Candlebox kicked off their late afternoon set at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage at Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI. The band treated fans with a heavy dose of songs from the self-titled album that started it all. Fast-paced Don’t You lead into the slow build up opening of Change. As singer Kevin Martin sang, “I feel so alive now,” the crowd was totally engaged. Martin dedicated Blossom to all of the ladies before playing two back to back from their 2016 album, Disappearing In Airports. Crazy and Vexatious, the latter of which blanketed the crowd, even at the very back of the seating, with the sound of easy-going calmness.
They teased a bit of KISS’s Do You Love Me, before Sweet Summertime, a song about life on road and Martin even subbed Summerfest into the original line in the song, “You’re my sweet, sweet summertime lover.” In case anyone was still unsure, he joked, “We’re Candlebox by the way. 1993, let’s go,” before playing, Arrow, another from their self-titled release. Have I mentioned how much Candlebox rocks? If you’re reading this and have forgotten, do yourself a favor and hit up Spotify and play their entire catalog.
Martin asked the crowd, “Do you love your Rock ‘n’ Roll Milwaukee?” After cheers, he started pointing out some of the band shirts he saw people wearing. Guns N’ Roses, Soundgarden and even an old school Candlebox shirt. He introduced the band, who by the way, were on point during the entire performance and looked to be having a lot of fun on stage, including Island Styles on guitar. He mentioned that bassist Adam Kury was celebrating his 41st b-day (Happy birthday!) and referred to guitarist Brian Quinn as “10 fingers of disaster.”
Of course, the secret was really out of the bag when he mentioned that not only was drummer Dave Krusen a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer (Google him if you don’t already know), he was secretly a Green Bay Packers fan. Of course, this was met with many cheers. He also introduced himself and asked how everyone was doing. He then told a brief story behind the dedication of the next song. Although he didn’t go into details, he called out asking where Athena and Seth were located. Apparently they had sent him a Facebook message. He simply stated, “I feel ya, love ya, this is for you,” before playing Cover Me.
The Candlebox set lasted just about an hour and wrapped up with songs from the early years including 10,000 Horses from Happy Pills and Simple Lessons from 1995’s Lucy, which, if a song could be tasted, was extra delicious. Before playing You, Martin blurted out that it was the 25th anniversary of “That God-damned album” [Self-titled, 1993] and joked that even though his back and hips hurt, he loved Rock ‘n’ Roll. He told the crowd, “Thank you from the bottom of my black f-cking heart. I thank you.”
Before leaving the stage, Martin told one more story, this time about their song, Far Behind and how he actually wrote the song about Andrew Wood from Mother Love Bone. He wrote the song after he passed away as a tribute of sorts on how much of an influence he had on him. He smiled when he said Andrew was probably hanging with his friend, Chris Cornell. During this song especially, but really the entire set, fans could be seen singing certain songs with such passion. To me, this usually means the song holds some special meaning to them. Music is a funny thing as it often reminds us of something from the past. More times than not, I would hope the memories are all good, but sometimes music helps to get us through some dark times. Regardless, there were more than enough fans in attendance that thoroughly enjoyed the set.
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