It’s not Prince, but downtown St. Paul does still have a royal lineup of music lined up for this gorgeously forecasted weekend in the form of the sixth annual Concrete and Grass Music Festival. The eclectic mish-mash of all-things-music – which starts tonight and runs through Saturday – caps off another rich season of gigs in Mears Park and recalls the popular Day of Music lineups that Orchestra Hall used to host in Minneapolis. This year’s is coincidentally timed to the troubled labor negotiations at the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the latter of which is hosting a free performance tonight. The Minnesota Opera, Ordway and Schubert Club also use the event to promote their upcoming seasons. McNally Smith College of Music struts its stuff there, too, as do the restaurants and bars in the neighboring Lowertown district via stands in the park.
Among the non-institutional musical participants, Gary Louris goes straight from last weekend’s Jayhawks gigs – at the Minnesota State Fair and then Seattle’s Bumbershoot fest – into his first date on a lengthy fall solo-acoustic tour Saturday night, when jazzy piano tunesmith Alicia Wiley also performs with her all-star band All Eyes. Martin Dosh (a k a simply Dosh) will work his usual drums/keyboards/loops magic on Friday, a week before he hosts the so-called Minnesota Drum-Off at the Turf Club to mark his 40th birthday. Friday also boasts veteran R&B/soul groovers the Butanes fronted by Willie Walker, whose ‘60s hit “There Goes My Used to Be” is resurfacing again on the new Secret Stash Records compilation “Twin Cities Funk & Soul.” Tonight’s headliner is the hard-blowing New Orleans-style big band the Jack Brass Band.
Go to www.concreteandgrass.com for all the info. Here’s the full schedule:
7 p.m.: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
8 p.m.: Jack Brass Band
5:30 p.m.: Galactic Cowboys
6 p.m.: The Butanes with Willie Walker presented by the Ordway
8:30 p.m.: Dosh
4 p.m.: The Copper Street Brass Quintet presented by the Schubert Club
5:30 p.m.: Minnesota Opera
7 p.m.: Alicia Wiley and All Eyes presented by McNally Smith College of Music
8:30 p.m.: Gary Louris