The Big Gigs: June 14-20

  • Updated: June 13, 2013 - 6:19 PM

Concert spotlights on Fitz & the Tantrums, the Stone Arch Bridge Festival, Sims and Astronautalis, M.anifest, Music in the Zoo shows and more.


Fitz and the Tantrums


Even under new management, the Stone Arch Bridge Festival has maintained an eclectic and coolly cosmopolitan music lineup befitting its urban riverfront setting. Friday kicks off with only one stage but stars the one-and-only Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps, who’ve been wowing audiences with their more soulful new tunes. All three stages kick into gear Saturday with headliners the Honeydogs, punky noisemakers Bloodnstuff and Fury Things, hip-hop stalwarts Toki Wright and Sean Anonymous (each with live bands), songwriters Dan Israel and Katy Vernon and more. Sunday is charmingly heavy on female-led acts, including Southside Desire, Bomba de Luz, the Ericksons, Sophia Shorai and Fort Wilson Riot. See the full schedule at (7-10 p.m. Fri., noon-10 p.m. Sat., noon-6 p.m. Sun., Water Power Park and St. Anthony Main, Mpls., all ages, free.) Riemenschneider

The only local band set to headline the Music in the Zoo series this summer, Pert Near Sandstone earned the gig with two packed First Ave gigs over the past year and too many hard-plucking gigs to count in the years before that. Their rowdy, foot-stomping spin on traditional bluegrass will be nicely complemented by yet another poorly named local string band, Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins, plus masterful Duluth acoustic-roots duo the Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank. (7:30 p.m. Fri., Minnesota Zoo amphitheater, $28.) Riemenschneider 

No, the Minnesota Zoo isn’t completely filled with boomer-beloved veterans. New York singer/songwriter Eric Hutchinson, 32, is a pop upstart who has been embraced so enthusiastically by Cities 97 and KS95 listeners that the Twin Cities has become his No. 1 market. “Rock and Roll,” “Watching You Watch Him” and his other tunes reflect his love of Beatles and Motown. But he’s infusing more modern electronica sounds in his upcoming third album, due this year. Opening are two local groups: funky blues-rockers Alex Rossi & Root City Band and Elliott & the Sensitive Fellas, featuring Hutchinson’s savvy and eclectic musical director Elliott Blaufuss. (7:30 p.m. Sat., Minnesota Zoo, $35 & $47.50) Jon Bream 

Ever-versatile Chicago-reared actor/singer John C. Reilly has done musicals (“Chicago”), parodies of country music (“Walk Hard”), dramatic and comedic roles (“Boogie Nights,” “The Aviator,” “A Prairie Home Companion”) and two singles for Jack White’s Third Man Records (“Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar,” “I’ll Be There If You Want”). He also appeared in a Beastie Boys video, “Make Some Noise.” Reilly, who certainly has a musical way about him, is touring with Becky Stark and Tom Brousseau, who worked with him on those two singles, and singer/songwriters Dan Bern (who is witty, wise and often topical) and Willie Watson (of Old Crow Medicine Show) and bassist Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Fiona Apple). The singers will take turns at the mic. (8 p.m. Sat., Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, $27.50.) Bream

If you can’t make it to their Aug. 8-10 campout or need a refresher course on which one’s Wu, the Twin Cities’ most venerable jam band is offering a more condensed and less muddy version of their biggest bash in the form of the Big Wu Family Reunion XIII Pre-Party. The namesake headliners will be joined by bluegrassy upstarts the Boys n’ the Barrels, who come into their own on their new album “Sow Your Soul,” plus rootsy singer/songwriter Katey Bellville. (9:30 p.m. Sat., Cabooze, $10-$12.) Riemenschneider

On their month-old second album, “More Than a Dream,” Los Angeles retro-soul ensemble Fitz and the Tantrums have gone all Hall & Oates and electronic dance-pop. There’s nothing wrong with that. Those H&O tendencies were apparent in the group’s winning performances here, but their first album oozed a vintage, horn-accented soul vibe. Fitz and company have definitely updated their dance-pop, with new wave, disco, Lady Gaga-like and Hall & Oates-ian touches. Opening are Saints of Valory, an Austin, Texas, indie rock quartet with members from Brazil, France, Canada and California, and singer/actress/model Ivy Levan. (6:30 p.m. Sun. & 8 p.m. Mon., Varsity Theater, sold out.) Bream

A month after her charming “Wits” radio appearance with frequent singing partner Neko Case, Chicago’s torchy country-rock singer Kelly Hogan will get another chance to show off her golden pipes at another of the top-sounding rooms in town. The Atlanta native — who’s also been making TV appearances in recent weeks singing with Iron & Wine — got her start in the underrated bands the Jody Grind and the Rock*a*teens and earned her due acclaim with last year’s dramatic solo album, “I Like to Keep Myself in Pain.” Highly recommended. Northern Minnesota tunesmith Actual Wolf gets the deserved call-up to open. (7 p.m. Mon., Dakota, $15.) Riemenschneider

Not only is the Tedeschi Trucks Band one of the most musical and organic soul-rock bands around, but they’ve got a batch of new material from “Made Up Mind,” their third album, due Aug. 20. The new single “Part of Me” is a breezy, summer-soul stroll featuring the soothingly soulful voice of Susan Tedeschi and the expressive guitar of prodigious Derek Trucks. Fans of Mayer Hawthorne will dig this track. Can’t wait to hear the other new tunes. For this tour, Eric Krasno of Soulive will be on bass; he worked on “Made Up Mind” as did Minneapolis’ own Gary Louris, Pino Palladino, John Leventhal and Doyle Bramhall II. (7:30 p.m. Wed., Fitzgerald, $59 & $75.) Bream 

Lucy Michelle recently stepped outside the comfort zone of her full-time band, the Velvet Lapelles, and made a cozy-sounding record with two local music vets, John Munson and Chan Poling. “Attack of the Heart” showcases her as more of a classic pop singer. The New Standards bandmates will once again back the St. Paul indie-folkie at the coziest urban space around for the third installment of the Music in Mears series, with food and drink supplied by neighboring Lowertown establishments. Romantic duo Hot Date opens. (6-9 p.m. Thu., Mears Park, St. Paul, all ages, free.) Riemenschneider



Before he moved to Minneapolis in 2011 and became one of the most ubiquitous names in Twin Cities hip-hop, Astronautalis was well-known enough everywhere else to have Doomtree’s Sims open for him on tour. Two years later, the Florida-reared transplant and the local star — who share a similar indie-rocky tone and philosophical lyrical style — will team up again, this time offering a joint performance with a shared backing band. Hopefully the spirit of collaboration won’t spoil a little friendly competition between them. Greg Grease and Mixed Blood Majority open, the latter featuring Lazerbeak, Crescent Moon and Joe Horton. (9 p.m. Fri., First Avenue, $15.) Chris Riemenschneider

Even though he calls Minneapolis home, M.anifest certainly deserves to be booked into the Cedar’s cool African Summer series. The Ghanaian rapper has been performing more in Africa than Minnesota in the past couple years, thanks in part to his win as rapper of the year at the Vodaphone Ghana Music Awards. He also earned exposure in the all-star Afrobeat project Rocket Juice & the Moon with Damon Albarn, Flea and Tony Allen. He’s about to drop a new EP and will be playing old and new songs with a backing band for his overdue return to the local stage. Budding neo-soul singer Ashley Dubose opens. (8 p.m. Sat., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $15-$18.) Riemenschneider

For his sixth full-length release in a decade-long career that started in Chicago, MC Longshot covers a lot of bases, from an all-too-common tale of domestic abuse (“Weak”) to a tribute to an uncommonly gifted athlete (“Len Bias”) and a song or two about good, old-fashioned love (“Ink”). The Drake-educated, hardship-conquering rapper — who moved here in 2009 after winning a Rhymesayers talent competition — enlisted Lazerbeak, Audio Perm’s Julian Fairbanks and Soul Tools’ Reggie Reg to produce the beats on the record, which also features guest appearances by Mally and Chicago cohorts Psalm One and Phillip Morris. His release party will feature opening sets by Audio Perm’s Big Dylan and Yakub, Duenday, the Levelheads and DJs B-Rock and Noam the Drummer. (10 p.m. Sat., Cause, $7.) Riemenschneider


Ramsey Lewis and Dee Dee Bridgewater — that’s a promising pairing. Chicago piano stalwart Lewis is one of the precious few jazz artists to have a string of radio hits (“The In Crowd,” “Wade in the Water,” “Hang on Sloopy,” “Sun Goddess”) and his large catalog includes five gold albums. Vivacious singer Bridgewater hasn’t had any hits, but she has won three Grammys and a Tony, and collaborated with another soulful jazz piano legend on the album, “Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver.” (7 & 9 p.m. Wed.-Thu., Dakota Jazz Club, $25-$60.) Tom Surowicz


  • related content

  • The Tedeschi Trucks Band, featuring guitar wizard Derek Trucks and his wife, Susan Tedeschi, performs Wednesday at the Fitzgerald in St.Paul.

  • Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps are part of the lineup for the Stone Arch Bridge Festival.

  • M.anifest returns to the local stage Saturday at the Cedar Cultural Center.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters