Basilica Block Party day one, 7/12/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Erik Hess
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Basilica Block Party Night 1
with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Matt Nathanson, Father John Misty, ZZ Ward, Mayer Hawthorne, Family of the Year, Actual Wolf, The Cactus Blossoms, Southwire
The Basilica, Minneapolis
Friday, July 12, 2013

Every year, mid-summer is marked with the arrival of the Basilica Block Party.  Sometimes the acts are straight out of Cities 97's playbook with their radio-friendly songs, but sometimes they are added in for a bit of a surprise. Armed with a lovely summer evening and a refreshing breeze, Friday night's lineup certainly included artists that filled those criteria. One such draw in the second category was Father John Misty, who declared -- his voice laced with cynicism -- that the evening's entertainment was, "Brought to you by Bud Light."

See Also:
Slideshow: Basilica Block Party day one
Slideshow: Basilica Block Party day two

With three stages overlapping in set times, the struggle was imminent in catching every set, as evidenced by merely hearing the strains of Family of the Year's poignant hit "Hero" as they were finishing up their set.


Photos by Erik Hess
The stage brought out local acts and gave exposure to buzzing local acts that you may have "heard of, but never listened to." Southwire opened up the festivities with their soulful pieces, interspersed with rap -- not the usual hip-hop rap you're used to, but more gospelly, gravelly rap from Ben Larson to counteract Jerree Smalls' folksy heartbreaking voice. The Cactus Blossoms channeled Hank Williams in their performance, bringing a country western nostalgic feel to their set as patrons milled about, walking from the Sun Country Stage to the Jefferson Bus Lines Stage to catch Mayer Hawthorne.

ZZ Ward and Mayer Hawthorne's sets overlapped, a bit fitting since both acts feature a throwback sound. Hawthorne, a mix of soul and pop and Ward with a touch of Adele in her voice. Both acts have learned the nature of the current artist, touring constantly and visiting the same places within a certain amount of time (Hawthorne in May of 2012 and Ward February 2013) -- Mayer will even be back in town on July 22 when he opens for OneRepublic. It will be interesting to see what he can do with his sound when it's so recycled -- more so than any other artist -- especially on his hit "The Walk" that borrows straight from "Crystal Blue Persuasions" and "The Way You Do the Things You Do."

Photos by Erik Hess
The biggest question mark in artists came in the form of Father John Misty. The singer announced to the crowd that his bus was going to be picking him up soon, so "we gotta move this along." Josh Tillman's songs -- and even his stage name -- are laced with religious overtones from his opening number "Fun Times in Babylon" to his adlibbing the lyrics "John the baptist took Jesus Christ, Down to the river on a Friday night" from "Everyman Needs a Companion" at the end of "Now I'm Learning to Love the War."

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