A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Summer road trips for music. I traveled to Duluth for the first Howling Moon Festival to see Jeremy Messersmith, the BoDeans, Nicholas David, a host of great local acts (including the Fontanelles) and headliner Brandi Carlile, who simply killed it with a stripped-down set. Then Duluth hosted the annual Bayfront Blues Festival.
Outdoor music in the Twin Cities area. The best outdoor venue is the Minnesota Zoo, where Pat Benatar and husband Neil Giraldo celebrated 35 years of rocking together and Lyle Lovett and His Large Band wowed the crowd (having Francine Reed back took it over the top). The Skyline Music Festival at Target Field has kinks to work out, but a manageable crowd, a rising “supermoon” over the skyline as a backdrop to O.A.R. and a reinvigorated Melissa Etheridge were more than worth the reasonable price of admission. Then there are free gigs, including the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes Summer Faire series in Maple Grove, where Keri Noble drew an overflow crowd and a concertgoer’s comment: “I need that song for my daughter’s wedding!”
Melissa Etheridge, Studio C at Cities 97. She showed the confidence and chops of a musician who finds herself in a great place emotionally (just married), health-wise (no cancer) and with great new music. She did four songs that shook the building; hopefully, one will make the next “Cities 97 Sampler.”
GREG Gibson, Brooklyn Park
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Ziggy Marley, Minnesota Zoo. From the come-to-Jamaica speech by a tourism official to Marley’s headphone-wearing young sons playing percussion on the encore, this was an evening of positive vibrations. Judging by shouts for certain songs, some fans would have preferred to hear more Bob Marley tunes and fewer from Ziggy’s new album, “Fly Rasta.” But there were so many good grooves, uplifting messages and blissful faces.
Janis Joplin postage stamp. It looks like one of those classic posters from the Fillmore in San Francisco. Slightly psychedelic, totally trippy, complete with rose-tinted sunglasses, feathers in her hair and a giddy smile in that classic David Gahr photo from 1970. Forever Janis, indeed.
Drake is official ambassador for Toronto Raptors NBA team. Who knew? Figured the hometown hip-hop/soul superstar would be a big fan, but he’s officially affiliated with the team, which became clear when the Raptors were fined $25,000 for tampering after Drake, at a concert in Toronto, implored an audience member named Kevin Durant to come play in Toronto when he becomes a free agent. Gee, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis never had such status with the Wolves back in the day.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune