Summer is in full swing in the Twin Cities. The 4th of July is behind us, hot days ahead of us, and plenty of great days of music among us. This week was the Annual Cities 97 Basilica Block Party. For those not familiar with Basilica Block Party, it’s two great days of music put on by our friends over Cities 97 and hosted at the historic Basilica of St. Mary’s right in the heart of Downtown Minneapolis. It’s seems that the Big Man Upstairs was on our side this weekend, with two beautiful days of weather – perfect for a cold drink and great music.
Basilica Block Party featured three stages – with everything from up and coming local talents at the Star Tribune Stage to national headliners at the PreferredOne and Great Clips stages. It was hard to catch all of the great talent this weekend, but your friends here at Twin Cities Media hustled around the Basilica grounds to capture a bit of everything. Check out our Friday highlights below.
Preferred One Stage
Cobi, singer/songwriter got his start right here in the Twin Cities (well Grand Marais according to his website, but whatever) but has grabbed the attention of the blogosphere in a big way the past few months. Cobi’s gone on to experience success snagging some coveted late night television slots and his debut single “Dont You Cry For Me” went to #1 on Spotify’s Most Viral Chart. It’s clear everything Cobi does is big, with his pop guitar god kind of thing going on. The crowd that was there was feeling Cobi’s every move and was the perfect way to warm up the evening.
Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness
Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, aka Andrew McMahon of Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate put on one of the most colorful and fun sets of the weekend. As someone who grew up on many-a-scene-esque bands such as Jack’s Mannequin I was hit with a wave of nostalgia as I heard La La Lie blasting from the speakers as I made my over to this set. Andrew McMahon’s set had no shortage of inflatable beach balls and pool toys, good vibes and McMahon’s signature energy and feel-good aura. After McMahon’s fairly public battle with Leukemia nearly a decade ago, it’s hard not feel the zest for life he brings to his live sets. It was colorful, it was fun, it was feel good, just what the doctor ordered on a perfect Minnesota summer evening.
The Shins were one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend and to say they delivered would be an understatement. The Shins is one of those bands that most people probably don’t realize they know at least a handful of their songs. Their Friday night set included hits such as Caring is Creepy, Simple Song, Name For You and New Slang for their encore. By the time they hit the stage at 8:45 it was clear fans at the Basilica were feeling the Bud Lights and Lime-A-Ritas. There was no shortage and dancing and singing along for The Shins pscydelic set.
Great Clips Stage
John Paul White
Many at Basilica Block Party might have recognized John Paul White as half of The Civil Wars. White’s talent as a singer/songwriter was not lost at Basilica Block Party, though the outdoor festival is not our first choice of venue. We hope to see him back in a smaller venue hree in the Twin Cities soon!
Easily one of the bigger names on the lineup this weekend, NEEDTOBREATHE rocked the main stage with high energy that had the crowd rocking right along with them.
Easily one of the highlights of the entire weekend. Carlile drew one of the largest crowds of the weekend to the Great Clips stage. The Minneapolis skyline made for the perfect backdrop to Carlile’s acoustic rock set. Carlile hails from the beautiful Washington state but the way she engaged with the massive crowd on Friday night, you’d think she’s from right here in the Twin Cities. There’s a presence and energy from Carlile that is so relatable – she talked about raising a 3-year-old and everything that comes with being a mom. Carlile praised Minnesota for being a state that allows same-sex marriage. We were lucky to have her closing out Friday night!
Nick Jordan has been grabbing the attention of the local blogosphere for a few months now, and after catching him on the StarTribune stage it’s easy to see why. Jordan possess a pop-sensibility The Purple One himself would be proud. This sensibility mixed with a palpable energy and heartfelt R&B vocals call to mind the likes of mega-pop gods Drake or The Weeknd. It seems safe to say we will be seeing plenty more from Jordan in the coming months.
Jaedyn James & The Hunger
Those following the local music scene in the TC’s have probably seen Jaedyn James & The Hunger’s name floating around the concert calendars. JJ&TH sound is a perfect blend of blues, soul, funk and some damn-good lead vocals. There’s a contagious energy to frontwoman Jaedyn James that is perfectly balanced out by her band. She was the perfect addition to a super solid lineup of local music on the StarTribune stage.
Minneapolis cosmic-country rockers Night Moves, aka the brainchild of John Pelant and Mickey Alfano, brought all the vibes to the StarTribune stage. Blending elements of 70s-gods Neil Young, The Eagles, Crosby, Stills & Nash and modern-psychedelic rock, Night Moves continues to be one of the most solid sounds coming out of the Twin Cities. This duo, backed on stage by a full band, have come along from their days playing tiny shows at The Entry. Their sound was more polished and put-together than I have heard in my dozens of times seeing these guys. Their set featured classics such as Country Queen, Colored Emotions from their debut album Colored Emotions and Carl Sagan and Border on Border from their sophomore album Pennied Days.