God bless Americana
With Live Nation taking over the booking, the Basilica Block Party has a decidedly country-rocking feel on Friday, with Grammy-grabbing Kacey Musgraves, California’s retro-sounding Dawes and Minnesota’s own Jayhawks. Another Minnesota classic, Semisonic of “Closing Time” fame, also appears. Saturday’s lineup feels like the same old eclectic BBP with “I’m Yours” strummer Jason Mraz, Scottish synth-pop trio Chvrches, Canadian electro-poppers Metric, potent-voiced singer-songwriter Lissie and the enduring “MMMBop” hitmakers Hanson. Jon Bream
5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Basilica of St. Mary, Mpls. $70-$125, etix.com.
Get a sneak peek at Ragamala Dance Company’s latest project, “Fires of Varanasi,” at Ragamala Mela. The troupe explores themes of birth, death, transformation and migration in the work. Named after Mela fairs in India, the gala event will feature Hot Indian Foods and Foxy Falafel and free beer from Fair State Brewing. You’ll get a sense of being at a street festival inside the chic Paikka event space, with a DJ, games, mystery bags and auctions.
6-10 p.m. Wed. Paikka, 550 Vandalia St., St. Paul. $50-$75, ragamaladance.org.
Rebirth Brass Band is one of those institutional New Orleans live acts better served with an open dance floor. With the weather too hot back home for its weekly gig at the Maple Leaf Bar, the Grammy-winning second-line brass ensemble is blowing through town for a standing-room club gig on its way to the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Bandleader/sousaphonist Phil Frazier and his crew just marked their 35th year of bringing the funk and are a hoot wherever the show is.
8 p.m. Thu. Fine Line, 318 1st Av. N., Mpls. $25, etix.com.
For its 10th anniversary, Prior Lake’s Lakefront Music Fest ups its game big-time. Two Rock Hall of Famers share Friday’s bill — Steve Miller, who will soar on “Fly Like an Eagle” and the perpetually catchy “Jet Airliner,” and Joan Jett, who has a “Bad Reputation” but proves “I Love Rock ’n Roll.” Opening is Americana perennial Marty Stuart. Saturday’s big name is Brad Paisley, the jocular CMA Awards co-host with a jukebox full of hits including “Whiskey Lullaby” and “Alcohol.”
5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Lakefront Park, Prior Lake. $45-$125, lakefrontmusicfest.com.
Opera hits the Iron Range this month as the Northern Lights Music Festival presents the tear-jerking “La Traviata.” Skylark Opera’s Robert Neu guest-directs Verdi’s tale of love and loss in 19th-century Paris, with soprano Cecilia Violetta López and tenor Alex Richardson as the ill-fated lovers.
7 p.m. Fri., Veda Zuponcic Auditorium, Mesabi East High School, Aurora, Minn.; 3 p.m. next Sun., Chisholm High School, Chisholm, Minn.; 7 p.m. July 15, Washington Auditorium, Ely, Minn. $15-$40, 218-780-2292 or northernlightsmusic.org.
Consider Minnesota’s county fairs a warm-up to the State Fair. In Ramsey County, crafting and agricultural stars will display their best animals, crops and art. Start training your taste buds for fair food with the likes of corn dogs, mini-donuts and all-out strange concoctions that make you wonder how you ever lived before fried candy bars. The fair also hosts live music, food, a petting zoo, fireworks and carnival rides.
5-11 p.m. Wed.-Thu.; noon-midnight Fri.-Sat.; noon-9:30 p.m. next Sun. Ramsey County Fairgrounds, Maplewood. Free, ramseycountyfair.com.
Twenty-three people died in a bombing outside Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, England. Her ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, died of an overdose. And her fiancé, comic Pete Davidson, split up with her. Grande channeled her hardships into two standout, chart-topping albums of highly personal songs in less than seven months. Now the ponytailed pop star will unleash her acrobatic voice on “No Tears Left to Cry” and other hits in concert.
8 p.m. Mon. Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul. $76.95 & up, ticketmaster.com.
Patrick Scully brings a multimedia version of his take on Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” to the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio. Scully performed a salacious interpretation five years ago with 18 dancers frolicking naked across the stage. In “Leaves of Grass — Illuminated,” Scully consolidates to six dancers and large-scale video projections. He has tightened the script, reprising his well-suited role as one of America’s most famous poets — uncensored.
7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 1 p.m. Sun. Guthrie Theater, Mpls. Tickets limited, 612-377-2224 or guthrietheater.org.
Is there a standoff with kids at the dinner table whenever vegetables are introduced? Make fruits, leafy greens and little trees (aka broccoli) approachable at Friendchip Farm. Held at the St. Paul Farmers Market, the program teaches about wholesome foods through activities such as the Red Bucket Scavenger Hunt, baseball toss and Dunk the Pigs. Take an activity booklet to complete at home to receive a free reusable bag and patch on your next visit to the market.
9:15-11:15 a.m. Sat. Lowertown, St. Paul. Free, friendchipfarm.com.