Photos by Vito Ingerto
Festivals triumphantly returned to the Minneapolis this weekend as the Basilica Block Party brought together a variety of artists their 3 outdoor stages. Safety was paramount, festival goers were asked to provide proof of vaccination or a negative covid test and everyone kept a respectful distance.
Day one opened on the Star Tribune stage with Mae Simpson Music. The band blended rock, soul and blues to create their own unique sound and had the folks who arrived early moving and grooving. Next up were 26 BATS!. They have always been a collective of artist, and they played there Friday night set as a duo. Poppy and danceable, they were definitely hitting above the weight, sounding much fuller than just a 2 piece. Closing out the evening were local legends Koo Koo Kanga Roo. Bryan and Neil turned the area into a Dance party, with a large contingent of children enjoying the fun along with the adults.
The AHA Sparkling Water stage started the day with Minnesota’s own Remo Drive. They brought the rock with a high energy set that set the tone for an energetic evening. They featured tunes off of their latest release A Portrait Of An Ugly Man. Next up were trio Ritt Momney. Their more mellow sound, thoughtful and introspective, had the crowd closed eyed and swaying. Closing out the evening on the AHA Sparkling Water Stage on Friday evening were Minneapolis rockers Motion City Soundtrack. They rocked hard, with frontman Justin Courtney Pierre repeatedly remarking how thankful he and his bandmates were to be playing in front of living breathing people.
Opening the night on the Great Clips Stage was Forest Blackk. His set was folky, but modern and heartfelt. Following Forrest was fellow Canadian JP Saxe. He opened his set with tunes about heartache, but is was difficult to be sad with such a powerful performance. Completing the Canadian trifecta was the only performer to bring her own dancers, Tate McRea. Her energetic performance had a hip hop tinge, and at only 18 years old, look for big things out of her. The final performance of the night on the Great Clips stage came from AJR. The three brothers high intensity performance had an infectious effect on the crowd. AS the light show dazzled, everyone danced along with the brothers string of hits like “Bummerland and “Way Less Sad”
Day 2 was another beautiful day and the music started on the Star Tribune Stage with Bora York. The husband and wife led band wove dreamy melodies to get the day going. Next up were rockers The Stress Of Her Regard. Tight simple and in your face, their set was straight up rock and roll, no added fillers. The final set on the Star Tribune Stage was from Diane (FKA D-Mills). The band had a mix of sounds, with elements of soul, rap and alternative.
First up on the AHA Sparkling Water Stage was the phenomenal FenixDion. This band was the surprise performance of the weekend. Funky, rocking and soulful, look for these guys to make big waves in the future. Jade Bird filled out the middle of the lineup. Her set can best be described as having elements of Americana, folk and country mixed together to create is own unique sound. Rounding out the evening on the AHA stage was another super high energy performance this time by The Black Pumas. Dubbed “psychedelic soul”, they are genre defying. At one point in the set, front man Eric Burton disappeared, only to emerge in the astonished crowd.
Singer Jensen McRea got the night started on the Great Clips Stage with a set of songs that were like mini stories about love and life. Ripe, up next, cranked the energy level to 11. Their raucous set featured horns and grooves along with a 70’s medley thrown in for good measure. Next up was Zack Bryan. His set was full of heartfelt songs that you could tell were near to him, and this realness was shared with the crowd. Spoon closed out the block party with a set of songs spanning there long career. The band was on fire, and was the perfect way to end the weekend.
The music was back at the Basilica, Praise the Loud!