By Quentin Holle
After a brutal week of classes I kicked off my weekend by traveling east down I-94 to Milwaukee’s premier music festival, Summerfest. While scrolling through Instagram the previous week I discovered that one of my favorite musicians, Blu Detiger, was headlining an early afternoon show. I immediately knew that I had to go; the rich bass riffs, catchy lyrics, and charming energy of Blu Detiger has drawn my attention— ever since my first listen to her funk-rock banger “Vintage.”
Just over a year ago, Blu Detiger’s notoriety was limited to the DJ scene of New York City, where she flexed her prodigious bass skills during DJ sets. Then the pandemic began.
Immediately, Blu Detiger took this opportunity to explore new formats of sharing her affinity for music, posting bass covers on TikTok. People immediately noticed her musical talent— causing her to gain a massive online following almost overnight. At the current date, she has more than 1 million followers on TikTok. Through this newfound fame she began to release some new music, culminating in her EP How Did We Get Here? which she is currently performing on tour.
I arrived at the grounds for the first time in more than three years and was immediately bombarded with the familiar sights of Summerfest: deep-fried food stands, eye-catching merch for a myriad of bands, and extremely out of place window and siding stands. I beelined to the Generac “Power Stage” where Blu Detiger was playing, so that I could get as close to the stage as possible. To my surprise, there was barely anyone there. The crowd was so small that I initially believed that I might have gone to the wrong stage, and at the concert start, there were more people in the crew and live band than in the crowd. As the concert began and Blu Detiger began to play the lush bass line of her first song, passerby noticed and began to join the crowd. This trend continued throughout her concert.
“Toast With the Butter” was the first song in the show. The grand bass line and relaxed drums complimented her chorus. I immediately felt the energy that Blu brings to her concerts in this first song. Despite the tiny crowd, Detiger brought lots of energy, causing everyone in the audience to dance, bob their head, or tap their feet along to the music, at the very least. Her breathtaking skill on bass guitar was on full display. This was complemented by her frequent hair flips that heightened the energy of the concert even more.
Each song deviated from each other enough to keep the energy going and the repetition down. Detiger played selections with influences from disco, funk, punk, pop, and rock. Following “Toast With the Butter” Detiger played the aptly named “disco banger but you’re crying in the bathroom” where she grooved out on bass for a few minutes alongside a calming disco beat.
After the first two songs she pulled a complete 180 and played her rock song “Go Bad” from the soundtrack of the Netflix film He’s All That. While introducing this song she stated that this song is one of her favorites to perform for a live audience. I’ll admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of this song when I listened to it for the first time on Spotify, but listening to it live, in concert, completely changed my opinion of the song. The distorted guitar, bass, and filtered vocals on this song really brought the energy in a live performance.
Following this track Blu performed an unreleased track which really showed off her songwriting and music production finesse. This song really reinforced to me that Blu Detiger is going to be a household name in the near future. Like always, her catchy lyricism and beautifully orchestrated disco instrumental really drew me in. It was one of my favorite tracks of the afternoon.
With two songs left in the set Blu Detiger performed her most popular song: “Figure It Out”. I’m not the biggest fan of “Figure It Out”, but I will admit that the lyrics and dreamy production on the track was addictive.
To round out the concert set she played one of my favorite songs of 2021, “Vintage”. Listening to this song live was one of my favorite concert experiences that I’ve ever had. As the synthesizers swelled and the enthralling bassline began I was drawn in completely. “Vintage” was the first time I’ve ever felt compelled to belt out lyrics at a concert. The energy brought to the audience in this song was unparalleled. Blu absolutely shredded on bass during a solo while her backing live band improvised alongside her.
Overall this concert was an amazing experience. Each and every song was a delight to listen to. I wish that the setlist was a little bit longer, as the concert’s runtime was only about 40 minutes. She only has an EP out at this point, so I’d expect future concerts will be longer. I wish that the crowd was larger, but that has nothing to do with Blu Detiger’s performance. It’s a travesty that Summerfest couldn’t market someone with a social media following as big as Blu Detiger. She was the latest addition to the Summerfest headliner lineup, and without my luck I would have never known she was even playing at Summerfest. This was one of my favorite concerts that I’ve ever been to, and I can’t wait to see what Blu Detiger has in store for the future.