Six cool things in music, from two points of view:

Loring Alley Rally and Made Here Market. In one of the most beautiful alleys in Minneapolis, you can catch a multicultural mix of musicians while perusing 35 local artisans selling art and handicrafts. This Sunday's acts include Grant Hart, Al Church and DJ Venus DeMars.

Cowz, Grumpy's. The highly anticipated reunion show was stunning, with Shannon Selberg (one of the best frontmen ever) doing funny, cunning stunts — singing, blowing his trumpet and standing on his head, with his awesome bandmates keeping the noise and blues punk wild.

Reunions. Babes in Toyland rocked Rock the Garden with heart-stopping intensity. Lifter Puller performed one insanely fun, riveting 20-minute set at the Triple Rock. Chooglin' got together for great, gritty rock 'n' roll as part of the Roots, Rock and Deep Blues Fest.

Cyn Collins, Minneapolis


The Mavericks, Minnesota Zoo. Raul Malo saluted the newly opened Cuban Embassy with "Siboney" and serenaded with the unexpected "Summer Wind" and "Harvest Moon." He and the band had fans dancing the night away. Oh, what a thrill.

Nachito Herrera and the Universals, the Dakota. Minnesota's great Cuban-American pianist has found some simpatico world-class players who can match his chops, creativity and energy.

Dwight Yoakam, Lakefront Music Fest. At this field-and-screen fest in a Prior Lake park, the country maverick thrilled with his twang and twisting.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune