Words by Dan Agacki
No soapboxes. No posing. I’m going to come right out and say it: I hate Summerfest.
It’s obviously a minority opinion, so I’m sure no one will lose any sleep over my spewed venom. And, even with my standing on this side of the fence, I actually found a legitimate reason to forcibly navigate myself through the herds of pleasure-seekers.
Numerous local punk/indie/alternative bands have emerged on Summerfest’s stages in recent years, but they’ve always been pop-leaning; a somewhat safe choice. This year, however, local hardcore rippersGet Rad were asked to play. Pass up the chance to see an awkward pairing such as this? No way!
After wading through the entire grounds, I was greeted by a pleasant surprise — the anticipated awkwardness was non-existent. The crowd contained many familiar faces and scattered onlookers. It seemed to be pure enjoyment…no scoffing or horrified looks. The gents in Get Rad were on the stage, rocking as if it were their typical club show. A couple of scuffles broke out between overzealous show-goers, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the mood. Get Rad showed the mixed crowd of fans and commoners what true hardcore is all about.
I spoke, via email with bassist Dave Rudnick, to find out Get Rad’s feelings on their Summerfest experience.How did Get Rad playing Summerfest come about? Kelsey from Cougar Den asked us to play. From what I understand, they asked Cougar Den to play, and she said, “Only if I can choose the bands we play with,” and for some reason, Cascio gave her the green light. What was the band’s initial reaction? Ben and Brad were stoked and Kevin couldn’t believe that I would even ask him. I think he was shocked that I had any interest in playing it. We were actually going to turn the show down until the late show came together. I think we’re all pretty damn happy we played, now. Did you have to sign any weird contracts? I had always heard that they had a policy that bands weren’t allowed to swear, or is that just a myth? We didn’t sign anything. We hust had to send them a list of the equipment we needed. As far as swearing goes, I think it was pretty clear that it must be just a myth. Maybe the larger stages have a policy, but the policy at the Groove Garage could pretty much be summed up as, “Here’s some beer. There are some amps. Have fun!” Your set seemed to be pretty well-received. Do you think that it’s a positive sign that a REAL (i.e. not metal band operating under the guise of a hardcore band) hardcore band can play Summerfest and be accepted? The show was well-received. I couldn’t believe the number of kids singing along. That being said, I don’t think there will ever be a hardcore stage at Summerfest or that the idea of a REAL hardcore band playing there will be any less ridiculous. What are your overall feelings on the show? I can’t believe how well it went and how much fun it was. I couldn’t believe the number of kids that were there and how much fun people were having. I was bummed about the fights, but I’ve never seen a show at Summerfest that didn’t involve at least a small fight. Shit, I even saw punches get thrown at a B-52s show a few years back. Do you think Get Rad would play again if asked? I think so, as long as it’s a good lineup and we can all do it. The lineup for the stage we played was awesome. All local, younger, punk bands most of which have a firm grasp of DIY hardcore. Kelsey, Cascio, WMSE and The Shepherd did a good job.