Basilica Block Party: Saturday
Star Tribune Stage
Andy Grammer Setlist
Judah And The Lion Setlist
It wasn’t thought possible, but the weather improved even more, to provide a picture-perfect evening on the second and final day of the Basilica Block Party, The Basilica of Saint Mary in downtown Minneapolis
Once again, ten acts were spread across three stages for each night- the Main Stage (sponsored by Great Clips) located in a back lot behind the building along the highway, a Church Stage (sponsored by Preferred One) out front, and a smaller local stage (sponsored by Star Tribune) .
The one downside of having so many bands over a six-hour span is that set times overlap, so it often requires some planning (and maybe a little racing between stages) to catch the acts you want to see most.
Star Tribune Local Stage
Lazy Scorsese is, in addition to being one of the more creative band names, a local trippy psych-rock group with dashes of funk and pop who has a recent EP, Grigio and single ‘In Good Health’ out. Happy to set a mood and carry you away with them, the band seems as comfortable jamming away as laying back and letting things flow.
The Shackletons could have been named The Campbells as there are three siblings (Colin-voc/gtr; Cameron-bass; Evan- drums) that compose this stomping blues rock band. Breaking out locally last year with the locally-centric song ‘Minnesota Girls’, their 2nd EP dutifully titled Second Attempt, shows further promise of things to come.
Reina del Cid is a fairly well-known name in the upper Midwest after constant touring and three full-lengths (2017’s Rerun City the most recent). With a name meaning “queen of the guitar” (The aka Rachelle Cordova has nicknamed her guitar “El Cid”) the indie-folk rock singer and band tease on their Facebook page that they “melt faces and tickle brains” and though that’s a little extreme, the songwriting and musicianship (re: guitarist Toni Lindgren) continue to keep them relevant.
Preferred One Church Stage
Early Eyes is a name new to many, the Minneapolis indie-pop/rock quintet only becoming a band in late 2016, but they’ve already attracted Hippo Campus-like buzz from very early-on. Second EP, Decorating, is just out and songs like the title track and ‘Feathers’ suggest a youthful energy and musical statement that the band has a lot more to say, and they also were fun and engaging live (and easy to see, with two of the five in bright-yellow t-shirts).
Judah & the Lion has been around for almost eight years, though it’s only in the last couple, that people have really taken notice of their ‘Folk Hop ‘n Roll’ (2016 album on Cletus the Van Records) and the unique sound that blends multi-musical genres for a party-like atmosphere live..
We’ve seen them a handful of times and they always over-deliver in concert, starting this night with a T-Pain cover, very early telling everyone the only rule was to have a good time, working in a Killers cover with singer Judah Akers consistently interacting with the crowd, and killing it on songs like their biggest to-date hit, ‘Take it All Back’.
Andy Grammer and his music can’t help you not smile, as his energy and general positivity is something we haven’t seen at this level in a while, and is sorely needed in these times. Latest album is last year’s The Good Parts (S-Curve Records) and that’s exactly what he played during his seventy-five minute second stage headlining set.
With one-year old daughter Louisiana at home and biggest overall radio success to date, Grammer smiled a lot, shedding his satin jacket and Ray Bans after the first number to musically inspire on songs like ‘Good to Be Alive’, ‘Keep Your Head Up’ and ‘Honey, I’m Good’ even working in parts of Demi Lovato and Daya songs into his own compositions, to keep things fresh.
Great Clips Main Stage
Flint Eastwood is not a no-named spaghetti-western gunfighter, but a firebrand singer (Jax Anderson, in matching “Frida Kahlo” braids with bassist Joel Parks) from Detroit that opened the main stage on this second day like an unexpected firecracker. Latest is EP Broke Royalty (Neon Gold Records).
Anderson exploded with focused passion backed by electro throbs and thunderous beats on songs like the new ‘Monster’ (about coping with sadness), ‘Real Love’ (written to defy the non-inclusive policies of her local church) and the anthemic ‘Queen’.
Third Eye Blind brought the spirit of mid-‘90s alternative back again, with an hour-long set that played old radio favorites and a couple covers from their upcoming new EP Thanks for Everything (out Aug 24) that started slightly rocky as guitarist Kryz Reid emerged without a sound-ready axe for the opening ‘Graduate’, but that was remedied towards the end of the song.
Singer Stephan Jenkins seemed happier following and after borrowing sunscreen from a crowd member, admitting the sunny afternoon was the best weather they’d ever experienced, in all their years playing the city.
The profane Babyshambles cover is the EP’s first single (strange to hear in a church parking lot) and the band ended up with a little extra time at the end, adding ‘How’s It Going to Be’ to close their set, after biggest hit, ‘Semi-Charmed Life’.
BØRNS (aka Garrett Borns), the Michigan singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist continues to mesmerize and often amaze with his unique blend of psych /alterna-pop (supporting 2018’s Blue Madonna on Interscope Records), falsetto voice, and androgynous stage appearance in a flowing Gucci printed shirt.
Working in seventeen songs in his fifty-five minute set, there wasn’t a lot of time to talk in-between, but highlights included a crowd sing-a-long on ‘Dopamine’, subbing in a cover from fellow Michigander Madonna before his own ‘Blue Madonna’, and the crowd with raised hands, singing along to finale, ‘Electric Love’.
Cake, by design, is a seemingly simple alternative rock band that features intelligent but often sardonic lyrics sung in almost monotone against a countrified, jazz, folk, and Mariachi blend of precise music that can come off like low-impact aerobics, but the Sacramento, CA band is always more complex than their first impression.
After 2011’s Showroom of Compassion, singer John McCrea admitted they’re not much into releasing albums any more, though the record would debut at number one on the Billboard charts and the band does continue to tour.
McCrea still employs the vibraslap liberally, making for a good drinking game in the crowd every time it was heard, and often employed the crowd to clap or sing along, remarking afterward, “Powerful voices, powerful city”.
McCrea also gave away an actual tree on stage, making the chosen audience member promise to transplant it quickly and care for it the rest of their natural life, with proof to be uploaded on their website.
With closing song ‘The Distance’, the song encapsulated not only the end of Cake’s eighty-two minute headlining set, but the end to another tiring but joyous two-day celebration for a great cause, of twelve hours over music from twenty bands- “the sun has gone down and the moon has come up” – we’d happily gone the distance.
(click on any photo below to enlarge and see full image)
|Lazy Scorsese||Reina Del Cid||Early Eyes||Early Eyes||Early Eyes|
|Flint Eastwood||Flint Eastwood||Flint Eastwood||Judah & The Lion||Judah & The Lion|
|Judah & The Lion||Andy Grammer||Andy Grammer||Third Eye Blind||Third Eye Blind|
|Third Eye Blind||Third Eye Blind||Børns||Børns||Børns|