When the three finalist bands in Summerfest’s ‘Land the Big Gig’ contest perform a free concert at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday, June 25, the musicians will include a UWM alumnus.
Tony Myers (’95 BA Mass Communication & Broadcasting) is connected to UWM both academically and professionally, since he worked for WUWM at its on-campus studio for five years after receiving his degree. Myers plays drums and sings backup vocals for the Independent Idols.
“It is most serendipitous that I will return to my alma mater to rock the very plaza where I spent many a day in my youth,” said Myers. “I’ve been away too long!”
The June 25 UWM concert from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. includes free Summerfest tickets distributed on a first-come, first-served basis after the concert. The three bands will play on UWM’s Spaights Plaza, which is located north of the UWM Union at 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.
Hydra Melody and The August will join Independent Idols as the finalist bands that will perform at UWM on June 25 and at Summerfest on Thursday, June 27. The concert at the lakefront Summerfest grounds is at 4 p.m. at the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard stage. The bands will compete for a share of $35,000 in cash and prizes at the June 27 event, hosted by Milwaukee native and American Idol Top Three Finalist Danny Gokey.
Public voting for Land the Big Gig opened May 15 and closed June 17. One lucky voter, Carol Jensen of Iron Ridge, Wis., won the Ultimate Summerfest Experience sweepstakes prize. In all, more than 89,000 votes were cast by music lovers and band supporters nationwide. Land the Big Gig is presented by TapMilwaukee, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s online entertainment guide, and Robert Haack Diamonds.
Summerfest, the “World’s Largest Music Festival,” runs noon to midnight, June 26-30 and July 2-7 (closed Monday, July 1). For more information, visit summerfest.com. Information about UWM is at uwm.edu.
Hydra Melody’s memorable melodic strands, heartfelt and relatable lyrics, sophisticated arrangements and powerful presentation are catching the ears of fans and critics alike. The band had a busy 2012, playing SXSW, CMJ Music Marathon and opening for bands including Every Avenue, The Early November, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Minus The Bear and The Toadies. Band members are Jordan Berlanga (lead vocals/guitar), Jason Harari (bass/vocals), Justin Berlanga (keyboard/vocals), Matt Gomez (drums), Manuel Prince (percussion/congas) and Taylor Ferguson (lead guitar).
Formed in 2005, the band’s versatile style features strong melodies and hooks, crisp vocals, striking guitar riffs, forceful drums and tuneful bass lines, all woven into a familiar and crunchy power pop tapestry. Recently unleashing its third full-length recording, Independent Idols has performed at SXSW, the Midwest Music Convention, Riversplash and the Waukesha and Wisconsin State Fairs. Band members are Ryan Charles (lead vocals), Bryan Arzaga (lead guitar), Dan Morissey (bass guitar) and Tony Myers (drums, backup vocals).
The August is clearing its own path of music that runs between American roots and American pop music. Originally from Chicago, Jacky, Tim, and Wojtek moved to Music City in 2009, where they met up with guitar player Cameron Clarke. The August’s most recent album, Dear Chicago, Love Nashville, as well as two others can be found on iTunes and other online stores. The band is proud to have shared the stage with a variety of great musicians including Toby Keith, Lionel Richie, Leon Russell and The Drive-By Truckers.