Basilica Block Party Day 2, 7/7/12

Categories: Last Night
Avett_Brothers_Erik_Hess.jpg
Photo by Erik Hess
See Also:
Basilica Block Party Day 1, 7/6/12
Basilica Block Party Day 1: Slideshow
Basilica Block Party Day 2: Slideshow


Basilica Block Party Day 2
with The Avett Brothers, O.A.R., Fitz & The Tantrums, The Lumineers, Graffiti6, Stuart D'Rozario, Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, Phantom Tails, Farewell Milwaukee, The Boys n' the Barrels
Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis
Saturday, July 7, 2012


The break in the heatwave that the Minneapolis had been experiencing was very welcomed and provided the perfect backdrop to the second night of the Basilica Block Party, which hosted many returning bands to the festival.



Opening the Vita.MN stage were locals The Boys n' The Barrels, whose set of rousing foot-stomping music blended into the evening's theme of folksy mountain music, and was followed by indie-rockers Farewell Milwaukee. Lucy Michelle and The Velvet Lapelles headlined the smaller stage, allowing the band a wider berth to her audience with her distinctive lilting drawl. Since the stage was rained out from the evening prior, Phantom Tails were invited back for night two to perform the local stage.

The Sun Country Stage (the main stage) was set before the Downtown skyline and commenced with newcomers The Lumineers. Their crowd was split with people who were either hard-core fans that knew every word to their debut album and people who were there to socialize and drink while waiting for headliners The Avett Brothers. Lead singer Wesley Schultz has the look of an Abercrombie model and a voice that is oddly reminiscent of Bob Dylan, perhaps that's why the band threw a Dylan cover of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" into their set. Outside of this, the band mainly stuck to pieces from their album, allowing the perfect blending of Schultz and cellist Neyla Pekarerk's voices to shine through.
Lumineers_Erik_Hess.jpg
Photo by Erik Hess

Graffiti6 was fit in a small window at the Walser Stage while Fitz & The Tantrums set up at the Sun Country Stage. For those not familiar with the band, the name may conjure up a hip-hop group, which is not the case at all. When donning sunglasses, lead singer Jamie Scott bears an uncanny resemblance to Bruno Mars, but has the sound and flavor of Jason Mraz backed by a full band. O.A.R. headlined the Walser Stage, and their set reflected a Beach Boys sound and vibe, but were not compelling enough for the casual fan, who had the option to jump between stages.

Fitz_Tantrums_Erik_Hess.jpg
Photo by Erik Hess
Back at the Sun Country Stage, Fitz & The Tantrums was one of the bands that deviated from the folk sound of the evening, substituting their brand of '70s influenced R&B. Invited back for the second year in a row, the band effectively warmed up the crowd for the Avett Brothers who are finishing up another album with Rick Rubin who played a substantial role in getting the brothers to where they are now.

There is a certain formula in each of the band's songs; starting slow and dreamy and building to something that will get the crowd to stomping their feet without them realizing it. This was especially evident on the subtle love song "Laundry Room" and "The Perfect Space."

The tight harmonies between the brothers were on display throughout the set, but what draws people in to the band is the energy that pulses onstage, reminding the audience that sometimes good looks and talent can only take you so far in a live show. By closing your eyes, these brothers can make you imagine that you are sitting on a porch in their North Carolina home on a perfect summer night.

Critic's bias: I was excited to see the Lumineers, who didn't disappoint, and the Avett Brothers, but I was a bit disappointed in the lack of change in this year's lineup to previous years. The returning bands/artists included Mat Kearney (from night one), Fitz & The Tantrums, and the Avett Brothers.

The crowd: The typical Cities 97 crowd. And this kid.
Crowd_Basilica_Erik_Hess.jpg
Photo by Erik Hess

Overheard in the crowd: "The people here are so...vanilla."

Random notebook dump:  The concert experience can be different for everyone depending on your location during a show. It often depends if you are in the front row, on the fringe and there just to socialize, or depending if you're drunk or sober.


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