While a proposed bike lane has the Amsterdam Bar and Hall questioning the St. Paul City Council's support for live music this week, downtown St. Paul on the whole will be rocking again this summer with the return of one of the Twin Cities' best free outdoor concert series.

Lowertown Sounds — the Thursday night series formerly known as Music in Mears — is coming back to Mears Park starting June 10 after being canceled last year by the pandemic. The lineup for its comeback year is one of its best yet, too.

Electronic R&B/hip-hop singer Lady Midnight leads the kickoff night, followed by the likes of Annie Mack, the New Standards, Heiruspecs, the Shackletons, Salsa del Soul and a rowdy July 8 twofer with the Flamin' Ohs and Kiss the Tiger that'll amount to extra fireworks in Lowertown that week.

"After more than a year away from live music, bringing Lowertown Sounds back to the stage was an absolute priority, but it was also a tremendous uphill climb with plenty of first-of-their kind curveballs," said series director Clint Roberts, co-presenter of Lowertown Sounds along with the St. Paul Downtown Alliance and sponsors.

Last week's rollback of COVID-19 restrictions gave organizers a green light to carry on with the series like in years' past, with free general-admission access in the park surrounded by food trucks and stands featuring local beer and wine makers.

The Twin Cities Jazz Festival — typically another fixture in Mears Park — had to make other arrangements with all the uncertainty up until now, thus moving to multiple locations in June including Crooners in Fridley and the Dakota in Minneapolis. However, organizers are reportedly planning other jazz events for Mears Park in September.

Also, the Twin Cities Blues & Funk Fest has been moved from Lowertown and split up into three separate shows at Dual Citizen Brewing with Hamilton Loomis (June 12), the Good, the Bad & the Funky (July 10) and Bernard Allison (Aug. 14).

Here's the full schedule for Lowertown Sounds. The shows are all scheduled 6-9:30 p.m.

June 10: Lady Midnight, Allie McIntosh and Chris Holm

June 17: Sarah Morris and Gambler's Daughter

July 8: Flamin Oh's and Kiss the Tiger

July 15: The Shackletons and Henry Invisible

July 22: Annie Mack and Maudlin

July 29: Salsa del Soul and Atlantis Quartet

August 5: Jeff Arundel and Good Morning Bedlam

August 12: Dan Israel and the Cultivators and Chemistry Set

August 19: The New Standards and Lucy Michelle

August 26: Heiruspecs, The Fragrants and Saint Small

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658