Celebrating its 50th year, Summerfest is known for the wide variety of musical acts that perform during the 11 days of the fest and Michigan natives, Greta Van Fleet were the perfect addition to the lineup. Their 70-minute set at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage may have been their first, but I’m sure it won’t be their last.
They kicked off the set with Highway Tune (watch the video below), the first song on their EP, Black Smoke Rising. There is nothing like a good catchy song to grab the audience right away, especially when folks may not be familiar with your material. They continued with When The Cold Wind Blows and Get You Down which really gave the crowd a flavor of their blend of rock and blues, not to mention the massive vocal range from singer, Josh Kiszka.
They played homage to one of their Blues influences with a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s Evil (Is Going On). Josh, who did little talking between songs, mentioned Lover Leaver Taker Believer was about their appreciation for rock ‘n’ roll without holding back and joked, not that they would hold back. Not only was it a great song, it included an impressive guitar solo by twin brother Jake Kiszka.
They slowed it down a bit with Flower Power, another from their EP, before going into Watching Over which featured a deep bass groove from Sam Kiszka (yes, there are three bothers in the band) under bluesy guitar notes played by Jake. Once the song was over, in the most original way I have ever heard, Josh spoke to one side of the crowd and had them cheer and commented as he pointed to the other side, “This side reminds this side [pointed to other side of the crowd] how they are feeling.”
Considering the band have only released a 4-song EP, it was nice to see they could play such a long set. Talk On The Streets included Josh on tambourine and Jake showcased more of his guitar skills by playing a bit behind his head. After performing the EP title track, there was a bluesy tune that really made the drums stand out as the main focus. They ended their set with Safari Song, which was upbeat and helped the night to end as strongly as it had started, not to mention it left the crowd wanting more. It also gave drummer, Danny Wagner a few moments in the spot light for a drum solo. Overall, it was nice to see so many in the crowd show their appreciation for a new band and it was even better to witness the future of rock ‘n’ roll.
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