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The Meat Puppets are headlining the Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival Saturday at Patrick’s Cabaret in Minneapolis.

Jaime Butler,

Roots, Rock & Deep Blues: Minneapolis' little fest that could

  • Article by: CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER
  • Star Tribune
  • July 12, 2013 - 10:12 AM

It grew out of the postponement of another, similarly named festival in 2011. This year, it is up against one of the more popular annual outdoor music bashes in the Cities.

Still, the Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival has managed to grow in size and quietly become a fun mainstay of the summer block party calendar in its third year. Saturday’s installment at Patrick’s Cabaret in Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood will see the addition of a fourth stage and an uptick in out-of-town talent, including headliners the Meat Puppets.

“It’s so daunting putting on events like this,” admitted Patrick’s booker and fest organizer Chris Mozena. “I don’t think we’d still be here if it wasn’t for the partnerships with our neighbors, and everyone recognizing what this thing stands for.”

Explaining what Roots, Rock & Deep Blues stands for and how it came about is itself a little daunting.

A former booker at Palmer’s Bar on the West Bank, Mozena took over the “deep blues” name when the originator of the Deep Blues Festival, Chris Johnson, called off his event (only to start it back up last year in Bayport). Mozena brought the concept to Patrick’s in 2011 and added the “roots” and “rock” to mark the funky little cabaret’s 25th anniversary — and to raise money for its nonprofit arts programs.

In the interim, the area around Patrick’s — near the intersection of Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue S. — got a boost with the opening of the Harriet Brewing Co., now the primary festival backer (and beverage supplier) of the festival. Trylon Microcinema, the Hub Bike Co-op and Mosaic Cafe are among other neighboring businesses.

“It’s still an affordable neighborhood for artists and artist-types to live in, with a certain hip factor that’s not too hipster,” Mozena said.

That’s also an apt way of describing this year’s lineup. In addition to SST twang-punk legends the Meat Puppets — one of two RR&DB bands also performing earlier in the day at the St. John’s Block Party in Rochester (see also: Enemy Planes) — the 10-hour music marathon will feature 27 other acts that have some element of either blues, punk, Americana or Southern charm.

On the local front, Deep Blues Fest holdovers Spider John Koerner and Eleganza! (ex-Chooglin’) will perform along with soulful folkie Chastity Brown, experimental rockers Zoo Animal, all-female punkabilly quartet L’Assassins, country ace Erik Koskinen and bluesy rock bands Poverty Hash, Crankshaft and the Fattenin’ Frogs.

From points beyond, the event will welcome wild-eyed gospel punks Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires and fellow Alabama rockers the Kenneth Brian Band, Boston’s raw-blues trio the Ten Foot Pole Cats, Missouri’s one-woman-band Molly Gene and more.

Mozena summed it up this way: “Probably the one defining trait is all the bands have a good work ethic and believe in supporting other working artists.”

Roots, Rock & Deep Blues runs Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance at PatricksCabaret.org, or it’s $20 at the gate.

Random mix

An act near and dear to many participants of either Deep Blues fest, Mississippi cult hero T-Model Ford suffered several strokes and other hardships last year, prompting a new fund­raiser EP by local bluesman Ken Valdez. He and T-Model, now 91, crossed paths numerous times and wrote a song together featured with four covers on “Jack Daniel Time — A Tribute to the Legendary T-Model Ford,” which Valdez is promoting with a benefit gig and silent auction Sunday at Plums in St. Paul (6 p.m., 480 S. Snelling Av.). … Heiruspecs and Lucy Michelle are heading up another worthy benefit Saturday at the Fine Line dubbed Touch the Sun, a scholarship fundraiser in memory of their fellow St. Paul Central alum Devin Smith (9 p.m., $10). …

Grumpy’s Bar in northeast Minneapolis is throwing its 15th annual Northeast Folk Festival on Saturday, with host Baby Grant Johnson kicking things off at noon and Rich Mattson’s Bitter Spills ending the show at about midnight. Paul Metsa and Willie Walker, Gabe Barnett, the Front Porch Swinging Liquor Pigs, Charlie Parr, Mike Nicolai, Germaine Gemberling and a dozen more perform in between (free, two stages, 2200 NE. 4th St.). …

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658 • Twitter: @ChrisRstrib

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