Magnificent Mile/All Star Weekend Review

Sadie McGuire

Sadie McGuire, Elissa Chudwin, Entertainment Editors

Festivals are almost as synonymous with Chicago as New York City is with Times Square. Throughout the year, the Windy City hosts a variety of events that attract large crowds to music, food, and more. The majority of these festivals take place during the summer, making even the words “Lollapalooza” part of people’s everyday lingo.

Despite this, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival tends to be overlooked by the general public. It could be because the temperature decreases dramatically during this time period, and hopefully, that’s the only reason. Every tree on Michigan Ave is lit up from Millennium Park onward, and at night fireworks are displayed over the Chicago River, creating an almost picture perfect atmosphere. Musical guests, including pop act Allstar Weekend and American Idol finalist Crystal Bowersox, who showcased her soulful range, performed.

Allstar Weekend formed from a group of friends from San Diego, California, who all shared a mutual love for pop-punk. Zach Porter (vocals), Cameron Quiseng (bass), Nathan Darmody (guitar) and Michael Martinez (drums) struck it lucky when their debut album Suddenly Yours was thrown into heavy rotation on Radio Disney, known for making average kids into stars overnight, thanks to the dedicated tween listeners. Barely into their twenties, the guys of Allstar Weekend have gone from jamming in their garage to being perched upon the top of the Radio Disney charts.

With sugar-drenched melodies reminiscent of fellow Disney acts the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, Allstar Weekend bring their pop-punk sensibilities to the lead single, “Come Down with Love” (featured on Lovato’s Disney Channel sitcom, Sonny with a Chance) and the ode to a Maxim pinup poster “Here With You.” Even though their primary audience is barely out of their training bras, it’s clear these boys keep it general enough to appease all types of listeners.

Their live shows fall nothing short of everything expected from the band. Chorus of screaming girls in tact, Allstar Weekend delivered a show with enthusiasm and spunk, energy pulsating from within the very core of this young band. The smile glued to every one of their fans faces was even more evidence of this band’s pleasing power.

The lead singer, Zach Porter, met with us and other journalism students from the Chicagoland area to answer many of our questions. Surprisingly relaxed, he answered the questions very graciously—especially since tact is something some of the questions seemed to lack. What seemed to baffle everyone was the fact that at 20 years of age, they still were supported by Radio Disney. When asked, Porter explained that the usual demographic for people who listened to their music was 13-21, and they aren’t trying to “adjust to their audience.” He hopes that as their music matures, so will their fanbase.

Although they were “raised on Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac,” Porter cited blink-182 as their main influence.  He enthusiastically explained that blink-182 went to the same high school as the band did. 

When asked how Porter dealt with the stress of touring, he replied with, “it doesn’t seem like a job. We’re grateful we’ve gotten these many opportunities.”