News Column

Play ball? Target Field hosts three concerts in one week

August 7, 2014

By Ross Raihala, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.



Aug. 07--After Saturday's triumphant Paul McCartney concert, Target Field is already getting back into the music business for the two-night Skyline Music Festival, kicking off Friday.

Since opening four years ago, the downtown Minneapolis baseball field has hosted three major concerts, with Kenny Chesney's shows in 2012 and 2013 paving the way for McCartney. But last summer, officials also tried out a smaller-scale event, the first Skyline Music Festival. With the stage set up in foul territory near third base and seating limited to sections along that side of the ballpark, the fest drew more than 6,700 fans for a bill of nostalgia acts including Soul Asylum and Matthew Sweet.

The inaugural Skyline Music Festival was enough of a success that this year, they're doing it twice.

Co-sponsored by 89.3 The Current, opening night focuses on indie rock acts: honorary local Andrew Bird, Canadian supergroup the New Pornographers, folk rockers Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Bon Iver's S. Carey and local multi-instrumentalist Dosh. Tickets run from $49 to $29.

K-TWIN is on board for Saturday's show, where it'll be the '90s all over again with Melissa Etheridge towering over a bill that also includes O.A.R., the Rembrandts, Gear Daddies and the Honeydogs. As with indie night, cheap tickets run $29, with top-tier seats ringing in at $79 a pop.

It'll be interesting to see how these fare. The first night could easily pass for a Rock the Garden lineup, although it remains to be seen how many Current listeners are willing to venture from the open-air lawn seating to the more confined Target Field. As for Saturday, I'm betting 53-year-old Etheridge is a strong enough draw on her own that she'll fill the place with fans who will enjoy the Minnesota acts early on and then hit the beer stands for O.A.R.

IN THE CLUBS

For a free alternative to the Skyline Music Festival, check out Pizza Luce's annual block party from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday outside the restaurant's Warehouse District location.

Heiruspecs, Mark Mallman and Grrrl Party will wrap up a bill that also includes Love Lake, Gin Strings, Twinkie Jiggles Broken Orchestra, Carnage the Executioner, Charlie Parr, Black Market Brass and Dem Atlas.

Now in its sixth year, the annual "Blood on the Tracks"/Bob Dylan tribute show will take place Saturday night at St. Louis Park'sVeterans Memorial Amphitheater in Wolfe Park. As always, the free concert honors Dylan's 1974 masterpiece "Blood on the Tracks." Dylan initially recorded the album with producer Phil Ramone in New York, but decided something was missing and made a last-minute trip to Minneapolis to re-record half the album with local musicians. A core band will be joined Saturday night by a rotating cast of local guests. This year, violinist Scarlet Rivera will make a special appearance at the show. The Chicago native is best known for working with Dylan on his "Blood on the Tracks" follow-up, "Desire," and the subsequent Rolling Thunder Revue tour.

What would it take to get the Purple One out to the Mall of America? It may be the free concert at 6 p.m. Friday in the mall's rotunda featuring British R&B singer Rita Ora. Not yet widely known on these shores, Ora has topped the British charts three times with the singles "How We Do (Party)," "R.I.P." and "I Will Never Let You Down." She has also recorded several tracks with Prince, at least one of which is likely to show up on Ora's impending new album. Meanwhile, the few remaining "American Idol" fans out there can catch a free MOA concert/signing session with season 13 champ Caleb Johnson at noon Saturday. After that, Johnson will rejoin the rest of his season's cast for an evening show at Mystic Lake Casino.

Pop music critic Ross Raihala can be reached at 651-228-5553. Follow him at Twitter.com/RossRaihala.

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(c)2014 the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.)

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Source: Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN)


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