Alright, I know Wisconsin is a state that’s gotten its fair share of crap. Remember in Dogma when Alan Rickman explains that there’s something worse than being exiled to hell? That something was being stuck in Wisconsin for the entire span of human history. But I’d like to say that, Milwaukee, WI, I approve of your ability to put on a top-notch festival with a damn good lineup.
This past Saturday, Milwaukee hosted Rock the Green in Veterans park, an eco-friendly event where one of the stages was powered by local cyclers on stationary bikes. Honestly, the entire reason I went was because Imagine Dragons was playing, but hey, if you can arrange it so that I’m enjoying them in a near-zero waste setting, all the more power to you.
The lineup was:
Atlas Genius – These newcomers from Adelaide Australia hit the scene with their song Trojans back in 2011. They’ve got a slick synth sound that comes off in a higher energy and poppier way live. Judging by the reactions from the crowd, they may be newcomers but they’ve already got quite a following (there was one girl literally popping out of her dress she was jumping up and down so much to get the band’s attention – it probably doesn’t hurt that they’re a good looking group), with most people singing along to their more well known songs.
Imagine Dragons – This was the band that I came for, and I expected a lot, but Imagine Dragons still managed to blow me out of the water. If you’ve seen Foster the People, think that level of intensity, but far more charming. Frontman Dan Reynolds was all over the place, brandishing the mic holder over his head like a sword, banging on his drum, flinging his drumsticks, sneezing into the mic, wiping his nose on his shirt (he apparently had a head-cold – I can’t even imagine what the energy level is when he’s healthy, and I’m honestly not even sure I could handle it). He was adorable.
You’ll notice that the pictures get much further back at this point. Sometimes a girl just needs some kettle corn.
Metric – I came to Rock the Green to see Imagine Dragons, but Metric can now add me to their list of devotees. I feel like I should give a personal thank you to all Torontonians for making this band possible. Lead singer Emily Haines was tearin.it.up. onstage, prancing around in her little leather booty shorts, and sounding way better than any of her recorded work. At one point she actually did take a full two minutes to just strut her stuff from one of the corner of the stage to the other and back, and the audience was eating it up. Help I’m Alive was definitely the highlight of the band’s set.
Third Eye Blind – Okay third Eye Blind, time for some tough love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for throwback acts – I went to a Barenaked Ladies concert a couple of months ago and they were delightful. They were super fun, connected great with the crowd, and managed to appear somewhat dignified given their mature status in the music world (or as dignified as you can be with the name Bare Naked Ladies). But c’mon guys, don’t make the audience wait twenty minutes past your set time to come onstage, and take off the hoodie. I don’t know about other audience members, but I would like to actually catch a glimpse of the face of the person singing. Maybe four songs in you took off that hoodie and had Christopher-Walken-level eye contact with every crowd member, but I wouldn’t know because I got bored and peaced.
What I got to see instead of the second half of the Third Eye Blind set was two dudes, on the ground, wrestling shirtless outside the fairgrounds. For about ten seconds I thought I was about to get mugged, so all in all when I got on the bus back to Chicago in one piece after a fantastic day of music, I was pretty pleased.