Concert preview: CD102.5 Summerfest: Assessing the lineup for The Alternative Station’s sprawling shindig

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From the August 22, 2013 edition

As one of the last bastions of independent radio in these United States, CD102.5 deserves to be celebrated. And celebrateThe Alternative Station will this Saturday in the parking lot behind LC Pavilion.

This year’s CD102.5 Summerfest is the station’s biggest concert yet, an honest-to-God festival featuring eight nationally knownalt-rockactsthe local rock band Chinese School (the winner of a band battle earlier this month), local DJs Dave Espionage, DJ Lance and Mister Shifter, a variety show from Nina West and Friends, comedy from Travis Hoewischer and Laura Sanders, food trucks, vendorsand an afterparty featuring those lovable demonic EDM overlords, roeVy.

Ultimately, an event like Summerfest is about the bandsthough. To prep, here’s a primer on Saturday’s lineup

Matt and Kim

Although I personally wish these cutesy, formerly DIY kiddos could be wiped from my memory banks “Eternal Sunshine”-style,the fact that they can headline an event this size suggests there is a demographic thatexperiences actual human cheer when Matt Johnson and KimSchifinoget all nasal-like. Imagine Dragons must be among thatcrowd because the Vegas hitmakers lifted Matt and Kim’s “Daylight” for their own breakthrough single “It’s Time.”

Cold War Kids

A survivor of the mid-aughts “blog rock” era that spawned similar alt-yelpersBlack Kids, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Tapes ’n Tapes, Cold War Kids seem to have outlasted its peers by sounding like actual breakout stars from that period. Part Arcade Fire, part Killers, the band’s new Dear Miss Lonelyhearts is humongous, douchey and kind of glorious — not bad for group that by all rights should have receded into obscurity by now.

Ra Ra Riot

The polite, cello-laden Brooklyn indie rock group has evolved into a pseudo-R&B pastiche. I miss the cello era.

Smith Westerns

The Chicago garage rock prodigies are all grown up and smoothed out on the lush new Soft Will, a record that ably conjures bittersweet sound of summer slipping away — in other words, Aug. 24 music.

J. Roddy Walston & the Business

These Baltimorerockers play balls-out, piano-pounding Southern rock as if Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis had just invented it.

Cayucas

Anyone looking for a compendium of lightweight indie rock trends from the past five years need look no further.

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down

Thao Nguyen taps into the same smart-but-breezy headspace that fans of Mirah or The Blow gobble up like rice milk and vegan sushi. Her recent single “Holy Roller” is a banjo-inflecteddelight.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

If you didn’t hear “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On the Dancefloor)”then you didn’t listen to CD102.5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s floaty synth-pop single has been getting a lot of airtime, though the Detroit duo is at its best when it thumps more vigorously, as on last year’s ace “We Almost Lost Detroit.”