A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Mumford and Sons, "The Wolf" video. The clip for this upbeat song shows the band romping through the Bonnaroo grounds in full disguise: a bearded bride, Robin Hood, a chicken and a wolf. Lots of behind-the-scenes looks and concert footage, too. Pure fun.
Rolling Stones, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Kansas City. How many times can they make the hair on your neck stand up with an opening guitar riff? Lots. This is not a longtime band's greatest hits tour. This is in-your-face rock 'n' roll, every song, every night.
U2, Chicago. How can the best band on the planet top its last tour (U2 360)? Didn't think it was possible until seeing this tour two nights in a row. The audio was loud and perfect. The new video screen was so creative and difficult to describe, but phenomenal to witness live.
randy Kurt, Kansas City
Salt-N-Pepa, Minnesota Zoo. It was the most hand-wavingest, most smilingest crowd ever at the zoo for these riotously entertaining old-school rappers.
Melanie Rosales, Bunkers. Visiting from Florida, the ex-Twin Cities vocalist sat in with Patty Peterson and showed her skill with Bonnie Raitt songs. What a smoky, soulful voice! Props, too, to guitarist Billy Franze's spontaneous, freewheeling rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" July 3.
Sounds of Blackness, "Black Lives Matter: No Justice, No Peace." Prince isn't the only Minnesota musician creating topical singles. This righteous and relevant tune has a sense of history in its lyrics and sound.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune