Music festivals used to be a big part of my summer.
I’ve been to Lollapolooza a few times back when it was a traveling show. I used to love to go to Milwaukee for Summerfest. I was at the first version of the 80-35 festival in Des Moines. I’ve been to RiseFest almost every year since it moved to Sheldon.
I used to go to Sioux City’s Saturday in the Park every year. That streak got interrupted a few times when it conflicted with Summerfest and other general life activities, but it’s still one of my favorite days of the year.
I managed to get there on Saturday, July 6, though I didn’t get the full slate in as I didn’t arrive until after 3 p.m. as I debated on if I was going or if I was going to do family stuff for a bit too long.
I’ll give a bit of a nod to Ben Grillet and the Black Bloods because I have it on good authority they were excellent, but here is my review of the bands that I did see for at least part of their shows.
I started by catching the tail end of Con Brio. I rather enjoyed them. Bands with talented horn sections are always fun. I kind of wish I would have got there just a little sooner to see their whole set.
The lineup did me no favors at the 5 p.m. hour with local favorite Arson City playing on the Abe Stage at the same time as Liz Phair. I have seen Arson City before, but I hadn’t seen Liz Phair even though I’ve been a fan for many years. Starting off with a roaring version of "Supernova" got me excited about that choice. I love her music and it was played well, but I will say that Phair isn’t as good at getting the crowd into it as some of the musicians that followed.
I next wandered over to the Abe Stage for Snow Tha Product. Best decision I made all day. I’ve apparently been sleeping on this rapper, but most of Sioux City had not. The entire area was jam-packed and hyped for the show, and what a show it was. That’s rap how rap should be done. Great beat, you can dance to it and the songs tell a story. Bravo.
Eventually, I made my way back to the Main Stage area for George Thorogood & The Destroyers. You forget just how old some of those songs are until you see him in person, but you know what? The guy still has it. He’s got a great stage persona and they played all the hits you know and love, which is basically their whole job at that point. It was an enjoyable romp down memory lane.
I didn’t get all of that show in though because I hustled over to the Abe Stage again for the start of Matisyahu. Jewish and reggae wouldn’t seem to go together, but it’s good music. The guy is quite talented and again the “second stage” show drew a huge crowd. The one criticism I have is something that to an extent was going on at the Abe Stage all day. What the musicians were hearing in their ear must have been different from what you heard in the crowd. He kept complaining to his sound guy and the end result was the volume got pushed farther than the system could handle. You know, like when you are listening to loud music on the car stereo and it goes from the nice thump to more of a buzz or humming sound. Kind of like that.
I skipped the last band on the Abe Stage. I just finished my night with a bit from the headliner, Flo Rida. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I wasn’t too excited about the performance. He does a little too much sampling, which is still just stealing someone else’s music to me, and then doesn’t have great lyrics to go over the top of it. He’s not really a rapper. He’s more of a hype man. He does a great job of getting the crowd going. I just think the music pales in comparison to say someone like Snow Tha Project.
All in all, though it was a good time. I saw a bunch of friends who I hadn’t seen in a while, and I saw some good performances.
I can’t wait to see who they bring in next year.