Minnesota State Fair grandstand has a '90s vibe, except for Macklemore and cat videos

  • Article by: JON BREAM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 17, 2013 - 8:46 PM

This year’s grandstand acts have an unplanned ’90s vibe. But Macklemore and Internet cat videos are au courant.

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Macklemore

Welcome back to the ’90s. Did you miss them?

If you’re yearning to see Depeche Mode, Smash Mouth, Sheryl Crow or Dana Carvey, then head to the State Fair grandstand.

A ’90s theme “was not my goal,” said Renee Alexander, fair deputy general manager who books the grandstand shows. “It was a challenging booking year. The timing was off for us in a lot of cases.”

Except for one.

Her big coup was securing Macklemore & Ryan Lewis — 2013’s hottest hip-hop act — back in December before their smash song “Thrift Shop” climbed to No. 1.

There’s one big curveball, too — the 2013 Internet Cat Video Festival, a Walker Art Center production that the museum pitched to the fair because of construction at the Walker.

Here is a guide to the grandstand lineup.

Aug. 22: Relive the glory days of “Saturday Night Live” with Dennis Miller, a “Weekend Update” anchor-turned conservative TV commentator; Kevin Nealon, another former “Update” anchor and “Weeds” co-star whom we hope will reprise his Hans and Franz bit with Dana Carvey, the man behind the Church Lady. (8 p.m., $38.)

Aug. 23: Hey, you’re an all-star and all you want to do is fly and revisit the non-grunge sounds of the ’90s with Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray and the Gin Blossoms. (8 p.m., $28.)

Aug. 24: You may remember tequila magnate Sammy Hagar from his “I Can’t Drive 55” solo days, or his 1985-96 stint as Van Halen’s lead singer, or maybe even his supergroup Chickenfoot. Buckcherry opens. (7:30 p.m., $35.)

Aug. 25: State Fair officials view Sheryl Crow and Dwight Yoakam as a country show. No question about him — Yoakam is one of California’s premier twangers, as he proved again on last year’s excellent “3 Pears” album. The jury is still out on Crow, who sounded pretty country on “Picture” with Kid Rock in 2002 and will release her debut country album Sept. 10. (7:30 p.m., $39.)

Aug 26: For the third consecutive year, the Happy Together Tour visits the grandstand, starring the Turtles, whose Howard Kaylan has a bravura voice, and some other 1960s hitmakers — Gary Puckett, Gary Lewis, Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere & the Raiders and Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night. (8 p.m., $21.)

Aug. 27: U.K. synth dance-pop band Depeche Mode exploded in 1990 with “Personal Jesus” and “Enjoy the Silence,” and they’re still ticking with this year’s low-gear “Delta Machine.” (7:30 p.m., $60-$70.)

Aug. 28: More than 10,000 showed up last summer to watch the inaugural Internet Cat Video Festival at Walker Art Center, but it was a free event. Will people pay to see kitties on the grandstand’s giant screens? Local bands Brian Laidlaw & the Family Trade and Koo Koo Kanga Roo also will entertain. (7 p.m., $10.)

Aug. 29: Grandstand returnees Train keep on chuggin’ with more mainstream hits, including the recent “Drive By.” The always spirited Michael Franti and Spearhead open. (7:30 p.m., $37-$47.)

Aug. 30: The annual MN Music on a Stick stars two of Minnesota’s all-time best live bands — the spirited bluegrassy Trampled by Turtles and the edgy 1980s/’90s dance-rock pioneers the Suburbs, who just delivered their first album in 27 years. Not to mention stand-out rapper P.O.S., rising hip-hoppers the Chalice and well traveled singer/songwriter Mason Jennings. (5 p.m., $28.)

Aug. 31: Seattle indie rapper Macklemore and DJ/producer Ryan Lewis may be the pop music story of the year, with two No. 1 singles and the pro-gay-marriage anthem “Same Love,” one of the year’s boldest and best singles. With veteran rapper Talib Kweli and rising newbie Chance the Rapper. (7:30 p.m., $20-$30, sold out.)

Sept. 1: Finals of the Amateur Talent Contest. (7:30 p.m., free.)

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