This year’s Basilica Block Party has two relatively quiet but popular headliners — David Gray and Ray LaMontagne (above) — but arguably its strongest and deepest lineup ever, with beloved acoustic soulman Amos Lee, rising vocal powerhouse Lissie and the high-energy, party-oriented bands Michael Franti & Spearhead, Drive-By Truckers, Fitz & the Tantrums, G. Love & Special Sauce and Gomez.
But, aside from the headliners and Lee, the lineup sounds more like longtime favorites of 89.3 the Current than Cities 97, which sponsors the block party. Ah, radio wars. We could engage in a long debate about which has a better linuep: Cities’ Basilica Block Party or the Current’s Rock the Garden?
On June 18 at Walker Art Center, RTG will feature My Morning Jacket (a terrific live act that’s perfect to headline a medium-sized festival); local heroes Tapes ‘n Tapes (a good fit for this fest); indie darling Neko Case (who is better suited to club) and Rock Hall of Famer organist Booker T (who might surprise with some hip younger sidemen).
Oh, we digress. Back to the Basilica. The annual outdoor musical fundraiser for the Basilica of St. Mary is set for July 8-9 on the church grounds. Since 1995, the block party has raised more than $3.3 million to help restore the Basilica.
Some local acts, including 4onthefloor, will be announced later. Meanwhile, expect Cities to start cranking the Drive-By Truckers and to show renewed enthusiasm for Franti, G. Love, Gomez and Fitz, the L.A. retro soul newcomers who have been a hit with listeners of both Cities 97 and 89.3 the Current.
Block party Tickets will go on sale May 7. A one-day ticket is $40 and a two-day pass is $70. Prices will increase after June 26.