As fun as it is to hear which song by the Fall makes Mark Wheat’s playlist every year, there won’t be any room for 89.3 the Current’s DJs to actually DJ between bands at Rock the Garden on Saturday. But there’ll be more room in general.
Due to renovation work at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Walker Art Center’s annual music fest has moved to a temporary location across the river, Boom Island Park. The backup site won’t offer the same perfectly sloped hillside like the one where RTG has been held since 2008, when the Current helped revive the fest. Nor will it allow for a two-day lineup like the past two years.
But RTG 2016 will offer a similarly gorgeous skyline view, extra space to fit up to 14,000 fans and — best of all — a new layout with two stages instead of one. Meaning the live music will run nearly nonstop. Hopefully the beer and porta-potty lines don’t follow suit.
Here’s a rundown of the eight acts on this year’s lineup.
The Flaming Lips: After making good on their promise to play First Avenue three times in one year’s span, the Oklahoman psychedelic kings of mid-’90s “She Don’t Use Jelly” notoriety return to the second-best place to see them in Minnesota: anywhere outdoors. Their space-tripping circus of a rock show should truly glow at dusk with the skyline backdrop. Equally promising, recent set lists have been heavy with songs from the band’s most classic album, 1999’s “The Soft Bulletin.” (8:45 p.m.)
Chance the Rapper: “I never practice, I only perform,” this buzzing Chicago wordsmith claims on his new single, “Blessings (Reprise).” Hopefully he really doesn’t need to practice, since RTG is one of Chance’s first gigs since his acclaimed new mixtape, “Coloring Book,” caught on like wildfire upon its release last month. Most of the songs on the truly mixed collection are decidedly hopeful and sunny, which should suit the summer-fest vibe well. It remains to be seen if the RTG audience gets him as well as the Soundset 2014 crowd did, though, or as well as the Summer Set 2016 fans might dig him when he returns in August. (7:30 p.m.)
Poliça: It’s the hometown throb-pop band’s first-ever RTG appearance and feels like it’s coming at the right time. Steered by ghostly vocalist Channy Leaneagh and powered by two dueling drummers, the quartet recently wrapped up a two-month North American tour behind its most thematic yet stage-friendly album of three, “United Crushers,” and is headed to the European festival circuit after this. (6:30 p.m.)
M. Ward: A favorite of 89.3 the Current since Day 1, this Portlandia-bred Americana songwriter and guitar wiz has made strong impressions with the all-star band Monsters of Folk and the movie-starry duo She & Him over the past decade. He’s back with his first solo album in four years, “More Rain,” a laid-back mix of Beatles-y pop and Dylan-esque strummers. (5:30 p.m.)
Hippo Campus: Already one of the tightest and most polished live bands in town when they first hit the road in the spring of 2015 fresh out of high school, the Twin Cities’ jangly pop/rock wunderkinds have pretty much been touring ever since and dropped another well-received EP in the interim, “South.” They very well could be the lineup’s biggest draw after the Lips. (4:30 p.m.)
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats: And these guys could very well earn the lineup’s biggest response. The Denver soul-rock band has been all over the Current and other stations with “S.O.B.” and “Look It Here” off last year’s eponymous record for the revived Stax label, and the album only hints at their spirited, swaying live show. Getting them on the schedule as a last-minute nab was a real coup for RTG organizers. Too bad they couldn’t also snag them a longer set time. (3:45 p.m.)
Grrrl Prty: With their co-founder Lizzo’s new Atlantic Records deal and the other members’ many creative pursuits, the rowdy yet purposeful all-woman hip-hop/dance quartet have announced that the Prty is over. Saturday’s set will allegedly be their final gig. They seem to enjoy it too much to believe them, but if it makes for an incredible performance, go ahead and lie. (3 p.m.)
Plague Vendor: A young Southern Cal punk band with echoes of the Cramps and Stooges and the kind of wild-eyed frontman that led both those bands, they impressed the Current brass enough at South by Southwest to land them a slot on RTG instead of our local Warped Tour. (2:30 p.m.)
General info: Parking will be prohibited in the surrounding neighborhood except on Hall’s Island. Bike racks will be on the south end of the park and a Nice Ride bike station on the north side. Free Metro Transit passes are available for ticket holders via TheCurrent.org. A tram will run for $5 each way from Psycho Suzi’s, 1900 NE. Marshall St., Mpls. Children 5 and under get in free. Empty water containers can be brought in and filled for free.