Staff Directory 8660039

Jon Bream

Music Reporter and Critic | Pop music
Phone: 612-673-1719

Jon Bream has been a music critic at the Star Tribune since 1975, making him the longest tenured pop critic at a U.S. daily newspaper. He has attended more than 8,000 concerts and written four books (on Prince, Led Zeppelin, Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan). Thus far, he has ignored readers’ suggestions that he take a music-appreciation class.


Bream has interviewed such music royalty as the King of Pop (Michael Jackson), the Queen of Soul (Aretha Franklin) and Prince as well as Bob Dylan, U2, three Beatles, four Rolling Stones and all of Maroon 5. He has performed with Alice Cooper, jogged with Willie Nelson and walked the streets of New York with Bruce Springsteen. A longtime voter for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bream has also written for the Los Angeles Times, Billboard, Vibe and other publications. He has a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota, where he established the Jon Bream Scholarship for Arts Criticism.
Recent content from Jon Bream
Katie Crutchfield returns to play the Palace Theatre on Friday touting her new Waxahatchee album, "Tiger's Blood."

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

Highlights for April 18-24 include Kane Brown, Waxahatchee, Royel Otis, Tim McGraw and Leslie Odom Jr.
Drummer Michael Bland and bassist Sonny Thompson have formed the duo (Br)others, released a new single and enlisted other Prince alums to play a tribu

NPG vets Michael Bland and Sonny Thompson extend their brotherhood into a post-Prince duo

They will celebrate their new single and music of the Purple One in an all-star concert on Saturday.
Maggie Rogers releases her third album this week.

6 cool things in music this week include Maggie Rogers, Bruce Springsteen and Rolling Stones

Shoutouts, too, to Raul Malo, Ducks Ltd. and the Smile.
Jennifer Grimm, singer and music director at Crooners nightclub.

Scene Makers Q+A: Jennifer Grimm balances nightclub life as singer, booker and mother

She hires 700-some acts a year at Crooners and performs about three shows a week around Minnesota.
Marshmello performs at Wango Tango at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday, June 2, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) ORG

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

Highlights for April 11-17 include Marshmello, Joe Satriani with Steve Vai, AJR, the Staves, Bernard Allison and Shemekia Copeland.
Chris Stapleton performs Saturday, April 6, 2024 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.

Review: Country superstar Chris Stapleton shows it's about the conviction, not the showmanship

Opening act Lainey Wilson demonstrated in Minneapolis why her time has arrived.
Dan + Shay: Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney

Review: Country duo Dan + Shay's lovefest resumes in St. Paul

The incurable romantics shared their emotions with each other and a sold-out crowd.
Jazz giant Herbie Hancock sits at his keyboards at the State Theatre for a rewarding two-hour performance with his band.

Review: Jazz giant Herbie Hancock plays the funky rock star in Minneapolis

Backed by five stellar musicians, the veteran keyboardist reimagined material from mostly the 1970s.
Waxahatchee plays the Palace Theatre on April 19.

6 cool things in music this week include Waxahatchee, Peter Frampton and 'The Lion King'

Shoutouts, too, to Sierra Ferrell, LA LOM and Béla Fleck.
Xcel Energy Center's Kelly McGrath presents rock star Bryan Adams with a Minnesota Wild jersey on July 3, 2023 as they stand backstage in front of con

Scene Makers Q+A: Xcel Energy Center GM Kelly McGrath thinks country crowds, not Wild fans, drink more beer

The new arena boss dishes on Olivia Rodrigo, Pearl Jam and Target Center.
British rockers the Last Dinner Party hit First Avenue riding an American buzz off its single "Nothing Matters."

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

Highlights for April 4-10 include Herbie Hancock, Chris Stapleton, Fall Out Boy, Dan + Shay, Nur-D and the Last Dinner Party.
Jon Bon Jovi performed at the Xcel Energy Center on the This House is not for sale tour in March 2017.

6 cool things in music this week include Bon Jovi, Leela James and Lizzy McAlpine

Shoutouts, too, to Rochester Thaw fest and Ledge Amphitheater.
Music icon Peter Frampton.

Despite crippling disease diagnosis, rock star Peter Frampton comes alive again

Eyeing a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he heads to Minneapolis with revamped guitar moves.
The cover image of “Act ll: Cowboy Carter” by Beyoncé.

Review: 7 first impressions of Beyoncé's new 'Cowboy Carter' album

It's not a country record but an often appealing gumbo of musical styles tossed into a Queen Bey blender.
Kaskade, seen here at this year's Super Bowl, will be one of the headliners at Breakaway Minnesota 2024 at Allianz Field.

Dance-music festival will be the first concert at Allianz Field in St. Paul

Illenium and Kaskade will headline the two-day EDM affair, with tickets on sale Friday.
San Francisco's experimental quartet Deerhoof returns to play the Fine Line on Thursday.

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

Highlights for March 28-April 3 include Deerhoof, Peter Frampton, Pam Tillis, Erik Koskinen and LA LOM.
Lori Barghini and Julia Cobbs announced the end of "Lori & Julia" on MyTalk107.1 FM.

Popular MyTalk 107.1 hosts Lori and Julia announce their surprise retirement

They shared the news on the radio Tuesday because Lori Barghini wants more time to "fart around."
From left, Billy Larson, Mick Jagger and Jonny Lang in 1999 backstage at a Rolling Stones concert.

St. Paul guitarist Billy Larson, 'a Kmart Keith Richards,' dies of brain cancer

The proud St. Paul East Sider was co-founder of the Minnesota Music Café.
Hip hop artist Nur-D, aka Matt Allen, photographed in the Star Tribune studio in Minneapolis Thursday, February 3, 2022.  ]   JEFF WHEELER • Jeff.Wh

Wild Nights at Minnesota Zoo will feature Nur-D, Caitlyn Smith, more

Two locally connected acts will perform on each of five nights this summer.
Jimmy Page with 1969 EDS-1275 Doubleneck Collector’s Edition from Gibson Custom.

6 cool things in music this week include Jimmy Page, Judith Hill and JJ Grey

Shoutouts, too, to Mae Simpson Band, Radiooooo app and punkademic.com.
Boiled in Lead: from left, Todd Menton, Haley Olson, Mo Engel and Drew Miller.

Scene Makers Q&A: Local Celtic rockers Boiled in Lead are 'the youngest 40-year-old band ever'

The revamped Twin Cities quartet will celebrate a new live album on Saturday at the Parkway.
Guitarist Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney is performing outdoors and her dark brown hair is blowing in the wind.

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

Highlights from March 21-27 include Sleater-Kinney, Valerie June, Leela James and the Rochester Thaw.
Olivia Rodrigo performs at the Xcel Energy Center.

Review: Who was louder in St. Paul: Olivia Rodrigo or her overexuberant fans?

The 21-year-old sensation proved to be the kind of rock star we didn't know we needed.
Ryan Gosling performed the song "I'm Just Ken" from the movie "Barbie" during the Oscars.

6 cool things in music include Ryan Gosling, Billie Eilish and Bob Dylan

Shoutouts, too, to Peso Pluma, Otoboke Beaver, Delfeayo Marsalis and Record Store Day.
Olivia Rodrigo is headed to St. Paul.

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts in the Twin Cities this week

Highlights for March 14-20 include Olivia Rodrigo, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Arlo Parks, Mark Mallman and Next.
Jason Isbell rocked at the Palace Theatre.

6 cool things in music this week include Jason Isbell, Aoife O'Donovan and Liam Gallagher

Shoutouts, too, to Las Migas, Thomas Walsh and the Hanging Stars.
Terry Esau with Twin Cities guitar star Cory Wong.

Scene Makers Q&A: Minnesota guitar guru gives free guitars to kids

Terry Esau says the instruments help those ages 10 to 16 express themselves.
Jenny Lewis Credit: Autumn de Wilde

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

Highlights for March 7-13 include Jenny Lewis, Otoboke Beaver, Mary Gauthier, Luna and Minnesota Opera doing Bernstein.
Brian Oake

Radio vet Brian Oake talks about his surprise firing, and his Cities 97.1 bosses have no explanation

Nevertheless, he will continue as a weekly guest on sister station KFAN.
Victoria Victoria made an impressive Minneapolis debut at the Dakota.

6 cool things in music this week include Victoria Victoria, Lolo's Ghost and Winter Jazz Festival

Shoutouts, too, to Becky Kapell, Annie and the Bang Bang and Don't Rock the Inbox.
Tina Schlieske swings into standards.

Veteran Minneapolis rocker Tina Schlieske celebrates 'the good life' of jazz standards

She will showcase her new album Friday at Icehouse in her hometown.
Tomeka Reid performs with a 16-member improvising chamber orchestra Saturday at Walker Art Center.

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

Highlights for Feb. 29-March 6 include Cat Power, Tomeka Reid, Jason Isbell, Aimee Mann and Matisyahu.
Lainey Wilson dropped a new single, "Country's Cool Again."

6 cool things in music this week include Lainey Wilson, U2 and Beyoncé

Shoutouts, too, to Damien Rice, Sullivan Fortner and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.
Jon Batiste performs early in his set.

Review: Jon Batiste brings joyful noise in extraordinary First Avenue debut

The Grammy- and Oscar-winning showman literally got lost in the crowd.
Brian Oake is the new co-host of the Current's morning show.

Longtime Twin Cities radio voice Brian Oake let go by Cities 97.1

KDWB's Zach Dillon will move to Oake's afternoon slot.
Jon Batiste, who performed at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 4 with Minnesota legends Jimmy Jam and Ann Nesby behind him, wanted to play First Avenue for h

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in Twin Cities this week

Highlights for Feb. 22-28 include Jon Batiste, BeauSoleil, Jamecia Bennett, Silversun Pickups and Maddie Zahm.
Mexican sensation Peso Pluma is coming to Target Center on May 28.

Mexican pop star Peso Pluma is coming to Target Center on May 28

Tickets will go on sale this week.
Ricky Martin on Friday night at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Review: Latin pop icons present an exciting cultural happening in St. Paul

Ricky Martin, Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias teamed up for a show before 14,000 dancing fans.
A statue of singer Tony Bennett stands outside the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Bennett died July 21, 2023 at 96.

Tony Bennett's San Francisco: The restaurants, landmarks and hangouts the late crooner frequented

The singer's widow gave us a list of his favorite places in the city where he left his heart.
Right show, wrong time? Beyoncé presented a stadium-worthy spectacle at TCF Bank Stadium in May, but drew one of the smallest crowds — 37,

6 cool things in music this week include Beyoncé, Daryl Hall and Bob Marley biopic

Shoutouts, too, to Black Violin, Abraham Alexander and Ryan Smith.
Pitbull, left, and Enrique Iglesias perform during their encore at the Target Center on February 21, 2015.

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in Twin Cities this week

Highlights for Feb. 15-21 include Rachael & Vilray, Matthew Sweet, Big Turn Music Fest and Pitbull, Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias.
Madonna performed early in her Celebration Tour show Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center.

Review: Madonna turns into Queen of Nostalgia in St. Paul

Her 40-year retrospective had charismatic personality, innovative staging but not her own bravura dancing.
Alison Krauss, left, and Robert Plant did their first tour in 2008.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are headed to Mystic Lake Casino on June 7

Tickets for the Grammy-grabbing duo will go on sale Friday.
It's Rachael & Vilray, with the guitarist Vilray standing in front of a vintage chest and singer Rachael Price seated on a chair, making eyes at him.

Lake Street Dive singer will bring her 'quieter' band to Minneapolis

Rachael & Vilray offer original jazz with a 1930s and '40s vibe.
Studio handout

Our critic handicaps the 2024 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees

Cher, Sade, Mariah and Sinead lead the first-time finalists.
Usher performed during halftime of the Super Bowl on Sunday in Las Vegas.

A dazzling Usher dances his way to Super Bowl halftime triumph

He was joined by guests Alicia Keys, Ludacris, H.E.R., Jermaine Dupri, will.i.am and Lil Jon.
Miley Cyrus performed "Flowers" during the 66th annual Grammy Awards.

6 cool things in music this week include the Grammys, Jovonta Patton and 'We Are the World' doc

Shoutouts, too, to Juice Lord, Joshua Redman and Lucian Grainge on AI.
Madonna performs at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul November 3, 2012. (Courtney Perry/Special to the Star Tribune)

Why is Madonna tardy to her own concerts?

We look at Lauryn Hill, Guns N' Roses, George Jones and other late-to-the-stage stars.
Kills frontwoman Alison Mosshart at First Ave last year with the Dead Weather. / By Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in Twin Cities this week

Highlights for Feb. 8-14 include Madonna, the Kills, Sarah Jarosz, Talk and an annual Bob Marley tribute.
Toby Keith toasts his fans with a red Solo Cup, the name of one of his hit songs, on April 26, 2013 during the first day of the Stagecoach Country Mus

Remembering Toby Keith: Bluster, beer and horse sense

The late country superstar was a misunderstood conservative, pro-troops Democrat.
Taylor Swift accepted the award for album of the year for "Midnights" during the 66th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Taylor Swift sets a record with latest triumph at the Grammys

Swift sets a record and announces a new album while Miley Cyrus and Billie Eilish get their flowers.
Minneapolis gospel star Jovonta Patton stood on a short runway into the crowd Friday at First Avenue.

Review: Nothing but praise for Jovonta Patton's gospel music at First Avenue

With help from his family, the chart-topping Minneapolis singer raised hometown spirits.
Justin Timberlake

6 cool things in music this week include Justin Timberlake, Cécile McLorin Salvant and the Wunz

Shoutouts, too, to Heywood and Hull Duo and Big Pink's Last Waltz.
Taylor Swift performed at the Xcel Energy Center on Friday, her first of three performances this weekend.

Will the Grammys stop Taylor Swift's juggernaut?

She could set records if she wins album, song or record of the year on Sunday.
Lisa Fischer, who's toured with the Rolling Stones and Tina Turner, returns to the Dakota on her own this week.

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

Highlights for Feb. 1-7 include gospel and Indigenous music showcases at First Ave, Lisa Fischer, Joshua Redman and Roe Family Singers.
FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2012, file photo, singer Barbra Streisand performs at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. During a Friday

6 cool things in music this week include Travis Scott, Vijay Iyer and Barbra Streisand's memoir

Shoutouts, too, to Shelby Lynne, MyTalk 107.1 and a Billy Joel tribute show.
Shelby Lynne is sitting on a stool, clutching the microphone stand with two hands singing at the Dakota in downtown Minneapolis.

Review: Sad and sultry Shelby Lynne seduces with Dusty Springfield songs

By special request, the Americana veteran is dusting off her 2008 tribute at the Dakota for two nights.
Jon Pankake played an antique banjo-mandolin at his Minneapolis home in 1997.

Remembering Jon Pankake: A Grammy-winning folk scholar and early critic of Bob Dylan

His job was advising University of Minnesota students, but he gave Dylan unsolicited advice.
Lucius singers Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe will settle in for two nights at First Avenue marking the 10th anniversary of their debut, "Wildewoman."

The Big Gigs: 10 concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

Highlights for Jan. 25-31 include Lucius, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Digable Planets and DJ Shadow.
FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2018, file photo, Pink performs "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken" at the 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden in New

Pink will soar again at Xcel Energy Center on Oct. 18

After rocking Target Field last year, she'll bring her aerial gymnastics indoors with tickets going on sale this week.
Goo Goo Dolls to perform at PACER benefit.

Goo Goo Dolls will headline annual PACER benefit

The rocker of "Iris" fame will perform April 27 at Minneapolis Convention Center.
Katerina McCrimmon (with Izaiah Montaque-Harris) is a knockout in “Funny Girl” at the Orpheum Theatre.

6 cool things in music this week include 'Funny Girl' star, Jelly Roll and Kurt Elling

Shoutouts, too, to St. Paul Peterson, John Pizzarelli and Erin Schwab with Jay Fuchs.
FILE - Travis Scott performs at the Astroworld Music Festival in Houston, Nov. 5, 2021. A Texas grand jury has declined to indict Travis Scott in the

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

Highlights for Jan. 18-24 include Travis Scott, Keb' Mo', Shelby Lynne and a tribute to Dolly.
Jelly Roll flipped off the crowd at Mystic Lake Casino amphitheater.

6 cool things in music this week include Jelly Roll, Lenny Kravitz and Prince on Broadway

Shoutouts, too, to Rosanne Cash and "American Idol" faves Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken.
Cellist Rebecca Arons performed with Icelandic rock band Sigur Rós at the State Theatre.

Some highlights for cellist Rebecca Arons — rock concerts, musicals and recordings

She has worked with everyone from the Eagles to Ed Sheeran, from ballet to Broadway shows.
Conductor Robert Ames performed with Sigur Ros on Aug. 21, 2023, at The State Theatre in Minneapolis. Rebecca Arons is seated front right.

We go into the orchestra pit with Minnesota musicians who play for touring musicals and rock bands

Cellist Rebecca Arons hires players for Broadway shows, ballets and concerts by the Eagles and Ed Sheeran.
Bemidji-raised indie-pop singer Ber will perform at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2023.

The Big Gigs: 10 best concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

Highlights for Jan. 11-17 include Arcwelder, Zeitgeist, Rebirth Brass Band and Best New Bands featuring Ber.
Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong

6 cool things in music this week include Green Day, Paul Anka and Let It Be Records

Shoutouts, too, to the New Standards, the Bad Plus and Julianna Riolino.
Clay Aiken, top, and Ruben Studdard are on the concert tour “Twenty” to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their “American Idol” showdown in 20

From 'American Idol' rivals to besties, Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken explain

Headed to Minneapolis, they discuss first impressions, pet peeves, parenting and their brotherly relationship.
For the reissue of her album “The Wheel,” Rosanne Cash went back to Central Park with Pam Springsteen to reshoot photos in the same location as in

Rosanne Cash will kick off tour in Minneapolis with partner who helped her invent 'The Wheel'

The singer/songwriter is celebrating the 30th anniversary reissue of her album "The Wheel."
Samara Joy

6 cool things in music this week include Samara Joy, Wham and Peabo Bryson

Shoutouts, too, to the Pogues, Paul Metsa and Whiskey Rock 'n' Roll Club.
Taylor Swift soared at U.S. Bank Stadium on June 23.

What were the best concerts you saw in 2023? Our critics name their top 20

Big-wow stadium shows by megastars ruled, but there were fireworks in smaller venues, too.
Yung Gravy, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé provided some of the most memorable moments of the year for our music critics.

Concerts wrapped: Our music critics' year-end stats for 2023

How many concerts does a professional music critic see in a year? Which venues do they frequent the most? We dove into the numbers to find out.
This image released by Geffen Records shows "Guts" by Olivia Rodrigo. (Geffen Records via AP)

What were the best albums of 2023? Our critics name their top 10

Highlights included Olivia Rodrigo, Lana Del Rey, Mitski, Paul Simon, Son Volt and Jelly Roll.