Summerfest 2019: A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Chaka Khan and more of the best and worst from the side stages on Day 6

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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A Boogie wit da Hoodie connected with a huge crowd, Chaka Khan impressed, and Liz Phair offered a fresh take on familiar songs on Tuesday at Summerfest. 

A Boogie Wit da Hoodie

A Boogie With Da Hoodie basks in the crowd at the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage on July 2, 2019.

Summerfest landed a timely booking with A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, who is still coasting on the success of his chart-topping second album, "Hoodie SZN." Despite (or perhaps due to) his fairly conventional delivery and well-worn subject matter, the Bronx rapper is having a moment.

The U.S. Cellular Stage was already near capacity for local heroes MT Twins’ set at 7 p.m.; by 10, it was predictably insufferable. A Boogie made his fans wait through a half-hour DJ set before emerging around 10:30. The crowd had not diminished.

A Boogie may have given his hype man a bit much leeway, and he may not have "performed" to a superstar level, but whereas his records might substitute machismo for realness, his connection with this crowd was anything but fake.

— Cal Roach, Special to the Journal Sentinel

Liz Phair

Liz Phair performs at the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard on July 2, 2019.

Liz Phair fans have spent a lot of years in limbo. Aside from the goofy, barely counts 2010 album "Funstyle," she hasn’t put out a record in over 13 years. If there were a single album to ride into eternity though, it would be her 1993 breakthrough "Exile In Guyville," which sounds as fresh now as it did then.

But Phair didn’t play the hits like a nostalgia act. She accomplished a rare feat that even Bob Dylan seems incapable of: fresh arrangements, plus improv, that your fans can still sing along to.

It’s a pretty obvious formula for pleasing all facets of your fan base, and Phair’s band was more than up to the task. Phair and company played like stars, but with something left to prove.

— Cal Roach


Chvrches performs at the Miller Lite Oasis on July 2, 2019.

Glasgow, Scotland-based synth-pop group CHVRCHES delivered an electric jolt to a youthful at-capacity crowd at the Miller Lite Oasis Tuesday night. 

Taking a page from '80s New Wave artists, wearing a belted pink knee-length dress and thick silver and black cat's eye makeup, singer Lauren Mayberry showcased her powerful voice (reminiscent of Evanescence's Amy Lee), and commanded the stage. Mayberry belted out a mix of the band's upbeat electro-pop songs, including "Miracle," "Forever," "Leave a Trace," and the club-friendly hit "Clearest Blue."

Bandmates Iain Cook and Martin Doherty held their own on synthesizers and guitar, while a drummer provided thunderous beats. The stage's multicolored lighting effects included the band's trademarked large crosses on their sides and smoke jets.

"It's too hot. We're British, we can't do this," Mayberry joked to the appreciative crowd, after promising them "a few more songs." Heat notwithstanding, the band's energy didn't seem to flag one bit.

— Catherine Jozwik, Special to the Journal Sentinel

Young the Giant

Young The Giant performs at the Uline Warehouse on July 2, 2019.

Young the Giant chose “Oblivion” for its opening song Tuesday at the Uline Warehouse. No doubt because it’s a song that starts somewhat slow and adds momentum as it goes along. However, as a relatively new song, it drew little reaction from the audience.

That changed immediately with the next song, “Something to Believe in,” with its catchy, uplifting tune.

Lead singer Sameer Gadhia has a voice that reaches all; it’s strong and it carries. And nobody can accuse him of a lack of effort. He puts every limb into his performance. His body reacts to the notes he sings as if the music is pulsing through him.

Young the Giant used the stage to showcase songs from its album “Mind over Matter” but didn’t forget favorites that fans enjoy belting out, such as “Cough Syrup.”

— Alexa Buechler, 

Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan performs at Summerfest's BMO Harris Pavilion on July 2, 2019.

Chaka Khan (born Yvette Marie Stevens) proved Tuesday night at the BMO Harris Pavilion that she's still the reigning Queen of Funk with a soulful R&B set.

Rising to fame in the 1970s as the singer for funk band Rufus, the 10-time Grammy-award-winner, now in her mid-60s, smiled and looked stunning in a short sequined dress and black knee-high boots. Khan and her band (which included three backup singers and a fantastic drummer, guitarist, keyboardist and bass player) brought an old-school vibe to the stage, delighting a large, diverse crowd with hits like "Will You Love Me?," "Tell Me Something Good" and "Sweet Thing," which prompted an audience singalong. Four decades later, Khan still maintains truly impressive pipes, with a wide vocal range.

"It's been 20 years since I've been here!" Khan announced to her audience. For the fans' sake, let's hope she returns to Summerfest much sooner than that.

— Catherine Jozwik

Jacob Latimore

Milwaukee native Jacob Latimore performs at the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage on July 2, 2019.

Jacob Latimore has returned home to Milwaukee. He proudly donned a Bucks jersey for No. 34, Giannis Antetokounmpo. And, the man had moves. 

The hip-hop artist got his start as many young stars do — through Disney. Now, at 22, he’s singing for an overflowing audience. 

Despite his stature, the majority of the audience at the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage on Tuesday didn’t seem too involved with Latimore until halfway through his set. Much of the audience was waiting for A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, the headliner at this stage.

Fortunately, Latimore didn’t seem deterred. He constantly tried to engage with his audience with a smile on his face. His silky vocals for “All Mine,” atop a more choppy beat, made for an easy song to dance to. Eventually, his audience complied, and the entire area turned into a massive party. 

— Alexa Buechler

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