This being our 40th year of Metro Jam we have assembled the most solid line-up yet! Saturday will feature two great American bands that embody the full spectrum of decades of great rock n’ roll rolled up into a unique spectrum of sounds that each act can truly call their own! Heralding from just south of the Wisconsin border in Rockford, IL is Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts, and coming from the Mile High City of Denver is Strange Americans. The Rusted Hearts will be going on at 7:00 just before this year’s Saturday evening headliner. Opening for Miles will be Strange Americans at 5:30 pm on June 16th at Metro Jam.
Rockford, IL-based Miles Nielsen has spent nearly a decade enthralling audiences with music that draws force from the prime years of Western-influenced rock music and classic ‘60s soul. Claiming influences as diverse as Otis Redding’s classic soul and Jellyfish’s cult power pop recordings, Nielsen has thus far released two albums – his debut in 2009 as a solo artist, and then his sophomore album in 2012 as Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts – to critical acclaim and an ever-growing fan base. The Rusted Hearts’ hot streak has continued with their most recent LP, Heavy Metal.
Heavy Metal blends the country-esque drawl and growling guitars of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with the subtly sensual undercurrent of Ray Charles. Vocal harmonies present throughout the album recall Fleetwood Mac as strongly as they bring to mind the very first doo wop groups. But despite The Rusted Hearts’ readily apparent influences, the result of these combined roots is a singular sound that readily distinguishes the band from its peers.
As Miles Nielsen explains, “Most of my childhood was spent on a tour bus traveling across the country with Cheap Trick…” where the idea that songwriting is “a way for me to meld the world of dreams and real life.” An auspicious beginning that resulted in a musical brew Miles calls “Beatle-esque Cosmic Americana”. A rich and layered sound that seamlessly blends Alternative Country and Blue-Eyed Soul, some Pop and Rock, and Tin Pan Alley song-craft. Miles Nielsen The Rusted Hearts combine their sonic forebears into a style that’s entirely theirs, resulting in songs that boast layers upon layers of complexity under their irresistible surfaces. Don’t miss this dose of Cosmic Americana when Miles Nielsen takes the stage from 7:00 – 8:00 pm Saturday evening, June 16th at Metro Jam.
Saturday June 16th; 5:30 – 6:30
It’s a little raw, a bit loud, unapologetic and honest. It’s Americana rock and roll and it’s something that Denver’s Strange Americans are crafting with both brawn and finesse, like a hot rod mechanic bringing back an old barn find. They play the kind of music that the Carhartt-wearing, hard-working, industrial beer-drinking, regular Americans would listen to — the ones who could end up on an episode of TV’s Dirty Jobs.
In a sense, Strange Americans are rescuing something from the rust pile — straight-forward, no frills rock and roll, and a matching aesthetic that is heavy on songwriting and storytelling, but presented with reverb-drenched punch and passion — the way The Band or Crazy Horse would have done it. This Denver five-piece let their influences fly and mix in their own style, creating a sound that bridges the gap between alternative rock and the roots of the genre. They have also earned a strong Wisconsin fan base playing Appleton’s Mile of Music festival the last three years. To date Strange Americans have three full-length records; Royal Battle (2012), That Kind of Luster (2014), and Borrow You, Brother (2017). Strange Americans has enjoyed participating in music scenes from Colorado to Oregon to New York, making many friends along the way. Plan on catching the buzz on these Americana roots rockers when Strange Americans hit the stage from 5:30 – 6:30 pm Saturday, June 16th at Metro Jam.
As you know by now we have The Koch Marshall Trio Featuring guitarist Greg Koch headlining Friday evening from 7:00 – 9:30, with the Erin Krebs Quartet opening the festival from 5:30 – 6:30 on June 15th!
And we still have six more incredible Saturday acts to announce…including our 40th year headliner!
Metro Jam, now in its 40th year, will be held on the MetroStage in downtown Manitowoc’s Washington Park, on Friday and Saturday, June 15 and 16, 2018. As always, this FREE two day event features an array of national, regional and local acts covering a full spectrum of musical styles including jazz, blues, folk, alt-country, Americana, classic rock and original rock. The festival is a partnership with The Manitowoc Jaycees. This free concert is made possible due to support from our presenting sponsors Baileigh Industrial, Prevea Health, Cher-Make Sausage and media partners WOMT/WQTC Q-102/ Lake 98.1 and Weekend: The Herald Times Reporter.
Watch for festival updates at www.metrojam.org and visit us for up to the moment news on Facebook!