The W’s win at the Basilica Block Party this summer: Weezer will headline the July 10 lineup for the 21st annual rocking church fundraiser, and Wilco will top off July 11. Radio sponsor Cities 97 announced the full 2015 schedule on air Thursday afternoon with a few more familiar names, pleasant surprises and up-and-coming newcomers.
Joining Weezer on the Friday night bill will be Nate Ruess of the “We Are Young” hitmaking band .fun; Basilica regulars O.A.R. and Mat Kearney; ‘90s alt-rocker Matthew Sweet and Twin Cities-bred Warped Tour stalwarts Motion City Soundtrack.
Wilco will be joined on Saturday night by a couple of fellow Americana music favorites, Jason Isbell and Jenny Lewis; plus party favorites Fitz & the Tantrums; “Cool Kids”-singing pop upstarts Echosmith and newcomers Fly Golden Eagle and Rachel Platten.
Tickets for the block party go on sale next Saturday, May 2, at 10 a.m. through eTix.com, 1-800-514-3849 or Electric Fetus record stores. Prices are the same as last year: $50 for a one-day ticket, or $90 for a two-day pass. Cities 97’s Frequent Listeners Club will offer a limited number of pre-sale tickets starting Thursday at 10 a.m. for $45/$80.
All told, this is one of the strongest of recent BBP lineups. Weezer is a good middle-of-the-road, familiar favorite with a summery vibe that went over well when the nerd-rock heroes previously played the block party in 2010. And Ruess, O.A.R. and Kearney are the kind of milquetoast pop-rock acts that are the bread-and-butter of Cities 97 and Basilica faithfuls.
Saturday’s show, on the other hand, should bring in quite a lot of music lovers who may have sworn off the event and/or who usually favor the competing Rock the Garden. Wilco’s large diehard fan base will go see the ever-evolving Chicago sextet anywhere -- and hasn’t gotten to see them in town since an opening set with Bob Dylan at Midway Stadium in 2013. Ex-Drive-by Truckers member Isbell has been steadily wowing and building up his crowds locally since the release of his acclaimed personal opus “Southeastern” in 2013 (his new album will be out by then). Former Rilo Kiley frontwoman Lewis also made an especially strong showing last year behind her latest record “The Voyageur.” Meanwhile, younger Top 40-centric fans might turn out for Echosmith, and BBP’s regular audience always falls for Fitz & the Tantrums’ party-starting soul-pop songs.
BBP organizers are late to the party when it comes the busy summer concert fray, though, following announcements for Rock the Garden, the new Eaux Claires festival, the Rolling Stones, One Direction, Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band and lots more. None of those aforementioned events are sold out, which might be a sign of fans hitting concert overload. To be fair, though, Def Leppard did manage to sell out its State Fair grandstand gig already.
Here’s the breakdown of the Basilica Block Party schedule:
Friday, July 10
- Sun Country Airlines Stage: Weezer / Nate Ruess / Motion City Soundtrack
- PreferredOne Stage: O.A.R. / Mat Kearney / Matthew Sweet
- Vita.mn Stage: Zoo Animal, Rupert Angeleyes, TYTE JEFF
Saturday, July 11
- Sun Country Airlines Stage: Wilco / Jason Isbell / Jenny Lewis / Fly Golden Eagle
- PreferredOne Stage: Fitz and the Tantrums / Echosmith / Rachel Platten
- Vita.mn Stage: American Scarecrows / Southside Desire / TBD