MN Music on-a-Stick at the Minnesota State Fair, 8/30/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Tony Nelson

MN Music-on-a-Stick
With Trampled by Turtles, the Suburbs, Mason Jennings, P.O.S, and the Chalice
Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, St. Paul
Friday, August 30, 2013

At their second annual State Fair Grandstand showcase, MN Music on-a-Stick, 89.3 the Current brought a six-hour slate of acts that cover a full range of distinctly Minnesotan sounds. The independent hip-hop scene was well represented by power trio the Chalice and the always-intense P.O.S. Mason Jennings shrank the sprawling venue with personal and emotive folk, a genre pushed forward by a certain other floppy-haired Minnesotan. For those who came to rock, the Suburbs brought us back to 1983 -- even those of us who weren't around for their first go-round. And then there was Trampled by Turtles.

Though each of the five acts seemed to have fans who came out mostly to see them, it was clear from the beginning that this was really the Turtles' show. The cheers in response to hosts mentioning their name rivaled the ovations for the other bands, and the excitement built as the night went on. Their performance, the show's final one, more than justified the anticipation. But before that, fans were treated to a filling sampler of local music to match the cheese curds and fried everything from earlier in the day.

See Also: Slideshow: MN Music On-a-Stick at the 2013 State Fair

Photo by Tony Nelson
The Chalice

The Chalice typically play much smaller stages than the fair grandstand, but they adjusted well to the less intimate setting. Lizzo and crew immediately provided the receptive crowd -- many of those who were there that early in the night were fans of theirs and stayed near the front of the stage -- with the powerful yet inviting presence they're known for. A particularly strong performance of "Real Recognize Real" had even middle-aged women who wouldn't have seemed out of place winning a horticultural prize throwing their middle fingers up.

Photo by Tony Nelson

P.O.S was introduced by Barb Abney as a Current employee, as his show, P.O.S Is Ruining the Current, runs on Saturday night. The set opened in appropriate Minnesota get-together fashion: The Doomtree rapper waved to the crowd, and most of them waved back. Though his energetically anti-capitalist opener "Fuck Your Stuff" may not have seemed in keeping with the unapologetic consumption of the State Fair, P.O.S proved to be as down with the gluttony as anyone. "I can't wait to go to French Meadow and get a cronut," he said, before getting into a debate with his DJ about the merits of all-you-can-drink milk during the week's killer heat wave -- P.O.S was pro-milk.

P.O.S was hard at work throughout his set, throwing all of his energy into the crowd and riffing on the fair during the breaks. He was so hardcore that it threw off the groove of a few songs, like "Optimist," but when it worked, it was powerful. "Get Down" was the livest song of the show, managing to get essentially the entire crowd jumping even during the last gasps of the week's heat wave. He continued to make the most of the unique "on-a-stick" setting. During "Weird Friends," he reached into the crowd for a Sweet Martha's cookie and ate it onstage with the appropriate look of satisfaction -- the State Fair equivalent of lighting up a blunt onstage.

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