REVIEW: A Day To Remember at Summerfest

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In their fourteenth year of existence, A Day To Remember are aware that they might not be the most popular band in pop punk anymore. However, that didn’t stop them from delivering a brutal, pounding set of heavy pop punk at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse on Thursday night. You wouldn’t suspect a decline in popularity by the crowd, either; the Roadhouse was filled to its boundaries with fans, bouncing on the bleachers and forming mosh pits in the aisles that divided the bleachers and on the side areas. “This is some vintage shit”, explained vocalist Jeremy McKinnon. “We don’t always get a reaction like this every single night anymore”, he told the crowd.

The set list reflected the band’s thought process of both themselves and the crowd, as well. While the band is touring behind their most recent album, “Bad Vibrations”, much of the night consisted of early ADTR cuts, save for a few tracks of their newest music. “Bad Vibrations” is a solid album in its own right, but the band made their name off of their earlier records, and have a strong live set that is already filled with several successful songs.

The band wasted no time, with the crushing “All I Want” leading off the set, followed by crowd favorites “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?”, “2nd Sucks”, introduced by a Michael Buffer sound clip, and “Right Back At It Again”. The set then slowed down just a little a bit, with “We Got This” from “Bad Vibrations”, and “Have Faith in Me”. Things picked right back up, however, with McKinnon instructing the crowd to wave towels and shirts in lieu of a circle pit for “Paranoia”, due to the bleachers at the Summerfest grounds. Most of the band’s initial hour set blew by quickly, with limited banter, other than McKinnon being very appreciative for the crowd coming out in droves for their show.

A Day To Remember have always been known for, amongst other things, keeping the crowd entertained at their live shows. Funny, absurd, and certainly unforgettable moments are a staple of seeing the band live, and Thursday night was no different. Steam machines filled the stage during bass drops, a la your favorite EDM artist or club, and wacky waving, arm-flailing, inflatable tube men were thrown out by the band to crowd surf during the set. Inflatable pizza slices, toilet paper rolls, and free t-shirts also made their way out to the crowd at some points throughout the night. The merch giveaway was another self-defeating moment from the band, as they made their appearance via a man in a zebra onesie with a lucha libre wrestling mask fired them out during “Naivety”. McKinnon explained that the song was from their new album, and if you don’t know the words, at least you could get something free out of it. What would otherwise be looked at as gimmicky is a staple for ADTR, and it was definitely unexpected fun throughout the night.

The set closed with “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle”, and there was only a short amount of down time before the band was back for their encore. Acoustic number “If It Means A Lot To You” was accompanied by enough cell phone lights to make the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse feel like it was mid-day, and McKinnon explained that while most bands play one song encores, they were going to play three, and the other two “have to be bangers, right?”. They indeed were, as “All Signs Point To Lauderdale” and always-pounding “The Downfall of Us All” closed out the night.

If A Day To Remember thinks that they’ve lost a step, or that they’re declining in popularity, that didn’t seem to be the case in Milwaukee on Thursday. The band’s show was completely on point, and the crowd matched their energy all night. McKinnon described the show as “one that makes you want to be a band for many years to come”, and if that’s the case, Milwaukee will keep coming back to support them wholeheartedly.

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