DJ Hostettler
TCD Summerfest Group Blog

Day Three with Cultural Zero

By - Jun 28th, 2009 01:21 pm

Those who wander around the Summerfest grounds near the lakeshore may happen across a tiny little stage that is getting no coverage whatsoever and isn’t even listed on the Summerfest website—the Refugee Stage. According to a message board post made by Keith Vee of AluminumKnotEye, “we’re not getting free beer or getting paid, but we can bring in our own cheap beer in a cooler and put it in plastic cups… also, there’s a tip jar for the bands…” So, no pay, just like the Cascio Groove Garage, but no free beer, like the Cascio Groove Garage. And a tip jar. While at Summerfest today I walked past the Refugee stage, and to be honest, it looked like little more than a platform set up for bands to busk from and proclaim “um, hey, we’re here too!,” complete with dry-erase board listing the day’s acts. Very pro.


Fig.1:I title this photo “The Designated Busking Stage,” or “My Camera Phone Fails Me Again (Damn Shadows)”

Is it just me, or does calling it a “Refugee Stage” seem rather insulting? I think if I had to choose between playing an afterthought “um, let’s throw the detritus here” stage and not playing Summerfest at all, I think I know which one I’d pick. On the other hand, seeing a confrontational no-wave act like AKE that close to the faces of your standard Summerfest show-goers is an experience that’s probably worth one day’s admission by itself. So hey, here’s the full schedule for the remainder of the Refugee Stage’s time at Summerfest. Stop by and help the bands not feel like also-rans:

Jun 28 2009

12:00P Poor J
2:00P Vinny Bex Dae
4:00P Saved by Grace
6:00P The Mathew Haeffel Band
8:00P Burgundy Ties
10:00P Aluminum Knot Eye
Jun 29 2009

12:00P The Fun(d) Short Project
2:00P West of East
4:00P Ryan Powers
6:00P God-Fr33
8:00P Twenty-Four Roses
10:00P The Figureheads
12:00P Ifdakar
4:00P Whiskey of the Damned
6:00P Icarus/Drifting
8:00P Jack the Tripper
10:00P Vinny Bex Dae

Jul 1 2009

12:00P The Mathew Haeffel Band
2:00P The Last Rhino
4:00P Poor J
6:00P Micah Olsan & The Hype Machine
10:00P Living Dred

Jul 2 2009

12:00P Jay Tamez
2:00P Jistoray
4:00P Poor J
6:00P The Katz Sass Blues Band
8:00P Vinny Bex Dae
10:00P Elf Lettuce

Jul 3 2009

12:00P DJ Shun
1:00P JoJo WTF
2:00P Adam The Tree
3:00P Alex Hall
4:00P RMX vs. Mike Wenz
5:00P Candyman
6:00P B Randon
7:00P Non-Stop Rocka
8:00P Sinners Inc.
9:00P Tirant
10:00P Casey Lee
11:00P @mospheric vs Buggles

Jul 4 2009

12:00P Micah Olsan & The Hype Machine
2:00P Brian McDermott
4:00P The Whiskey of the Damned
6:00P Evenstar
8:00P Today We Fly
10:00P Once The Sun

July 5

2:00P DRUM CIRCLE JAM until 7:30pm (dear god)
8:00P Jistoray

Outside of discovering the Refugee Stage, Summerfest for me on Saturday evening was all about watching the KISS Army descend upon the grounds. As the clock counted down to 7:30 PM, you couldn’t throw a dead Eric Carr without hitting someone in makeup, including two guys in the complete ensemble: platform boots, stretch pants and wigs (just like the wigs the real KISS wears now!). I didn’t make an official count, but I believe the majority of KISS fans were wearing Paul’s Starchild makeup; Gene’s Demon was a close second, while Ace’s Spaceman was in third and Peter’s Cat was in fourth. However, the one kid I saw in Eric Carr’s Fox makeup won the day for his bold choice of obscure makeup originally worn by the dead ex-drummer. I lamented many times to my friend Chuck (whom I met on the way to Summerfest as he had a KISS ticket fall in his lap at work Friday) that I wanted to see at least one person with Vinnie Vincent’s Ankh makeup on. Apparently most KISS fans still hold a grudge against Vinnie for treating Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum like shit when they were in the Vinnie Vincent Invasion (Slaughter and Strum went on to form Slaughter, who were the opening act on KISS’ 1989 Hot in the Shade tour, you see—friends of KISS while Vinnie is their enemy! And yes, I’m a nerd for knowing this shit, but it was at the Hot in the Shade tour where Eric Carr’s cannon-loud drums messed up my right ear, so screw that guy and his brain cancer. OK, not really. I don’t know why I keep making fun of a dude who died from a legitimate illness. It could be because I’m an awful, awful person. So I’m sorry, friends and family of Eric Carr who have his name on their Google Alerts).

Since I didn’t have a ticket for the KISS show, I asked Chuck to act as my embedded reporter and text me updates. Here’s what I got:

8:16 PM: “Best thing I’ve seen so far is a woman in Paul Stanley paint outlined in neon green. Worst thing = Chevelle!”

8:33 PM: “Nevermind the broad sweeping cultural phenomena that is KISS…being at this show is like being at an especially freakish airport.”

8:50 PM: “They’re playing ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ on the PA and dropped a giant KISS curtain on the riff. It was pretty awesome.”

8:55 PM: “OK this is basically incredible.”

8:59 PM: “OK weirdest thing…they have an ASL interpreter next to the stage doing all the lyrics in sign language. She’s kinda hot and dancing too.”

9:15: “Paul Stanley stage banter. Outstanding.”

At this point, radio silence ensued, ostensibly because Chuck was too busy rocking and rolling all night and preparing to party for a good portion of tomorrow.

Other exciting highlights from Summerfest’s Day Three: Canyons of Static and Burbank Cartel played some pretty fine sets of locally-brewed rock on the Cascio Groove Garage stage (cozily snuggled between the Harley Davidson Roadhouse and the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard), and the M&I Classic Rock stage made Chuck’s day by presenting Daryl Stuermer’s Genesis/Phil Collins tribute, featuring a singer by the name of Martin Levac who is not only a shockingly similar Phil Collins soundalike, but he’s also bald and plays percussion. I’ve never given many shits about Genesis or Phil Collins, but the silly-ass grin on Chuck’s face meant they were doing something right.


Fig.2: Canyonsofstatic wows the crowd at the Cascio Groove Garage

MONDAY: IfIHadAHiFi plays the Cascio Groove Garage, and shit likely gets out of hand.

0 thoughts on “TCD Summerfest Group Blog: Day Three with Cultural Zero”

  1. Anonymous says:

    we were the group with eric carr!
    you didnt happen to be one of those countless people who were taking pictures of us did you?
    we really want one of us at the show!

  2. Anonymous says:

    and we were so close to having a vinnie to!
    but the guy bailed!

  3. Anonymous says:

    No, sorry, if i had managed a photo it would have been part of the entry! But seriously–the Eric Carr makeup made my day. Thank you for that.

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