Home of: Les Paul, Liberace, The Chordettes, Garbage, The Promise Ring, The Green Bay Packers, Violent Femmes, Chris Farley, Killdozer
Fun Facts: State flower; wood violet, state song; “On Wisconsin,” state dance; polka
Milwaukee’s annual Summerfest was certified as the World’s Biggest Music Festival in 1999 by Guinness World Records, and with over 700 artists on 11 stages for 11 days, it’s easy to see why. Summerfest is known for having a diverse lineup, and this year’s festival was no exception. Headliners included Kenny Chesney, Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Stevie Wonder, KISS, Lupe Fiasco, Bob Dylan, No Doubt and Buddy Guy. If you’re country music fan, then you just might want to consider relocating to Wisconsin. The state hosts a slew of country festivals with big name artists including Country Jam USA, Hodag Country Festival, Country Thunder and Country USA.
Outside the summer festival season, The Rave/Eagles Club in Milwaukee serves as a one stop shop for music fans of all genres. Housed in a historic 1926 meeting hall, this entertainment complex includes 6 different venues— from the 1,500 capacity Rave Hall to the 400 capacity Rave Vibe Room. The 500 capacity, all ages Rave Bar is the place to catch soon-to-be superstars. Blink-182, Pearl Jam and Nirvana all made their Wisconsin debut there. National acts like John Mayer, Green Day, Megadeth and Jason Mraz play the larger Rave Hall and Eagles Hall. And, according to Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, the Rave/Eagles Club has “America’s coolest dressing room.”
Cedarwell – Eric Neave is the heart of Cedarwell. The main songwriter for the band, he pulls in friends and fellow musicians to lend a hand with recording and live performances. Whether acoustic, introspective, delicate or rough, the music of Cedarwell is always captivating. “Black Lung” is the kind of song best enjoyed while sitting by a warm fire on a chilly winter evening. If you are a fan of the wintry introspection of Bon Iver, Cedarwell might be your new favorite band.
The New Loud - The New Loud plays energetic dance party punk in the vein of The Bravery and Hot Fuss-era The Killers. The band has slowly been building up buzz since their formation in 2001: “Secrets” from their 2006 EP ME(secrets)YOU was featured on the Hollister Co. Web site and in Hollister Co. stores for six months. This exposure helped to earn them over 40,000 Myspace plays in 12 months. The New Loud is currently working on their first full length album and will be playing CMJ 2009. They recently recorded a cover of Radiohead’s “2+2=5,” which can be streamed on their blog.
Pale Young Gentlemen – Madison, Wisconsin’s Pale Young Gentlemen’s combination of indie rock with a string section (cello, viola and violin) has lead them to share the stage with Bishop Allen, Beach House, Cloud Cult and Andrew Bird. “Clap Your Hands,” from their 2007 self-titled debut album showcases the bands effortless blending of Eastern European folk influences with pop sensibilities. 2008′s Black Forest (Tra La la), Pale Young Gentlemen’s most recent album, has earned them rave reviews from VenusZine and Cokemachineglow. In addition to releasing an album in 2008, the band also recorded a haunting cover of M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” which you can listen to here.
Will Phalen and The Stereo Addicts – For those of you who like a little experimentalism with your alt. country, check out “I Can’t Run” from Will Phalen and The Stereo Addicts’ new album Middle West. The album, produced by the band, has traditional folk instruments like banjo and mandolin rubbing shoulders with analog synthesizers and concert bells. Will Phalen and The Stereo Addicts brought their self-described “cosmic American music” to this year’s Summerfest, where they opened for Soulive.
Check out these acts and other great Wisconsin artists in the playlist below!
Who are your favorite OurStage Wisconsinites? Where do you like to see live music in Wisconsin? Let us know in the comments!