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P!nk, Usher, Pentatonix among 10 best concerts in Milwaukee in 2014

By Piet Levy of the Journal Sentinel

he concert industry is booming, and Milwaukee benefited big time.

Between Bruno Mars on opening night, a reunited Outkast and New Order's first Milwaukee concert in 25 years, this year's Summerfest lineup was the strongest in years, possibly decades.

The BMO Harris Bradley Center, following 2013's embarrassing 24-year low for the number of concert bookings, bounced back with Miley Cyrus,Cher and other major shows.

The Pabst Theater Group and the Rave continued to flood the market with a diverse range of options. The BMO Harris Pavilion on the Summerfest grounds finally fulfilled its potential as a stand-alone venue, with capacity shows for Lorde and Vampire Weekend. And there were gigs like EDM star Kaskade's ultra-intimate Oak Lounge set, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' first-ever headlining show in Milwaukee, that were likely once-in-a-lifetime events.

Even in my position as music writer, I couldn't cover every concert in town. But I was lucky enough to see a lot, and these 10 concerts were the best of the bunch. (One note: as much as I loved what I saw of Mars and Outkast, I was unable to see their full sets due to print deadlines, so I'm leaving them off the list.)


10. Pentatonix (Feb. 11, Riverside Theater): It's likely no concert had the audience age range of Pentatonix. Young and old alike seemed smitten by the a cappella quintet's playful banter, full sound, beautiful voices and innovative arrangements such as its "Evolution of Music," spanning from Beethoven to Carly Rae Jepsen. Watch concert recap video.