When the Summerfest lineup was released, one of the first things that caught my eye was Chevelle headlining the US Cellular stage. As an avid Summerfest goer, this has become my favorite stage… the headliners each night are usually a big name in the alternative scene, and all the openers tend to be up and coming acts, who are sometimes lucky to hit it big shortly after (an example of this would be Sleeper Agent, who went from 4PM timeslot to headliner in the span of a year).
Anyways, my friends and I arrived to the stage earlier than we expected, but once we got there we realized one thing — we weren’t going to give up these seats and miss out on seeing Chevelle this close. By now you may be asking, what’s with you and Chevelle? Well, really nothing to be honest. I’ve always loved their music ever since they struck it big with “The Red” years ago, and to this day, they remain one of my favorites from the ‘nu metal’ era. There’s just something about a 3 piece (they have no “background” guitarist for live shows) absolutely tearing the house down that makes me love them. I thought these guys were going to start a small earthquake at one point.
So after about 8 hours of waiting and watching the other bands (I would like to mention Cherri Bomb, a Joan Jett inspired all teenage chick rock band who kind of blew me away… please do check them out if that interests you), the clock struck 10:00 and it was time for Chevelle to come on. The crowd was beyond amped, especially the first row, which seemingly consisted of all Chevelle groupies (I met someone who had seen them 14 times and had arms covered in Chevelle tattoos). With no special introduction, they immediately began to burst eardrums with one of my favorite songs by them, “The Clincher”. About 30 seconds in, I knew these was going to be a 100% balls to the wall, headbangin’ show.
Now, for as much as I like this band, I don’t know a lot of their non-singles too well, so there was a good portion of the show that I wasn’t nearly as into as other parts. However, I was stoked to hear them play “The Meddler” off their new album… arguably the best song on it. From that disc, they also busted out the single “Hats Off To The Bull” and “Face To The Floor” (which served as the show closer). The highlight of the show for me may have been “Send The Pain Below”… the breakdown in that song is possibly my favorite part in any Chevelle song. I actually turned to my friend who was in the row behind me and telepathically told him “…this is it…”. Just so incredibly heavy, you would have thought your heart was going to pound out of your chest.
All in all, the show was excellent and exceeded expectations. They played for nearly 1 hour and 40 minutes and kept the banter between songs to a minimum. No special effects or anything crazy, just 3 guys rocking out on stage.
The full setlist can be viewed here.