The best annual showcase of local music's depth and diversity, the Minnesota Orchestra's Day of Music, was sadly called off last week. Macy's had to drop out as chief sponsor, and the orchestra itself is in a budget crunch.
Fortunately, that bad news was quickly tempered this week as word got out on who's playing some of summer's other big music bashes:
After hinting around at another hometown show before their Varsity Theater shows in February, Gary Louris and Mark Olson have committed to a full-on Jayhawks reunion at the Basilica Block Party on July 10. Presumably, the band's lineup will be the same as the '95-era roster that played the only previous reunion gig last summer at a festival in Spain. They'll be joined by their old pals the Black Crowes, while Counting Crows headlines Day 2 of the Basilica on July 11 with the Hold Steady. Proof that Craig Finn is still a good Catholic boy -- and that the Cities 97 staff behind the party has better taste than their station's narrow playlist suggests.
Down to play the Turf Club tonight, Solid Gold will be playing outside aplenty this summer. They're confirmed to play Grand Old Day in St. Paul on June 7, and they will be the lone local act on the Current-driven Rock the Garden lineup at Walker Art Center on June 20. The Decemberists, Calexico and Yeasayer round out the RTG list. Tickets are on sale for members of Walker Art Center and Minnesota Public Radio.
The first big outdoor music bash of the summer, however, will be Rhymesayers' second annual Soundset festival May 24 at Canterbury Park in Shakopee (the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend). Confirmed performers include Atmosphere, Brother Ali and P.O.S. once again, with out-of-town guests such as Sage Francis, El-P, MF Doom, Immortal Technique and Abstract Rude. Tickets to that one are on sale through Rhymesayers.com for $27.
And hey, we still have the Taste of Minnesota to look forward to, albeit at a new $10 gate price and allegedly not the same old haggard-rock formula, although the two acts announced so far -- Judas Priest and Whitesnake -- don't exactly reek of fresh blood.Making Wavves
A little-known fact about San Diego wwiz kid Wavves (Nathan Daniel Williams), who plays 7th Street Entry on Sunday and had a big presence at the South by Southwest fest two weeks ago following Fat Possum Records' release of his debut album: Turns out the record in question ("Wavvves") was originally supposed to come out on De Stijl Records, the great little psychedelic Minneapolis label run by Clint Simonson. I have a copy of the CD with the De Stijl logo on it as proof.
While it sounds to me like Williams left the smaller label in a lurch as soon as he started earning a bigger buzz, Simonson sounded less than embittered about the deal and expects to be reimbursed for his expenses. "We here at De Stijl wish both Wavves and Fat Possum nothing but success with this release," he said.Random mix
Watch out, Daughtry: Hard-working hard-rock quartet Room for Gray, led by namesake singer/guitarist James Gray, effectively channels Bon Jovi, Matchbox 20 and other lovelorn but manly hitmakers on its fourth disc, "The Next Step." The disc even ends with a classic-sounding power ballad, "Know (That I'll Stay)." The Gray team opens for G.B. Leighton at his namesake venue G.B. Leighton's Pickle Park in Fridley on Saturday to promote the disc. Eighties mascara masters Enuff 'Z Nuff are at Pickle Park tonight, btw. ...
Michael Bland was back behind the drum kit for Prince's three "Tonight Show" slots and a run of other appearances around Los Angeles last week. He also drummed on a lot of the three albums that came out this week. ... Another great one bites the dust: Maps of Norway is billing its show Saturday night at the Turf Club as a farewell performance. The members apparently just want to move on to other things after five years and two well-received albums. ...
A couple benefit shows this weekend: The Hopefuls headline the third annual It Whispers So Listen and Overcome concert flor ovarian-cancer research tonight at Trocaderos (7 p.m., $8 or more). Other bands on the bill include Story of the Sea, Drift Effect and Casanatra. ... Sunday at the Fine Line, a group of local vets band together for a Monkees tribute to benefit Second Harvest Heartland, including Mick Sterling, Phil Solem, Ken Chastain, Jeff Sutherland and Pamela McNeill (5:30 p.m., $12-$15, $2 off with food donation). That show is also tackling another important cause: getting the Monkees inducted into the Hall of Fame. They'll have a petition to sign and everything. Geez, where's Bono when you need him?
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