To party or not to party. That is the question on the minds of many Minnesotans who would like to get in on the nightlife surrounding Super Bowl LII, but don’t want to trade a mortgage payment for a 20-minute Gucci Mane performance.
There are at least a few concerts with some big-name performers this week not entirely out of reach of commoners; and by that we mean people with common sense. Here are some recommendations.
5 concerts worth the splurge
Cardi B (Thursday, Privé nightclub, $150): When you consider that tickets to see the budding “Bodak Yellow” hip-hop star a night later with Future at Myth nightclub cost $737 for general admission, this one almost — almost! — seems like a steal, especially since she’s the hotter and more intriguing act in the Myth lineup.
Pink (Feb. 2, the Armory, $310 resale): No surprise that hers is the one concert in the NFL-affiliated Nomadic Live series for which G.A. tickets are sold out. She’s a gifted singer and great show-woman, so even at a $100 markup — about what StubHub and other resale sites are charging — she’s still the most worthwhile act in the Armory lineup.
Dave Matthews Band: (Feb. 3, Xcel Energy Center, $67-$127): The official Night Before concert has VIP options via NFL ticket packages, but otherwise it’s priced just like a regular concert by the veteran Virginia jammers.
New Power Generation (Feb. 2 & 3, Dakota Jazz Club, $60-$80): The posh supper club where Prince often hung out is hosting four tribute shows over two nights with many of his most royal bandmates of the ’90s and ’00s, at prices suited for paupers.
Gwen Stefani (Feb. 4, Mystic Lake Center, $69-$200): This postgame show won’t be held in the nifty pop-up club that Mystic Lake Casino abruptly sidelined, but it’ll still be in a smaller venue than the places where the No Doubt singer usually performs, and for average prices.
5 more that won’t break the bank
Marilyn Manson (Wednesday, Myth, $55): It’s just a regular tour stop by the diabolical metal showman, and convenient for out-of-towners who might need to buy snow pants, since Maplewood Mall is right next door.
The Suburbs (Thursday, Turf Club, $35): One of Minnesota’s most fun rock bands of the 1980s and the 2010s — their 1984 single “Love Is the Law” remains a local anthem — will be kicking it at St. Paul’s best-loved low-frills rock club.
Nooky Jones (Thursday, Dakota Jazz Club, $15-$25): The throwback Twin Cities R&B/soul band has a gifted young frontman in Cameron Kinghorn and feels like a gift at these low Dakota ticket prices.
Black-Eyed Snakes (Feb. 3, Hook & Ladder Theater, $10): Duluth has a vibrant music scene, too, and this hard-stomping blues-rock band is one of its favorites, led by renowned indie-rock vet Alan Sparhawk of the Sub Pop-affiliated band Low.
First Avenue dance nights (Feb. 1, Feb. 2 and Feb. 4, $10): They’re not live concerts, but for those wanting to experience the home of “Purple Rain” and so much more Minnesota music history, our best local DJs know how to get that room rocking. They will do so via three late-night parties with the Super-Bowl-only 4 a.m. liquor license in effect after the game on Feb. 4.
But really, why pay anything?
Even if the shows weren’t entirely free, we would still recommend most of the lineups in the 10-day Super Bowl Live concert series on Nicollet Mall. They offer a great cross-section of Minnesota’s music scene — although some jazz, Latino and East African acts would’ve been fitting — and include some impressive pileups not usually seen on one night.
Of course, the catch is these gigs are happening outdoors, on a covered stage near the IDS Tower at 8th Street and Nicollet. If it’s 40-below, we take back our recommendation.
Friday (4-10 p.m., in order): Kickoff and country night with DJ Mad Mardigan; “Frozen’s” Idina Menzel, Esera Tuaolo and VocalEssence; Cynthia Johnson performing “Funkytown”; Hitchville; Trailer Trash; Lost Highway, Chris Hawkey Band.
Saturday (2-10 p.m.): Hip-hop night with DJ Mad Mardigan, Beats and Rhymes, Lexii Alijai, iLLism, Dem Atlas, Brother Ali, Prof.
Sunday (2-9 p.m.) Gospel night with DJ Kimuel Hailey, Bailey Bryan, Sara Renner, the Steeles, Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir, Sounds of Blackness with Big Jim Wright and Ann Nesby.
Monday (8-10 p.m.): Salute to Prince with Sheila E., Morris Day, the Revolution.
Tuesday (4-10 p.m.): Reggae night with DJ Matty Matt, Socaholix, International Reggae All-stars, Ipso Facto.
Wednesday (4-10 p.m.): R&B/hip-hop with DJ Brother Jules, Stokley Williams, Dessa, Mint Condition, New Power Generation with André Cymone.
Thursday (4-10 p.m.): More R&B and pop with DJ Kimuel Hailey, Les Stroud, Jakubi, fDeluxe (aka the Family), New Power Soul, André Cymone, Rae Sremmurd.
Friday, Feb. 2: (4-10 p.m.) Retro-pop, funk and R&B with DJ Howard Kessler, ZuluZuluu, Cobi, “Crush on You” hitmakers the Jets, King, Skylar Grey.
Saturday, Feb. 3: (4-10 p.m.) Minnesota rock legends Bob Mould, the Suburbs, the Jayhawks and Soul Asylum. Then younger nonlocal band X Ambassadors weirdly serve as headliners.
Sunday, Feb. 4: (1 p.m.) 13 Crowns, a sibling pop group featuring children of the Jets’ Haini Wolfgramm.