Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary Celebration continued on Friday. Part of the festivities include a three-day music festival on the Summerfest grounds at Henry Maier Festival Park. Friday’s performances included a headline performance by Aerosmith at Marcus Amphitheater, in addition to sets by Dierks Bentley, Buckcherry, rapper Common, Sublime with Rome and The Gaslight Anthem. Nearly twenty other artists had earlier shows, with the music beginning at 1 p.m.
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A brief thunderstorm rolled through Milwaukee around 4 p.m. and, fortunately, the activity was short-lived. Within 30-minutes the festival grounds were clear of precipitation and a refreshing blast of cool air was a comforting reprieve from the earlier humid conditions.
Friday’s early highlights included an early set by the Gin Blossoms and the Dirty Heads, who’s fusion unique fusion of hip-hop, reggae and rock drew fans in as their set progressed. Guitarist Duddy Bushnell was sporting a boot on his right ankle and played the entire set from a chair. ZZ Ward swapped time slots with The Delta Saints, giving a soulful demonstration of blues-rock for the handful of fans who were lucky enough to arrive early.
Similar to Thursday’s shows [recap], the hip-hop artists had limited crowd participation. Fewer than 50 fans were in the crowd to see Chance the Rapper. The Chicago wordsmith hit the stage about 45-minutes after his DJ started working the crowd. Despite the late start and limited audience, Chance asked fans if they had his mix-tape–they did–and he commenced into a sing-along. A larger crowd convened for Common’s headline set, but it was still a disappointing turnout.
Aerosmith are still sporting their original line-up. Touring on their 2012 album, “Music from Another Dimension,” they’ve mastered blue-oriented rock and roll. Vocalist Steven Tyler strutted the stage wearing an indian headdress, opening with “Let the Music do the Talking.” Their high points were old-school hits “Last Child” and “Toys in the Attic” at mid-set.
Saturday wraps up the three-day music festival at Henry Maier Festival Park with a performance by Kid Rock at the Marcus Amphitheater. Other general admission headline artists will include ZZ Top, Halestorm, Brantley Gilbert, Yellowcard and Katey Sagal. The forecast suggests mostly sunny skies and music to satisfy all tastes.
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