JoJo, Charli XCX and the best, worst of Day 8 of Summerfest 2022

Friday night at Summerfest, JoJo showed off her glorious vocals, Charli XCX turned her show into a rave and The Black Crowes displayed a musical form of brotherly love.


A chilly breeze was blowing off Lake Michigan, but Skillet warmed up the night with a musical blast at the Uline warehouse Friday night.

A Christian hard rock band that worked their way into the mainstream, the band originally formed in Tennessee is now essentially a local band, with band founders John and Korey Cooper’s home in Kenosha, this which makes it an almost perfect Summerfest Friday night booking.

A large crowd roared almost as loudly as the electric intro, deep, booming bass, pounding drums and pounding guitars as “Whispers in the Dark” opened. John Cooper banged his head against a wall of brightly colored video screens as blinding lights streaked through the crowd. “Tonight we say no to depression,” the frontman shouted, introducing the punk whine of “Rise.” “We say no to hate! Tonight we rise!

Skillet rarely strays from the singular hard rock sound that ran through their greatest hits. A new song like “Surviving the Game” might as well be from a previous album. But this crowd didn’t care. They pumped their fists to the modern rock tune as John Cooper blasted billows of smoke onto the stage to the defiant refrain of “I can be unstoppable, I’ll be indestructible”.

On “Legendary,” the cheering crowd beat the singer to the catchy lyrics, singing in unison as the band hammered out the rock melody. Very good homecoming for a local group.

—Erik Ernst

Charlie XCX

Abnormally cool temperatures and considerable winds didn’t deter an overflowing crowd from watching Charli XCX perform at the BMO Harris Pavilion on Friday night.

Now 29 and with five studio albums to her credit, the sultry-voiced English electropop artist has been making music since she was a teenager.

Charli XCX and her two brawny dancers had her Gen Z audience jumping right away with clubby opener “Lightning,” followed by soulful “Gone.” She looked like the goddess of pop in a black leather bra top, matching miniskirt and knee high boots, dancing her booty around.

When Charli XCX announced “Where are my (expletive) girls?” before launching into “Constant Repeat”, she was greeted with deafening screams – which continued throughout the show.

It was during the “I Love It” anthem that the BMO Harris Pavilion transformed into a rave that didn’t lose its momentum for a second. The Clubby visuals only enhanced the experience.

— Catherine Jozwik, special for the Journal Sentinel

JoJo performs at the BMO Harris Pavilion at Summerfest on Saturday, July 8, 2022.


Summerfest is expected to use JoJo’s singing voice to welcome visitors every year.

It doesn’t matter if she actually plays; simply start a recording of a live performance between sets. Because the sound of JoJo’s voice floating through the parking lots from the BMO Harris Pavilion on Friday afternoon, arguably the finest day of Summerfest in terms of weather, was like hearing an angel sing behind the Pearly Gates.

Hearing his voice up close was much more splendid. Now 31, JoJo was just 13 when she had her hit ‘Leave (Get Out)’ in 2004, but label issues unfairly stalled her career a few years later. She wasn’t able to return to the same commercial highs, but she continued to find fans (including a big Summerfest gathering) with polished new pop and R&B material, a standout run on “The Masked Singer” in 2019 (where his “Black Swan” inexplicably lost to Nick Lachey’s “Piglet”), and of course that voice.

It was fitting for someone in the crowd to wear a Whitney Houston shirt, as JoJo hovers around that rare tune, her versatile belt (and soulful six-piece band) turning “Say Love” into a unifying anthem in the face of the hate that divides, and illustrating his star potential remains strong for his biggest mid-year hit “Too Little, Too Late.”

It’s not too late to jump on the JoJo bandwagon, folks.

— Piet Lévy, [email protected]

The Black Crowes will headline the Generac Power Stage at Summerfest on Saturday, July 8, 2022

The black crows

Sure, the Black Crowes have been together for nearly 40 years, but with brothers Chris and Rich Robinson at the heart of the band, a lifelong bond stretching even further back through the band’s tight set Friday night at Generac Stage.

Dressed in a white T-shirt under a sparkly black blazer and writhing with the mic stand in his hands, Chris Robinson was an engaging frontman, leading his brother and their four bandmates and two backing vocals through a rocking beat’ n’ roll catchy. and blues review.

The brotherly interaction fueled the magic on center stage.

On “My Morning Song,” a rolling trotter, Rich Robinson released the impassioned melody of a slide that moved up and down the neck of his electric guitar before Isaiah Mitchell launched into a moaning guitar solo. Soon, however, the song slows to a gospel-style interlude before swelling again into a joyful crescendo. It was a microcosm of a single song from the set, leaping through beats and tempos to the delight of a large crowd stretching out towards the lake.

“By Your Side” found Rich Robinson teasing a delicate melody that emphasized his brother’s firm, choppy outbursts of vocals that quickly blended into the guitarist’s swollen fingerwork. Chris Robinson clapped and strutted as the band locked in behind him and the audience danced. “Thank you all! Robinson said, before slowing down the set with the bluesy whine of “Seeing things for the first time.” His voice rose beautifully as he leaned into the microphone and he watched as his brother laid down a bed of rhythm guitar as the song gently transitioned into a growing harmony of the couple’s vocals over the organ histrionics of Joel Robinow.

— Erik Ernst, Special for the Journal Sentinel


After a dizzying performance by DJ Mando and the Milwaukee crew, the Maryland rapper’s DJ Cordae started doing the exact same type of trap for a good 15 minutes after showtime. The overflowing audience at the Miller Lite Oasis seemed more than excited to do it again.

When Cordae finally arrived on the scene, Gen Z lost their collective spirit. Opening with the hit “Super” Cordae bounced back and forth across the stage as if weightless, while rapping every word of the track. Although he rapped in his own voice from time to time, it wasn’t a crutch, it was clearly a case of not having the instrumentalists. Either way, the audience rapped every word with him so technically he could have shut up. With a full live band and Auto-Tune used sparingly, Cordae gave fans what they’ve been so diligently waiting for.

Damon Joy, Special for the Sentinel Journal

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A Flock of Seagulls performs on the UScellular Connection stage at Summerfest on Saturday, July 8, 2022.

A flock of seagulls

The last time A Flock of Seagulls performed at Summerfest in 2018, the band performed “Rainfall” in a veritable torrential downpour.

But the weather gods were kind to the Flock for their UScellular login scene on Friday, with a packed crowd on a happy, windy afternoon.

If only frontman Mike Score — the only original member, along with other current Seagulls joining in the 21st century — could match the vibe with his vocals. “Space Age Love Song” and “Wishing” showed that his vocals hadn’t aged so well, but the flat tone still suited the New Wave weirdness of “Telecommunication”, and the warm melodies of Score from his Roland synthesizer. sounded like they were traveling in Doc Brown’s DeLorean straight out of the 1980s.

— Piet Levy

Eric Wilson

Everyone who made it to Miller Lite Oasis on Friday received one of those special Summerfest moments when Ric Wilson took the stage for a mix of introspective hip-hop and juicy grooves that culminated in an amalgamation of the best of hip hop. a live experience.

The set started slow, with both a soft vocal mix that buried Wilson’s lyrics at first, and what sounded like a shy frontman. “Hey! What’s up guys?” Wilson timidly asked the audience. “Are we ready to have a good time? The hesitant nature of his reception, however, belied the artist who would soon come to life on stage.

As Wilson, his five-piece band and a talented backing vocalist bounced the soulful melody of “Don’t Kill the Wave,” the Chicago rapper came to life showing the crowd standing in the bleachers how to find the beat. “Chicago Bae” was a slick, bossa-nova-focused groove with Wilson’s hometown-focused lyrics dancing lightly in response to the music.

A rapper who knows both a hook and a message, Wilson had the crowd wave in unison over the funky interplay of “BANBA,” with the powerfully uplifting call of “Black art, not bad art.” “Fight Like Ida B & Marsha P” was a powerful protest song born out of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.

As a singer, Wilson’s flow was part Kendrick Lamar, part Lil Wayne. As a lyricist, his rhymes were rich with a brilliantly lively exploration of his life in South Chicago, biting critiques of racial issues in the United States, and a joyful spirit of celebration amid the struggle for progress.

As Wilson spat out the fast rhymes of “Breakin Rules,” the band was playing and the drums were beating, and the memories of that tentative first greeting were long gone.

—Erik Ernst

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Gilberto Santa Rosa

When you think of the genres most often seen at Summerfest, you probably think of nostalgic 90s rockers, a recently famous hit marvel, or a complete legend like Paul McCartney or Tom Petty. With that in mind, salsa is a seriously underrepresented genre at the Big Gig — and that’s probably why the crowd for Gilberto Santa Rosa was so massive on Friday night.

The Puerto Rican crooner has been dubbed “El Cabellero de Salsa” for his silky smooth voice and timeless swagger on stage. He brought both of those things – along with a massive 12-person band – to the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard stage. Fans swayed side by side throughout Santa Rosa’s set, enchanted by the sounds of beautiful harmonies, maracas and trumpets.

Speaking of trumpets, the Santa Rosa brass section was definitely a highlight. The sound of the saxophone echoed throughout the southern festival grounds as couples near the outskirts of the crowd danced together. Twinkling string lights above the audience only added to the ambiance.

If Summerfest organizers are looking to increase attendance — and create a more diverse crowd — they should consider bringing more salsa bands to the Big Gig.

— Lauren Keene, Journal Sentinel Special

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