Fests! Fests! Fests! (And Other Stuff) in Your Complete Concert Calendar: June 13-19
Pretty much ever concert you can catch in the Twin Cities this week.
12:56 PM CDT on June 13, 2023
Festival season is truly upon us. This week, take your pick from the Stone Arch Bridge Fest, the new Payne Ave Fest, multiple Juneteenth celebrations, and assorted events offering a ramp up to Pride. (Click here to revisit our feature on the apparent death of the Twin Cities music festival.)
Tuesday, June 13
- Weezer with Modest Mouse and Momma @ Armory—I've always believed that the concept of "aging gracefully" is a bourgeois straitjacket, but Rivers Cuomo makes me think twice about that.
- Meshell Ndegeocello @ Dakota—The Dakota's a great room for Ndegeocello, and she'll be here for four shows in two nights. Her days of pop impact long gone, she's matured into a sensitive performer of other peoples' material—2018's Ventriloquism focused heavily on '80s and '90s R&B. She returns to songwriting with The Omnichord Real Book, out this Friday, which features collaborations with top shelf jazz artists, including Jason Moran, Ambrose Akinmusire, Jeff Parker, and Brandee Younger.
- James McMurtry with BettySoo @ Turf Club—Lord do I hope that no one over 20 really believes that reactionary leaders inspire great music anymore, not after the years following 9/11 spewed up American Idiot, "Mosh," and an Enya revival. But the swing toward permanent war and social neglect did tone up James McMurtry’s lyrics. After a decade-plus as a fair-to-good singer/songwriter (and yes, his dad is novelist Larry, if you were wondering), McMurty dug in and came up with “We Can’t Make It Here Anymore,” an unsparing look at the U.S. in decline. He’s kept in that vein since, mixing acute social realism with songs of unrooted, aging love. On “Canola Fields,” the standout track from his 2021 album, The Horses and the Hounds, he hooks up with a woman he’s had a crush on for three decades and observes, “You can’t be young and do that.” Something to look forward to!
Wednesday, June 14
- Tyler Childers with Marcus King @ Armory—Stylistically, lyrically, and conceptually, Childers has been an especially ambitious country traditionalist (don’t dare call him Americana!) since he cut his first record at 19. He closed his otherwise instrumental bluegrass album, A Long Violent History, with a title track that addressed the past and present of racism. For his fifth album, he went gospel—and how. Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven? repeats eight songs in three different versions: A “Hallelujah” version recorded with his band the Food Stamps, a "Jubilee" version that brings in horns and strings for a near-Dixieland feel, and a "Joyful Noise" version of remixes that incorporates samples. He doesn’t skimp on the theology either: “The Triune God” gets a titular shout out, and Childers revisits his old track “Purgatory,” where he hopes the Catholics are right that there’s a third option for the afterlife because otherwise he’s bound for Hell. As for the title track, Childers lets some kindly proselytizers know that if he can’t bring his pooches along to the hereafter, that’s a dealbreaker for this hunter. Childers ain't the sort of fella who usually plays rooms this big—thank the unexpected adoption of his 2019 song "All Your’n" by TikTokkers.
- Meshell Ndegeocello @ Dakota—See Monday's listings.
- Hamell on Trial @ Hook and Ladder—For 30 years, Ed Hamell has been hammering away, furiously and unaccompanied, on his 1937 Gibson L-00 acoustic, yammering hilariously and insightfully away in his broad Syracuse, New York, accent. He's a foul-mouthed lefty with a taste for lowlife barroom tales, and we're lucky he swings by The Hook so regularly. If you want a preview of his live show, try The Pandemic Songs, a Facebook-streamed performance from 2020.
Thursday, June 15
- Kiss the Tiger, Creeping Charlie @ Mears Park—Proper, functioning cities should rock. With the annual, free, weekly, outdoor Lowertown Sounds program, St. Paul is privy to this in ways Minneapolis could really learn from. When this year’s lineup was announced, organizers noted that over half of the acts are new this summer. Tonight, we’ve got Creeping Charlie, whose youthful take on Pavementy soundz were delightful at Loring Park earlier this month, and ferocious rock ‘n’ rollers Kiss the Tiger, whose glowing Racket profile you can read here. Non-musical offerings include great beer from Utepils and Wabasha Brewing Co., wine from Alexis Bailly Vineyard, and a rotating cast of 20 food trucks.
Friday, June 16
- Louis Tomlinson with The Snuts + Andrew Cushin @ Armory—Hard to believe that his fake baby is already seven years old.
- Payne Ave Fest @ Caydence & The Treasury—Edina-reared lyricist Craig Finn once stated: “Payne Avenue lives up to its name/Some nights it's painful and strange.” Expect cheerier vibes in the St. Paul neighborhood for Payne Ave Fest, the inaugural multi-venue music festival. Over two days, a stacked lineup will perform inside two venues, bringing a 30-act sample platter of genre-spanning live local music. Headliners are homegrown hip-hop star Nur-D (on Friday) and indie rocker Lydia Liza with Big Cats (on Saturday).
Saturday, June 17
- Stone Arch Bridge Fest @ Stone Arch Bridge—Father’s Day weekend means the return of the Stone Arch Bridge Festival, a multi-day event featuring art, food, and music. Two stages of live music will feature mostly local acts, including Guante, Bethany Larson & the Bee’s Knees, Night Jobs, Brasszilla, Dan Israel, and many more.
Sunday, June 18
- Sophia Kickhofel @ Jazz Central—Kickhofel, a brilliant young saxophonist who's off studying at Juilliard these days, is making the most of her summer return to Minneapolis. In addition to this performance in the cozy Jazz Central basement, she's curating Icehouse's Monday jazz series this month. The set I caught with her quartet two weeks ago was fantastic.
Monday, June 19
- Carbon Sound 1st Birthday Party @ Fine Line—When I spoke to Carbon Sound content director Julian Green for my recent profile, he mentioned the lack of local showcases centered on Black music and told me “I’m looking forward to being able to have new unique events that maybe people haven’t thought of.” The DJ-driven lineup for this birthday party, which doubles as a Juneteenth celebration. gives you a hint of what he has in mind. Headlining is Byzzara, the latest alias of queer Afro-Chicanx DJ Cristian Ybarra (previously best known as DIE/Aspora), pan-genre DJ Yhante, self-described “culture rapper” Fanaka Nation, and several others including Green himself, as ech0astral.
- Soul of the Southside 2023: Juneteenth Festival @ Hook and Ladder—There's a deep lineup for this free (with RSVP) event. Powerhouse jazz drummer LA Buckner and his group BiG HOMiE, the ubiquitous and indomitable Nur-D, married R&B duo iLLism, Cedar-Riverside rap-rocker Huhroon, JellyBean Johnson holding it down for the old heads, plus Ricki Monique, Jordan Johnston, Black Velvet Punks, Jada Lynn, Jazicality, the Culture, Brotha Ase, and Tenacity
- Sophia Kickhofel (Monday Residency) with Jada Lynn and Abinnet Berhanu Group @ Icehouse—See Sunday's listings.
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