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Besides being a nicely stacked bill of four Americana-flavored Twin Cities bands who haven’t had a lot of chances to play the main room yet, Saturday’s First Avenue lineup with Farewell Milwaukee, And the Professors, Fathom Lane and the Ericksons is also doubling as an unofficial local release party for “Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina.”
The two-disc tribute album -- brought to you from St. Paul-based nonprofit org/label Rock the Cause -- officially lands Tuesday following a nice international boost this week from NPR, which picked the benefit collection for its weekly “First Listen” feature (where you can stream the album for free). We wrote about the origins of “Farewell Transmission” last month before Rock the Cause headed to Austin’s South by Southwest Music Conference for a promotional day party. The cult-loved Molina, who fronted Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co., died in 2011 after a long battle with alcoholism.
RTC volunteers will also be on hand at Saturday’s show with copies of the album, which features My Morning Jacket, Murder by Death, Cory Branan, Sarah Jaffe, Centromatic’s Will Johnson, Squares, the Black Swans and a Minnesota cast that includes Communist Daughter, Gabriel Douglas, Luke Redfield, Enemy Planes – and two of the acts performing Saturday at First Ave, Fathom Lane and Farewell Milwaukee singer Ben Lubeck. "Farewell Transmission" will also be in stock in indie shops for Saturday's Record Store Day and can be orderd online, with all sales going toward Musicares and Molina's estate
Although not exactly party-starter tracks to get you pumped for the show – Molina’s stuff was dark, dark, dark – here are the two tracks in question from Saturday's lineup. Farewell Milwaukee’s latest album, “Can’t Please You, Can’t Please Me,” is also still streaming in full via Soundcloud. The album was recorded at Conor Oberst's and Mike Mogis' studio in Omaha with engineer Brad Bivens providing a similar touch as he did to Dawes' records.
With a two-day music lineup to fill instead of the usual one, this year’s Rock the Garden festival outside Walker Art Center June 21-22 truly will offer a little something for everyone -- or at least everyone who listens to co-sponsoring station 89.3 the Current.
Two beloved indie-rock bands that have been in steady rotation since the Current took the air nine years ago, Spoon and Guided by Voices, will be paired together for the Sunday RTG lineup along with fellow garage-rocky guitar wielder Kurt Vile and rootsy Tennessee newcomer Valerie June. Saturday, meanwhile, offers the kind of act that organizers have been criticized for not booking more of in the past: Hip-hop. Late-‘80s pioneers De La Soul will top out that day’s show with indie-pop mainstays Best Coast and Matt and Kim. Two hometown favorites, Jeremy Messersmith and Dessa, will also perform one day apiece.
Here’s the full schedule:
SATURDAY, JUNE 20
SUNDAY, JUNE 21
After recent years’ Rock the Gardens all consistently sold out fast, organizers decided to add the second day to welcome more concertgoers -- and to get a better return on their set-up and production costs, which are largely the same whether it’s one or two days. Money raised from the event go toward both the Walker and the Current’s parent, Minnesota Public Radio, each nonprofit organizations.
As usual, tickets will go on sale first to Walker or MPR members starting Thursday at 11 a.m. via eTix.com. If not sold out by Saturday, they will be available to non-members Saturday at 11 a.m. Two-day general-admission passes are being sold for $100, or single-day tickets will also be available for $59. Different VIP options are also available ranging from $100-$225/day or $175-$400/two-day.
A certain type of Big Star/Cheap Trick-loving indie-rock fans will gobble up the Saturday lineup with Spoon and GBV, which also happens to be both bands’ first Twin Cities gig in more than three years (after many years of seeing them annually). Spoon has been teasing fans with news of its first record since 2010’s “Transference,” due sometime this summer on Merge Records. GBV has put out somewhere between four and 14 albums in that time but only played here once since first reuniting (First Avenue in 2010).
De La Soul, on the other hand, has been no stranger around these parts. The Long Island trio of “Me, Myself & I” fame was part of the (poorly attended) Kings of the Mic Tour stop at Target Center last year as well as the Soundset festival at Canterbury Park in 2011. They were damn entertaining both times, too. The only other hip-hop act booked in prior years of RTG was Doomtree in 2012.
While no stranger to Current-branded events – in fact, they played the station’s first MN-Music-on-a-Stick concert together at the State Fair in 2012 – neither Messersmith nor Dessa has performed their own sets before at Rock the Garden (Dessa, of course, did take the stage as part of Doomtree in 2012).
Today’s RTG news was preceded by another big fest’s initial lineup announcement, Somerset’s third annual Summer Set Music & Camping Festival. Look for the Basilica Block Party to reveal its band names on April 24.
As for that long-awaited Replacements hometown gig – which many fans were bogusly thinking would be RTG (nope, having a sister on staff at the Current doesn’t get you that big a discount on a performance fee!) – look for an announcement soon on a mid-September gig at an outdoor venue that should give new meaning to “Swingin’ Party.”
Beating the heavily anticipated Rock the Garden 2014 lineup announcement by six hours, the Summer Set Music & Camping Festival unveiled the first “phase” of confirmed acts for its third annual grooveathon, scheduled Aug. 15-17 at Somerset Amphitheater in Somerset, Wis.
California’s booming electronic music party-starter Bassnectar’s name was dropped as one of the 2014 headliners along with revered hip-hop troop the Wu-Tang Clan, Chicago buzz kid Chance the Rapper (who is also on this year’s Soundset lineup), Canadian funk-pop duo Chromeo (which made a splash at Coachella last weekend), perenial favorites Big Gigantic and Philadelphia jam band the Disco Biscuits. Here's the full list of names released so far:
Bassnectar / Wu-Tang Clan / Big Gigantic / Chance the Rapper / Chromeo / Flying Lotus / Schoolboy Q / The Disco Biscuits / Cherub / Datsik / RL Grime / Cedric Gervais / Claude VonStroke / Figure / Green Velvet
A Summer Set source said a poll of fans after the inaugural 2012 fest showed Bassnectar to be the most-wanted prospective headliner – which tells you something about the curious niche organizers have found among summer music fests, combining the dance, rap and jam-band scenes. It’s no small niche, either, as attendance over three days last year was around 45,000, making it the rare new festival in our neck of the woods to do well (that's around15,000 per day, compared to the 11,000 attendance cap for Rock the Garden; the RTG lineup announcement starts at 4 p.m. today on 89.3 the Current).
Tickets to Summer Set 2014 went on sale alongside the initial lineup announcement. Three-day passes start at $89.95.
Another Monday morning tour announcement by a “Saturday Night Live” performer: Ed Sheeran’s first North American headlining tour will kick off Aug. 22 in Seattle and includes a Sept. 15 in Minneapolis at Target Center. Tickets are expected to go on sale April 25 at prices yet to be announced.
The 23-year-old British folk-pop star -- who got his big break opening his pal Taylor Swift’s “Red” tour -- took to “SNL” on Saturday fresh off releasing his new single “Sing,” which was co-written and produced by omnipresent “Happy” singer Pharrell Williams. A video of the performance is posted below. Swift was there on the “SNL” set to support her tourmate and made a cameo in the monologue with host Seth Rogan. Sheeran also sang another new one, “Don’t.” Both tunes are from his sophomore effort “x” – its predecessor was simply titled “+” – which isn’t due to arrive until June 23 but is already available for pre-order.
More concert news this morning: Los Angeles pop-rockers Foster the People of “Pumped Up Kicks” fame will return to town Aug. 4 to play Myth nightclub in Maplewood, part of the Chicago spillover we alluded to when that weekend’s Lollapalooza lineup was announced. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. at prices to be announced. Swedish buzz band NONONO with starlet-in-waiting Stina Wäppling will open the show. FTP’s own sophomore album, “Supermodel,” arrived last month and has produced another modest hit in “Coming of Age.”
Jamey Johnson, Jonny Lang, Los Lobos and hometown hero Nicholas David top the list of the second announcement of acts playing at the Music in the Zoo series at the Minnesota Zoo this summer.
Johnson, the country maverick probably best known for his award-winning hit “In Color,” will make his zoo debut Aug. 18.
David, a finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” who grew near the zoo in Eagan, will Aug. 15.
Lang, the blues-rock guitar hero who launched his career in Minneapolis, returns to the zoo on June 21, and Los Lobos, zoo regulars, are set for June 22.
Veterans Taj Mahal and Mavis Staples, the only Rock Hall of Famer at the zoo this year, team up on June 29. 3 Doors Down is booked for an acoustic show on June 11.
Also scheduled are the BoDeans on July 25 and Marc Cohn on July 19 – two acts that have played at the zoo's Weesner Family Amphitheater as often as some of the birds who perform daily.
And the date of the Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo show has been changed to Aug. 24.
As noted when the first announcements were made last week, this year’s lineup -- which includes Steve Earle, Trombone Shorty and Rufus Wainwright -- is heavy on repeaters. The most noteworthy new names are the Hold Steady, Josh Turner and Jamey Johnson. (See the full lineup at suemclean.com.)
While it’s encouraging to see the zoo promoters present current mainstream country acts for the first time, Turner at $66 on Aug. 23 — which is during the State Fair – seems like bad timing and quite pricey. Johnson, who has fared well in Twin Cities bar rooms, is a more prudent booking.
Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. April 26 at the Electric Fetus, etix.com, suemclean.com/zoo and 1-800-514-3849.
One new change at zoo concerts will be no smoking – period. (That includes no e-cigarettes.) That’s a Minnesota Zoo policy as of April 1. There used to be designated smoking areas by the amphitheater.
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