The Bands of Summer: 2009

Adam Mackintosh and the Last Dancers

A straight-up four-piece rock band fronted by singer/songwriter Adam Mackintosh, the music of The Last Dancers has been compared to The Kinks, David Bowie, Big Star, and late-period John Lennon. The band throws down original rock with a classic, guitar-driven, pop-melodic sensibility. The genre line blurs from verse to chorus and no style of expression is off limits. Lap Steel, 12-String and three-part harmony over “right-of-the-dial” BPM’s makes for an electrifying wave after wave of rock pleasure. Ad Mack is all over the Door County music scene, hosting the well-established Songwriter Showcase series with the lovely Anna Sacks at a variety of establishments throughout the Door Peninsula.

Upcoming Shows:

June 13:  The Ladder House (as part of Steel Bridge Songfest)

June 24:  Husby’s

June 25:  Beach Harbor

July 3 & 4:  Bitter End Pub

July 25:  Third Avenue Playhouse

July 31:  Beach Harbor

August 19:  Husby’s

August 28:  Beach Harbor

Anna Sacks

Sacks has been described as a sultry, smoky singer/songwriter and piano player performing in the classic Americana style of great writers such as Carole King, Carly Simon, and Harold Arlen. Her vocal style has been compared to Jennifer Charles and Hope Sandoval. She focuses on the folk genre and is a refreshing reminder of the genre’s varied musicianship. Like Adam Mackintosh, Sacks’s involvement with the Door County music scene is all over the board, with a hand in the Songwriters Showcase project with Adam Mackintosh, the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay, and Steel Bridge Songfest.

Upcoming Shows:

June 15:  Evenings in Ephraim Concert

July 10:  Woodwalk Gallery

August 9:  Gordon Lodge

Big Mouth & the Power Tool Horns

Originally formed in Flint, MI by Jay Whitney in 1980, Big Mouth is quite possibly the band with the most consistent presence on the peninsula. Whitney moved to Door County in 1989 and reformed Big Mouth a year later with Pat Judy on drums, Woody Mankowski on saxophone, and Paul Sowinski on bass guitar and vocals. Big Mouth’s success in Door County and Green Bay led the band to add a horn section, “The Power Tool Horns.” The band’s line-up has changed over the years, but the focus of delivering a mix of rock, country, blues, and jazz has remained the same. Everyone is still having just as much of a blast as they were in 1980.

Upcoming Shows:

June 27:  The Flying Pig

July 8:  Concerts in the Park, Sister Bay

July 11:  Bayside Tavern


This Madison-based band’s MO is a singable mix of rock, country, and blues. Led by Robby Schiller on lead vocals and guitar, the Heels line-up includes Adam Cargin on drums, Justin Bricco on electric guitar, Landon Arkens on bass, and Teddy Pedriana on keys. The Heels have a rapidly-expanding fan base, which should only increase when their much-anticipated live album, The Only Dance You Know, is released on June 30. Their latest studio album, Lessons in Sunday Driving, was named the Best Madison album of 2008 by Madison’s Isthmus newspaper. Rich Albertoni, music critic for the Isthmus, sums it up best when he says, “The Blueheels’ greatness is more than the sum of its parts. Schiller’s voice is sharp and nasal, weird enough to pique your interest, smooth enough to hold it.”

Upcoming Shows:

June 11 – 14:  Steel Bridge Songfest

Date TBA:  Husby’s

The Championship

The folk rock and Americana sounds of this young band are a must-hear for anyone who enjoys what rock and roll music “used to be.” With the melancholy and depth comparable to the sounds of Johnny Cash, The Championship writes “honest, blue-collar jams for when your truck breaks down and you’ve been laid off.” Look for their new four-song EP, Moving at the Speed of Darkness, which will be released on June 23.

Upcoming Shows:

August 8:  Sonny’s Pizzeria

Chris Aaron

Chris Aaron is described as “a wicked rock and blues guitarist,” and, judging from his loyal following of fans, this characterization seems about right. Aaron grew up on the music of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and his brand of solid blues follows in the tradition of those who have influenced him – folks like BB King, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Music is as natural to Aaron as breathing, and his singular goal is to write, play, and produce music that is both timeless and touching.

Upcoming Shows

June 11 – 14:  Steel Bridge Songfest

June 16:  Sister Bay Bowl (with special guests Bobby Bryan Duo)

Dead Horse

Dead Horse is the current outfit of Michael Bleck, a Door County native whose has been playing in various incarnation of bands since 1988. He had gone under the Dead Horse moniker since 1996 – and says that the name comes from a cynical joke due to his “lack of success at keeping a band together long enough to reap the benefits of all the practice and accumulation of gear.” Dead Horse features both original and inspired cover songs, and can consist of a solo acoustic show all they way up to a full nine-piece production.

Upcoming Shows:

June 11 – 14:  Steel Bridge Songfest

June 21:  Beach Harbor

July 8:  Beach Harbor

August 5:  Beach Harbor

August 19:  Beach Harbor

September 25:  Waterfront Mary’s at Beach Harbor

Dirty Deuce

Dirty Deuce brings a special dose of “rock and roll religion” to the Door Peninsula. Comprised of Rob Atwood on guitar and vocals, Jamey “The Sultan of Skins” Clark on percussion, and Johnny Sax on saxophone, the Deuce released The Musical Mathematics of Rock and Roll Religion in Summer 2008. The trio is a force to be reckoned with, and anyone who’s ever attended a Deuce show will tell you it’s a great time.

Upcoming Shows:

June 11:  Red Room (Steel Bridge Songfest)

June 13:  Steel Bridge Songfest (Main Stage)

June 17:  AC Tap

June 27:  Mink River Basin

July 4:  The Fishing Hole

July 16:  Beach Harbor

July 18:  Concerts in the Park, Baileys Harbor

July 18:  Institute Saloon

Early Thomas & the Lords of Alamont

At one time, rock and soul man Early Thomas was the co-founder and front man for the mighty Soul Patrol, the critically-acclaimed alternative rock band that disbanded in 1996 after a successful eight-year run. As a solo artist, Thomas has released five albums of solo music, dramatically switching gears from his early soul and blues roots to heavy pounding rock music. His latest solo album, Little Bent Trees, was released in 2008. Thomas’s new project, The Lords of Alamont, will debut at this year’s Steel Bridge Songfest. A musician as well as a Door County business owner, be sure to check out his restaurant, Sonny’s Pizzeria in Fish Creek, for their summer music schedule.

Upcoming Shows:

June 11 – 14:  Steel Bridge Songfest

Eric Lewis, Tommy Burroughs & Friends

It’s safe to say that Eric, Tommy, and their gifted group of friends are a popular outfit on the Door Peninsula. Eric has been performing in Door County since 1997 with American Folklore Theatre, Burroughs, Paul Sowinski, Pat Judy, Jimmy Davis, Chris Irwin, Doc Heide, The Nicks, Mark Raddatz and many more. The list of accomplishments of this duo are long, with both Burroughs and Lewis receiving the NARAS Premier String Player award in Memphis a number of times.

Upcoming Shows:

July 12:  Benefit at Peninsula Art School for American Folklore Theatre

August 1:  Third Avenue Playhouse

August 27:  Door County Outpost

September 6:  11th Annual Show at Fishstock

The Hollands!

Jana and Craig Holland cut their teeth on the Door County music scene when they lived in Sturgeon Bay from 2001 to 2006, performing under Jana’s name. Before meeting Jana, Craig began his musical career playing punk and hardcore, including a seven-year stint in Ballydowse, a Chicago-based Celtic punk band. Having moved to Green Bay from Door County, they have reformed under the name The Hollands! and have a series of shows in Door County to celebrate the release of their first CD, To Holland, With Love. Writing and performing original handmade music with an avant garde, folk/rock/punk blend, the message of The Hollands! is both visionary and authentic.

Upcoming Shows:

June 20:  Third Avenue Playhouse

July 24:  Door County Outpost (with Cedarwell)

Little Marsh Overflow

Ask Little Marsh Overflow what type of music they play, and it’s sure to be the one question that will stump them – although one reviewer might have said it best when she described the sound as a “progressive rock, funk jam art form.” A tight and talented rhythm section, soulful guitar, crafty keys, and powerful vocals add to that art form, making LMO one of the most danceable Door County bands out there. Original members Wade Coisman (bass), Mark Weber (guitar), and “Chicago Bob” Gregory (keyboards) formed in Madison in 2001 and moved to Madison a year later. Kai Andersen joined the band in 2005, and the band has been gaining momentum ever since.

Upcoming Shows:

June 11 – 14:  Steel Bridge Songfest

July 18:  The Hitching Post

July 24:  Beach Harbor Resort

July 31:  Sonny’s Pizzeria

August 22:  Bayside Tavern

August 29:  Ladder House

Date TBA:  Husby’s

Lost Mothra

Jeanne Kuhns has long been on the Door County music scene, and is known for her passionate folk/blues performances. This summer, Kuhns and a few longtime performer friends have combined as Lost Mothra, and are performing “throughout the county, the state, and the universe as we know it.” Kuhns calls herself the “Queen Moth,” backed by George Sawyn on lead electric and acoustic guitar, Lynn Gudmundsen on fiddle and violin, and Patrick Palmer on electric and standup bass.

Upcoming Shows:

July 4:  Woodwalk Concert Series

July 12:  Door County Maritime Museum Outdoor Concert

July 11: Jacksonport Concerts in the Park

July 18:  Jacksonport Concerts in the Park

July 25:  Baileys Harbor Concerts in the Park

The Mullet Hunters

Originally formed as a group of guys getting together for a single show back in 2001, The Mullet Hunters have stood the test of time on the Door County music scene. With minor fluctuations in their members over the years, frontman Jeremy “Ballistic” Peil, lead guitar Matt “Tish” Tischler, bassist Chris “the mang beast” Oakdale and drummer Freddie “The Swede” Bexell form the dynamic foursome that create a party at each show. A maelstrom of activity and stage antics tend to accompany their eclectic mix of rock covers, as well as the occasional original thrown in the mix. Their two CDs, Going Somewhere? and Mullet Hunters, are available from CDbaby or at their live shows.

Upcoming Shows:

July 4:  Sister Bay Bowl

August 22:  Sister Bay Bowl

The Nicks

The Nicks have been staple in the Door County music scene for over six years – and they truly are all over the place, whether it’s their usual Tuesday night at Fred & Fuzzy’s in Sister Bay or a Concert in the Park appearance in one of Door County’s villages or towns. The band has an eclectic, laid-back style that sounds like a Door County summer. You might see them as an acoustic duo playing old time folk-y bluegrass, or as a full electric band equipped with drums, horns and keys.

Upcoming Shows:

June 12:  Applebees Neighborhood Bar & Grill (as part of Steel Bridge Songfest)

June 13:  C&C Supper Club (with Madison band BeelzaDub)

June 16:  Fred & Fuzzy’s (and every Tuesday into fall)

June 29:  Evenings in Ephraim Concert, Harborside Park

July 5:  Top Deck at Gordon Lodge

July 22:  Door County Martime Museum Outdoor Concert

pat mAcdonald

Armed with his homemade stomp-board, pat mAcdonald’s style is, according to CD Baby, “the lovechild of narcotic rock and electric stomp boogie ala John Lee Hooker:  low-tuned guitar, edgy harmonica, home-made stomp board, sly lyrics and vocals that are at once evil and angelic.”

Upcoming Shows:

June 11 – 14:  Steel Bridge Songfest

August 6:  Bayside Tavern

The Peacocks

If John Lennon, Marc Bolan from T.Rex, and Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin were to have found each in a dirt-paved alley with their instruments strapped on, opened a bottle of whiskey, and started recording what flew from their minds at some date in the ‘60s, you have a rough idea of what The Peacocks sound like. This young band just formed in early 2009 and is already playing at multiple venues throughout the county – look for them to perfect their swagger of the peninsula’s music scene this summer.

Upcoming Shows:

June 11:  Steel Bridge Songfest

July 3:  Cherry Lanes

July 17:  Sonny’s Pizzeria

July 18:  Institute Saloon

July 21:  The Ladder House


TOIVO is a not-for-profit, four-piece, original rock and roll band. The group does their profiteering at the Whistling Swan, serving up sweet dishes not dissimilar to the rock and roll they play. TOIVO began almost two years ago as a reason for Scott Zimmerman, electric guitar and bass, Ryan Urquart, rhythm guitar and vocals, Rob Gay, drums, and Dan Luedcke, bass and electric guitar, to live in Door County year ‘round, so we are still here.

Upcoming Shows

June 11 – 14:  Steel Bridge Songfest

June 27:  Casey’s BBQ & Smokehouse