Posted by Frank
Two Chicago bands - My My My and I Fight Dragons - headed north to Milwaukee this Fourth of July to play on the 11th and final day of this year's Summerfest, which bills itself "The World's Largest Music Festival." Both played 45-minute, late afternoon sets on the same stage, with My My My followed directly by I Fight Dragons. Against Me! and Silversun Pickups would perform on the same stage hours later, meaning devoted fans of those bands had already staked out their spots close to the stage. While watching the Windy City bands seemed to be simply a way to pass the time for many in the crowd, both acts brought high-energy sets that succeeded in capturing the attention of unsuspecting onlookers and did their home city proud.
As usual, My My My were lots of fun to watch. They play quirky power pop that's given a unique stamp by song structures with adventurous twists and turns, as heard on their excellent new LP, Leather Silk (review here). Their set mainly included songs from this album, including highlights such as the bouncy, keyboard-driven "White Lions," the driving shout-along "Be My Bianca" and the sleek, dancey "Swoon." In addition to material from Leather Silk, the band played the frenetic "Middle Aged Hardware and Youthful Indiscretions" from their last LP, Little Cat Plays the Alpha Rave, as well as a wonderful brand new song called "War Party." Vocalists Russell Baylin and Sarah Snow never fail to impress with the passionate deliveries, and the entire band sounded perfectly tight. Simply put, My My My rocked, and I sure hope those in the crowd who were unfamiliar with them will look them up.
Later, before I Fight Dragons took the stage, I knew the Nintendo-pop troupe would have no problem getting the crowd pumped up. The band are nothing if not dead-set on bringing a good time, as they've proven since breaking out in early 2009. Despite their rather brief existence the six-piece was recently scooped up by Atlantic Records, and the show made it easy to understand why. Their straightforward, singalong pop has mass appeal and they genuinely know how to entertain and pass their energy along to an audience. While blasting through a mix of yet-to-be-released songs as well as material from their debut EP, Cool Is Just a Number (review here), they took full advantage of their video game theme, incorporating 8-bit beeps and blips throughout, plus busting out controllers, a Nintendo Power Pad and other old school gaming gear. In addition to their originals, they played a rockin' cover of the infamous Rick Astley cheese-fest "Never Gonna Give You Up" combined with an equally rockin' version of the Super Mario Bros. theme to close the set. Every song was like watching a party on stage, and most of the audience looked like they would have gladly welcomed another 45 minutes from the dragon-fighters.