joan Jett has spent her lifetime breaking barriers and challenging expectations - this is, after all, a woman who is both a spokesperson for PETA and a devoted supporter of the US Military. She's fought hard for all of her historic accomplishments, yet she remains humble and appreciative.

"I've had a blessed career," she says. "I consider myself so lucky to have been able to do things my own way."

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Greensky Bluegrass

Greensky Bluegrass

Performances

September 9 - 9:45 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Greensky Bluegrass

After 18 years together, up to 175 shows per year, nearly 1,000 different setlists, six studio albums, and a litany of live releases, Greensky Bluegrass embodies more than just music for members Anders Beck [dobro], Michael Arlen Bont [banjo], Dave Bruzza [guitar], Mike Devol [upright bass], and Paul Hoffman [Mandolin]. Truthfully, it embodies an ironclad creative bond, familial brotherhood, and a lifelong commitment to fans. At this point, it goes without saying the band means everything (and more) to the Kalamazoo, MI bluegrass mavericks.

So, with a wink and a smile, they offer up a cleverly titled seventh full-length, All For Money, in 2019.

Hoffman dispels the obvious first: “Clearly, we aren’t a band all for money. We did it for romantic reasons such as love, catharsis, and because it mattered to us and the listeners. We wanted to have fun with the paradox of the title though. We’re truly blessed and humbled to have our dreams come true and do what we do. However, it would be easy to make decisions based on our needs to eat or the desires of others, but that’s not doing it for love. We love what we do, and we’re grateful for the love we receive in return from the people listening.”

As time goes on, the guys continue to do things for the “right reasons,and that mindset resonates louder and louder amongst a growing fan base. A live force of nature renowned for bringing rock ‘n’ roll showmanship to high-energy bluegrass, the group has sold out hallowed venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the legendary Ryman Auditorium in addition to igniting stages everywhere from Bonnaroo and New Orleans Jazz Festival to Austin City Limits and Outside Lands. Their unpredictable performances remain the stuff of legend attracting diehard devotees who typically travel far and wide to experience multiple gigs. In 2014, If Sorrows Swim bowed at #1 on the Billboard Top Bluegrass Albums Chart, while the 2016 follow-up Shouted, Written Down & Quoted cracked the Top 3. Along the way, they have also earned praise from Billboard, AXS, Westword, and more.

On All For Money, Greensky once again aimed to progress. This time around, the musicians kept the show top of mind as they composed the music.

“We have a motto where we want every show to be harder, better, longer, and faster,” admits Hoffman. “With All For Money, I felt like we were serving the performance more by writing and arranging material in a way we would intend to play it on stage. We tried to incorporate a lot of what we already do live, which is different for us in the studio.”

They recorded March-May at Echo Mountain Sound in Asheville, NC. In the studio, they worked with longtime friend Dominic John Davis as producer. According to Hoffman, Davis offered a fresh perspective on “how to balance the studio and concerts.Amplifying the sonic palette, signatures such as dobro tone, bass grooves, and banjo took the spotlight.

The first single “Do It Alone” feels equally at home on a festival stage as it does blaring through your soundsystem. Backed by a robust groove, the song transforms traditional bluegrass instrumentation into a rich sonic backdrop highlighted by a mandolin awash in a trio of effects as well as rich echoed vocals and emotive lyrics.

I’d been trying to write a windows-down rock ‘n’ roll tune for a while,” explains Hoffman. “I got out an old guitar of mine, re-strung it, and immediately spit the song out. It’s meant to be an anthem. I ask myself, ‘Why do I do it alone?’ It’s because I’ve got a whole room of thousands singing at the top of their lungs with me. Whenever I write something emotional that might be difficult to sing, I’m reminded of the fact the crowd is there. Hopefully, it’s a reminder for other people as well and we all have something to chant together.”

Hot on its heels, the intriguing and irresistible “Murder of Crows” takes flight on kinetic performances as it delivers an emotionally charged message and provocative narrative. “This is a song that Aaron and I wrote about disconnection, drifting apart, loss, and remorse,” Dave Bruzza reveals. “It also touches on a cry for help and how it was not heard in time. A friend told me crows had funerals. He explained that farmers used to nail a crow to the fence or barn door to get rid of them eating the crops. Thee birds would gather, pay their respects, and fly off never to return. It was interesting. I began to think why people disappear in our lives. It came together with the mysterious letter someone received, and it all made sense to turn this into a story.”

Also originally penned by Bruzza, “It’s Not Mine Anymore”’ illustrates the group’s virtuosity with a “metal” spirit. Elsewhere, “Wish I Didn’t Know” hinges on a trance-y Mandolin passage that proves instantly hypnotic, and “Do Harm” taps into an upbeat bounce by way of an an off-kilter rhythm. Meanwhile, the title track spirals into psychedelic territory during a head-spinning two-minute midsection before culminating on an important statement.

“It feels liberating to be honest about it,” he remarks. “With the title track, we were asking more of the listeners than we ever have, but the line ‘If you need a voice, I’m yours friend’ is meant for them.”

In the end, all the right reasons continue to drive Greensky Bluegrass.

“As songwriters and musicians, we have a need for people to be on board, and we’re not just regurgitating the same shit,” he leaves off. “We’re pushing ourselves every time. I hope they want to listen to the record and hear the songs live. I hope they know we’re doing this for us and them.”

 

 

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The Struts

The Struts

Performances

September 17 - 9:45 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

The Struts

The third full-length from British rock band The Struts, Strange Days came to life over the course of a charmed and frenzied burst of creativity last spring. After getting tested for COVID-19, singer Luke Spiller, guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott, and drummer Gethin Davies all moved into the Los Angeles home of Jon Levine, a producer who worked extensively on their acclaimed sophomore effort YOUNG & DANGEROUS (including the album’s chart-climbing lead single “Body Talks”). Within just ten days of couch-crashing at Levine’s house, The Struts had laid down nine original tracks and one masterful cover of a KISS B-side: a lean, mean body of work that amounts to their most glorious output to date.

“It was so much fun to make a record this way instead of getting everything done in between touring, working with multiple producers in multiple countries,” says Spiller. “We were all just burning to capture that excitement as much as we possibly could, and at times it felt like the songs were literally just falling from the sky.”

In an organic turn of events for a band massively embraced by some of rock-and-roll history’s greatest icons—a feat that’s included opening for The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Guns N’ Roses—Strange Days finds The Struts joining forces with a formidable lineup of guest musicians: Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott and Phil Collen, Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes, Tom Morello, and Robbie Williams. Mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer (Panic! At the Disco, Arctic Monkeys, Johnny Marr), the result is a powerhouse album that lifts The Struts’ glammed-up breed of modern rock to entirely new and wildly thrilling heights.

Kicking off with a magnificent bang, Strange Days opens on its title track, a sprawling and string-laced duet with Robbie Williams. “I was doing Quarantine Radio and Robbie hit me up out of the blue asking if we could talk,” notes Spiller, referring to the Instagram Live show launched by The Struts in the early days of lockdown. “We ended up Face-Timing for about two hours the first time we’d ever spoken, talking about life and music and UFOs and everything else you can think of. I asked if he’d like to work together at some point, and while we were making the album he graciously let us come over and record him singing on his front porch.” Despite its prescient title, “Strange Days” took shape from a voice memo Spiller recorded on the band’s tour bus way back in summer 2019. Fused with a cabaret-inspired interlude Spiller had recently dreamed up, the song ultimately evolved into the perfect vessel for the frontman’s force-of-nature voice: a tenderhearted epic that offers incredible solace in the most chaotic of times.

Sparked from a Britpop-leaning riff brought in by Slack, the album’s potent lead single “Another Hit of Showmanship” feat. Albert Hammond Jr. centers on another poignant vocal performance from Spiller, who deftly channels the tension between giving in to temptation and rising above your demons. After laying down the initial version of the track, Spiller reached out to Hammond, for whom the band opened on a series of 2018 solo shows. “‘Another Hit of Showmanship’ reminds me of being at a club night called Ramshackle years ago at the O2 Academy in Bristol, where they’d play bands like The Libertines and Razorlight and Scissor Sisters, and of course The Strokes,” says Spiller. “I hit up Albert out of the blue and told him, ‘We’ve got this song, and I’m so excited to see what you would do with it.’ As soon as he got his hands on it, he took it to a whole different level—it really just shows why he’s so brilliant at what he does.”

The most groovy-heavy work yet from The Struts, Strange Days also delivers hip-shaking standouts like “I Hate How Much I Want You”: a hot-and-bothered stomper graced with a scorching guitar solo from Phil Collen and Joe Elliott’s high-voltage vocals. Another explosive moment, “All Dressed Up (With Nowhere To Go)” unfolds in snarling power chords and exquisitely cheeky lyrics (its opening salvo: “You look like a movie star/On Sunday morning”). “That one’s based around the idea of being in love with your motorcycle—there’s a bit of innuendo to it,” says Spiller, whose own bike inspired the track. “The whole concept of being all dressed up with nowhere to go seems especially relevant the moment.” Meanwhile, “Wild Child” makes for a fierce and filthy anthem, infinitely supercharged by Tom Morello’s blistering guitar work. And on the beautifully weary “Burn It Down,” The Struts slip into a bittersweet mood, serving up a slow-burning ballad that sounds straight from the sessions for Exile on Main St.

The sole cover song on Strange Days, “Do You Love Me” finds The Struts updating a fantastically sleazy track first recorded by KISS in 1976 and remade in 1980 by Girl (a late-’70s/early-’80s British glam-metal band that, incidentally, featured Phil Collen on guitar). “I was so in love with Girl’s version of ‘Do You Love Me’ and thought the simplicity of it was amazing,” says Spiller. “I wanted to give it an even bigger sound for our album—something way more aggressive, completely balls-to-the-wall.”

In their supreme handling of “Do You Love Me,” The Struts again claim their rightful place in the lineage of rock-and-roll hellraisers. Formed in Derby, England, in 2012, the band quickly drew a major following with their outrageous live show, and later made their debut with Have You Heard (a 2015 EP whose lead single “Could Have Been Me” hit #1 on Spotify’s viral chart). Before they’d even put out their first album, the band opened for The Rolling Stones before a crowd of 80,000 in Paris and toured the U.S. on a string of sold-out shows. With their full-length debut Everybody Wants arriving in 2016, The Struts released YOUNG & DANGEROUS in 2018, soon after wrapping up a North American tour with Foo Fighters. Having toured incessantly since their formation, The Struts have also taken the stage at many the world’s biggest music festivals, including Lollapalooza, Governors Ball, Isle of Wight, and many more.

As Spiller reveals, the making of Strange Days was a period of joyful productivity. “Every day I’d wake up at about 7 a.m., get three venti Americanos delivered to the house, go out to the backyard and smoke a couple of spliffs, and listen to the voice memos I’d recorded at the sessions the day before,” he recalls. “After the first four days or so we hit a bit of a wall, so we decided to get some beers in and just stay in the pool all day—and the day after that we knocked out three whole songs.” Throughout Strange Days, that kinetic energy manifests in the album’s unbridled spirit, an element that makes every track exhilarating. “I think because we’d wanted to make an album this way for years, all that excitement and hunger led to an immediate sort of magic once we started working on it,” says Spiller. “It was undoubtedly a magical ten days for us—and I hope when people hear the album, it gives them a taste of that magic too.”

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O.A.R.

O.A.R.

Performances

September 10 - 9:45 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

O.A.R.

O.A.R. might just be music’s biggest best kept secret. The platinum-certified Rockville, MD band has quietly sold out Madison Square Garden twice, filled Red Rocks Amphitheater a dozen times, earned platinum and gold plaques, lit up the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, and built one of the most committed fanbases in the world. The group—Marc Roberge [lead vocals, guitar], Richard On [lead guitar, backing vocals], Chris Culos [drums], Benj Gershman [bass], and Jerry DePizzo [saxophone, guitar, backing vocals] accompanied by Mikel Paris [keys, backing vocals, percussion], and Jon Lampley [trumpet, backing vocals]—ring in 25 years together by strengthening this special bond with audiences everywhere. 

“When we were kids during summer, we’d hijack a minivan from one of our moms, head to the local amphitheater, and watch our favorite bands,” recalls Marc. “On the way, I’d look out the window and think, ‘I’d like to be in a band that gives this to people’. We’ve got an original crew. It’s like Stand By Me, The Goonies, or Stranger Things. We put the essence of neighborhood friends into our songs.”

The implications of this secret have become downright mythic over the years. As legend has it, O.A.R. took the stage for the first time at the eighth grade talent show. “That is still one of my proudest moments,” grins Marc. “I love the fact we had the guts to do it.” A few years down the road, Jerry joined the fold at the Ohio State University. While in high school, Marc instituted a sales rep program, asking friends who had gone away to college to sell boxes of CDs and document the names and emails of each buyer, attracting a grassroots following. Tens of thousands of hours later, they sold out Madison Square Garden for the first time in 2006 only to repeat this feat one year later. Along the way, two singles—“Love and Memories” and “Peace”—and the live album Any Time Now went gold as “Shattered” achieved platinum status. The 2011 anthem “Heaven” emerged as their most successful song on the West Coast. 2019’s The Mighty marked the group’s third consecutive Top 15 debut on the Billboard Top 200. Piquing the curiosity of media, they’ve incited think pieces by everyone from the New York Times to Sports Illustrated and performed on The Today Show, The Tonight Show, Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Special Olympics Opening Ceremony, the ESPYS, and more. They have done it on their own terms.

“We’ve always had an independent spirit,” affirms Jerry. “The crowds give us the energy to forge our own path. We’re not beholden to traditional cycles, schedules, or any of that bullshit. We contribute a soundtrack to people’s lives, and take a lot of pride in it. Internally, we’re a cottage industry. This is a small business run by five friends, and we do it daily. It comes down to always super-serving the crowd.

We put ourselves in a fan’s shoes, think about what we would want from our favorite band, and do our best to execute that.”

The ardor and adulation of the fan community comes through loud and clear among forums of diehards. Beyond indulging this community, O.A.R. gives back as well. The band’s Heard The World Fund supports youth, education, and the under-served in the United States, raising, and contributing millions to benefit various schools, students, and organizations. They established a scholarship at their alma mater, the Ohio State University, and provide scholarships to veterans and gold star families via Folds of Honor. The Concert For Dreams, performed at NYC’s famous Beacon Theater, raised north of $1 million for Garden of Dreams. Additionally, the band has gone to bat for causes, including Connor’s Cure to stand up to pediatric cancer. They raised and donated $100,000 for the Jimmy V Foundation.

“We feel a moral obligation to help,” adds Jerry.

At the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, O.A.R. engaged listeners in a different way. The frontman launched “I Feel Home with Marc” on Instagram Live, playing acoustically, communicating from the heart, and bringing a little light to the world. Impressively, he drew tens of thousands of viewers on a regular basis. 

“I didn’t want to do it,” he admits. “Then, everything changed. My daughter asked, ‘Hey, are you going to sing songs again? Are you going to write?’ So, I thought, ‘I’m going Live. Let’s give it a swing’. I’m sitting in the house, playing guitar, and it’s like getting on stage at a little club or a bar. We all need to be together even if we can’t do so in-person. I fell in love with the process.”

In the end, the bigger this secret gets, the more special it becomes.

“We’re in a constant state of appreciation,” Marc concludes. “This isn’t something we have to do; it’s something we get to do. It comes from a pure place of imagination. O.A.R. is not only a declaration that we’re here, but that we’re going through what you’re going through. To all of us, O.A.R. is a stable, concrete foundation. We’re all doing this for the right reasons, and we’re a family.”

“Each day since I was five-years-old, I’ve woken up and chased my dream,” Jerry leaves off.

“This is a manifestation of the same dream. We won’t ever take it for granted.”

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Jordan Davis

Jordan Davis

Performances

September 16 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Jordan Davis

MCA Nashville’s Jordan Davis has been named an “Artist to Watch” by Billboard, Rolling Stone, CMT, Pandora, Shazam, Amazon Music, Sounds Like Nashville, The Tennessean, SiriusXM, Whiskey Riff, and more. A Native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Davis graduated from LSU and briefly pursued the path of his degree working as an environmental consultant; however, his passion for music and songwriting eventually compelled him to move to Nashville in the summer of 2012. The 2020 ACM New Male Artist of the Year nominee’s debut album Home State has accumulated over 1.5 billion streams worldwide and features his three consecutive No. 1 hits: Platinum-Certified “Slow Dance In A Parking Lot,” the Double Platinum-Certified “Singles You Up” and Platinum-Certified “Take It From Me.” In 2019 Davis won Best New Country Artist at the iHeart Radio Music Awards and was a nominee for ACM New Male Artist of the Year. He was also named Billboard’s Top New Country Artist of 2018 as well as Country Aircheck/Mediabase’s Most Heard New Artist of 2018. The hitmaker recently released a six-song, self-titled EP featuring current Top 20 single “Almost Maybes” as well as a collaboration with pop superstar Julia Michaels, “Cool Anymore.” The singer/songwriter has previously toured with the likes of Rascal Flatts, Jake Owen, Kip Moore, Brett Young and Old Dominion and last year headlined his Trouble Town Tour hitting over 20 cities. For additional information, visit www.jordandavisofficial.com.

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Jimmie Allen

Jimmie Allen

Performances

September 16 - 8:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Jimmie Allen

Signed to BBR Music Group’s Stoney Creek Records, platinum-selling recording artist and songwriter Jimmie Allen has already made history as the first Black artist to launch a career with two consecutive No. 1 hits on country radio – the first being his debut single “Best Shot” – which claimed the No. 1 spot for three weeks – and second being his latest single “Make Me Want To” off his debut album Mercury Lane, released fall 2018. Named in tribute to the street he grew up on and the origin of his incredible journey, Mercury Lane features a cutting-edge mix of country, rock, R&B and pop that draws upon the influence of his family and small-town upbringing of the critically-acclaimed rising star. Rolling Stone raved Allen’s debut “challenges the narrowly defined model of what constitutes a next big thing in country music in 2018” and The New York Times dubbed it one of 2018’s strongest, calling it “a conventional country album, filled with songs about the small details.” His latest project Bettie James, released in July 2020, is a star-studded collaboration EP featuring Brad Paisley, Charley Pride, Darius Rucker, Mickey Guyton, Nelly, Cyrus, The Oak Ridge Boys, Rita Wilson, Tauren Wells & Tim McGraw. Wanting to weave his late father and late grandmother’s legacies into his music, Allen named the project after them, with each featured artist on the project having touched their respective lives through their own music. The result is a musical composition of love, heartbreak, perseverance, hope and faith. Bettie James has garnered 95+ million streams since release, along with critical acclaim for the music, the historic nature of various collaborations, and its subsequent place in country music history. NPR calls the project an “announcement of [Allen’s] arrival” and a “huge step for country” while Billboard hails it “a powerful statement from a developing voice.” Rolling Stone describes “Why Things Happen” – which brings together three generations of Black country artists in Allen, Darius Rucker and Charley Pride – as “part polemic, part proclamation, and part prayer… opening up space for the artists to bear witness.” Allen’s current single “This Is Us” features Cyrus and is his fastest consuming single ever, with 51+ million streams to date. Allen was most recently nominated for New Artist of the Year at the 54th Annual CMA Awards – his first ever CMA nomination. On July 13, 2021, Allen will publish his debut picture book, My Voice Is a Trumpet, with Flamingo Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. Illustrated by veteran illustrator Cathy Ann Johnson, the book is a powerful story about speaking up for what you believe in, at any age. For more information, visit www.jimmieallenmusic.com.

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Nelly

Nelly

Performances

September 10 - 10:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Nelly

Diamond Selling, Multi-platinum, Grammy award-winning rap superstar, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and actor, Nelly, has continually raised the bar for the entertainment industry since stepping on the scene in 2000 with his distinctive vocals and larger-than-life personality. He became king of the “Summer Anthem” with songs like Hot in Herre, RideWitMe, Countrry Grammar, Cruise, Shake Ya Tailfeather, Dilemma and Just a Dream. 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of Country Grammar disrupting the music scene with Nelly’s unique sound and vocals. Nelly’s collaboration with Florida Georgia Line received Diamond status and he is only one of seven rappers to date to reach this honor. Currently he is touring around the globe and recently was the first artist to play in Saudi Arabia with a mixed gender/family crowd. Nelly along with TLC and FloRida kick off a sure to be spectacular show this summer. Adding to his list of “firsts” Nelly is the first hip hop artist to play with multiple symphonies nationwide and played himself in BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood with Kevin Hart for 6 seasons. His sports knowledge and love of all sports secured him a gig as a sports caster with Skip Bayless. 2019 is going to be a huge year for the hip hop mogul, currently Nelly is in studio preparing for new music to be released and announced another collaboration with Florida Georgia line producing an EP with Nelly and a new crossover festival! Nelly has several unique business ventures to be announce in fourth quarter of 2019 which will hopefully be as successful as Apple Bottoms was, selling for multiple millions. Billboard ranked Nelly the number three Top Artist of the Decade in 2009 and he to date holds the philanthropic honor of hosting the most African American attended donor registry to date. Nelly is the co-owner of the Charlotte Hornets with Michael Jordan and founded a college program that offers music production to students and Nelly funded scholarships.

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Cam

Cam

Performances

September 18 - 4:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Cam

Camaron Ochs, or Cam professionally and to her friends, has co-written with Sam Smith for his album (the song also became the soundtrack for an exquisite Apple commercial) and toured with him around North America. She lent her writing voice to Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz album and she opened for Harry Styles at the legendary Ryman in Nashville. Some of her proudest moments outside of her music are working in both the GRAMMY and ACM Diversity & Inclusion TaskForces. Cam is excited about her dual role as a singer-songwriter and performer, and also as a mother. Cam's current single at country radio is "Till There's Nothing Left" which has a bangin', cinematic music video available to watch here.

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Tank and The Bangas

Tank and The Bangas

Performances

September 11 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

Tank and The Bangas

Tank and The Bangas don’t go anywhere quietly. Sitting around a dimly lit room in London’s neighborhood of Camden Town, vocalist Tank Ball, bassist Norman Spence, drummer Joshua Johnson and saxophonist Albert Allenback can’t go mere minutes without bursting into play fights, or talking over one another, or laughing from their deepest guts. They are a beacon of life. And it’s that life that you hear in their music. That’s what makes this fivepiece one of the most thrilling, unpredictable and sonically diverse bands on the planet; a unit where jazz meets hip-hop, soul meets rock, and funk is the beating heart of everything they do. Their new album Green Balloon is on the horizon, and it’s their first release now they’re signed to major label Verve Forecast – a deal that came after they won NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest in 2017, beating out hundreds of other acts. They admit that it was a moment that has entirely changed their lives. This resulting record is set to prove their pizazz and their staying power. It’s everything they’ve worked so hard for so far.

Green Balloon is a multi-faceted title for their first full-length release since Think Tank in 2013. Think Tank was a case of throwing all their creative juices and ideas to at the wall to see what stuck. It was a DIY project. This album process was a world apart from that. “Green Balloon is a sister to Think Tank,” says Tank. “Think Tank was 12, and Green Balloon is 16 and having sex. She’s out there.” Made in New Orleans, Los Angeles, London and Florida, the band’s newfound critical acclaim and global notoriety meant they were able to call upon producers such as Jack Splash, Mark Batson, Zaytoven, Louie Lastic and Robert Glasper. Some of these names were on their bucket wishlist, others were new discoveries. “It was truly a dream to us. We’re so lucky,” says Tank. Green Balloon and many of its lyrical themes may seem to revolve around money and material (“money, look at all my money” starts ‘Spaceships’), but it’s far more complex than that. The color is explored throughout the tracks.

It’s not quite a full concept album, but there are interludes and a story arc. Tank explains that in New Orleans a common phrase is “she’s as green as a blade of grass”. “Green is about being naïve,” she explains. “You could be immature, new to life and experiences.” Green is also a reference to marijuana, which is vital to the band. “Feeling high, feeling out of yourself, feeling different,” she continues. Take the track “Too High,” which is almost two minutes of Tank just talking about weed consumption. In terms of wealth, Tank is as interested in what it means to not have money as she is with knowing what you do with money when you’ve never had it. It’s fitting too, that the idea of naivety pertains to the experience of Tank and The Bangas in the past few years while elevating from underground treasures to internationally renowned professionals. “It’s been a learning curve and a journey,” they admit. “We went to a whole different dimension.”

The founding members of the band (Tank, Josh and Norman) met at an open mic night in New Orleans in 2011 called Liberation Lounge. Tank had wanted Josh to write out songs she’d already written for a poetry album. Eventually they met Albert. A family of musical lifers, none of them ever thought twice about quitting through years and years of grinding it out on local live circuits. That time gave them the best foundation for their onstage chemistry and dexterity. As a result they’ve been heralded the best live band in America and for good reason.

It was the NPR contest that turned their world upside down. They were already accustomed to winning competitions but they had no expectations for their entry. Their submission is an example of their need for more discipline – they did it at the very last minute. “We weren’t expecting to win or not to win. We did something we thought was really cool and we thought everybody would vibe with it, but we didn’t know it would change our lives. It was our moment. They picked us unanimously.” They went from traveling to the likes of Chicago to play to three or four people, to touring all over the world, and getting to enjoy downtime at home in New Orleans. It led to the album-making process.

On the record, they have overcome their biggest challenges to date: deadlines, forward-planning and outsider collaboration. The reward is in the songs and their variety. “Dope Girl Magic” is a trap joint, showcasing the other side to Tank, as she raps with as many character voices as Missy Elliott or Nicki Minaj. “Ants” is dripping in soul jazz like Amy Winehouse’s “Frank.” “Hot Air Balloons” is a slow jam straight out of the D’Angelo school book. Tank is a former slam poet and her voice is inspired by everyone from Donny Hathaway and SWV to Nina Simone. Their biggest collective influence in the past few years has been Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. “It’s the best shit you’ve ever heard. A lot of people aren’t accustomed to horns, but if you give them a tiny taste you can whet their appetite. That record brought an eclectic view to what music could be as mainstream.”

Tank is lead lyricist and describes her focus on these songs as simply honesty. “Being vulnerable,” she says. “I had a lot of moments on this album where it would get difficult and I would call in reinforcements, like my band members. Whenever I was in a tough spot I’d call on the guys.” It’s a self-reflective diary, a mixture of fun and joy, but also a catharsis while dealing with a complicated ex. “Roll out, take your bra off,” she laughs, depicting her attitude to life in these songs. The creative process was often spur-of-the-moment and out of the blue. The biggest thing they learned about one another in the studio was more of a reinforcement than a revelation. They found new depths of appreciation for each others’ creativity. “I’m around a bunch of freaking geniuses,” says Tank.

“We’re really vibe-y as a band,” they explain of their approach to studio time. They’d arrive to sessions with an idea of what they wanted but it was never strict enough to derail them from jamming and going with the flow. Their songs come whenever, usually during rehearsals and sound checks. It’s purely organic. “It’s a puzzle and everybody needs to be there to solve it,” says Tank. Their mixture of rock, funk, soul and hip-hop is unlike anything else in the ether right now, but elements are close enough to Beyonce, Frank Ocean, Flying Lotus, Kendrick, etc, that the hope is they can infiltrate the mainstream. They don’t connect with the idea of genre, which is thoroughly modern in itself.

“It’s like colors or something,” they say. “Everything we’re influenced by we don’t have a problem putting on a record because we don’t feel like we’re stuck in one lane.” Tank agrees: “When we’re creating, we are creating. We never say: that sounded too blues-y, that sounded too country, that’s too hip-hop. It’s just that’s what this feels like, so let’s push that feeling to its completion, make it feel good.” Tank and The Bangas are the vein of band to believe that there are only two types of music: good music, or bad music. “If it’s good, it’s good!” says Tank.

Despite their newfound global focus, Tank and The Bangas remain a New Orleans band at heart. New Orleans is a lawless place for creatives – there are no rules. There might be an idea of the typical Frenchmen St jazz band but to couch this band’s work in that notion is to do both them and NOLA a grand disservice. ”You don’t need to do a certain type of music to be connected to New Orleans,” says Tank. “It’s in the culture, it’s in the people, it’s in the fact that we can all find so many common things in the streets.” New Orleans champions its own, which allowed Tank and The Bangas to grow their fanbase by word of mouth and community. “That’s more New Orleans than anything I’ve ever heard. The music in New Orleans isn’t technical, it’s not a bunch of fancy ass notes. It’s felt and it’s very passionate. It’s real. That’s what people get to take home.”

It makes sense that the next person they have on their dream list to work with is legendary musician George Clinton. “Just putting it out there,” laughs Tank. Overall, the band are no longer waiting for their own green light to get going. The green light is here, and you better believe Tank and The Bangas are ready to take flight.

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Blanco Brown

Blanco Brown

Performances

September 4 - 4:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Blanco Brown

Blurring the lines between Country and hip-hop music, Blanco Brown makes a southern sound that he proudly calls "trailer trap." It's a boundary-breaking, multicolored genre of his very own — which draws upon the rawness and storytelling abilities of his two biggest musical influences, Johnny Cash and Outkast. His debut EP, Blanco Brown, showcases the full range of its creator, who juggles multiple roles as the project's songwriter, producer, vocalist, visionary, and multi-instrumentalist.

Years before he rose up the ranks as a Grammy-nominated engineer and major-label solo artist, and one of Billboard’s “7 Country Acts to Watch in 2019” Blanco— grew up in two very different worlds, both in the state of Georgia, splitting his time between the city projects and the rural countryside. During the school year, he'd spend his months in Atlanta, where the crime that filled his neighborhood was offset by the love and musical connection shared by his family. Every summer, he’d head out of town temporarily moving in with relatives in the small rural town of Butler, GA.

During those summers in Butler, the soundtrack that had filled his days back home in Atlanta — the R&B harmonies he'd sing with his brothers; the rap he'd hear blasting from the cassette players in passing cars; the gospel music he'd howl every Sunday morning in church — gave way to the laidback, rootsy sounds of Johnny Cash songs and Bobby Blue Bland records. It was there, far away from city life, that Blanco became a fan of Country music. As each summer drew to an end, though, he'd head back to the city, leaving behind the twangy sounds of Butler and returning once again to the projects of Atlanta.

Those two worlds come together with Blanco Brown, an EP that strikes a balance between Blanco's contrasting backgrounds. A mix of countrified influences and street-smart lingo, the EP finds Blanco dressing up his rapid-fire lyrics and melodic hooks with layers of lap steel, thumping kick drum, harmonica, spoons, tambourine, banjo, synthesizers, 808 percussion, guitar, and plenty of vocal harmonies. The result is a debut EP that's both urban and rural, blending the sounds of Blanco's diverse upbringing into the world's very first trailer-trap project.

Blanco Brown also represents a triumph over adversity. A childhood outcast who spent most of his youth in the hood, Blanco learned to channel his emotions into art at a young age. He drew. He sang. He wrote songs. Years later, he still sees colors whenever he makes music. The songs on Blanco Brown represent a mix of darkness and light, balancing the aggressive, hard-edged narratives of songs like "Country Time" with upbeat, sunlit love songs like "Head Nod." It's a vivid, vibrant sound — one that shines a light on Blanco's loving personality, challenging upbringing, and boundless creativity.

Gluing the mix together in Blanco's voice and detailed storytelling, with each song spinning true-life tales of poverty, relationships, the hood, and the journey to overcome whatever obstacles stand between you and your dream. Although most of those stories come from Blanco's own experience, they help weave a more universal picture.

"I don't necessarily think of the sound as being genre-breaking," he says. "I think of it as being culture-bonding. If you listen to the messages of these songs, you'll find it's about the things we go all through as humans, not about race.”

Like many of his songs, "Country Time," with its hard-hitting hip-hop bounce and bluegrass-inspired outro, was tracked on Blanco's laptop, while "Don't Love Her" was built upon a voice memo that originated on his cell phone. Other songs were created in more traditional studios — the kind of place that Blanco already knew well, given the years he'd spent working with musicians from across the spectrum. Blanco Brown may be Blanco's first release as a solo artist in his own right, but he's no newcomer. Instead, he's a well-rounded veteran of the recording studio, with his eyes now set on the stage. Over the years Blanco worked as a vocal producer with top name artists like Fergie, Childish Gambino, Chris Brown and Kane Brown to name a few. He also wrote songs for big names like Monica in addition to working as a background singer.

"This album accentuates one side of what I went through, I can’t forget the hood," says Blanco, who writes compellingly about his youth on songs like "Ghett Ol Memories" and “Temporary Insanity.” "I didn't start out trying to make Country music, but these are the sounds I love—and always keep coming back to time and time again. I don't believe in people being trailer trash, either, so I want to put a good connotation on that word. Making trailer-trap music really feels liberating to me, because I want to bring people together. That's what this music stands for: unity. It's multiple influences and sounds and styles, all coming together."

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Turkuaz ft Jerry Harrison & Adrian Belew

Turkuaz ft Jerry Harrison & Adrian Belew

Performances

September 18 - 9:30 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Turkuaz ft Jerry Harrison & Adrian Belew

REMAIN IN LIGHT

Balancing male-female harmonies, strutting guitars, wild horn arrangements, and interminable grooves, a spirit takes shape on stage nightly for Turkuaz via larger-than-life performances. Among numerous critical plaudits, The New Yorker claimed, “[Turkuaz] delivers horn-filled funk incorporating elements of R&B, psychedelic pop, gospel, Afro-pop, New Wave, classic rock, and just about any genre that gets people dancing.” 

The Brooklyn-based nonet—Dave Brandwein [guitar, vocals], Taylor Shell [bass], Craig Brodhead [guitar, keys], Michelangelo Carubba [drums], Chris Brouwers [trumpet, keys], Greg Sanderson [tenor sax], Josh Schwartz [baritone sax, vocals], Sammi Garett [vocals], and Shira Elias [vocals]—ignite an explosion of energy punctuated by neon hues, deft musicality, and show-stopping singalongs on their newest EP, Kuadrochrome.

Touring incessantly in support of four full-length studio albums, EPs and live releases, they’ve lit up stages everywhere from Bonnaroo, Hulaween, Okeechobee, Electric Forest, and Mountain Jam to Telluride Jazz, High Sierra, and Lock’n, in between gracing stages at legendary spots such as Red Rocks, Terminal 5, and The Fillmore, to name a few. Since emerging in 2011 with their self-titled debut, the group have quietly animated a movement. 

“I would love for our music to be a bright spot in an otherwise dark world. You can come to our shows, let go, exist, and have a good time in spite of what may be going on outside. That’s what music does for us. We want to share that.”

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Jai Wolf DJ Set

Jai Wolf DJ Set

Performances

September 2 - 8:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Jai Wolf DJ Set

You don’t know Jai Wolf like you think you do. After hundreds of millions of streams on indie-dance anthems like “Indian Summer” and “Starlight,” blockbuster festival sets from Indio to India, and co-signs from the likes of Skrillex and ODESZA, it’s clear from the opening notes of Jai Wolf’s long-awaited debut album The Cure to Loneliness that he sees the expectations around his name as an opportunity to challenge convention.

The Cure to Loneliness finds Jai Wolf completing his evolution from upstart bedroom remixer to future bass DJ to builder of lush musical worlds. While still very much dancefloor-focused, some tracks on the LP conjure the angular riffage of The Strokes and Phoenix, weave melodies through the sugary happysad of M83 and CHVRCHES, or build up walls of sound like Explosions in the Sky -- all while maintaining the melodious polish and evocative groove to which fans have grown so close.

“In my heart, this album is me,” says Jai Wolf. “From the sounds to the lyrics, it’s everything that I’ve always wanted to do.” Taking a different approach to many of his contemporaries under the wing of indie darling label Mom+Pop (Courtney Barnett, Flume, Jagwar Ma, Alina Baraz), Jai Wolf largely eschewed singles over the course of two years to patiently craft The Cure to Loneliness. The result is a thoughtfully framed, confidently expressed musical vision that will tug at heartstrings in 2019 and long beyond.

The Cure to Loneliness is available everywhere now.

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Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery

Performances

September 18 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Scotty McCreery

“I’ve lived a lot of life since my last record,” says Scotty McCreery. “I moved out on my own, I travelled across the country and the world, I got engaged, I was dropped by my label, I was even robbed at gunpoint. So I really wanted this album to show who Scotty is at 24, what’s going on in my life, and I think we accomplished that.”

With his third album (plus a chart-topping Christmas record), the young star takes a huge creative step forward. He co-wrote all 11 songs on Seasons Change, working with some of the finest songwriters in Nashville to express a wide range of emotions and musical styles. And after a lengthy legal struggle that kept him on the sidelines for several years, McCreery placed a bold bet with his career that has paid off with a new label and a reinvigorated attitude.

“At first, it actually started pretty simple,” he says. “We were just looking for the best songs. But then as my life got more complicated, I knew I wanted to make a record that was a lot more personal, and I felt that writing more myself would help capture that.”

After winning Season Ten of American Idol in 2011, McCreery made history when he became the youngest male artist of any genre, and the first country music artist ever, to have his debut album enter at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Clear as Day was certified Platinum for sales of one million units in just 13 weeks and became the best-selling solo album released by a country artist in 2011. The singles “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble with Girls” were also certified Platinum. He won the New Artist of the Year award at both the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards and the American Country Awards, and also received the CMT Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year for “The Trouble with Girls.”

A year later, Christmas with Scotty McCreery debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart and was quickly certified Gold. His next album, 2013’s See You Tonight, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, and "See You Tonight" and “Feelin’ It” both reached the Top 10 and were certified Platinum and Gold respectively. “See You Tonight” earned McCreery both his first BMI Award for writing one of the Top 50 Country Songs of 2015, and his first Music Row No. 1 Challenge Coin for landing atop the Music Row Country Breakout Chart.

While he had been working on his songwriting craft throughout his rapid rise, McCreery felt that he really needed to buckle down and study if he was going to tell the stories he really wanted to tell on Seasons Change. “I wanted to write with everybody,” he says. “I was just trying to be a sponge and soak up all I could. It really set me up to where I could write every song on the record, and not feel like I was compromising the quality of what I was singing.”

Key to his growth was producer Frank Rogers (Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker), who co-wrote six of the album’s songs and helped steer the ship. “Frank worked on my last record, but this time he really took me under his wing,” says McCreery. “I lean a little more to the traditional side, but he does a great job of getting new sounds and traditional sounds and meshing them together.” He also brought in Aaron Eshuis and Derek Wells as co-producers on the album. “Derek had played on my last album and he’s one of the most in-demand session players in town. I knew he had the musical ear and strong musical point of view that would enrich this project. And with Aaron -- every time we sat down, we wrote a great song. Having Frank, Derek and Aaron was a great combination.”

The first song he worked on after his lengthy fight with his old label was resolved was “Seasons Change,” writing with James McNair and Tommy Cecil. “That was my first time diving back into music after dealing with lawyers for a year, and I felt rejuvenated,” he says. “I decided that very day that it was going to be on the record.”

Another thrill came when North Carolina resident McCreery got to write the beach-music-inspired “Barefootin’” with David Lee Murphy. “He’s had such huge hits, has such a way with words, and ‘Dust on the Bottle’ is one of my all-time favorite songs,” says McCreery. “I never expected to write with him, and then we sat down and wrote one of my favorite songs—that was a great day.”

The greatest breakthrough, however, may have come in February 2015, when he wrote “Five More Minutes” with Rogers and Monty Criswell. “I knew it was a special song,” he says. “I tweeted that day that we just wrote my favorite song I’d ever written.” As the search for a new label continued, McCreery and his team made a brave decision, and released the song on their own, with no record company behind it.

“Most sane people would have said to wait,” he says, “but my management and I really believed in it—and at the core of country music, it still comes down to the song. And we were willing to bet on that. We knew it might take a while, but we felt like we could do it and build something one step at a time.”

It didn’t take a while. On its first day of release, “Five More Minutes” was ranked No. 2 on the iTunes country singles chart and No. 9 on the iTunes all-genre singles chart. It debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard Country Digital Sales Chart, McCreery’s highest ranking on that chart since his debut single in 2011.

The emotional music video, with home movies of McCreery as a boy alongside his family and friends, was the No.1 country music video and the No. 2 music video overall on iTunes. It stayed at No. 1 on the GAC Top 20 Countdown for six weeks. His powerful performance of “Five More Minutes” on the Grand Ole Opry stage during CMA Music Festival won the 2016 Rare Country Award for “Grand Ole Opry Moment of the Year.”

“Sometimes you feel like you’ve really got to sell something,” says McCreery, “but this one, from the first time people heard it, everybody started telling me their own stories, and I enjoyed that more than anything else. It would have put us in a predicament if it hadn’t succeeded—looking back, yeah, it was a crazy thing to do, but we just went full steam ahead.” The final piece fell into place when, just as “Five More Minutes” hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, McCreery signed with Triple Tigers Records/Sony Music Entertainment.

“Triple Tigers is a great fit for me,” said McCreery. “They are music people and they work hard. With this label on my side, ‘Five More Minutes’ has become my fastest rising single to reach Top 15 since my debut single. And we’ve only just begun.”

Of course, there’s one other big story that underlies Seasons Change. In September 2017, the guy who was voted both “Country Music’s Hottest Bachelor” and “Country Music’s Sexiest Man” by the readers of NASH Country Weekly Magazine proposed to longtime girlfriend Gabi Dugal in the mountains of North Carolina.

“She’s a huge part of this record, the inspiration for all the love songs,” he says. “We met in kindergarten–her kindergarten diary has ‘Mrs. McCreery’ written in it with hearts around it. We started dating senior year of high school, and became best friends in the last few years.”

The song “This Is It” even spells out a play-by-play blueprint for popping the question.

“I had the ring in the closet for months and had the day all planned out,” he says. “And it all went great, just like the song lays it out—it would have been awkward if she had said no!”

Now, with a wedding on the way, a hit on the charts, and a new lease on his musical life, everything looks great in McCreery’s world. Things get sunnier. Seasons change.

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Jesse McCartney

Jesse McCartney

Performances

September 10 - 4:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Jesse McCartney

Since the start of his career, New York-born and Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, artist, and actor Jesse McCartney has built a catalog of instantly recognizable anthems and captivated audiences on the road and on-screen. His first three albums -- the Platinum Beautiful Soul [2004], Right Where You Want Me [2006], and Departure [2008] -- consecutively bowed in the Top 15 of the Billboard Top 200 with the singles "Beautiful Soul" minted Gold and "Leavin'" certified Platinum. Plus, he collaborated with T-Pain on the cross-genre banger "Body Language." Meanwhile, SPIN touted In Technicolor among its "Top 20 Pop Albums of 2014." Along the way, he performed in arenas alongside the likes of New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys in addition to packing global headline tours and hosting shows for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. A sought-after songwriter, he notably wrote the 4x-Platinum GRAMMY® Award-nominated "Bleeding Love" for Leona Lewis. In 2018, the one-off single "Better With You" racked up nearly 45 million cumulative streams and paved the way for his fifth offering. Simultaneously, his acting credits grew to include everything from Chernobyl Diaries and Fear The Walking Dead to Alvin and the Chipmunks, and even voicing the character Roxas/Ventus in gamer favorite Kingdom Hearts. In 2020, Jesse was revealed as the fan favorite Turtle in the third season finale of Fox's The Masked Singer. In 2020 he has released single "Friends," an homage to the people who became chosen family which followed the release of "Yours," an introspective look at the different roles he's played throughout his life. "After all the hardships people went through last year, I look forward to a whole new stage."

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Yung Bleu

Yung Bleu

Performances

September 4 - 10:15 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Yung Bleu

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Styx

Styx

Performances

September 4 - 9:30 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Styx

The six men comprising Styx have committed to rocking the Paradise together with audiences far and wide by entering their second decade of averaging over 100 shows a year, and each one of them is committed to making the next show better than the last. Styx draws from over four decades of barnburning chart hits, joyous singalongs, and hard-driving deep cuts. Like a symphony that builds to a satisfying crescendo, a Styx set covers a wide range of stylistic cornerstones. From the progressively sweeping splendor that is “The Grand Illusion” to the hunker-down fortitude of all that is the “Blue Collar Man,” from the majestic spiritual love for a special “Lady” to the seething indictment of preening, primping pageantry for pageantry’s sake of “Miss America,” from an individual yearning for true connection as a “Man in the Wilderness” to a soul-deep quest to achieve what’s at the heart of one’s personal vision in “Crystal Ball,” from the regal reach-for-the-stars bravado of “Come Sail Away” to the grainy all-in gallop of that rugged “Renegade” who had it made, the band draws on an unlimited cache of ways to immerse one’s mind and body in their signature sound.

Styx hit its stride with guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw’s first LP with the band, 1976’s Crystal Ball, and then they become the first group to score four triple-platinum albums in a row: The Grand Illusion (1977), Pieces of Eight (1978), Cornerstone (1979), and Paradise Theater (1981). Over the ensuing decade, Styx weathered the shifting winds of the public’s musical taste, reconvening for a highly successful 1996 Return to Paradise tour that was expertly documented on both CD and DVD in 1997. With a little help from their many friends in Cleveland’s Contemporary Youth Orchestra, One With Everything (2006) became a hybrid orchestral rock blend for the ages. And on The Grand Illusion / Pieces of Eight Live (2011), the band performed at its peak when tackling every track from a pair of their finest triple-platinum albums back to back. Not only that, but the band re-recorded two discs’ worth of its classic material with much finesse and musculature, aptly known as Regeneration Volume I & II (2011 & 2012). Observes Tommy, “Now you have something you can take home with you and go, ‘Yeah, that’s the band I saw last night.’ ”

After more than a decade together on the road, this incarnation of Styx is looking forward to performing as many shows as it can as long as it can. “It all comes back to the chemistry,” says bassist/vocalist Ricky Phillips. “The legacy of this band will be that it brought joy to millions of people,” notes drummer Todd Sucherman. Observes keyboardist/vocalist Lawrence Gowan, “We’ve always tried to explain why this is this happening. It’s obviously a multitude of factors, but the main one is that our show is really good! And if it’s really good, they’re going to come to see it again.” Styx hopes it’s a wave that never crests. “Every night, we go on that magic carpet ride together,” observes original bassist Chuck Panozzo, who joins the band on tour as often as he can. “Music is this amazing force that comes from a higher place. I'm humbled for this band to have the great success that it has,” says co-founding guitarist/vocalist James “JY” Young. “We just want to keep on doing this,” asserts Tommy. “We want to let life take its course and let this music continue to be the soundtrack to it. And this band will continue to evolve as long as we live and play this music.” The jig is up, the news is out: The Esprit de Styx is alive and well, and now it’s time to see for yourself. Welcome to the Grand Evolution.

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Iration

Iration

Performances

September 11 - 4:00 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Iration

Iration has a natural affinity for reggae and island sounds. Their love and appreciation for music spans across a wide range of styles and genres including rock, pop, R&B and funk. Over the past 15 years, the celebrated five-piece - Micah Pueschel [Lead Vocals / Guitar], Adam Taylor [Bass], Joe Dickens [Drums], Cayson Peterson [Keyboard / Synth] and Micah Brown [Guitar / Vocals] – have perfected their distinct hybrid style of music, blending all influences together as evidenced on their seventh, and most recent, full-length album Coastin’ [Three Prong Records)released in 2020. A record about being thankful for the moments that we have.

Iration has been touring nationally since 2008, performing at festivals nationwide from Lollapalooza to Sunfest and Hangout, closing stages at festivals like Bottlerock and Outside Lands. The Hawaiian-bred musicians look forward to spreading their original sound and 'Aloha spirit' all the while never forgetting to get a surf in when possible.

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MISSIO

MISSIO

Performances

September 2 - 4:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

MISSIO

"Missio" is Latin for mission. And what at one time began as a side project for singer-songwriter Matthew Brue has now shifted into the main mission. Accompanied by producer and instrumentalist David Butler, MISSIO sports an alternative/electronic sound with beat-driven hip-hop undertones. Atmospheric and expressive, this electro-alternative act is keen on a spirit of experimentation.

Based in Austin, Texas, MISSIO broke out in 2017 with their single Middle Fingers which reached top 10 at U.S. Alternative Radio, later leading to an appearance on the Conan O'Brien late night show amid the launch of their debut album Loner. That same album also spawned heavily rotated songs like Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea, Everybody Gets High, and Twisted, which all reached over 50 million streams each (and counting) on streaming platforms.

MISSIO released their second album The Darker the Weather // The Better the Man in mid 2019, broadening their sonic palette with songs like I See You which was the #1 song on the Sirius XM Alt 18 for 9 total weeks. During this album campaign, their streaming audience tripled and they capped off their album cycle by releasing the single Sing to Me as part of the soundtrack to the global video game phenomenon 'Death Stranding' alongside artists such as Chvrches, Major Lazer, Khalid, & Bring Me the Horizon. The band decided to document their creative process and personal growth during the recording process of this album, and ended up also releasing a documentary with accompanying soundtrack which they wrote and scored titled Love Me Whole.

MISSIO has now accumulated one billion streams within three years and three album releases.

Beginning the next stage in their music evolution, Matthew and David landed back in their home base of Austin, Texas in November of 2019 with their producer, co-writer, and creative partner Dwight Baker, and over a feverish 21 day period wrote and recorded the entirety of their album, Can You Feel The Sun released on October 23rd via 2B Recordings / BMG).

"We started talking with Dwight last summer about recording new music even though our second album had just released," says Matthew Brue. "I felt inspired after coming back from our first European shows in some of the most beautiful cities in the world and seeing our music translate across the ocean, which was incredibly surreal. I instantly began writing new demos, taking hold of the many feelings that come along with living out your own dreams."

David Butler adds "We wanted to create music on our own terms, separate and apart from any label deadlines or industry pressure. We were the only ones we wanted to impress."

The band started with a range of demos that eventually snowballed into being a complete and finished full-length album.

"We worked until we felt like we were done and then one day woke up and knew we had a finished album," says David. "Even from the very beginning of the process I already knew that 'Can You Feel the Sun' was one of the best songs we'd ever written and knew that we had something special."

MISSIO has always been a band that is known for their thoughtful lyrics, raw emotion, but also pure, and unadulterated fun. Tracks like Wolves, Hoodie Up, Cry Baby (feat. Paul Wall), Vagabond (feat. Esoteric of Czarface), and Roman Empire might get the fans incredibly hyped up, but songs like Don't Forget to Open Your Eyes, We All Burn to the Ground, and the title track Can You Feel the Sun glimmer with an introspective insight that now takes on an even deeper meaning in a pandemic ravaged world.

"With a song like Don't Forget to Open Your Eyes I honestly don't know where those lyrics came from," says Matthew. "I had never taken the time to view the sunrise or the sunset and somehow this song has helped me personally heal when I'm overloaded with anxiety or depression. It continues to prove its message is bigger than ourselves."

David adds "The reason we create and release music is because we love the process of making it all. Being able to write songs for ourselves has to be its own reward even though we're hoping we can get out on the road and play music for people again soon. Until then we're hoping, through our music and lyrics, to encourage people to ask questions and to open their minds."

MISSIO have toured the United States extensively as headliners, and through several large support slots for the likes of MUSE, 30 Seconds to Mars, Yungblud, and K. Flay. The duo have also performed at major festivals like Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Firefly, Hangout, Bottle Rock, and Voodoo Fest. As part of a wider European tour, they made their UK (sold out) live debut at London's Old Blue Last in May 2019. Their high energy live performances and custom-built light shows easily set them apart from their peers.

MISSIO returned to play a second sold-out UK show at London's Colours early March 2020, but the second half of their most recent European tour ended up being cancelled. The band were pulled off their tour bus at 2AM while crossing the Czech border, so that men in hazmat suits could check their temperatures to ensure that the touring party didn't have COVID-19. They raced to get home on the final day before the U.S. borders were closed.

Regardless of not being able to tour for an undetermined amount of time, the band decided to forge ahead with releasing their new music. They put out the first single Wolves on June 24, 2020 which reached #1 on the Sirius XM Alt Nation 'Top 18' within three weeks. The duo now have 5 #1 singles on the countdown to date.

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Candlebox

Candlebox

Performances

September 17 - 4:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Candlebox

Emerging from Seattle’s burgeoning mid-1990s grunge scene, Candlebox quickly found mainstream success with their deep, lyrically-driven melodies and big radio hooks. Power anthems like “Far Behind” and “You,” from their debut, self-titled album exploded onto the charts propelling the album to sell more than four million copies worldwide.

Later albums would showcase their versatility between emotionally-charged, brooding ballads like “Cover Me” and groove-infused, straight-up rock n’ roll tunes including “Change” and “Arrow”. 

The 2016 release of Disappearing In Airports found Candlebox revealing a more classic rock vibe with songs like “Vexatious” and “Supernova” driving the album to debut at #9 on the Billboard Charts.

In 2019 the band will be touring, both domestically and internationally, to support their 25th Anniversary, and the group has announced plans to start writing and recording new music in the year ahead.

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Poi Dog Pondering

Poi Dog Pondering

Performances

September 18 - 4:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Poi Dog Pondering

POI DOG PONDERING’S new, 2018 release: “Remnants of Spring” is a nonchalant, spontaneous expression of all the characteristic, whimsical, natural impulses that have driven PDP into this movement of time. This band shows no sign of wear.

3 Decades on, 15 band members deep: Poi Dog Pondering are stronger than ever & continue to thrive & evolve on their 9th full length recording entitled: “Remnants of Spring.” Their unique signature ‘Acous-tronic’ blend of orchestral, rock and dance music influences, shine through with PDP’s ever present irreverence to stylistic conformity.

Poi Dog Pondering keeps thriving because their ethic has always been about following their musical heart. Their steadfast independence has allowed them to perennially bloom. From bohemian street buskers to impossible to market major label sacrificial lambs, to hard won autonomy with their own record label; Poi dog pondering have ripened into staunchly independent musical voyagers. They have let every sound that excited them flow through their music and flood it with ever changing colors: Orchestral, Acoustic and Electronic textures. Rock Band Disco, Chicago Stepper Soul & their unique ‘Soul Sonic Orchestra’ Sound. (Threaded all along the way with ‘heart on the sleeve’ lyrics that embrace the beauty and pain of everyday life).

30 years down the line there is a bolstered sense of history within the band now. A swagger that comes from having steadfastly carved their own path. It is quite apparent that PDP has always been, and ever will be, in-it-for-the-love-of-it; creating and performing. Line up changes are par for the course. PDP is an organic entity, it changes like life does. But there is a core with strong roots & deep personal history, open to new ears and ready to experiment. That’s what keeps it vibrant.

Poi dog pondering formed in Hawaii in 1986. The first live performance was at the Honolulu Arts Academy. Filled with youthful imitative exuberance and inspiration from reading about Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground’s ‘Exploding Plastic inevitable’ projected film and music happenings, PDP projected films of lava eruptions, ocean and other natural environments over the band as they performed. The tradition of projected imagery along with PDP live performances developed and matured over the years and continues to this day thanks to long time film and video artist/collaborators Luke Savisky and Marco Ferrari.

In 1987 PDP’s wanderlust drew them to the mainland where they embarked on a year long bohemian travel tour across the United States and Canada, playing acoustically on street corners for gas and food money, while sleeping outdoors all along the way. This experience forged Poi Dog Pondering’s self identity & confidence as a “D.I.Y.” entity. PDP was signed to the noble boutique label Texas Hotel who released their first record in ’88. Sony / Columbia released the next 2 records “Wishing like a mountain…” & “VoloVolo.” PDP relocated to Chicago in ’92 and formed their own label Platetectonic Music and released the critically acclaimed “Pomegranate” in ’95.

For the next ten years PDP delved heavily into developing their orchestration skills, culminating in major collaborations with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Sinfonietta (with PDP’s Susan Voelz, Paul Mertens, Max Crawford & Frank Orrall doing the arrangements).

Band leader Frank Orrall’s interest in electronic music garnered him respect from the Chicago House/Electronic music community for his solo project 8fatfat8, and lead him to become a member of Thievery Corporation as percussionist and vocalist. All this influenced PDP’s next 2 records “Natural Thing” and “In Seed Comes Fruit” which saw the band experimenting with electronic textures, beautiful lush arrangements and unhurried, sometimes instrumental song structures, letting musicality determine the song structure, rather than traditional “verse / chorus / bridge” style song writing.

In 2005 PDP combined all of it’s experience together and set out to write and record “a straight up Rock and Soul record,” complete with strings and horns. The result was the critically acclaimed; “7.” Two EPs & a Live DVD later, PDP has forged on & swashbuckled through their 8th & 9th Studio recordings “Everybody’s Got A Star”… and now this: “Remnants of Spring.”

Creating, Touring, Making, not Stopping: Loving.

This band shows no sign of wear.

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George Thorogood And The Destroyers

George Thorogood And The Destroyers

Performances

September 9 - 9:30 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

George Thorogood And The Destroyers

"Good To Be Bad Tour - 45 Years of Rock"

Since 1976, they’ve sold over 15 million albums, built a classic catalog of hits, and played more than 8,000 ferocious live shows. They broke records with their 50 Dates/50 States Tour, delivered landmark performances at Live Aid and on SNL, and became mainstays of radio, MTV and stages worldwide for more than two generations. Through it all, they’ve remained one of the most consistent – and consistently passionate – progenitors of blues-based rock in pop culture history.

For the past 45 years, it’s been very good to be George Thorogood & The Destroyers. And in 2021, their Good To Be Bad Tour: 45 Years Of Rock will prove why like never before.

“If you’re content, you may as well be dead.” George laughs with his familiar rasp. “I think everyone has thoughts about retiring, but the phone keeps ringing. You want me and The Destroyers to come to your town, set up our gear, wear some cool threads and play ‘Who Do You Love?’ End of conversation. Let’s rock!”

For Thorogood and his longtime band – Jeff Simon (drums, percussion), Bill Blough (bass guitar), Jim Suhler (rhythm guitar) and Buddy Leach (saxophone) – the power to rock audiences has been both battle cry and creed since the beginning. “It wasn’t about the amount of people we drew, but rather the impression we made,” George remembers. “I asked myself, ‘Are we reaching them? Do they want more?’ And we knew from the very first set that we had something special.”

It’s on stage that George & The Destroyers flip the switch nightly, delivering what The Toledo Blade calls “a gut-bustin’, guitar-wailin’, face-meltin’, fiery-tempoed, take-no-prisoners, good old-fashioned lunch-bucket rock & roll show” that includes their signature hits “Get A Haircut”, “I Drink Alone”, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”, “Move It On Over”, “Who Do You Love” and the definitive badass anthem “Bad To The Bone”, along with several surprises. “It’s been a constant evolution to make the show all killer, no filler,” explains 43-year Destroyer bassist Bill Blough. “Something still inherently clicks the second we step on stage. We feel the audience’s energy and the show just explodes.”

But after 45 years of rock – and no signs of stopping – can Thorogood point to what continues to make it all matter? “My highlight is every night when I walk on that stage and play our hits for those happy people,” he says. “At the end of the show, the audience is smiling, I don’t see any police and everyone got their money’s worth.”

More importantly, is it still good to be bad? George Thorogood instantly flashes that huge grin. “You bet it is,” he says. ”We’ll always be the baddest band in the land. Expect our best on this tour, because that’s what you’re gonna get.”

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Drive-By Truckers

Drive-By Truckers

Performances

September 4 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

Drive-By Truckers

Drive-By Truckers is kicking off the new election year with The Unraveling, our first new album in 3 1/2 years (the longest space between new DBT albums ever). Those years were among the most tumultuous our country has ever seen and the duality between the generally positive state of affairs within our band while watching so many things we care about being decimated and destroyed all around us informed the writing of this album to the core.

While a quick glance might imply that we’re picking up where 2016’s American Band album left off, the differences are as telling as the similarities. If the last one was a warning shot hinting at a coming storm, this one was written in the wreckage and aftermath. I’ve always said that all of our records are political but I’ve also said that ‘politics IS personal’. With that in mind, this album is especially personal.

Our 2018 single “The Perilous Night” acted as a sort of coda to the polemic of the last album and the original plan was to zigzag in a different direction, but alas the past few years have seen an uptick in school shootings, church shootings, racial violence, suicides and overdoses, border violence, and an assault on so many things that we all hold dear. They’re literally putting children in cages. Writing silly love songs just seemed the height of privilege.

My partner Mike Cooley and I both worked through deep pools of writer’s block. How do you put these day to day things we’re all living through into the form of a song that we (much less anybody else) would ever want to listen to? How do you write about the daily absurdities when you can’t even wrap your head around them in the first place? I think our response was to focus at the core emotional level. More heart and less cerebral perhaps.

Eventually the songs did come, some in mysterious ways. A day-long layover at an exit outside of Gillette, Wyoming resulted in “21st Century USA”, the song that for me opened up the floodgates, enabling me to write my portion of the album.

I wrote “Babies in Cages” in the living room of my wife’s parent’s house and quickly demoed it on my phone. A portion of that original recording acts as the introduction to the version on the album. Cooley wrote “Grievance Merchants” about the proliferation of white supremacist violence we’ve seen in recent years. Our family’s babysitter’s best friend was murdered on a train in beautiful progressive Portland, Oregon in one such incident. The political is indeed very personal.

“Armageddon’s Back in Town” takes a whirlwind joyride through the daily whiplash of events we are collectively dealing with, while “Slow Ride Argument” offers an unorthodox but hopefully effective method of the prevailing of cooler heads. Perhaps it should come with a disclaimer though.

Meanwhile “Awaiting Resurrection” dives headfirst into the void of despair and painful realities these times are tolling. It’s a song unlike any in our band’s history, yet somehow quintessentially DBT to the core. A call to deal, unblinkingly, with the horrors surrounding us all, but to also survive, with perhaps even a hint of optimism.

In the end we’re just standing, watching greatness fade into darkness /

Awaiting Resurrection”

If the writing was a long and brutal process, the recording was a joyous celebration. Another of our band’s many dualities, perhaps.

We convened for a week in Memphis, Tennessee at the historic and wonderful Sam Phillips Recording Service. We tracked, mostly live in the studio, aided by long-time producer David Barbe and famed engineer Matt Ross-Spang. Initially recording 18 songs in 85 hours of near around the clock sessions, the band essentially spent the whole week in an artistic marathon, housing ourselves at the Memphis Music Mansion (AirBnB), surrounded by historic photos and a mid-century vibe that seemed to even seep into our dreams each night. (My bedroom was, fittingly, The Big Star Room, named after the seminal Memphis power pop band that I have always held as an all-time favorite).

Recording in Memphis has been a life-long dream for this band. Both the city, with its dark social history and amazing musical heritage, and the studio which is a time machine set to its early 1960’s origins and inhabited by the spirit of its genus founder, affected and inspired the creation of this album in ways that go far beyond the tangible and technical.

Sam Phillips left my hometown of Florence, Alabama and moved to Memphis, working in radio before opening the legendary Sun Studios (Memphis Recording Service) where he essentially discovered Rock and Roll, recording the first records of Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, and of course Elvis Presley. When he sold Sun, he built his dream lair, the, then state of the art Sam Phillips Recording Service which opened in 1962. If Phillips’ love of ‘slap-back’ echo had given those early Sun records their legendary sound, his new studio incorporated three different echo chambers into its design, giving the studio a very unique and wonderful sound that we incorporated into this album.

I can’t impart enough the impact that recording there had on this album. We were all beyond inspired by the surroundings and the sounds coming out of the speakers from every playback or the sound of the echo chambers reverberating down the halls. Every day we got to hang out with Sam’s son Jerry who took us up to Mr. Phillips’ old office on the third floor. Unlocked in time, it was still exactly as it had been the last day Sam spent there. His jackets still hanging in the closet and the bar still stocked with his favorite whiskey. There, with Jerry, we toasted our recordings and the spirits that still inhabited that sacred space.

In honor of finally getting to record in Memphis, I wrote “Rosemary with a Bible and a Gun”, a sort of stream of conscious love song to that dark and mythical city on the banks of the Mississippi. Although the song isn’t a literal story of such, it was certainly informed by the brutal times Cooley and I had in 1991 when we followed Sam Phillips’ example and moved from Florence to Memphis in search of dreams that for us were still to be over a decade in coming. I heard the song in my head as a sort of Bobbie Gentry inspired southern gothic and we further explored that by adding gorgeous strings by Kyleen and Patti King (arranged by Kyleen). It seemed the perfect way to kick off this album.

Our sessions were rounded out by a guest appearance from Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi All Stars) who came in and played an electric washboard through an Echoplex and wah-pedal into an amp for “Babies in Cages”. The song, recorded completely live, in one magical take, perfectly captured the mood and tone of the week we spent there. (We even kept the scratch vocal since it had so much live bleed from the take). The following day, Mick Jagger came by, but alas we weren’t able to record with him, although his presence certainly added to the already surreal vibe of the week.

A few months later we reconvened in Athens, Georgia at Barbe’s Chase Park Transduction studios where Matt and David mixed the album on Barbe’s vintage 1975 Neve console. As a band that got its start essentially making albums as field recordings on mobile gear, it is indeed a treat to get to make our albums on 2” 16 tracks tape in historic studios and on beautiful vintage gear. We finished the process by having the legendary Greg Calbi master it all at Sterling Sound in Edgewater, New Jersey.

In the end, we whittled the album down to the nine songs included, saving several key songs for a foundation to the next one that will hopefully occur sooner than later. Lilla Hood designed the packaging utilizing a stunning photo by Erik Golts of two young lads watching a sunset at the Oregon coast, lettering by famed graphic artist Aaron Draplin, and once again beautiful artwork from our long time collaborator Wes Freed. We plan on touring extensively throughout the next year taking these songs around the world.

We hope to see you there.

 

- Patterson Hood

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Everclear

Everclear

Performances

September 9 - 4:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Everclear

Considering Everclear has written and recorded some truly iconic ’90s alt-rock hits, it would be all too easy these days for the band to be a victim of its past successes, relegated to performing as a glorified jukebox, existing to satisfy the nostalgic cravings of Gen Xers everywhere. But singer-guitarist Art Alexakis isn’t about to start phoning it in now.

Although the band hasn’t released a new studio album since 2015’s triumphant Black Is The New Black, Everclear continues to tour actively. And while it’s a virtual surety that no Everclear gig is complete without a rendition of “Santa Monica” and “Father of Mine,” lately the band has found that exploring the full range of past material—especially the “deep cuts”—not only gives fans a rare treat, it also injects new life into the band’s live dynamic.

“By mixing it up and digging into the catalogue, it still makes it fun and relevant for us, and I think for the fans as well,” says Alexakis. “It’s still important to play the hits, but by playing those other songs as well, it makes it all seem more vibrant and real. Even though I recorded some of those songs 20 years ago, I haven’t played them in a long time, so it’s like reinventing the wheel. I’m having more fun now than I have in years. I think all of us are.”

Formed by Alexakis in 1991 in Portland, Oregon, Everclear has enjoyed a lengthy career spanning 11 studio releases, numerous videos, thousands of shows and accolades that include a 1998 Grammy nomination. Like a true survivor, Alexakis has soldiered on through multiple lineup changes over the years: During the “classic” era, the band also included Craig Montoya on Bass and Greg Eklund on drums; the current touring lineup features longtime members Dave French (guitar) and Freddy Herrera (bass), as well as drummer Brian Nolan (also with American Hi-Fi), who has performed with Everclear on multiple past tours.

Everclear spent May and June of 2017 touring in honor of the 20th anniversary of So Much For The Afterglow, the band’s massively successful sophomore major-label release. The 40-date run was an incredibly emotional and personally satisfying experience for Alexakis, who was able to perform obscure cuts from that time period for the first time in many years. Connecting with fans in that setting also reinforced the lasting impression the album has made.

“The tour was phenomenal. It left me and the band stunned at how important that record was to so many people, and to be a part of that, both then and now,” says Alexakis. “The legacy of it is still vibrant for so many people. It was great just watching people react when we were playing not just the hits, but deeper songs on that record. I always liked the deeper songs—they were usually my favorite songs—and when the band would play those, it would be really exciting and important for me. That was fun, seeing that reaction, and just talking to people after the show.”

Prior to that, Everclear experienced a career resurgence thanks to 2015’s Black Is The New Black, which not only proved the band could still rock, but also that Everclear remains creatively relevant, decades after their platinum years. As is common for many artists these days, Black didn’t set records for traditional album sales, but the release did see significant streaming activity and sparked a heightened social media presence, putting the group firmly back in the listening public’s mind. The band continues to ride this latest wave of interest.

“I personally think [Black] is one of the best records Everclear has ever made,” Alexakis says. “It sounds like both old Everclear and new Everclear: It has a contemporary production sound, but it’s just old-school, angry rock songs. It’s kind of dark, very reminiscent of the early stuff. The sales weren’t great on it, but a lot of people streamed it. It got millions and millions of streams, so people were listening to it, and it resonated.”

But when you’ve been a prolific band for more than a quarter-century, it’s all part of the journey. Right now, Alexakis is feeling a reflective pull for the 25th anniversary of World Of Noise, the band’s indie debut, which was recorded for $400 in a friend’s basement in Portland. Although no official commemorative tour dates are confirmed as of this writing, Alexakis says he’s considering playing some smaller, select shows this year as a tribute to the release. Much of the material rarely sees the light of day, but the 1993 album continues to enjoy a special place in Everclear history.

“We’d just had a baby, I was on public assistance and was working part-time jobs, I was very frustrated and very angry and there were a lot of emotions going on,” Alexakis reflects. “I made that record for $400, because that’s all I had. I got this guy who had a basement studio to give me 40 hours’ worth of recording at $10 an hour. We had 10 or 11 songs, so we went in and recorded them in a week and mixed them, and that’s the album.…From there we just hit the ground running. I still haven’t stopped.”

That rough and raw first attempt was just the nexus of the massive body of work Everclear and Alexakis have contributed since that humble beginning. When it comes to recording new material, at the moment Alexakis is focused primarily on writing and recording his first solo album, due out later this year. That precludes a new Everclear release…for now.

“We might make another record in a couple years,” he says. “Maybe later on this year I’ll feel like it. I don’t know yet.”

That said, the band’s live itinerary certainly makes up for its recent studio absence. As the group prepares for another Summerland run, as well as numerous other future dates, Alexakis is excited to revisit songs from fan favorite records like Afterglow, Sparkle and Fade and the double album Songs From The American Movie, but also compositions from more underrated collections, like 2012’s Invisible Stars.

“There are people asking for songs, so we’ll just try and learn songs as we go,” Alexakis says. “If we get a lot of response from people to play a certain song, we’re going to learn it and go on the road and play it. You don’t think, ‘Wow, I can’t sing that high anymore.’ We’re not going to worry about it. We’re going to play some rock n’ roll, and just do it.”

 

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DJ Jazzy Jeff

DJ Jazzy Jeff

Performances

September 9 - 4:00 PM @ Generac Power Stage

DJ Jazzy Jeff

DJ Jazzy Jeff was born in West Philadelphia and developed a love of music at an early age. Jeff was just 10 years old when he started spinning records at parties using his family’s basement as a training ground for his expert mixing. Since 1985, DJ Jazzy Jeff has wowed us with his flawless turntable skills, innovative production and musical versatility.

From the success of “DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince” with partner Will Smith, to the critical acclaim of his production company “A Touch of Jazz”, Jeff proved time and time again that he would always be a force to be reckoned with. And he continues to represent with his solo projects, collaborations, mixtapes and live shows. His love of music shines through in everything he does.

Most recently, DJ Jazzy Jeff has been busy traveling the globe. With each set, he takes fan on a musical journey. Jeff satisfies his passion for sharing good music with two annual European tours, regular tours of Canada, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East, and shows across the US throughout the year. And he chronicles all of his travels in the increasingly popular Vinyl Destination, a web series that documents DJ Jazzy Jeff’s experiences on and off stage.

Though DJ Jazzy Jeff is busy playing good music all over the world, he hasn’t stopped producing great music. He is currently working with Philadelphia newcomer, Dayne Jordan. The duo recently completed a project entitled Memoirs of Dayne Jordan, to be released in Spring 2015, In the meantime, the pair has released a number of singles and videos including Room Test, All About the Art, I Want it All, Einstein (prod. by DJ Ferno) and Play Dat.

Over the course of his career, DJ Jazzy Jeff has achieved many accomplishments including a DMC Championship and multiple GRAMMY and American Music Awards and nominations. But he is a humble man who is still doing it as his 2002 hit said: “For Da Love of Da Game.”

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Sugarhill Gang

Sugarhill Gang

Performances

September 10 - 4:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Sugarhill Gang

“The Sugar Hill Gang” with Wonder Mike, Master Gee and HenDogg featuring DJ T Dynasty - the Fathers of Hip Hop

In 1979, the Sugarhill Gang crashed through the walls of the urban cities and into the mainstream of society with the first worldwide rap hit, "Rapper's Delight." Two of the original members of this historic group, Wonder Mike (Michael Wright) and Master Gee (Guy O’Brien) had teamed up with Henry Jackson (pka Big Bank Hank) to become the now famous Sugarhill Gang.

Sugarhill Gang is believed by many to be the first professional Hip Hop group, because they introduced to the masses (both in the United States and overseas) this unprecedented genre of music. “Rapper's Delight” eventually sold over 8 million copies, and went on to be the biggest selling rap single of all time. Even today, it continues to appeal to audiences of all ages.

Shortly thereafter, the Sugarhill Gang released such hits as “Apache,” “8th Wonder” and “Living in the Fast Lane.” Wonder Mike and Master Gee teamed up with Henry Williams (pka Hendogg) and DJ T. Dynasty both who has performed with the group for 20 years and counting creating new music , while still pleasing the crowds with their greatest hits.

In the Summer of 2009, they released their first song in 25 years with international DJ phenom Bob Sinclair called “LaLa Song,” which quickly became an uber hit overseas, securing Song of the Year for many European countries, including Italy. The hit single is currently being released in the United States.

Wonder Mike, Master Gee, Hendogg and DJ Dynasty continue their tradition of creating a party atmosphere that makes everyone dance the night away as they perform for sold out crowds throughout the world.

 

 

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Masked Wolf

Masked Wolf

Performances

September 16 - 4:00 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Masked Wolf

By day, Harry Michael commutes to a normal job and punches a clock just like the rest of us. The moment he walks into the studio, everything changes. The mild-mannered man transforms into an unrestrained beast, sinking his teeth into airy production pierced by his tightly wound raps, bold bars, magnetic melodies, and hard-hitting hooks. Through this metamorphosis, Masked Wolf has unassumingly established himself as a powerful, passionate, and primal hip-hop force. Amassing over 150 million streams and counting thus far, the Australian rapper and singer unleashes a torrent of personal truths and emotions on his 2021 debut for Elektra Records.

 

“If you saw me walking around on the street, you might not realize that I’m a rapper,” he admits. “When I get into the studio, the mask comes off—you see the wolf inside of me. It’s all work and no play. We’re not chilling and vibing; I’m there to get shit done. I’m in my natural habitat. Whenever I worked a nine-to-five, I wasn’t living how I wanted to live. The studio is a breath of fresh air. The beast does come out, and it feels good.”

 

Growing up in Sydney, Harry found freedom in writing. As an only child, his parents’ divorce hit him especially hard. Mom and dad both relocated, but he opted to stay close to his friends. So, he moved in with his grandparents who had emigrated from Greece and barely spoke English. Obsessed with the likes of Eminem and G-Unit, he picked up a pen and expressed himself through poems and verses. He also taught himself how to record and would rap well into the morning most nights until his grandfather knocked on the door and urged him to go to bed.

Hip-hop anesthetized his isolation.

 

“I always wanted a brother or a sister, because I wanted to have either that protection or someone to protect,” he explains. “A key reason why I wrote was because I didn’t have a sibling to talk to about how I felt. That’s why writing became so essential. I’d never spoken to my parents about it. I was introverted and extroverted at the same time. I bottled everything up and only released it through music.”

 

After graduating from school, he tirelessly worked in sales to fund recording. He even took out a loan to build a home studio as he cut hundreds of songs and logged thousands of hours in the lab. While driving for work, he often thought of ideas in the car. In 2018, he dropped his independent debut “Speed Racer.” It gathered millions of streams and turned heads across Australia. “I felt like I found my sound,” he smiles. “It really kicked down the door.”

 

Following “Night Rider” and “Water Walkin,” he unveiled “Astronaut in the Ocean.” Awash in airy guitar, jagged 808s, neon keys, and deft wordplay, he submerged himself in honest lyricism, facing depression head-on and asking, “What you know about rolling down in the deep?” That one-two-punch of a recognizable riff and chantable chorus organically caught fire online. It incited hundreds of thousands Tik Tok videos, spanning everything from footage of U.S. military Blackhawk chopper crews to welders and ice fisherman (far from your typical Tik Tok fare!). Meanwhile, Kansas City Chief Super Bowl champ quarterback Patrick Mahomes even incorporated the tune into an Instagram post, fueling its explosion in early 2021.

 

For as bombastic as the response may be, the song itself arose from a moment of intense introspection. “I had put a lot of money and time into music, but it wasn’t really being heard,” he admits. “To be honest, it was mentally draining. There were points where I thought, ‘Should I give up? Should I stop?’ I made the decision to keep going for it. Everything stemmed from this hardship. ‘Astronaut in the Ocean’ is about this time in my life. Voice your depression and anxiety. I’m essentially asking, ‘Have you been the same places? Tell me your story’.”

 

With more music on the horizon, Masked Wolf will undoubtedly inspire countless others to take that mask off…

 

“My message is to say what you need to say, before it’s too late,” he leaves off. “A lot of times in life, we overlook the power of telling the truth and being real with ourselves—which is what I try to convey in my songs. Open up about who you really are and what you want from life. You can always go for what you want. I’m proof. When you listen to me, I want you to know this is authentically who I am.”

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The Psychedelic Furs

The Psychedelic Furs

Performances

September 17 - 9:30 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

The Psychedelic Furs

From its exhilarating opening bars, Made Of Rain - the first Psychedelic Furs album in 29 years - sounds like them and them alone. It’s a joy to hear again, fresher than ever, that unique mesh of sounds and layers, that fusion of smooth and stark, of restraint and abandon, of melancholy and rage, of optimism and nihilism, of tough and tender. Their ageless charisma flows anew. “It’s got that depth and weight of sound”, says Richard Butler as 2020 begins. Talking about the first track, The Boy That Invented Rock & Roll, he suggests, “It’s saying rock & roll was born out of feelings like these…”the ticking veins, this godless dark , the druggy days, the pointless pain…a bag of tears where love is gone”. In a way it’s about Elvis Presley and all those people, but not just any individuals – it’s the feelings which rock & roll, for me, comes from. And of course rock & roll has a great deal of sexuality involved too. The boy is…an idea: I’m not claiming that position for myself!”

The Psychedelic Furs may not have invented rock & roll per se, but their influence since arriving on the post-punk scorched-earth landscape four decades ago has reverberated and resonated among all those who cherish the sweet-and-sour spot where rawness and romanticism meet. “I’m aware of the fact that people cite us an influence”, says Richard, “though I don’t often recognise it in their music. It’s gratifying of course, as it is that there’s still an interested and enthusiastic audience for us. That’s an honour.”

As the Furs ’witty, poetic, pugnacious onslaughts seared out of punk then sashayed beyond New Wave, launching a fleet of durable hits, they evolved electrically and elegiacally until taking a studio hiatus from 1991. Yet since reconvening as an essential live act at the turn of the century, they’ve found the applause growing louder and louder. People realised how much they loved those songs from the 1980 debut The Psychedelic Furs, 1981’s Talk Talk Talk, 1982’s Forever Now, 1984’s Mirror Moves, 1987’s Midnight To Midnight, 1989’s Book Of Days and 1991’s World Outside, from early forays like Sister Europe and India through Pretty In Pink and President Gas to radio staples Love My Way, Heaven, The Ghost In You and Heartbreak Beat. And while The Furs lay latent (studio-wise), Butler remained busy, releasing two Love Spit Love albums and a solo album, as well as painting exhibitions. Yet the urge, the itch, came back and the skies opened to deliver Made Of Rain.

Given that the band were active touring, why hasn’t there been a new album for so long?

“It’s a fine balance”, muses Richard. “When you’ve been around for a while, people want to hear certain songs at your shows. It was even like that back when we toured with the second album…we’d do new ones like Pretty In Pink – y’know, pretty good songs – and people just stood there not getting it, wanting to hear the “old” stuff! So at first that was fine, as we didn’t do that much touring. It was exciting to play those songs again after taking a break. But as we did more and more, eventually we started to feel like a jukebox. And you want to be CREATIVE. And that won out. It got to this point where we felt we HAD to make a new record, we needed new songs to get into. And now I hear this album and I’m very pleased we did…”

The six-piece line-up has gelled into a groove-some, guileful beast. With, of course, fellow founder Tim Butler (Richard’s brother) on bass, it features Mars Williams on saxophone, Rich Good on guitar, Paul Garisto on drums and Amanda Kramer on keyboards. “Oh it’s a good thing”, nods Richard. “We’re all friends, we’re all family.

The album, released May 1st on Cooking Vinyl, is produced by Richard Fortus (with The Psychedelic Furs), a Love Spit Love alumnus who’s also played guitar with Guns ‘N Roses and Thin Lizzy. “His band had opened for The Furs once and I liked his playing and his personality. So when I wanted someone to write with after we first split up, I brought him to New York. His input on the songwriting (for Love Spit Love) was huge. So that’s where I knew him from. We kind of co-produced on this, in terms of ideas, but he was inspirational, led the way”. Mixing duties were handled by Tim Palmer (David Bowie, U2, Robert Plant).

And while making the abundance of riches which form The Furs ’sound shine at its brightest might be considered a challenge, “They’re all great players. Everyone found a place for themselves, quite naturally”.

What crystallised the title Made Of Rain?

“There’s…a lot of sorrow and darkness in it. A while ago I read the book-length poem The Man Made Of Rain by Brendan Kennelly. A person who was dying was visited by “a man made of rain” and I liked that idea; it fit. For some reason, when writing, I always seem to tend towards the melancholic. Or sometimes, also, anger. There have been very few “celebratory” songs…I suppose perhaps Love My Way, possibly Heaven. But for the most part it’s safe to say the songs are tinged with melancholy.”

And is it different writing in the modern world, much-changed since the last Furs songs?

“For me, not really, because most of my songs address an inner monologue. They’re not “news-related”. I’ve never sat down and said, “I want to write a song about THIS subject.” The music comes first, then I’ll come up with a melody, then that puts me in a certain frame of mind. Then the words come from that place, that frame of mind. It’s not to do with “world events”. It’s interior.”

In the way the impressionistic phrases spark off each other like juxtaposed images, there’s a reminder that Butler’s an exhibited artist. “It’s painting a verbal picture of the feeling the music brings out in me. But one of my favourite lines here comes on Wrong Train. “A wife that hates me…so does her boyfriend”. It makes me laugh! Sure there’s a certain sorrow to it as well, but…it’s dark comedy”.

Richard hears echoes of the first two albums in the existential pop song Don’t Believe, the first single (released January 31st). “It’s very Psychedelic Furs-sounding”. You’ll Be Mine boasts a “very John Cale-sounding” Velvetsy violin. And as the album later slows the tempo, arching the atmosphere across tracks like This’ll Never Be Like Love and Ash Wednesday, he points out that the band have always teased out songs like that – he cites Sister Europe and Imitation Of Christ as examples – as part of the mix. Discussing the spooky Come All Ye Faithful, he acknowledges an unexpected influence in David Essex’s Seventies hit Lamplight. “I’d always loved the creepy feeling of that song…hence the church bells…” Hide The Medicine bears a subtle, sinister rumble of threat, of thunder approaching in the distance.

Talking of Pop Art (weren’t we?), Andy Warhol’s book From A To B And Back Again gets name-checked in Tiny Hands. Delightfully, Richard has not one but two signed copies. One in which Warhol, at young art student and Velvets fan Richard’s request, drew a banana at a London book signing. And another from years later when Warhol invited the band to The Factory in New York. “He was a wonderful host. Very sweet. After that he came down to a couple of shows…”

The band’s peerless permutations of art, aggression and ambience drive the dynamics on Made Of Rain, and it’s always been this originality which has set them apart, a cut above. Back when they started, Punk Rock “helped us realise, all of a sudden, that you didn’t need a lot of fancy equipment: attitude was important. But at the same time we were inspired by Roxy Music, and I still loved Bob Dylan and The Velvet Underground. It wasn’t JUST punk.” Indeed the band, after initial outings as first RKO then The Europeans, chose their name as wilful misfits. “We’d look at the list of gigs and for the most part names were…violent. The Sex Pistols. The Stranglers. So I wanted something that made people go, “What the f*ck are they doing?” And we knew “psychedelic” would do that…”

As they moved to America, where Richard now resides in upstate New York, some were again disorientated, and the band’s later albums were perhaps perceived from a different angle. “Some might have thought we were “traitors””, laughs the singer. “But after the Forever Now tour, I had a girlfriend at the time who lived in New York, and I said to Tim, “Fancy moving over here?” And we did. I guess that changed English people’s perceptions of us. Maybe it’s reflected on Mirror Moves. We’d been lucky on the first two albums with Steve Lillywhite producing – he absolutely didn’t want to dampen down our live sound. He wanted it to sound like one of our gigs, which was everybody fighting for a place to be heard on top of a racket! Then later, as we wanted a change, Todd Rundgren was a good choice for Forever Now. I wanted to do something different, and I’d loved the chugging cellos in Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring so we brought that into President Gas. And so then we were in America…”

Yet in another time and any place, the beautiful chaos abides. In recent years the band have played the Royal Festival Hall for the Meltdown Festival at Robert Smith of The Cure’s request and everyone from The Killers to REM to Foo Fighters has sung their praises. Many moons after Pretty In Pink (sort of) inspired that John Hughes movie, Love My Way has featured in Oscar-winning film Call Me By Your Name and The Ghost In You in sci-fi smash Stranger Things. Psychedelic Furs are sounding stronger than ever. As anyone who’s seen the band lately knows, Butler remains one of the most watchable frontmen in the game: pacing, crouching, theatrical, enigmatic but engaged. Tours are planned, and prestigious live shows this year will include London’s Royal Albert Hall on May 14th. Party time is here again.

“A lot of people tend to look back on their youth as being the most fantastic time, but it really wasn’t: I think my life is just as good now, if not better. There’s a great deal of pleasure to be had in knowing yourself rather than always second-guessing. Knowing your strengths”.

As the closing track on Made Of Rain sighs, “these are the days that we will all remember”.

Does this feel like a special time again?

“Oh every minute you’re alive, they’re all great days.”

What a glorious feeling. Let it rain.

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Maddie & Tae

Maddie & Tae

Performances

September 10 - 4:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Maddie & Tae

Award-winning duo Maddie & Tae are drawing praise for their No. 1 debuting The Way It Feels album release with Rolling Stone saying the new music is “anchored around their stellar vocal pairings and some of the tightest harmonies on Music Row.” Together as longtime friends and music collaborators, Maddie Font and Taylor Kerr co-wrote 14 of the album’s 15 tracks including the Platinum-certified No. 1 country radio hit, “Die From A Broken Heart,” which Esquire calls “their finest moment yet.” The pair also co-wrote two brand new holiday songs to join a collection of classics for their first ever holiday project- We Need Christmas

Maddie & Tae first broke out in 2013 with their brilliant counter to bro-country, the Platinum-selling smash, “Girl In A Country Song,” which took Country radio by storm, skyrocketing to the top of the charts and quickly going PLATINUM. The duo became only the third female duo in 70 years to top the Country Airplay charts, also earning trophies from the Country Music Academy and Radio Disney Music Awards along with multiple ACM, CMA and CMT Award nominations. Maddie & Tae have received widespread praise from Associated Press, Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, The Tennessean, The Washington Post, Glamour and others. The celebrated duo has toured with country music’s hottest stars including Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley and more. For additional information, visit www.maddieandtae.com

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Blackberry Smoke

Blackberry Smoke

Performances

September 2 - 10:00 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Blackberry Smoke

Throughout their career, Blackberry Smoke— vocalist/lead guitarist Charlie Starr, guitarist/vocalist Paul Jackson, bassist/vocalist Richard Turner, drummer Brit Turner, and keyboardist Brandon Still—has embodied Georgia’s rich musical legacy, honoring the people, places and sounds of their home state. As the band celebrates their 20th anniversary this year, their reverence for Georgia has only deepened.

On their latest album, You Hear Georgia, the follow-up to 2018’s critically acclaimed Find a Light, Blackberry Smoke is further celebrating these roots with 10 new songs that feel like Georgia, accented by the addition of Grammy-winning producer and fellow Georgia-native, Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile). “Dave and I had spoken for the last few years about making a record,” Starr says. “Finally, it worked out, our schedule and his schedule, and we said, yes—let’s make a record.”

Blackberry Smoke worked quickly, spending just 10 days at Nashville’s famed RCA Studio A, Cobb’s home base since 2016. The band recorded live on the floor, giving You Hear Georgia a crisp, outgoing feel. Like other Blackberry Smoke efforts, this album leans into well-crafted Southern rock driven by jagged guitar riffs and rich instrumentation, as the band layers on rollicking piano (“Live It Down”), funky grooves (“Hey Delilah”), and introspective acoustic sounds (the stripped-down, folk-leaning “Old Enough to Know”).

“He’s a very laid-back guy with excellent ideas, but he’s very enthusiastic about making music, and he’s right in there with you having a ball,” Starr says. “He’s a calming presence and so knowledgeable musically, and he knows how to get what he wants in the studio. I don’t know if we could have made a record in 10 days with everyone, and that definitely speaks to Dave’s ability.”

Working with Cobb was the right move, as his approach brought warmth and looseness to the proceedings, while his easygoing demeanor and songwriting background allowed him to provide perceptive insights into this particular batch of Blackberry Smoke songs. In fact, the producer encouraged Blackberry Smoke to pursue the title track after hearing Starr noodling on the idea in the studio.

“He heard me play it, just the riff, and I sang a little bit of a verse and he said, ‘What’s that? What’s that?’” Starr says. “I said, ‘It’s just something that’s not finished yet.’ And he said, ‘Well, finish it, because we want to record that too.’ So I went back to the hotel room and finished it, and there we go.”

“You Hear Georgia” features a narrator who’s underestimated because of outward appearances and misguided stereotypes, which is a theme of Starr’s lyrics this time around, particularly as it relates to the band’s Southern roots. “Lyrically, the song is about the South being misunderstood. It’s obviously a rough and tumble world, and there’s a lot of bad people. But there’s a lot of good people too. It started with the idea of how people might have a preconceived opinion of you because of a thick Southern accent, then expanded into the reality of how some people just seem to have such a hard time getting along, thanks to political or religious views, or simply what part of the country you come from.”

In that spirit, Starr found collaborating valuable as You Hear Georgia’s songs came together. Jamey Johnson ended up lending gruff and tender vocals to the pedal steel-augmented “Lonesome For a Livin’” after he and Starr started reminiscing about a previous collaboration, their 2009 cover of the Willie Nelson-penned “Yesterday’s Wine.”

“We were talking after a show, and he said, ‘Hey, let’s do something else,’” Starr says. “I said, ‘I have this song, it’s really a honky-tonk song. And he said, ‘Send it to me,’ and I did, and he dug it.” And so he came down to the studio and just killed it. He has a voice like no other.”

Starr also co-wrote most of the album’s songs with friends, including current Lynyrd Skynyrd member Rickey Medlocke (“Old Scarecrow”) and Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes (“All Rise Again”), as well as two frequent collaborators, Four Horsemen guitarist Dave Lizmi, and ex-Buckcherry member Keith Nelson.

“That’s just an enjoyable thing to do sometimes,” Starr says of co-writing with pals. “It’s like, ‘Okay, let’s just knock heads together and see what we come up with.’ And sometimes it’s magical.”

The songs Starr wrote with Haynes, Lizmi and Nelson came together in the early stages of 2020’s pandemic- driven lockdown. But save for “All Rise Again”—a surging highlight with a trademark Haynes blues-jam solo and an optimistic vibe—these lyrics aren’t explicitly about the disorienting experience of the lockdown. “There were so many musicians stuck in their living room,” Starr explains. “Those songs were born out of that necessity to create and make new music. You’ve gotta be moving forward.”

Unsurprisingly, many of You Hear Georgia’s songs describe characters that are restless and prone to seeking out a change of scenery, in hopes of finding a place where they belong. Against cinematic backdrops with vivid details, it’s easy to empathize with these protagonists as they share pearls of wisdom (“Don’t ever trust a grown man with a nickname”) and exhibit deep self-awareness (“Anywhere’s better than staying here, with the ghosts running thru his mind”) along the way.

The hard-touring Blackberry Smoke knows a little something about hitting the road in order to find a place to belong. Over the years, the band’s toured with ZZ Top, Zac Brown Band, and Eric Church, while the group’s last four full-lengths reached the top 10 of the Billboard country charts, with two of these albums (2015’s Holding All The Roses and 2016’s Like An Arrow) landing at No. 1

You Hear Georgia reinforces that the band members have come so far together because they also can rely on one another for support and creative direction, no matter what the circumstances.

“Having played music together for so long, it does become a sort of a telepathic thing, where we all are nodding our head at the same time, like, ‘A-ha, I know what this feels like,’ or what it should feel and sound like,” Starr says.

“That’s what makes it so enjoyable to be in a band: to play with the same dudes decade after decade,” he adds. “Because when you land on something that works to you, you don’t want to stop. You want to keep doing it.”

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Jade Bird

Jade Bird

Performances

September 10 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

Jade Bird

For Jade Bird, the second that lockdown lifted, there were no aimless summer days spent meeting friends in parks; no languorous evenings in pub gardens. She was headed straight back to Nashville to complete her second album -- albeit via a strict two-week quarantine in Mexico City. She allowed herself to see no more of the Mexican capital than the local store and a leg-stretching walk around the block, not wanting to jeopardise any chance of being allowed into the States to finish what she had started with Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb (Brandi Carlile, John Prine, Lady Gaga). The highlight of her stay in Mexico was literally her boyfriend pointing out a particularly gnarly spider he spotted as he had a cigarette on the balcony. "I move on really quick," Jade explains of the urgency she felt. "My partner always says there's no in between with me whatsoever, it's on or it's off. My feeling was: I'm in it, I love these songs, I want to sing. That's why we made heaven and earth move so I could do that in that moment."

For Jade, moving fast was about staying connected to the music that she had written (as always), not capitalising on momentum or anyone else's idea of a career plan. She had a taste of the UK hype cycle, making the BBC's 2018 Sound Of... poll and being tipped everywhere from Vogue to Rolling Stone. Her self-titled debut album arrived a year later. Despite those early garlands, she didn't become an overnight success. "I was really glad," she says. "Musically I was not ready. Lyrically I was not ready. And mentally I was not ready." Nevertheless, Jade Bird -- as barnstorming an album as came out in 2019 -- received plaudits from the likes of Pitchfork and NPR. And it showed Jade, an obsessive at bettering her craft, how she wanted to build on the foundations she had laid. She was grateful that her label, Glassnote, was invested in letting her develop album by album. "If you lose a sense of who you are, to re-establish that is really difficult," she says of the pressures hype puts on developing artists. "And the time that it takes for you to re-evaluate your life, your sound, who you are, the UK doesn't have time for that either."

That mature perspective is typical of Jade, who even at 21 was wise to how young female musicians are expected to become cute ambassadors for feminism. ("I'm not sure how to do anything but what I'm doing because what I'm doing is feminism," she told the Guardian. "You don't need to wear a hashtag T-shirt.") Still, as all 21-year-olds tend to, she thought she had life pegged. A standout from her debut, Love Has All Been Done Before, looked at her mum and her grandma's respective divorces and confidently concluded that any relationship of hers would also end up doomed. She proved herself wrong: she's been with her boyfriend (he's also her guitarist) for three years. "I ended up realising I'm really happy and stable," she says.

Her new song, Houdini, puts to bed the part of her past where she was obsessed with literal abandonment. If her debut reflected on "literally every male family member being absent, present, absent, present," she says, Different Kinds of Light reflects on what it means to stay, to love, to allow yourself to be loved. It's about "being with somebody who you adore more than the whole world that hasn't got the foundations to believe in themselves," she says. "Hasn't had people supporting them in a way that their potential can be realised, 'cause they've been crippled by the people or environments that surround them."

Jade translated these conflicted emotional states into sharply observed narrative vignettes that show her flair as a storyteller: the guy oblivious to what's in front of him, the escape artist who confesses to being "asleep at the wheel my whole damn life"; the wastrel burning through their promise. "If I had a penny for all your potential, I'd be left drowning in my mouthful of metal," Jade sings on Now Is the Time. It speaks to how quickly her writing has matured from the more polemical storytelling of her debut. "When you're young, you sit in a chaos of emotions and desperately try to write out of it," says Jade, who's still only 23. "But when you're older, you work out what's affected you and why more clearly. It's amazing what two years can do: it's like you're writing as you're watching instead of writing to see."

Different Kinds of Light was properly born in a rental in upstate New York in January. (When Jade finished her day's writing in the shed and walked back to the house, there were often bear tracks in the snow.) Some came from the song-a-day project that she undertook during lockdown, which she spent with her boyfriend, her mum and grandma at home near Gatwick. In Mexico, she pushed herself to write more and found her British influences -- the Smiths, Cocteau Twins -- coming out. She used to road-test songs live; not being able to do so this year brought out a different side of her writing. One new highlight, I'm Getting Lost, "is quite a bizarre riff to jam out," says Jade, "so it helped me evolve at the same time."

After a session together earlier in the year that minted their studio chemistry, Jade returned to Nashville with more new material to bring to life with Dave Cobb, though she maintained an equally monastic lifestyle, moving strictly between her apartment and the studio to protect herself and her collaborators. She and Dave had clicked in an earlier session thanks to how he treated her potent yet weathered vocals. "I love anyone who can make you sound so imperfect in a great way," she says. They let her sound find its groove, joining tough 90s alt-rock and the melodicism of Blur and Oasis at their sweetest to the taut rattle of Iggy Pop's The Passenger. "That rock element that I've been missing and deeply love," is how Jade describes it. "If I'm in the car, that's what I put on."

There's also the spirit of Fleetwood Mac's pop epics. Stevie Nicks' Storms inspired Different Kinds of Light's title track, written last summer while Jade toured the US with Jason Isbell and Father John Misty. "It says so much: 'did not deal with the road,' 'I have always been a storm.' There's so much in that record that breaks my whole being," she says, melting. She had experienced her own hard times on tour. Anxiety would come and go: a side-effect of being hyper-productive, as she's observed in many young women. "The problem with me is that if you push me, I tend to do well," she says. "The line where I've had enough is hard to find. I think so many artists are crippled by guilt, 'cause you know that opportunities aren't handed out every day so you end up trying to do them all. It's toxic, but it comes with the nature of the industry."

Last summer, that blind work ethic resulted in Jade sometimes becoming physically unable to perform and having to cancel shows. It felt devastating at first. "After that tour, we went to Cornwall and I remember sitting on a rock and listening to Storms over and over and over again, crying and crying and crying, and it being really cathartic," she says. It wasn't that the skies cleared and suddenly everything was fine. "What frustrates me is that if you have a mental illness, it gets marketed like it's going to go away," says Jade. "I think it's counterproductive to a lot of families who are dealing with people with mental health illnesses, like depression -- you know you're going to love that person that way for life, you love them with it, and you'll never love them without it. That's who you are and that's why you love them."

In the US, Jade became part of a community of songwriters and career artists who showed her that a happier, more holistic and sustainable way of working was possible. The likes of Isbell, Sheryl Crow and Jade's friend and champion, Brandi Carlile, promote a nurturing environment, she says, and often tour with their families in tow. It was inspiring. "Especially for a young, female artist, knowing that you can be happy and do your job is really underrated," says Jade. (Also inspiring: for a truly life-affirming vision, look up footage on YouTube of Jade, Brandi and Sheryl performing 9 to 5 with Dolly Parton, Linda Perry, Maggie Rogers, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires and more at last year's Newport Folk Festival, a vision in jewel-coloured pant suits.) Jade resents the modern idea that musicians are also expected to be marketers and businesspeople; for her, musicians are meant to be artists. She admires Brandi's longevity: "It took her six albums before she hit By the Way, I Forgive You. The work ethic! The belief!"

Hence why Jade and her partner are moving to the US -- flying out on the date of the 2020 election, no less. Plus she's young and she's never lived away from home before, bar the many months spent on the tour bus: why not? They're starting in Austin, moving in with a photographer friend, but Jade calls it "the move before the move" -- next they might go to Nashville, or Portland. Jade isn't releasing Different Kinds of Light until autumn 2021, in the hope that touring is possible again by then. (You've never heard anyone sound as unconvinced as Jade talking about how it's been to perform virtually.) "I want the album to have a moment," she says.

In the meantime, maybe she'll work on the punk album she's been making with iconic songwriter Linda Perry, a concept record inspired by the B-52s, the Raincoats and riot grrrl, and based on feminist author Charlotte Perkins Gilman's utopian 1915 novel, Herland, about a society composed entirely of women who can reproduce asexually. "It's in my back pocket," says Jade, brimming with excitement. "Third album, fourth album." There's no rush. The trepidation she felt about her profession on her debut has dissipated. "I never felt like I could call myself an artist -- like, we'll see. Whereas I know that's my occupation now. That's who I am, and that's incredibly reassuring."

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Alexander 23

Alexander 23

Performances

September 9 - 8:00 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Alexander 23

Chicago native Alexander Glantz is the sole creative force behind Alexander 23: he writes, records and produces all of his music in a self-built studio in Los Angeles. In March 2019, he made his debut with "Dirty AF1s," which climbed to #31 on Apple's Pop chart. Later in the fall, he shared his debut, critically-acclaimed EP I'm Sorry I Love You and spent the rest of 2019 on tour with Alec Benjamin, Omar Apollo, and mxmtoon while making his Lollapalooza debut. He kicked off 2020 by selling out two headline shows at The Moroccan Lounge, and joined Chelsea Cutler on her US tour. Additionally, Alexander continued to release new music, including teaming up with Selena Gomez to remix her hit song, "Rare," and sharing his latest hit track "IDK You Yet," which made its way to Spotify's Today's Top Hits and #14 on Apple Pop Chart. "IDK You Yet" has been streamed over 190 million times on Spotify alone. Alexander 23 continues to work on his debut album and plans to tour the world in 2021.

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Queensrÿche

Queensrÿche

Performances

September 2 - 10:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Queensrÿche

Against the formidable obstacles of an ever-changing cultural landscape, the rise and fall of various musical trends, and the near-collapse of the record industry itself, QUEENSRŸCHE secured a triumphant legacy as one of hard rock’s most respected and celebrated acts, selling 30 million albums around the world across a 30-plus-year career.

The band’s name is uttered in the same breath as many of the groups they looked to as influences and others who arose as peers. Queensrÿche built a dedicated legion of fans traveling the globe on tour with fellow rock giants like Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Judas Priest, and Def Leppard. In recent years, they’ve consistently delivered high-octane live shows combining the hungry fire of a new band with the tempered experience of master showmen. Even with eleven gold and platinum plaques and several Top 10 hard rock anthems woven into the very fiber of the genre, Queensrÿche won’t relent. In fact, they’re in the throes of a jaw-dropping creative resurgence.

Condition Hüman tracks like “Guardian,” “Hellfire,” and “Bulletproof” are destined to take their place among Queensrÿche’s most beloved songs. Produced by Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed, Sanctuary) in the band’s native Washington, Condition Hüman is a new mountain towering over many of the peaks and valleys of the hard rock landscape.

Among the great strengths of Queensrÿche is the band’s diversity, from the classic metal majesty of early demo banger “Queen of the Reich” to the soaring and orchestral-backed balladry of #1 smash “Silent Lucidity.” Condition Hüman is the massive, densely layered, unflinchingly driving and consistently memorable Queensrÿche album the world demanded. Cofounders Michael Wilton (guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass), and Scott Rockenfield (drums) with Todd La Torre (vocals) and Parker Lundgren (guitar) draw power from stunning collective synergy, a renewed sense of urgency, and overall life-affirming optimism. Reverent to the band’s iconic past while forging fearlessly into the future, Condition Hüman is a definitive statement of purpose from a hard rock institution.

The seminal bursts of the Queensrÿche EP, stone-cold classic debut full-length The Warning, and badass monster Rage for Order reignited the flames of heavy, progressive, melodic hard rock and metal. Operation: Mindcrime single-handedly redefined the concept album and charged into the Top 40 with timeless Queensrÿche anthems “I Don’t Believe in Love” and “Eyes of a Stranger.” A precision collection of near-perfect songs pushed landmark masterpiece Empire to triple platinum. “Silent Lucidity” earned the band their second and third Grammy nominations, plus five nominations at the MTV Video Music Awards, where Queensrÿche picked up the Viewer’s Choice Award and cemented their status as a true band of the people. The signature sound defined in this era wove its way into the hearts and minds of millions.

Queensrÿche’s dominance at rock radio continued into the ‘90s with a string of hits including “Jet City Woman,” “Another Rainy Night (Without You),” “Real World,” “I Am I,” “Bridge,” and “Sign of the Times.” Promised Land entered the charts at #3 and became another platinum seller. Even with the advent of grunge, shrinking radio formats, MTV’s new reliance on reality television, and the bankruptcy of their longtime major label, the band continued to craft impressive collections and remained a mainstay on the charts. The richly exploratory Hear in the Now Frontier, Q2K, and Tribe precipitated the release of Operation: Mindcrime II, which boasted guest vocals from the late Ronnie James Dio.

Unmistakably powerful, hypnotic, and melodic, the definitive sound established by the first five Queensrÿche releases found new life with La Torre, whose mastery of the classic material, inspired enthusiasm, and introduction of traditional metal grit invigorated hardcore fans around the world. Metalholic put the band’s first record with La Torre and Lundgren at #5 (!) in an editorial ranking Queensrÿche’s sizable collection of studio albums. Standout track “Don’t Look Back” set the stage for the new era. Queensrÿche established they would honor the band’s legacy but never surrender to pure nostalgia.

True to the promise of the album prior, Condition Hüman injects the immediacy of right now into a potent distillation of what’s come before. “Guardian” boasts perhaps the most anthemic chorus of the band’s career. “Hellfire” is balls-to-the-wall and in the pocket, a la “The Mission,” with a dirty groove. “Bulletproof” is a power ballad bigger than anything of the contemporary era while “Just Us” has an almost ‘70s era singer/songwriter vibe. At over seven minutes, the epic title track that closes the album is both a visceral gut punch and passionate journey, like “Roads to Madness” meets “Suite Sister Mary.”

Dark, melodic, dynamic, diverse, instantly memorable, with an intellectual slant to the songwriting and lyrics that are always inviting on the surface while rewarding deeper listening, Queensrÿche continuously replenishes themselves, more than three decades into their body of work. Brave, adventurous, never less than authentic, Queensrÿche captured the rare lightning-in-a-bottle status of being both legendary and contemporary.

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Night Ranger

Night Ranger

Performances

September 3 - 6:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Night Ranger

With more than 17 Million albums sold worldwide, over 3500 live performances, and a radio audience that exceeds 1 Billion. Night Ranger has both epitomized and transcended the arena rock sound and style well beyond that era. With multiple songs that have significantly impacted popular culture, Night Ranger continue to expand their ever-growing fan-base. The band is proof that powerful songs, plus accomplished musicians is the perfect formula for continued success.

Night Ranger have earned widespread acclaim, that includes multi-platinum and gold album status while leaving their indelible mark on the music charts with a string of best-selling albums (Dawn Patrol, Midnight Madness, 7 Wishes, Big Life and Man In Motion). Their popularity is fueled by an impressive string of instantly recognizable hit singles and signature album tracks, including legendary titles such as "Sister Christian", "Don't Tell Me You Love Me", "When You Close Your Eyes", the anthemic "(You Can Still) Rock In America", along with "Sentimental Street", "Goodbye", "Sing Me Away", and "Four in the Morning".

Over the years, the band's music has made notable contributions to and been featured in many different areas of media and popular culture. The band was one of the first big "video" bands on MTV, with over ten number one hit videos. Night Ranger songs can be heard in TV Shows like, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, American Dad, Glee, Grey's Anatomy, Parks & Recreation. The band have also had music featured in video games such as, Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Grand Theft Auto, plus hit Broadway musical Rock of Ages, the Oscar-Nominated film Boogie Nights, and other feature films such as Friday the 13th, Teachers, Sixteen Candles, and The Secret of My Success. Night Ranger can also be heard throughout JBL’s "Hear The Truth" brand campaign.

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Buckcherry

Buckcherry

Performances

September 11 - 9:45 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Buckcherry

Buckcherry is unique, complex, simple, passionate, explosive, original, and always a good time. BC has been my love, my pain, my passion and I'm so proud of what we have accomplished. I never knew when I started this that dedicating myself to music would be taking on so much responsibility. For a guy who never thought he was going to live past 30 this has been an incredible journey. Our ninth record HELLBOUND marks 22 years since our debut self-titled release and what an amazing roller coaster we have been on. From hit songs to platinum and gold records and millions of fans worldwide - all during a time period when traditional sounding hard rock bands didn't exist - except for Buckcherry. We beat the odds and built our reputation on the live shows, and our "one of a kind" approach to every opportunity.

When the pandemic hit, we had to shift gears like everyone else and it was anything but comfortable. The good news is when this band is backed up against the wall, we produce our best music. HELLBOUND reflects just that. Teaming up with Marti Fredrickson again was so inspiring. He really brings out the best of us and becomes the sixth band member when we are together. There is this mutual respect and passion going on that makes it effortless and fun.

There was so much going on in the world that it was easy to find subject matter for song writing. Songs like BARRICADE and JUNK reflect that, but I also was reminiscing about the moment when I "sold my soul to rock n' roll". I will never forget it. It was the very first performance at a house party in Orange County, CA. I knew in that moment that there was no looking back, and no "plan B". It was only victory or death. The title track HELLBOUND reflects that very moment and is one of my favorite tracks. Part of what I loved about rock records growing up was the dynamics from song to song, you had mid-tempo songs, ballads, and rockers and HELLBOUND is a great reflection of that. Songs like NO MORE LIES, AIN'T WASTING NO MORE TIME, and THE WAY really capture the depth and emotion of not only the world situation but also the personal struggle. Then you must have those quintessential Buckcherry tracks like SO HOT, 5-4-3-2-1, HERE I COME and GUN that I can see our long time fans really appreciating.

Through adversity Buckcherry has had its greatest moments and we are having one right now with HELLBOUND I hope u enjoy it, and we will see you at the rock show!!

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Ani DiFranco

Ani DiFranco

Performances

September 9 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

Ani DiFranco

The transcendent new album from Ani Di Franco, Revolutionary Love (out January 29, 2021), marks the latest proof of one of her most powerful gifts as an artist: a rare ability to give voice to our deepest frustrations and tensions, on both a personal and political level. “My songs have always reflected an acute connection between my personal life and the life of my society,” says the trailblazing musician and activist. “As I started to come out of years of dealing with marriage problems, I saw my entire country in the same situation; the complete breakdown of communication and loss of empathy and connection. But after what seems like unforgivable damage, then where do you go? You can’t kick each other off the planet, you can’t change the past, so what then?”  

As the 22nd studio album in an iconic career— a musical career which forged one degree of separation between Pete Seeger and Prince and the accompanying career of founding her own precedent-setting label, Righteous Babe Records—Revolutionary Love began taking shape in the final weeks before the Covid 19 pandemic came to change the plans of everyone everywhere. Returning home to New Orleans from a West Coast tour in February of 2020, with a new batch of songs written on the road, Di Franco found herself without a path to recording those songs and lost in the creative abyss of the collective need for social isolation“And then I decided I wanted to start pushing this new music out by fall… before the election,” she recalls. “I felt very strongly that I needed a horse to ride to try to help get out the vote—to get people inspired and get them believing in democracy, believing in each other and in themselves.” 

Di Franco began to explore using live recordings from the tour as the basis for the new album but then she reached out to her friend Brad Cook, a Durham, North Carolina-based producer/multi-instrumentalist known for his work with artists like Bon Iver and Waxahatchee. The two had kept in touch after crossing paths at the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival (an event co-founded by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, who appeared on Di Franco’s acclaimed 2017 album Binary), where she became enamored with one of Cook’s guitars. “Brad let me borrow the guitar and I ended up writing half this record on it,” says Di Franco. “I called him up and told him about the new pile of songs I’d pulled out of his guitar and about my recording predicament and he said to me, ‘Give me a week. If you can get yourself to Durham, I’ll take care of the rest.’”

Produced by Di Franco and recorded mainly in two whirlwind days at Overdub Lane in Durham, Revolutionary Love more than justifies the mad dash behind its making. As her first studio effort since the release of No Walls and the Recurring Dream (Di Franco’s widely praised 2019 memoir), Revolutionary Love arrives as an instantly transportive selection of songs. Rooted in her poetic lyricism and ever-commanding vocal work, the album unfolds in an understated yet captivating alchemy of folk and soul and lushly textured jazz-pop. In sculpting that sound, Di Franco and Cook assembled an eclectic lineup of musicians, including percussionist Brevan Hampden (Hiss Golden Messenger, Milton Suggs), horn/flute player Matt Douglas (The Mountain Goats, Josh Ritter), keyboardist Phil Cook (Megafaun, Shouting Matches), drummer Yan Westerlund (Quetico, Mipso) and Di Franco’s longtime touring band Terence Higgins on percussion and Todd Sickafoose on bass.

The finishing touches were added in Eugene, Oregon with the inclusion of the Delgani String Quartet, arranged by Todd Sickafoose, and in Pensacola, Florida with the soulful pedal steel playing of Sacred Steel aficionado Roosevelt Collier. The instrumentation is rich but with many of the performances captured in one or two takes, Revolutionary Love reveals Di Franco’s tremendous gift for seizing the moment of performance and transforming confusion into clarity, pain into perseverance.

Revolutionary Love opens on its luminous title track, a profoundly resolute piece inspired by Sikh-American activist/filmmaker/lawyer/author Valarie Kaur. “A lot of the language in that song comes from Valarie’s book See No Stranger,” says Di Franco, who connected with Kaur after watching a talk she’d given in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. “It’s about carrying the energy of love and compassion into the center of our social movements and making it the driving force. It’s about finding it within ourselves to stay curious about our opponents instead of shutting down.”

One of several songs Di Franco composed at Kaur’s request (“She approached me and asked, ‘Can you write some songs for me?’” says Di Franco), “Revolutionary Love” wholly embodies the album’s defiant spirit of irrepressible hope. On lead single “Do or Die,” Di Franco channels that spirit into a slow-burning but anthemic call-to-arms, gracefully laced with falsetto vocals and finger-snapped beats. Centered on her incisive lyrics (“Cuz there’s foxes in the hen house/And bad news every day/And right there on Pennsylvania Avenue/The sheetless KKK”), “Do or Die” began as a poem Di Franco set to music on that early-2020 tour, then underwent a major shift during her sessions with Cook and drummer Yan Westerlund. “Brad suggested I slow it way down, to the point where it was almost at half-speed,” says Di Franco. “At first I thought, ‘This is the rallying cry of the record, and now all the energy’s gone. I fucked it up.’ But what I discovered was that the very deliberate, simple, open approach to the drums left me with all the room in the world to dance around the pocket with my words and guitar. It was incredibly liberating.”

Throughout Revolutionary Love, Di Franco hits a potent balance of determination and dreamy reflection, a dynamic that echoes one of the central lessons of Kaur’s maternal teachings: “If we don’t push, we will die. If we don’t breathe, we will die.” “I wanted to have these moments where, after we engage with all the insanity and strife, we step back and shake off the anxiety and the fear,” Di Franco says. “We all need that quiet space to reconnect with ourselves and our hope.” On “Simultaneously,” a softly spellbinding track lit up in lilting flute melodies, Di Franco speaks directly to the challenge in navigating the disconnect between a visionary inner life and a chaotic outside world (“I live in two different worlds simultaneously/The one where we are fractured/And the one where we are free”). “I look around and everything’s crashing and burning all around me,” says Di Franco, “but in my mind I can see this alternate reality playing out—one where we are all fulfilling our potential.”

Elsewhere on Revolutionary Love, Di Franco brings her nuanced storytelling to far more intimate narratives, the impact of her personal revelation intensely magnified by the rawness of the recording process. “It’d been a long time since I sat in front of a microphone and recorded a whole record in a number of hours I could count on my hands,” she says. “For years I’d been trying to piece records together by hook or by crook, overdubbing different elements at different times, lingering over all the details. But this thing was made more like it was 1968, with people performing on instruments made of wood and metal, laying down a few takes and moving on. It really brought out the prowess of the musicians involved and the immediacy of offering up a song to another human.”

The last word came from legendary producer, mixer Tchad Blake (Black Keys, Los Lobos, Tom Waits) who mixed the album, bringing both an old-school hard-pan aesthetic and a modern expressiveness to bare. Blake’s mixes are not retro 1968 but somewhere in the sonic landscape and in the songs we can hear the echoes of an era filled with the pain and possibility of change. We can hear the cyclical process of the labor of revolutionary love; the breathing and the pushing.

In looking back on the making of the album, Di Franco recalls the daily texts she received from her friend and former tour manager Susan Alzner, who lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. “She’s an activist who really feels the weight of the world on her chest. She goes for walks every evening to decompress,” says Di Franco. “The whole time I was making this record, she’d send me pictures of the sky from when she was out walking, and it always made me inhale more deeply.” So when it came time to choose artwork for Revolutionary Love, Di Franco landed on a series of photos from her friend’s nightly texts. “When people hear this record, I want them to get the same feeling I got from Susan’s sky pictures—that feeling of taking a minute to realize that the light is shining around us and through us,” she says. “Like, we can do this, we just have to stay open. We have to look up.”

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Tower of Power

Tower of Power

Performances

September 16 - 4:00 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Tower of Power

Over the course of two memorable evenings in June 2018, legendary soul-funk-R&B outfit Tower of Power returned to Oakland, the city that started it all, to celebrate its landmark 50th anniversary with a few thousand friends, family and fans. The window-rattling grooves and raucous party spirit of ToP has been a balm for the soul throughout the band’s half-century existence, but the release of 50 Years of Funk & Soul: Live at the Fox Theater – Oakland, CA – June 2018 couldn’t have come at a better time.

Due out March 26, 2021 from Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Music Group, the high-spirited live album and video offers a reminder of the communal joys of the live music experience, something that’s been sorely missed over this staggering pandemic year. Released as a 3-LP set, a 2-CD/DVD combo, a standalone DVD, as well as digitally, 50 Years of Funk & Soul is the next best thing to hearing these brilliant musicians in person. Fittingly for such a special occasion, Tower of Power went all out for these hometown shows, supplementing the core 10-piece band and its iconic horn section with additional horns and a string section.

Bandleader and saxophonist Emilio Castillo also invited back a few elite ToP alumni, including saxophonist Lenny Pickett (musical director of the Saturday Night Live band); keyboardist Chester Thompson (Santana); guitarist Bruce Conte and former vocalist Ray Greene, who shows off his trombone prowess. They join the renowned modern line-up of the band, featuring co-founder Stephen “Doc” Kupka on baritone sax, longtime drummer David Garibaldi, and lead vocalist Marcus Scott. Adding a bittersweet tinge is the presence of founding bassist Francis “Rocco” Prestia, who passed away in September 2020.

“People come up to me all the time and say, ‘Wow man, 50 years! We can't believe it,’” laughs Castillo. “You can't believe it? I'm the one that can't believe it. We've been through a lot of ups and downs and learned a lot along the way. We've affected a lot of people's lives and done a lot of work that we're very proud of. The band has a real family atmosphere. It's been very rewarding.”

Castillo was only 17 years old when he met Kupka and started to assemble the band that would become Tower of Power. “I had no vision at all,” he recalls now. “I just loved playing soul music. My idols were a local band called The Spyders and they had gigged in Sacramento. I thought, ‘Man, if I could just get to Sacramento that would be it.’ That's literally how small my vision was.”

The band has long since surpassed Castillo’s admittedly modest aspirations, traveling the world, enjoying hit singles on their own and backing some of the most legendary artists of the last 50 years – a list that includes Otis Redding, Elton John, Santana, the Grateful Dead, John Lee Hooker, Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, and countless others. In the process they’ve defined an “Oakland soul” sound as instantly recognizable as those from Castillo’s hometown, Detroit, as well as inspirations like Memphis and Philadelphia.

“Oakland is a very special city,” Castillo says. “It has a really unique type of soul to it. I loved Memphis soul music, yet because of my upbringing I always wanted to make it slicker. I think that defined my approach to music.”

The Fox Theater, where 50 Years of Funk & Soul was recorded, is just a stone’s throw from Jack London Square, where ToP got its start at the now-defunct club On Broadway. While the Bay Area music scene had become famous because of the Fillmore, across the Bay in San Francisco, ToP launched a whole new sound and wore its less glamorous origins proudly.

“You can take the boy out of Oakland, but you can't take the Oakland out of the boy,” insists Castillo. “We always called the East Bay, where we were from, the dark side of the Bay. It was more ethnic, with a lot of blacks, Hispanics and Asians, and soul was the thing there. So, we called our first album East Bay Grease and put a map of Oakland on the cover, which proved to be a really smart move. People all over the world started saying that we represent the Oakland soul sound.”

That sound is vividly represented throughout the nearly two hours of pulse-quickening funk that makes up 50 Years of Funk & Soul. The setlist spans the band’s history, from classic hits “You’re Still a Young Man,” “So Very Hard to Go,” “What is Hip?” and “Don’t Change Horses” to newly-minted favorites like “Stop” and “Do You Like That?” from recent albums on Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Music Group, Soul Side of Town (2018) and Step Up (2020). The band shows off its taut precision on the intricately syncopated “On the Serious Side” and proves eerily prophetic by including “Soul Vaccination.”

This vigorous and dynamic live set should prove to be just that for fans around the world starved for the ToP groove over this past year. Count Castillo himself among their ranks – used to fronting the band for 200 dates a year, he’s only played a single gig since last March, joining Los Lobos for a drive-in concert at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. “It’s really been a challenge,” Castillo says of living in lockdown. He’s looking forward to resuming that tireless schedule once the coronavirus is under control. Despite the band’s long and storied history, he has no plans for retirement.

“B.B. King is my role model,” he says. “He just kept on playing to the bitter end. No matter how B.B. was feeling on the bus, he’d step on stage, the lights would go on and he'd come to life. I’ve always said that's who I want to be. My plan is to continue working and spreading the good news of Tower of Power.”

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Sheila E.

Sheila E.

Performances

September 18 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

Sheila E.

Sheila Escovedo picked up the drumsticks and started making music at the precocious age of three. Sheila delivered her first solo performance to a live audience two years later and has since established herself as one of the most talented percussionist/drummers and performers in the world. Best known to music fans as Sheila E., she became a top session and touring musician before the age of 20, performing and/or recording with George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, Con Funk Shun, Marvin Gaye (on his final world tour), Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, Patti LaBelle, and Steve Nicks among others.

Sheila E.'s producing, arranging, and performance talents have been showcased throughout the music and film industry with appearances on, The Academy Awards, The Latin Grammy Awards, BET Awards, The American Music Awards, The Kennedy Center Honors, The Summer Olympics, WOW Awards, ALMA's, and The Image Awards just to name a few. In 2014,  Sheila  released her literary biography Titled The Beat of My Own Drum, and her solo album,  ICON. Following Prince’s death she released  the single Girl Meets Boy in memory of the late, great, Prince. In 2018, Sheila E. released, ICONIC: Message for America, an album that displays her efforts in awareness to social issues and humanitarianism.

Sheila E. continues to produce and perform music throughout the world. Her current single, No Line with the legendary Snoop Dogg, is Sheila's continued contribution to the music industry. The Queen of Percussion plans to release new music in 2020 Sheila E. is CEO of the entertainment company StilettoFlats Inc. located in Los Angeles California.

 

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Tyler Farr

Tyler Farr

Performances

September 10 - 6:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Tyler Farr

Authentic and unapologetic, Tyler Farr records songs he would listen to in his truck – windows down, sound up. It just so happens country music fans want to hear the same songs.

Without pandering or compromise, Farr’s powerhouse vocals, real-guy relatability, and willingness to mine emotional themes and personal imperfection resonates with people searching to find themselves in the music that underscores their daily routines and future dreams.

With three No. 1 songs (“Redneck Crazy,” “Whiskey in My Water,” and “A Guy Walks Into a Bar”) and a growing string of hits, they found it in Farr. And like a weathered truck with rusty tail pipes, it can get a little loud and gritty.

For his latest project, the Missouri native turned to likeminded mentor Jason Aldean, who signed Farr to his label Night Train Records in partnership with BBR Music Group. As an energetic performer who achieved superstar success cultivating fans from the barstool up, Aldean brings a unique point of view as Farr’s producer along with Kurt Allison and Tully Kennedy (Aldean’s guitarist and bassist, respectively). And Farr clearly breathes easier with his friend and former wedding groomsman in the studio. It’s a creative partnership road tested and forged by truly knowing someone at their core.

Steadfast in his vocal talent and song choices, Farr is unrestrained and fearless as he embraces a rougher, guitar-fueled edge on his four-song 2020 EP, Only Truck In Town. The result feels part barn party, part stadium roller.

“Only Truck In Town” – dubbed a “country boy’s love song” by Taste of Country – taps familiar topics without feeling tired or contrived. Online media outlet Sounds Like Nashville reports “Hitmaker Tyler Farr returns to country radio with a truck song of a different stripe…dropping into low gear with the slow-and-steady romance of ‘Only Truck In Town.’” Taste of Country put it, “The joy of the song is that it borrows a few bro-ish themes, but bends them enough to create something quite sincere and generous. When you listen you get the sense that that's where the new Tyler Farr is in life.”

Other cuts in the collection include the glory of a backroad on “Heaven on Dirt,” the wistful “Soundtrack to a Small Town Sundown,” and the heart-wrenching “Wish Dogs Could Live Forever,” which hit home after the death of Farr’s beloved bloodhound Cooter.

The music is honest because Farr only sings about what he has lived or relates to himself – hunting, fishing, getting dirty, loving his dog. Working-class proud, Farr elevates the commonplace when he turns his focus to the people and relationships that give those moments a deeper meaning. And four years into his marriage to critical care nurse Hannah, with daughter, Hollis born in January 2021, Farr proves love is no fools’ game.

That faithfulness comes naturally. Farr grew up in Garden City, MO, a farming town an hour southeast of Kansas City, MO with no traffic lights, a U.S. Post Office that has been in continuous operation since 1875, and a population that was less than 2,000 when Farr left for Nashville in 2010.

A natural singer, Farr took voice lessons as a teenager and sang tenor in Missouri’s All-State Choir. A trained opera singer, he studied voice at Missouri State University, which is evident in his vocal control and timing. His interest switched from classical to classic country when his mother fell in love and married DeWayne Phillips, who was the lead guitarist in George Jones’ touring band.

Phillips encouraged the aspiring singer/songwriter and after college, Farr packed his car and moved to Nashville. But industry success was far from immediate. There was no mold for the unabashedly rock-leaning, hillbilly singer.

He found work as a bouncer at famed Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge – home of his musical heroes – before working his way up to a place on the stage, leaving his days free to write songs. By early 2011, he was opening for Colt Ford, Jerrod Niemann, and Lee Brice.

Farr was one day away from returning to college when he found a friend in award-winning songwriter and fellow outdoorsman, Rhett Akins. Akins had heard a song Farr wrote for an outdoor show on cable network GAC (Great American Country). Akins took an interest and introduced Farr to some of the best songwriters in Nashville landing Farr a publishing deal with Sony ATV/Monument Publishing.

Nashville caught on. Farr co-wrote "She's Just Like That" for Joe Nichols before releasing “Hot Mess,” a song he co-wrote with Akins, Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip that was Farr’s debut single in early 2012.

Farr signed a recording contract with Sony Music Nashville (BNA Records and then Columbia Nashville) and released his debut album, Redneck Crazy in 2013. The record landed at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200. Farr’s Platinum-selling title-track “Redneck Crazy” launched back-to-back No. 1 singles, including his first No. 1 as a songwriter, with his Platinum-certified hit “Whiskey in my Water.” His sophomore album, Suffer In Peace released in 2015, followed suit, also making its debut in the Top 5 on both the Billboard Top 200 Albums and Billboard Country Albums charts, which made Farr the only solo male Country artist in a decade to have his first two studio albums debut in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Accolades followed including CRS New Faces of Country Radio and a nomination for Music Row “Breakthrough Artist of the Year.” He earned coveted slots touring with Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Brantley Gilbert, and Luke Combs. Media outlets paid attention with Rolling Stone calling Farr a “no-frills musician who pours his drinks as hard as he pours his heart into his songs” and he was offered his own reality series “A Little Too Farr.” He is a Duck Commander partner and is a sought-after guest on several outdoor programs.

Farr parted ways with Sony in September 2018 and in March 2019, he was the first artist signed to Aldean’s Night Train Records/BBR Music Group where he is solidly in the driver seat with his favorite songs on the radio. Aldean and Tyler are currently in the studio finalizing music for a full album.

For more information on Tyler Farr and touring, please visit:  https://www.tylerfarr.com/

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KennyHoopla

KennyHoopla

Performances

September 2 - 4:00 PM @ Generac Power Stage
September 1 - 5:30 PM @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater

KennyHoopla

November 25, 2020 -- NEW YORK, NY -- Today, pathbreaking alternative artist KennyHoopla and legendary musician/songwriter/producer, Travis Barker of Blink-182 star together in the official music video for their pop-punk throwback track, "ESTELLA//." A genuine fan of Kenny's, Travis reached out over Instagram to write together, and soon after, they wrote "ESTELLA//" in Los Angeles, CA. The explosive new video features Travis on the drums and Kenny giving an electrifying performance while showcasing his signature backflip.

Travis Barker stated, ""I loved Kenny's music from the moment I heard it and showed everyone it. We connected and kept talking about working together. 'Bout a month ago we got in the studio for a few hours and it was magic. That's when we wrote "ESTELLA//," rest is history."

KennyHoopla stated, ""it feels like there is always a place and time for everything except there really being a place for time -- honing in on pictures never doing justice and the funny irony of the public's emotion towards my seat in the industry right now."

"ESTELLA//" featuring Travis Barker follows a new version of Kenny's single "lost cause//" featuring Jesse Rutherford of The Neighbourhood, as well as an alternate version with Canadian-American alternative artist, Grandson. Over the summer, Kenny shared live performance videos from his debut EP, how will i rest in peace if I'm buried by a highway?//, including videos for "dust//", and "thinkingoutloud//." He also participated in the Fader's Digital Fort, and the performance for his EP title track has crossed over one million views on YouTube. 

Born in Cleveland and currently based in Wisconsin, KennyHoopla is one of the most exciting rising artists in the alternative space today. HYPEBEAST proclaimed that he is "undoubtedly one of the most important indie up-and-comers in the United States right now." His how will i rest in peace if I'm buried by a highway?// EP title track landed at #8 at Alternative Radio with adds across major markets and SiriusXM's Alt Nation, and was added to the BBC 6 Music playlist in the U.K. The track was featured on the Fader, and was BBC Radio 1's Tune of the Week. To date, KennyHoopla has been critically praised by tastemakers such as Fader, Complex, Pigeons & Planes, Consequence of Sound, NME and more.

KennyHoopla is set to support Yungblud on select UK dates next spring. He will join You Me At Six on tour next year as well, and is a confirmed performer for the 2021 Riot Fest in Chicago.

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Galactic ft. Anjelika Jelly Joseph

Galactic ft. Anjelika Jelly Joseph

Performances

September 18 - 4:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Galactic ft. Anjelika Jelly Joseph

Galactic’s first new studio album in more than three years, ALREADY READY ALREADY – released on their own Tchuop-Zilla Records – sees the renowned New Orleans based instrumental outfit taking a distinctly contemporary approach towards their own progressive sound, interpolating modern rhythms and electronic instrumentation within the house-shaking framework of the Crescent City’s funk pop ‘n’ roll. Produced by ?the band’s Robert Mercurio and Ben Ellman, the new LP finds Galactic once again enlisting a diverse array of vocal collaborators to assist in their musical exploration, each of whom lend lyrical flavor and individualistic personality to the band’s multi-faceted sonic grooves. Bookended by a high powered pair of trademark Galactic instrumentals that give the album its title, ALREADY READY ALREADY. The album is a short, sharp blast of undeniable creative muscle, from the stripped down kick/snap verses of “Going Straight Crazy,” featuring New Orleans singer (and YouTube sensation) Princess Shaw, to punk cabaret artist Boyfriend’s quirky speed-rap on the breakneck “Dance At My Funeral.” As ever, Galactic’s omnivorous musical interests make easy classification utterly impossible – ALREADY READY ALREADY is as all encompassing and universal as the band’s moniker established long ago.

 

“I’ve never been able to put a label on what we do,” Ellman says. “I could say it’s funk or I could say it’s R&B or jazz or whatever else, but really, it’s all of that.”

“It’s not that we’re always trying to push boundaries,” says Mercurio, “but we definitely take influence from our hometown and try to do something new with it. We tour all around the world and we’re exposed to tons of elements that filter their way into our consciousness and come out through our music.”

Though their hearts are always in New Orleans, Galactic spends virtually all its life on the road, leaving limited timeframes in which to record. Whenever time allowed, the group holed up at their studio headquarters, Number C, where they were free to experiment and develop new ideas.

“Having our own studio allows to not be on some schedule,” Ellman says, “where we have to have material, save up some money, book the studio, and that’s the time we have to make a record. It’s a completely different process, where we can always be working on music.”

Over time, the tracks revealed themselves as either instrumentals (like the slippery, dub-inflected “Goose Grease”) or vocal songs. The band, so well woven into their city’s ever-changing music scene, began to thumb through their little black book in search of collaborators.

“Our community is so rich with talent,” Ellman says. “We’re just lucky to be in a situation where we can make phone calls, then someone comes to the studio, we kick it, start working on things. It’s all really organic.”

Galactic brought in a diverse array of predominantly young female singers, each of whom brings their own disparate musical tastes and cultural flavor. Working with artists lesser known on the national stage but beloved in their own community enables Galactic to evince a kind of sonic truth about their hometown, putting its multi-faceted underground to the fore.

“Trust me, I loved having Macy Gray and Mavis Staples on our last record,” Mercurio says. “It was an honor to work with them. But there’s something fun about making music with someone not everybody has heard of and end up getting a great reaction to it. There are no preconceived thoughts as to what the song should be like because the listener doesn’t know the artist as well.”

That being said, a number of the voices heard on ALREADY READY ALREADY are Galactic veterans: “Touch Get Cut” features the band’s touring vocalist, Erica Falls, while “Clap Your Hands” is sung by Ms. Charm Taylor, previously featured on 2015’s acclaimed INTO THE DEEP. The lilting “Everlasting Light” teams Galactic with frequent collaborator, The Revivalists’ David Shaw, alongside Nahko of Nahko & Medicine For The People – the only non-New Orleans resident among the features.

As for working with Nahko, Ellman says, “We just liked his vocal.” “Being from New Orleans isn’t a prerequisite for working with us. You never want to be restricted, it’s whatever serves the song best.”

Galactic is, likely even at this very moment, on the road as usual, with Erica Falls putting her own stamp on ALREADY READY ALREADY’s songs as they manifest new shapes through live performance. As if their perpetual tour schedule weren’t enough, Galactic announce the band’s purchase and future stewardship of New Orleans’ legendary Tipitina’s nightclub.

“We’re so incredibly honored to be tasked as the current caretakers of such a historic venue,” says Ellman. “My connection with the club started way before I was lucky enough to take the stage. My first job in New Orleans was at Tipitina’s as a cook in the (now defunct) kitchen. The importance of respecting what Tip’s means for musicians and the city of New Orleans is not lost on us. We're excited for the future of the club and look forward to all the amazing music and good times ahead.”

With that in mind, it turns out that, despite the lack of released work, the past three years have in fact been remarkably prolific for Galactic. The sessions that yielded ALREADY READY ALREADY will generate still another LP due later in 2019, one which Ellman describes as “possibly more of a throwback thing” but will almost certainly morph into something altogether new and wonderful via Galactic’s evolutionary musical vision.

“There’s no telling what those songs will sound like when we’re through,” Mercurio says. “Once we get in there and start twisting them, see what perks up our ears, stuff can definitely take a left turn. That’s kind of the story of Galactic right there – we’re constantly taking left turns. I wonder what it would be like if we took a right…?”

 

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Hinder

Hinder

Performances

September 11 - 8:00 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Hinder

Multi-platinum American rockers, HINDER, continue to drive a career of longevity that few bands achieve. Their stats resonate just that, selling over 4 million albums and 10 million singles, garnering north of 150 million video views, and passing the 100 million streams mark. Throw on top the endless energy HINDER has brought to over 15 headlining tours and you can see why they are still rocking long since their formation in 2001.

August 11th of 2017 brought another career highlight. The release of their 6th Studio album, coincidently titled THE REIGN, on The End Records/BMG. This would be their 3rd release with the New York based record label, preceded by HINDER’s first ever acoustic EP STRIPPED on May 13, 2016. Their 5th full-length studio album When The Smoke Clears entered the Billboard 200 while also claiming four other Top 10 chart positions upon its on May 12, 2015.

As one of the few rock bands to grab massive cross-over success, HINDER’s 2005 debut album, Extreme Behavior, climbed to #6 on the Billboard 200 chart and was the 2nd Top Rock Album. Get Stoned would be the album’s first radio single, climbing to a #4 mainstream rock spot. What followed would end up being one of the biggest songs of the year, Lips of an Angel, which peaked within the top 10 across several Billboard singles charts, including #1 at Top 40 and Pop 100. Extreme Behavior has since been certified 3x Platinum. Their hometown inducted them into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2008 their sophomore effort, Take It To The Limit, surpassed their debut by peaking at #4 on the Billboard 200 and hitting the Mainstream Rock chart at #3 with single Use Me. This solidified HINDER as the biggest new breakout rock act and catapulting them into packed arenas worldwide with the likes of Aerosmith, Mötley Crüe, Nickelback, 3 Doors Down, Papa Roach, and many others. HINDER proved consistent record hit making by following up with a #1 Top Modern Rock/Alternative Album, All American Nightmare (LP 3), and a #3 Top Hard Rock Album, Welcome To The Freakshow (LP 5).

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Dillon Carmichael

Dillon Carmichael

Performances

September 18 - 8:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Dillon Carmichael

Critics and fans from across the musical spectrum found much to fall in love with this past fall when Dillon Carmichael unleashed his brilliant debut, ‘Hell On An Angel.’ Produced by Dave Cobb—the studio guru behind country radio powerhouses like Chris Stapleton and Zac Brown Band—the album merged a sonically progressive palette with a tasteful reverence for the past and wrapped it all up with a director’s eye for detail, creating a stunning collection that was at once old-school and modern, traditional and contemporary, timeless and timely. The New York Times compared Carmichael to Randy Travis and said his rich baritone voice “moves with the heft and certainty of a tractor-trailer,” while NPR praised his “deep holler,” and Parade raved that “Carmichael defines pure country.” He landed on Artist To Watch lists from Billboard, Rolling Stone, Taste of Country, Pandora, and more, reached #2 at Country radio’s Most Added chart with his debut radio single, “Dancing Away With My Heart,” electrified festival crowds from CMA Fest to Dierks Bentley’s Seven Peaks, and earned tour dates with Aaron Lewis, Dwight Yoakam, Trace Adkins, The Cadillac Three, and A Thousand Horses among others.

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Dead Sara

Dead Sara

Performances

September 17 - 8:00 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Dead Sara

The songs we can’t stop singing last forever. They soundtrack life’s most important moments and stay with us through good times and bad.

Los Angeles alternative rock band Dead Sara set out to write those kinds of songs on their 2018 EP and first release for Atlantic Records, Temporary Things Taking Up Space. The trio —Emily Armstrong [vocals and guitar], Siouxsie Medley [lead guitar] and Sean Friday [drums]— doubled down on the brash and bluesy bravado that made them a fan favorite, while sharpening the songcraft to knifepoint precision and simultaneously widening the sound’s scope.

“You listen to some songs and think, ‘Oh my God, I want to hear that again’,” says Armstrong. “After ten years of doing everything on our own, we’ve learned so much. However, we were stuck in our ways- the way we’d always done things. Why should anything be off limits? I realized we’d been too afraid, and I was hiding in my own world. I’m ready to open that world up. When we started scaring ourselves, it was the best thing possible. For the first time, I was exposing myself lyrically in a way that I’d never done before. We got more vulnerable overall. Then again, isn’t that what songwriting is all about?”

“We took the time to figure out what we wanted and how to grow as individuals,” elaborates Medley. “Then, we did that.”

Most importantly, Temporary Things Taking Up Space marks a natural step. Since the release of their 2012 self-titled debut, Dead Sara have quietly carved a foothold at the forefront of the 21st century rock vanguard through a one-two punch of raucous riffing and sky-high vocals. Along the way, the musicians earned high-profile fans such as Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick who namechecked them in The Wall Street Journal, Muse’s Matt Bellamy who invited them on tour, and Dave Grohl who proclaimed, “Dead Sara should be the next biggest rock band in the world.” Between releasing their acclaimed 2015 sophomore offering Pleasure to Meet You and endless touring, they repeatedly lit up the small screen, performing on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!Late Night with Seth Meyers, and during an episode of The Vampire Diaries.

In hindsight, it feels as if everything was building towards Temporary Things Taking Up Space.

“We started to open up a new chapter,” comments Friday. “We were bringing in so many different sounds.”

“Oh boy, I believe this has been a long time coming,” exclaims the frontwoman. “We had the energy, we had the passion, and we had the love for music. We were missing that one thing. We had to change in order to find it.”

Embracing an adventurous spirit, the group’s process started morphing in 2016. Rather than hit the studio with loose ideas to quickly cobble together an album, they dedicated nearly a year to writing and perfecting the new music. Another first, they welcomed collaborations with writers such as Simon Katz, and Tommy English, while enlisting Tony Hoffer [Beck, M83, Air] as producer. Musically, they further incorporated synthesizers and electronic percussive elements, confidently expanding the sonic palette.

“We went outside of the box in the approach to this EP,” Medley remarks. “The creative process was definitely different from what we’ve done in the past. We tried every avenue and didn’t limit ourselves in any way. We tried more synths and programming—which Sean really drove.”

“We’ve never spent this much time writing,” Armstrong continues. “I stopped taking work. I stopped everything. I decided the only way this was going to happen was if I dedicated my all to it. I was obsessed. I just wanted to get better. It opened the floodgates. It’s a bridge to what’s next for Dead Sara.”

“We devoted a month to hashing out the songs and making them the best they could be,” adds Friday. “In addition to the synths, we tried a lot of direct-input guitars to make it sound really gritty. It’s tighter. With all of that experimentation, we went into the studio.”

The trio ignites this next chapter with the 2018 single “Anybody.” Propulsive guitars curl around an arena-ready beat punctuated by heavenly synths programmed by Friday before the seismic refrain, “Come on and touch me. Do I belong to anybody?”

“I was going through a breakup,” recalls Armstrong. “The world seemed like it was imploding. Donald Trump had just gotten in. It was as if everything shifted. I felt like I didn’t belong. There was nothing I could hold onto, grab, or be a part of. Life went dark. We captured something really raw in the moment.”

“Siouxsie added these really cool guitar parts to it,” recalls Friday. “We built it organically like most of this material.”

Elsewhere on the EP, an arsenal of Medley’s vintage guitars wail wildly on the stomping shuffle of “Heaven’s Got A Back Door” before spiraling into a cathedral-size chant.

Thinking “What would Keith Richards do?” (after a few tequila shots), “UnAmerican” sarcastically skewers stereotypes with lyrical barbs, a lively scream, and a clever and catchy chorus explosion, “I guess I’m UnAmerican.”

The spacey six-string echo of “What It Takes” resounds as Armstrong delivers one of her most personal performances to date.

‘What It Takes’ is essentially about coming out,” she states. “That’s something I was never able to speak on. I was living this life where I felt like if I said something I was going to die, but by not saying anything, I was already dying. Again, I was scaring myself with this song. It’s about realizing that it’s ok to just be yourself, because honestly, nobody really cares but you.”

In the end, Dead Sara unleash a body of work befitting their ambition, drive, and decade-plus grind.

“We finally have the music we’ve been looking for,” Armstrong leaves off. “We rebuilt everything to get here. There’s a lot of growth. Now, it’s so exciting to see how this unfolds. I think we can reach a whole new level with these songs.”

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Toad the Wet Sprocket

Toad the Wet Sprocket

Performances

September 11 - 4:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Toad the Wet Sprocket

The tale behind Toad the Wet Sprocket’s sparkling New Constellation album, its first set of new material in 16 years, has the elements that have made so many of the band’s songs cherished by fans: It’s a story of embracing the power of love, finding the strength to overcome struggles, renewing the unbreakable bonds of friends and family, striking a balance of romantic ideals and sharp realities, reaching beyond oneself and learning to live in the utter glory of the moment.

“The Moment” is, in fact, the title of the song that all four members of the group — the same quartet that came together as teens at Santa Barbara, California’s San Marcos High School nearly 25 years ago — cite as New Constellation’s keystone.

“It’s about being present,” says singer-songwriter Glen Phillips of the song, a showcase for the thoughtful, aspirational lyrics, vibrant spectrums of guitar-based rock and evanescent three-part harmonies that remain the Toad hallmarks.

Present applies to this album and its evolution in every sense of the word — from the band coalescing with a new sense of purpose to the fans who’ve stuck with them through the off years and went above and beyond supporting the new album via a Kickstarter campaign.

Phillips, guitarist-songwriter Todd Nichols, bassist Dean Dinning and drummer Randy Guss transcended time and tensions to renew, revitalize the Toad magic. The result is true to its beloved past but even more so to the musicians’ collective growth, the course of their lives moving apart and coming back together.

“Glen came in with these lyrics that were exactly saying something I’d been thinking about for all the intervening years since the last album,” says Nichols. “Getting into the present moment and realizing control is an illusion and what good does it do to worry.”

It’s the thread that runs through every aspect of the album, a realization that let the four musicians get back to the core of the band, the spirit they had as teens, to transcend whatever differences may have been.

“For me, whenever we would come back from a break, it was always the first soundcheck that did it,” says Guss. “I count off a song and they all come in and there’s something honest about it.”

The songs on New Constellation tackle those themes of the everyday struggles — and the rewards that come from sticking with them — with the musical and lyrical poetry for which the band is known. “California Wasted” at once embraces and looks beyond the myth. Similarly, the yearning “Is There Anyone Out There?” and even “Life is Beautiful” explore life’s depths and complications, not so much about answers but about ongoing discovery. And new layers of richness come from new ways of working, a fuller sense of collaboration and unity at the core, mining the depth of the varied experiences of each of the four members’ lives in recent years — new understandings leading to new creative freedoms.

“California Wasted” slots into the great tradition of the state’s rock legacy, evoking such spirited leaders as Jackson Browne and the Eagles with its life-perspectives and involving vocal arrangements.

“That was always the goal with that song, to make it a grand, epic California rock song,” says Dinning, who with this and other songs took on a greater role in writing collaborations with Nichols and Phillips than it the past. “And ‘Is Anyone Out There’ started with a piece of music of mine. Glen put some new spins on the themes that go through the album. ‘We build the fences and call them homes,’ about isolation, being in your own head.”

Recognizing that tendency, and overcoming it, was the key to the band’s new life, Phillips says.

“‘The Moment’ is less of a romantic story than it seems, or at least that’s just one aspect,” Phillips says. “It’s about not getting hung up on recrimination and anxiety, and that’s been a big thing for me since the band broke up.”

And present, very much, were the fans who showed overwhelming support, backing the album via a Kickstarter campaign in numbers beyond the band’s wildest imagination.

“Doing the Kickstarter campaign was a really happy kick in the teeth!” Phillips says with a laugh. “It was so surprising to have so many people show up and give a damn and throw in. We were shocked and pleased with the response.”

It shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise.

“They’ve been showing up for us consistently, even in the 16 years where we didn’t put out anything new,” says Dinning. “They’d come out and know all the words and sing along and it’s part of their lives."

But they also clearly wanted something new. The Toad members all say that those 16 years were filled with a constant question from fans: When are you going to make a new album?

The band, eventually, started asking themselves the same thing. Increasingly regular concerts had been joyful. And the recording of All You Want, featuring re-records of Toad’s greatest hits — tied to the band reacquiring publishing for its catalog — went very well. So, in secret, with no label, no pressures and expectations other than their own, Toad found itself working on new material.

Each had considerable experiences outside Toad in the intervening years. Phillips had pursued a solo career with some success, as well as such projects as the Mutual Admiration Society and Works Progress Administration collaborations with the alt-bluegrass trio Nickel Creek (including a MAS tour in which they were backed by Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and the Attractions drummer Pete Thomas). Nichols and Dinning made two albums as Lapdog (with Guss on board some of the time) and headed to Nashville to hone their songwriting skills with notable local talent. Dinning also took up acting and film scoring. Guss moved to Los Angeles and played with “a bunch of people you’ve never heard of.” It was fun, he says. But it wasn’t Toad, for them or for the fans who only seemed to crave new music more and more as time went by.

Still, the level of support was astonishing. The band launched the Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $50,000 — the cost of the album’s production. The pitch, featuring 10-second clips from each of the album’s 13 songs, went on-line just as the band took the stage for a club show. By the time they could check the status, the numbers were piling up faster than could have been expected. The goal was reached in less than 20 hours, and when all was said and done, Toad’s fans kicked in more than five times the goal — a whopping total of $260,000.

It was emphatic, gratifying validation not just for the new album, but the entire Toad legacy — even more for the rough road taken to get to this point.

When Toad the Wet Sprocket broke up in 1998, it stood as one of the decade’s icons of engagingly thoughtful pop-rock — an achievement for any band, let alone one that took its name from a Monty Python skit. The band recorded its first two albums, 1989’s Bread & Circus and 1990’s Pale, as self-financed projects through its own Abe’s Records label, signing a deal with major Columbia Records before the release of the latter, but only on the condition that it maintained its artistic independence, with no interference from the label. It was a good move for all, as third album Fear, powered by the breakthrough single “All I Want,” reached platinum status, as did the next album, 1994’s Dulcinea, which featured the No. 1 Modern Rock hit “Fall Down.” The four showed steady artistic growth, as did the fifth album, 1997’s Coil. But with mounting pressures from both inside and outside the band, Toad split the next year.

“Right after we broke up I realized it was a mistake and always regretted it,” says Nichols. It’s something he hopes won’t happen again — for his and his long-time friends’ sake, and for the fans.

“I never want to take that away from them again,” he says. “Or from myself.”

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Filter

Filter

Performances

September 11 - 4:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Filter

Filter was thrust upon the musical landscape not with a whimper, but with an inimitable scream of musical ferocity and intent.

It’s back.

For the first time in over 20 years, the original founding members Richard Patrick and Brian Liesegang are making a new FILTER album together.

The duo’s multi-platinum debut “Short Bus” took pride in its drunken, unbridled rambunctiousness, combined with some cherubic intellectualism and social/technological agenda.

It was a place where melody met noise. And it was written, recorded and produced by two kids who hated everything from “social norms”, defining generational tropes, “the man”, and being told what to do and how to do it.

They rejoiced in the chaos. They swam in it. And they lived and performed it like brothers.

And like brothers, and two who were brought together by Nine Inch Nails, they fought, and the nonsense of youth gave way to senseless acrimony, ultimately driving and conspiring to push the two apart.

All good. It happens.

But then a lot of other things have happened. And a lot of water has gone under many bridges.

Tick damn tock.

Richard has successfully led and spearheaded Filter for the last 20 years, releasing many platinum records (including “Title of Record”, “the Almagamut“ etc.), and while the two have remained friends (and more importantly been there for each other in times of need), they have worked on and composed music and productions ranging everywhere from Richard’s side band “Army of Anyone” (with the DeLeo Brothers of the Stone Temple Pilots and Ray Luzier from Korn), and many others, to Brian working with many others spanning from Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Sir Paul McCartney to the Dalai Lama, etc., and the two of them have been scoring and contributing music for many motion pictures, video games, television shows, commercials, and different technological endeavors.

Recently, on a “blind” set-up, they were challenged from the stage in mid-performance by their mutual friend Louise Post of “Veruca Salt”, who stopped her concert to admonish them“…to bury any bullshit, forget the crap, and get their shit together”. The two had an interesting conversation on the drive home together.

It appears that perhaps time, circumstance, and the stark reality of modern events have indeed driven Richard and Brian together again to do what they do best together.

What started as an experiment to see what “might happen”, the two have rediscovered not only their friendship, but their unique ‘yin and yang’ complimentary working style of no rules and “whatever works” (because sometimes you just don’t wanna know how the sausage is made).

Forgotten are the specious reasons as to why they stopped working together, as those are things of the past, and the future is far more important.

While the melodic reckless abandon remains intact in their musical creation, the lifestyle of irresponsibility and not being held accountable to reality has been replaced by a work ethic of waking up early and getting down to it. They are driven by a mission statement to not only get the noise across as they do uniquely, but with extreme assertion and urgency, as they played by the rules and got fucked…and as Neil Strauss once said about them in the New York Times….”It’s anger, so they scream”.

Filter right now is making a call to arms. Recording a sonic melodic punch in the face. This doesn’t have to be the end of days, as there is still time to do something about it.

The music Filter is making is not a mandate against conservatism or the right. And the music Filter is making is not a mandate for liberal left sweeping agendas. Filter doesn’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent.

Filter simply advocates and encourages active thought and participating in changing the world we all share together. Decisions are yours to be made. Please just make them well informed.

Ultimately it appears Filter is reacting to the same damn societal apathy and confusion they felt when they first started the band.

Hence “reBus”. Time to bring this shit back to sense. We don’t all have to agree….but we can agree to disagree without insanity running rampant. And we can show respect for all humanity and the world we are bringing children into. Filter has no interest in revisiting a halcyon past of yesteryear, and this isn’t a reunion of sorts. This is a shared focused undertaking. A sort of homecoming.

This album is sonic outrage in the face of sheer idiocy. It is expressed incredulity to events transpiring in what could rather be a damn amazing time of opportunity, change and understanding. Seems instead we inhabit a world gone wrong in ways that even fiction has failed to venture or imagine.

There have been MANY amazing musicians and contributors to Filter over the years, too many to mention properly and with all due courtesy. This ‘back to basics’ and rediscovery of the original DNA of the band is not an insult to any of those valued and respected people. Richard and Brian have just decided with this album to distill it down to themselves for better or worse. Play to their strengths and weaknesses, as that was often their unique gestalt in the maelstrom.

The two disenfranchised young men who met each other in Nine Inch Nails and had shared an epiphany together at the Grand Canyon are back.

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Living Colour

Living Colour

Performances

September 11 - 6:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Living Colour

Living Colour is an American rock band from New York City, formed in 1984. Led by guitarist Vernon Reid, the bands lineup solidified in the mid-80's w/ Corey Glover (vocals), Will Calhoun (drums) and Muzz Skillings (bass). Stylistically, the band's music is a creative fusion influenced by free jazz, funk, hard rock and heavy metal. Their lyrics range from the personal to the political, in some of the latter cases attacking Eurocentrism and racism in America. 


The band’s debut album, Vivid”, was released in 1988 on Epic Records. The album reached #6 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and was later certified double platinum by the RIAA. It featured “Cult of Personality,” a #13 hit on the Billboard 200 Singles chart as well as the Top 40 hit, “Glamour Boys.” “Cult of Personality” went on to earn the band their first Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance. 

In 1990 the band's second full-length album, Time's Up”, was released and reached #13 on the Billboard 200 while certifying gold, with strong singles “Type”, “Love Rears Its Ugly Head”, “Elvis Is Dead” and “Solace of You”, and featured guest appearances by Queen Latifah, Little Richard, Doug E. Fresh, and Maceo Parker. It also won their second Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.

In the summer of 1991, Living Colour released the 6-song EP "Biscuits", which coincided with the inaugural Lollapalooza tour. Skillings left the band in the summer of 1992 and was replaced by session veteran and Sugarhill Records bass player Doug Wimbish.


Stain”, their third LP, was released in 1993 by Epic. Reaching #26 on the Billboard 200, the album had a much heavier and aggressive sound, containing elements of thrash metal and industrial music while receiving a Grammy nomination for 'Leave It Alone'.


After a hiatus in 1995, Living Colour returned in December 2000 and began recording Collideøscope”.  Released in 2003, the album featured aggressive lyrics, with many of the songs about the September 11 attacks including “Flying”. It also contained cover versions of AC/DC's “Back in Black” and The Beatles' “Tomorrow Never Knows.” 

Their first release on Megaforce Records, The Chair in the Doorway was issued in 2009 and reached #159 on the Billboard 200 charged by the single “Behind The Sun.” 

The impetus for Living Colour's next album came from a performance of Robert Johnson's "Preachin' Blues" at the 100th Anniversary Birthday celebration at the legendary Apollo Theatre in New York City. Released on September 8, 2017, Shade is the sound of a band coming to terms with its shadows and light,” says founder Vernon Reid. “From the blue pulpit of Robert Johnson to the mean red streets of Brooklyn... Shade” is the next chapter of a unique American journey” and peaked on Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums at #12 with the help from singles “Who Shot Ya”, “Come On”, and “Program”.

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Fishbone

Fishbone

Performances

September 16 - 4:15 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

Fishbone

Celebrating 25+ groundbreaking years, FISHBONE has been trailblazing their way through the history of American Ska, Funk, Punk, Rock Fusion and (so-called) Black Rock since starting their professional career in Los Angeles' burgeoning, Alternative Rock music scene of the mid-1980s. Their sound has often been imitated, but never duplicated. They have toured worldwide with such bands as the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Roots, Les Claypool/Primus, Fela Kuti, George Clinton, The Dead Kennedys and many more. Angelo Moore’s ability to combine thought-provoking, humorous social commentary with FISHBONE’s frenzied, up-tempo music and frantic, euphorically entertaining stage show has cultivated their undisputed reputation as one of the best live acts in music history.

Composing, creating, recording, releasing and performing original music together for over two decades, mass critical appeal appears to be returning to the band, fueled by their critically acclaimed full-length feature documentary; Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone. Narrated by Laurence Fishburne, the film earned LA Weekly’s Critic’s Choice Award at the Los Angeles Film Fest in 2010, has been called “effortlessly Entertaining” (Variety), “Brilliant and Groundbreaking” (Pop Matters), and hailed as “more than a documentary about rock ‘n’ roll.  It’s a documentary about the American spirit and one that shows the life of one of its most influential creative forces.” (Encore Magazine). In addition, FISHBONE has been featured in a variety of national press recently including Rolling Stone, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, MTV Hive, Spin Magazine, E! Entertainment, Rotten Tomatoes and more.

The documentary features celebrity testimonials from an A-list cast of rock icons such as Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), who calls the band “an important musical institution” and “the band that gave us the inspiration to be a band” by Gwen Stefani (No Doubt).  The film also includes similar admiration from the likes of Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addition), Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains) Rob Trujillo (Metallica), Questlove (The Roots), Chuck D (Public Enemy), Tim Robbins (Grammy Winning Actor) and many more. The film not only highlights the bands substantial legacy in contemporary music of all forms, but also the struggles, adversity, and inner turmoil that has surrounded the bands career.  Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone has already premiered in over 60+ theaters across the country, and many of the dates have sold out.  The documentary aired on Public Television’s AfroPop Series as well as Encore early 2012, and still continues on air.  The DVD is currently available for purchase nationwide at all major retailers, and on Netflix.

To date, FISHBONE still continues to tour all over the world, turning heads at some of the most noteworthy festivals around the globe. They've recently been seen "Skankin To The Beat"  at Coachella Music Festival, Riot Festival, Lockn' Festival, California Roots, Afropunk Festival, Gathering of the Vibes, Outside Lands Music Festival, Ottawa Blues Fest, Montreal Jazz Festival, Bumbershoot in Seattle, Riot Fest in Chicago, IL, Voodoo Festival in New Orleans, LA, Fuji Rock Festival in Tokyo, Japan, Wakarusa in Ozark, AK, Sunset Junction in Los Angeles, CA and many more. The band also appeared on late night television performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Angelo Moore sat in with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2012. They have also toured with numerous bands recently such as Jane’s Addiction, Primus, and Slightly Stoopid.

Fishbone's latest newest musical adventure Intrinsically Intertwined (Controlled Substance Sound Labs/Zojak Worldwide) was released in 2014. Shortly after their EP dropped, the band premiered Part 1 of their 5-Part “mockumentary” webisode series called "The Fishbone Reality: Intrinsically Intertwined" on Vevo.com.

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The Gufs

The Gufs

Performances

September 11 - 6:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

The Gufs

Started on the gritty but thriving Milwaukee music scene in 1988, Morgan Dawley (guitar), Dejan Kralj (bass), Goran Kralj (vocals, piano, guitar), and Scott Schwebel (drums) - later joined by Brian Pettit (percussion) - all the original members today - The Gufs, were born from a college dorm room.

Years spent filling clubs around the Midwest, in combination with recording a handful of indie albums that made waves on college radio, eventually led The Gufs to a major label recording contract with Atlantic Records in the mid 90s. After two albums (“The Gufs” 1995, “Holiday from You” 1999),  radio hits “Smile,” "Crash Into Me,” singles “Lost Along the Way,”  and “Stuck,”  coupled with extensive national touring the band decided to part ways with Atlantic and went into relative musical seclusion.

The Gufs have reunited only selectively since the early 2000s. In 2006 they released a full length studio album “A Different Sea” on their imprint Red Submarine Records, followed by a series of outdoor shows with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (2007), a 20th retrospective performance (2008), an induction appearance into the Wisconsin Music Hall of Fame (2012), THIRTY, two sold-out anniversary shows at The Pabst Theater in December of 2018 and an encore performance in 2019. During the pandemic of 2020 the band found innovative ways to stay creative and connected to each other and music - still after three-plus decades - writing, recording, and releasing a series of singles without ever being in the same room, studio, or state.

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The Weather Station

The Weather Station

Performances

September 11 - 8:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

The Weather Station

“Most people are afraid of the dark…Many adults fear, above all, the darkness that is the unknown, the unseeable, the obscure. And yet the night in which distinctions and definitions cannot be readily made is the same night in which love is made, in which things merge, change, become enchanted, aroused, impregnated, possessed, released, renewed.” - Rebecca Solnit


Ignorance, the new album by the The Weather Station, begins enigmatically; a hissing hi hat, a stuttering drum beat.  A full minute passes before the entry of Tamara Lindeman’s voice, gentle, conversational, intoning; “I never believed in the robber”.  A jagged music builds, with stabbing strings, saxophone, and several layers of percussion, and the song undulates through five minutes of growing tension, seesawing between just two chords.  Once again, Toronto songwriter Tamara Lindeman has remade what The Weather Station sounds like; once again, she has used the occasion of a new record to create a new sonic landscape, tailor-made to express an emotional idea.  Ignorance, Lindeman’s debut for Mississippi label Fat Possum Records, is sensuous, ravishing, as hi fi a record as Lindeman has ever made, breaking into pure pop at moments, at others a dense wilderness of notes; a deeply rhythmic, deeply painful record that feels more urgent, more clear than her work ever has. 


The album began, in Lindeman’s telling, when she became obsessed with rhythm; specifically straight rhythm, dance rhythm, those achingly simple beats that had never showed up on a Weather Station album before.  “I realized how profound and emotional straight time could be” she says; “those eternal dance rhythms, how they effect you on a physical level.”  Lindeman’s sense of time has always been elastic; movable, responding to the moment.  But embracing straight time opened new musical territory for her; “I saw how the less emotion there was in the rhythm, the more room there was for emotion in the rest of the music, the more freedom I had vocally.”  She began to envision a band and a music as a sort of bedrock, a structure firm enough to hold the vulnerability of the songs. 


The album marks her first experience writing on keyboard, not guitar, and her first time building out arrangements, both with keyboard and with MIDI, before bringing them to a band.  Ignorance lets go of most of the folk or roots inclinations that coloured Weather Station albums of the past; whereas the S/T felt steeped in Young and Dylan, this album has flashes of The Colour of Spring or Avalon or Tusk.  Most of the songs are underlaid with pure rhythm: a disco beat, a rock beat, played with emotion and precision by Kieran Adams (Diana).  The bass, played by Ben Whiteley, similarly hews to the straight and narrow; sometimes not changing notes for minutes at a time.  But these straight musical elements are paired deliberately with elements of chance and freedom.  Percussionist Philippe Melanson (Bernice) was given his own booth and free reign to improvise on each take, filling each song with rhythmic surprise.  Lindeman brought in jazz musicians Brodie West (The Ex) on saxophone and Ryan Driver (Eric Chenaux) on flute, asking them to work against the music in their improvisations. The band was rounded out by Johnny Spence (Tegan and Sara) on keys and Christine Bougie (Bahamas) on guitar; Lindeman played piano, sang, and contributed distorted guitar solos.  Montreal producer Marcus Paquin (Arcade Fire) co-produced, with Lindeman, and also mixed the record. It was the first time Lindeman had financial headroom to be ambitious in the studio, an experience she wanted to lean into, moving deliberately away from the lo fi recording processes she adhered to in the past.  Indeed the album is confident, polished, no creaking edges, no hum or hiss; it’s so easy to listen to one almost doesn’t notice how heavy it is.


Ignorance is deeply emotional, the lyrics roiling with conflict.  “Separated” enumerates an acidic series of miscommunications; “separated by the relief you want to feel / separated by the belief this cut can heal”, and “Trust” describes a divorce, whether literal or metaphysical.  On “Indifference” a song Lindeman almost cut from the record several times, because “it felt too vulnerable”, she sings of love, and softness: “my dumb touch / is always reaching / for green for soft / for yielding.” The album sounds profoundly personal; but Lindeman waves off personal questions as to the subject matter of the album.  She prefers instead to talk about the planet.  The album was written in winter of 2019 and recorded that spring (COVID-19 delays are the reason why we are only hearing it now, in 2021).  “The deepest emotional experience I had that winter” Lindeman explains, “was reading the IPCC special report on 1.5 degrees”.  She’s serious; though she notes that “nobody believes me when I say that.” She attributes that to a failure of imagination, a lack of belief culturally that a relationship to the world can be as profound, as emotional, as a relationship to another person.  “The songs function on a cosmic and personal level” she says, “it’s always been that way for me”.  


Indeed, the natural world is everywhere on this record.  But it is not there to provide scenery or beauty; rather it intrudes with force and poignancy.  “Parking Lot”, the closest Lindeman has ever come to a pop single, spends its full three minutes in contemplation of a bird; “Atlantic” finds the narrator prone on a cliff, watching a sunset as frightening as it is beautiful, “blood red floods the Atlantic”.  The divorce described on ‘Trust’ feels metaphysical; with evidence presented to court in the form of “baskets of wild roses / crumpled petals and misshapen heads of reeds and rushes / bodies of the common birds / robins crows and thrushes”.  Again and again, the narrator of the album confronts characters who turn away from love; the bumbling subject ‘Tried To Tell You’ “with blood on your hands / from the river inside / you try to deny it” the subject of ‘Loss’, laid out in bed, so consumed by story that they cannot see straight.  “Don’t ask me for indifference / don’t come to me for distance” Lindeman sings, repeatedly describing her own vulnerability; “I don’t have the heart / to conceal my love.”  Whether or not these songs are meant to be only about the planet, they do not resemble protest songs, with their simplicity and clarity.  Rather, the album is shadowed by brokenness and misconnection, a sort of elemental and ubiquitous pain, as Lindeman sings; “Everywhere we go there is an outside / over all these ceilings hangs a sky / and it kills me when I / see some bird fly”.


On the cover, Lindeman lays in the woods, wearing a hand made suit covered in mirrors.  She was struck by the compulsion to build a mirror suit on tour one summer, assembling it in a hotel room in PEI and at a friend’s place in Halifax.  “I used to be an actor, now I’m a performer” she says.  In those roles, she points out, she often finds herself to be the subject of projection, reflecting back the ideas and emotions of others.  On the album, she sings of trying to wear the world as a kind of ill fitting, torn garment, dangerously cold; “it does not keep me warm / I cannot ever seem to fasten it” and of walking the streets in it, so disguised, so exposed.  Photographed by visual artist Jeff Bierk in midday, the cover purposefully calls to mind Renaissance paintings; with rich blacks and deep colour, and an incongruous blue sky glimpsed through the trees.


The title of the album, Ignorance, feels confrontational, calling to mind perhaps wilful ignorance, but Lindeman insists she meant it in a different context.  In 1915 Virginia Woolfe wrote: “the future is dark, which is the best thing a future can be, I think.”  Written amidst the brutal first world war, the darkness of the future connoted for Woolfe a not knowing, which by definition holds a sliver of hope; the possibility for something, somewhere, to change.  In french, the verb ignorer connotes a humble, unashamed not knowing, and it is this ignorance Lindeman refers to here; the blank space at an intersection of hope and despair, a darkness that does not have to be dark.

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K. Flay

K. Flay

Performances

September 9 - 8:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

K. Flay

You may not expect one of the most compelling new voices in hip hop to wield dual psychology and sociology degrees from Stanford University or find inspiration in the buttoned-up world of indie rock, but for K.Flay, defying expectations is simply part of the game.

Kristine Flaherty grew up outside of Chicago, devouring her father’s classic rock records and staying up late dancing to Parliament-Funkadelic in the living room. It was this same musical open-mindedness that would later spark her artistic development. She found her musical voice in college, fusing the eclectic power of the Bay Area hip hop scene with her own unique presence, inspired by strong, independent female artists ranging from Missy Elliott and Lauryn Hill to Fiona Apple and Liz Phair.

On stage, K.Flay is a one-woman whirlwind: whether she's creating beats, singing, rapping or playing guitar, her wit and acerbic charm shine through. Her talents have led her to share the stage with artists including Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, and 3OH!3, where she quickly won over audiences who hadn't seen anything quite like her before. Further setting her apart from the pack, she serves as her own producer in the studio, methodically infusing her hip hop swagger with a dose of sonic exploration.

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JD McPherson

JD McPherson

Performances

September 4 - 6:45 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

JD McPherson

“I was having nightmares every night, thinking, ‘Wow, they’re going to hate this,” says JD McPherson.

When he talks about his new album, Undivided Heart & Soul, there’s no glimmer of self-adulation, or even the confidence one might expect of a veteran artist. Instead, there’s a snapshot of McPherson’s creative process bringing the record to life, a journey filled with fear and change, then boldness, and, eventually, catharsis.

The best rock music has a story to tell. This record chronicles a series of upheavals, frustrations, roadblocks, and kismet—a cross-country move, failed creative relationships, a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity, and learning to love making music again by letting go.

McPherson calls moving his family from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, to East Nashville a decision based “on opportunity” and one he was reluctant to make but notes the profound influence the city has had on his new crop of songs.

“Up to this point, I thought I knew what I was doing with songwriting, that I don’t do this or that,” McPherson says. “Writing with people who co-write for a living…maybe I saw myself as John Henry, and them as the steel-driving machine.”

Along with collaborations with fellow Oklahoman Parker Millsap, Butch Walker, and Aaron Lee Tasjan, McPherson’s selections for Undivided Heart & Soul include many deeply personal themes: “Let’s Get Out of Here While We’re Young” shares writing credits with longtime bandmate Ray Jacildo and McPherson’s wife Mandy. He also delved into character profiles, both fictional and based on real-life experiences, stories McPherson has held onto but never thought of as fodder for songwriting, such as the Las Vegas bus station interlude detailed in “Style (Is a Losing Game).”

“That seems like a pretty normal thing for a singer-songwriter to do, to write about personal experience, but I really have never done that,” McPherson says. “It felt great but it also was tough at the same time. The thing is, John Henry is trying to beat the machine because he’s in awe of it. It was a lot of me saying, ‘You’re really good at this, and I have a hard time doing it.’”

With a group of soul-baring tracks taking shape, McPherson and crew scheduled studio time to help force the issue. It quickly became apparent that these sessions were not going to work, bringing McPherson’s momentum to a halt.

To clear his head, he flew to Los Angeles at the invitation of friend and longtime supporter Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, who was also recording at the time. McPherson, Homme, and his Queens bandmate Dean Fertita played around with some songs, with Homme pushing McPherson outside of his comfort zone in a no-stakes environment.

“His thing was, ‘I’m going to throw all kinds of crap onto your songs that you’re not going to want to hear, and you’re going to play ridiculous stuff you wouldn’t normally do,’ and Dean was kind of the calming presence,” McPherson says.

McPherson calls the getaway “the most fun I’ve had since I was 15 years old” and returned to Nashville with a clear head, internal filters successfully stifled, ready to move forward.

That fresh perspective in tow, McPherson learned that the long-shot “backup” studio, the legendary RCA Studio B in Nashville, was willing to host his band for the making of the record. RCA Studio B was fundamental to the creation of the “Nashville Sound,” and the ghosts of some of the greatest songs in history live within its walls: Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” and Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” among them.

Artists who choose to record at Studio B are met with a rigorous list of requirements, including using a recording method appropriate during the studio’s heyday. Since the studio is a working museum by day, the entirety of McPherson’s workspace had to be reset at night: Load in all equipment in the late afternoon, work until 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., and leave no trace nightly. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

“Those rules would probably turn a lot of bands off, but they turned us on, 100 percent,” McPherson says. “I really love walking into a classic studio as much as I love getting my hands on a really old guitar. I like knowing that something was used for a long time and has good things in it.”

But this isn’t an old Nashville record, by any measurement, nor is it the record McPherson set out to make, with credit due to co-producer Dan Molad (also the drummer for Lucius).

“There’s a pretty broad gap in our tastes, what we do and what we’re into,” McPherson says. Where he’s as likely to lean on The Cramps as he is Irma Thomas for inspiration, Molad’s left-field production suggestions included a Casio synthesizer and running a Fender Rhodes through a tape delay. (McPherson nixed the former; the latter became the signature sound of one of the record’s tracks.) “We ended up learning a lot from each other, and he did a lot of stuff I’d have never thought to do.”

During the song “Let’s Get Out of Here While We’re Young,” JD sputters the line “We’ve worn out all the songs we’ve sung.” This is not a statement McPherson takes lightly.

“This record was difficult for me to make, difficult to write, difficult to record. It took a lot for me to say that I can’t force these songs to be the way people are expecting,” McPherson says.

Undivided Heart & Soul is a statement record, one that asserts McPherson as he is now, battle-weary but stronger than ever.

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Claud

Claud

Performances

September 17 - 8:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Claud

From beginning to end, the sparkling pop tunes off Claud Mintz's magnetic first album, Super Monster, capture the assorted stages of a relationship's delight and dejection -- the giddy sensation of a first kiss during the beaming "Overnight," the heartsick longing of a pending rejection during the yearning "Jordan," the reluctant call for a requisite breakup during the smoldering "Ana."

"I'd write about how I felt in the moment, then two months later, a year later. My perspective evolved on one relationship with the same person," Claud says. "I changed so much that it feels like a different person writing some of these songs -- but it's just me."

The debut release on Phoebe Bridgers' Saddest Factory Records, Super Monster is a vertiginous but joyous coming-of-age reckoning with such young love. Claud sees relationships as games of endless wonder, intrigue, and second-guesses, a roller-coaster thrilling you even when it's terrifying. If "Gold" turns the tension and indecision of a bad match into an undeniable bit of lithe disco, "That's Mr. Bitch To You" uses a spurt of righteous indignation to fuse a little soul and emo into one breathless hook. Super Monster is like a compulsive compilation that Claud culled from a lifetime of musical enthusiasms -- the arcing alt-rock of '90s airwaves, the rapturous pop of '00s chart-toppers, the diligent genre-hopping of modern online life. Claud emerges as the chameleonic mastermind of this mélange, channeling all of love's emotions into songs so sharp they make even the hardest times feel fun.

During the Summer of 2018, Claud released an EP under the name Toast, their duo with Joshua Mehling, Claud's best friend since their first day at Syracuse University. The band was casual but enthusiastic; Claud would spend whatever time remained between classes writing to beats, eventually opting to skip classes to give these burgeoning tunes more attention. They were stunned when anyone else responded, especially when Terrible Records released their debut EP during Toast's second semester. What would happen, Claud wondered, if all their time could go to music? Claud soon left Syracuse and subsequently settled on this new solo name. "Leaving school," Claud says, "gave me space and time to become a better writer. And I knew no one could explain me better than I could."

Claud's life and output became feverish. Though based in New York, Claud would visit their mother in California and father near Chicago or go on tour and make new friends. More than 50 songs emerged during that brief span, reflections on the flings and loves of life as a young artist. Early in 2020, Claud decamped for a few months to their father's home, the same place Toast had finished its debut. Claud sorted through those dozens of pieces, whittling them down to the baker's dozen that shape Super Monster.

Claud finally emerged from that Midwest cocoon, heading to New York to record at Electric Lady Studios exactly 50 years since Jimi Hendrix's first session there. For years, Claud had fantasized about working at Electric Lady, so they recruited a wide network of close friends and new collaborators to finish Super Monster. Mehling played on and co-produced several tracks, including finale "Falling With the Rain." That enchanting closer is performed by Shelly, a friendship band consisting of Claud, Mehling, Claire Cottrill, and Noa Getzug. Nick Hakim harmonizes on "Ana," while Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Jake Portrait adds synth and guitar. These friends and more buoy Claud, lifting their tender songs skyward.

On the final night of work at Electric Lady, studio manager Lee Foster called to ask if Claud liked Daniel Johnston, the late and legendary songwriter whose artwork he manages. Foster arrived on bike a few minutes later, brandishing a scan of an unpublished Johnston painting called "Claud & the Supermonster." A person sprang from the grass -- a monster maybe, but absolutely jubilant all the same. The image resonated with Claud's own quest for an individual identity as a queer person, sometimes bound up in feelings of isolation. Claud asked Foster if they could title the album Super Monster as an ode to Johnston's kindred outlook. The cover Claud painted -- a stunningly surreal self-portrait, as rich as these deceptively sophisticated songs -- offers an homage to Johnston's universe and a kind of introduction to Claud's own world.

Perhaps you are in the throes of one of these romantic moments yourself right now, resentful of a frustrating paramour like Claud during "Pepsi" or indulging in lust like "In or In Between." Or maybe these songs recall those wild days and tough situations. Incisive, instant, and addictive Super Monster works on either level -- to remind us of love's wild ups and downs or to help us deal with them in real time.

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Reignwolf

Reignwolf

Performances

September 16 - 8:00 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Reignwolf

Reignwolf toured with the Pixies, The Who and — the heaviest of the heavy — Black Sabbath, before releasing debut album Hear Me Out to critical acclaim.

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Phantoms DJ Set

Phantoms DJ Set

Performances

September 2 - 6:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage

Phantoms DJ Set

Phantoms, comprised of Los Angeles-based natives Kyle Kaplan and Vinnie Pergola, are a dance act that does exactly that. Often tough to box in... the boys' style lends itself to many elements of electronic and pop music; while still managing to always incorporate distinct synths and drum samples that have become synonymous with their "genre" of alternative electronic. Stemming from deep-seated roots in music and entertainment backgrounds, K&V put their entire beings into the project. They keep everyone continually dancing with an impressive live set of drum pads, synthesizers and midi controllers, while also keeping audiences engaged through their own style of humor on social media platforms. A full-time job for the band. Their fun and downright captivating personalities shine through all aspects of Phantoms.

After releasing their first EP in 2015 to massive press like Billboard and Entertainment Weekly, the duo has been remixing some of their favorite songs of the year and playing shows and touring with the likes of Big Wild, Com Truise, Kiesza and more.


The band's debut record, Phantoms, is currently out now via Casablanca/Republic Records.

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Spin Doctors

Spin Doctors

Performances

September 16 - 4:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage
September 16 - 8:00 PM @ Johnson Controls World Stage

Spin Doctors

Thirty years. It’s an eternity in rock ‘n’ roll, and a marathon for the bands who fly its tattered flag. Revisit the class of 1988, and the casualties are piled high: a thousand bands that blew up and burnt out. In this chew-and-spit industry, the Spin Doctors are the last men standing, still making music like their lives depend on it, still riding the bus, still shaking the room. They’ve never been a band for backslaps and self-congratulation. Even now, plans are afoot for a seventh studio album and another swashbuckling world tour, adding to their tally of almost two thousand shows. But faced with that milestone, even a band of their velocity takes a breath for reflection. “I’d never have guessed,” admits drummer Aaron Comess, “this would have turned into thirty years of making great music together.”

Like all the best rock ‘n’ roll mythology, the final page of the Spin Doctors’ biography remains forever unwritten. But if the band’s story is to begin anywhere, it should be at New York’s New School university in the fall of ’88, when a fateful door-knock sparked the first meeting of Comess and guitarist Eric Schenkman. Trading as the Trucking Company, Schenkman, local legend John Popper and a charisma-bomb vocalist named Chris Barron had been making a glorious noise in the clubs downtown. But when Popper committed himself to Blues Traveler, the remnants sought new blood. Having assured Schenkman that he’d “check them out,” Comess formed a ferocious rhythm section with Bronx-raised bassist Mark White. “When I first met them,” recalls White, “I thought, ‘These are some funky-assed white boys.’ I’m the black guy in the band, and they had to teach me to play the blues.”

Led by relentless touring, the album sold steadily – but within a year, Epic had declared it “dead” and pushed the band to return to the studio. “But we decided to go back on the road,” says Comess, “as we felt the buzz building and believed in the record. Sure enough, within a few months, Jim McGuinn up in Vermont started playing “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and it went to #1. He wrote to the head of Epic, telling him they’d be crazy not to push this band. That was the fuel that lit the fire.”

Barron still recalls the circus when Pocket Full Of Kryptonite exploded in 1992 (“When we were selling 50,000 records a week, I’d walk into a mall to buy underwear and 300 kids would surround me”). Pass a record store and you’d hear the tills ring, as that all-conquering debut album marched towards 10 million sales. Pass a news-stand and you’d see the lineup staring back from the cover of Rolling Stone. Flick on MTV and you were serenaded by planet-straddling follow-up hit “Two Princes,” whose irresistible groove and scream-it-back chorus took it to #4 on the Top 100 singles chart and more US radio spins than any other rock ‘n’ roll song in 1993. “When you’re freaking popular,” says White, “and people are throwing themselves at you, if you don’t like that, you’re on the wrong planet.”   

Long-term strategy has never been the Spin Doctors’ style. While cultural commentators have long since given up plotting the trajectory of this most unpredictable band, it’s a revelation to learn that the lineup themselves have no road map. “For the next album,” considers Barron, “I kinda want to stay spontaneous. I’d personally like to make a quarter-turn and do a rock record. But I have a feeling it’s gonna get funky. Y’know, there’s that great quote from Keith Richards when he went to meet Mick Jagger at AIR Studios to make Steel Wheels. And he told his wife – ‘I’ll either be back tomorrow or in a month’. I think that’s how it’s gonna go for us, too.”

Thirty years. A thousand twists. But whatever happens down the road, rest assured that the Spin Doctors will always be the last men standing, still making music like their lives depend on it, still riding the bus, still shaking the room. “It’s been a great ride,” considers Comess. Then he adds: “So far…"

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Tai Verdes

Tai Verdes

Performances

September 9 - 6:45 PM @ Generac Power Stage

Tai Verdes

Three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Tai Verdes was an essential worker with a 9-to-5 job at an LA Verizon Wireless store. Now he has one of the biggest viral hits in the US, hailed by The New York Times as one of the "Best Songs of 2020."

After posting a series of TikTok videos, Tai's breakout single "Stuck In The Middle" took flight hitting #1 on Spotify's US viral chart (and 22 International Charts) and has since amassed more than 80 million streams and over 2.6 million TikTok creations, which have been viewed over 3 billion times since the songs release in late May 2020.

Tai's newest single "A-O-K" is on track to follow the same path, having notched more than 40 million views of the teaser and nearly 100,000 pre-saves before the feel good anthem's release earlier this month. The 25-year-old may have won the TikTok lottery, but he's playing the long game. And he's playing for keeps.

"I'm gonna be a problem," says the 6'7 singer with a smile, who carries himself with as much charisma as stature. "I love everything that's happening. But this is not a one song thing, this is a 10-album thing." Tai's debut album TV is available everywhere May 20.

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Shinyribs

Shinyribs

Performances

September 4 - 6:30 PM @ Uline Warehouse Stage

Shinyribs

Shinyribs defies genres as an Austin-based 9-piece Swamp-Pop-Soul supergroup fronted by the outrageously charismatic Kevin Russell. The nine-piece outfit was named Best Austin Band at the Austin Chronicle’s Austin Music Awards (2017, 2018) and awarded Album of the Year for “I Got Your Medicine” (2017).

Russell’s Shinyribs have recorded six albums: 2010’s “Well After Awhile;” “Gulf Coast Museum” (2013); “Okra Candy” (2015); 2017’s award-winning “I Got Your Medicine;” a compilation of holiday standards and new compositions “The Kringle Tingle” (2018); and the group’s latest soulful release, “Fog & Bling (2019). Shinyribs will release their seventh project, “Late Night TV Gold” in August 2021.

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