Rock the Garden Day 1, 6/21/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
Rock The Garden Day 1
with De La Soul, Matt & Kim, Best Coast, Jeremy Messersmith, and Lizzo
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Saturday, June 22, 2014

Rock the Garden's first two-day event kicked off on a sunny Saturday afternoon next to the Sculpture Garden. It was an incredibly apt setting for the gorgeous summer solstice day. An eclectic range of music played to a nearly 10,000-person crowd, who stayed lively throughout the long array of performances.

See also:
Rock the Garden 2014: The Faces of Day One

Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen
From Lizzo's aggressive opener "Lizzy Borden" to the frenetic tempos of closer "Faded," she proved her festival mettle yet again by bringing incredible stage energy that carried across the field. With Lazerbeak pounding out beats and Sophia Eris doing back-ups, Lizzo amplified her rapping, singing, and dancing talents to the scale of the event and turned in yet another powerful performance. Among the livest of the lineup, she started the show off rolling.
Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen
Jeremy Messersmith brought a different kind of energy but kept the sound huge, with a 10-piece backing band that showed climactic heights and cinematic lushness to his intimate acoustic pop. Pulling heavily from this year's Heart Murmurs, slower ballads were given a harmonic boost from horn and string sections, while uptempo songs exploded forward with huge bursts of orchestral power where necessary. Oddly enough, the prime example of Messersmith's skill with full-bodied arrangements was not his own song, but Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball," finding symphonic beauty and emphatic catharsis in the melodramatic Top 40 torch song. This year's single "Ghost" played huge with the audience.
Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen
The self-proclaimed "token California band" Best Coast soundtracked the warm weather with their breezy, pleasant garage rock. There's a streak of sameness to all their tracks -- call it a "Summer Mood," perhaps -- that served well in this particular setting, an idyllic day about as close as Minnesota comes to the sheen of Los Angeles that pervades the band's surf-pop. "We hope we rocked your garden," said Bethany Cosentino after a straight-ahead set that felt exactly like summer.

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