Top 10 concerts to see at the MN State Fair

Categories: Concert Preview
Photo by Erik Hess
We love you, Joan Jett.

The Minnesota State Fair begins this week! End of summer and all that, sure. But it means the beginning of a barrage of outdoor shows, fireworks, and beer-flavored gelato. Between the Grandstand and the myriad free stages, there's enough entertainment to make a fan feel like she's consumed one too many orders of walleye mac & cheese. (We kid. That would be impossible.)

As a helpful service to the busy fair-going public, here's our top 10 shows at the 2014 get-together.

See also:
Minnesota State Fair: Cheap and free things to do

Photo by Erik Hess
The 4onthefloor | Schell's Stage at Sunset | 7:30 p.m., August 29-30 | Free
For the celebratory spirits populating the Minnesota State Fair, the 4onthefloor's two free shows promise a welcome arena to kick up the late-August dust. Led by Gabriel Douglas, this rabble-rock group is known for their stompin' beats, bluesy riffs, and some of the area's heartiest fans. Their latest, Spirit of Minneapolis, was released last year. Lots more on that here.

Photo by Tony Nelson
Journey and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts | Grandstand | 7 p.m., September 1 | $48/$58
Even if we're higher on Joan Jett, it'd be wrong to underestimate the Arnel Pineda-led Journey portion of this show. Neal Schon is a fierce man on the axe, and this band's catalog is deep with nostalgic songs that sound better with funnel cake in your nostrils and fireworks in the sky. As for Jett, she's a hard-rockin' treasure who still hasn't let off the throttle. Against punks young enough to be her grandkids at Riot Fest last year, Jett kept up her bad reputation.

Photo by Erik Hess
Paramore's Hayley Williams
Fall Out Boy and Paramore | Grandstand | 7 p.m., August 28 | $41/$51
Speaking of punks, two of the most pop-oriented entities to ever grace the cover of Alternative Press will team up for this Grandstand show. After a four-year hiatus, Fall Out Boy triumphantly returned to stages last year with their mix of glam, soul, and emo in packages that are smart enough to keep parents in the audience engaged. Paramore have seen a lot of lineup upheaval, but Hayley Williams has the goods for infectious kiss-offs like "Ain't it Fun." 

Publicity photo
Deke Dickerson with the Trashmen | Schell's Stage at Sunset | 7:30 p.m., August 27-28 | Free
This one's for garage and surf rock enthusiasts of all ages. The Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird" -- bird is the word, etc. -- is one of the biggest hits ever created in Minnesota. Expect some extra rockabilly swagger with St. Louis's Deke Dickerson leading this merry troupe. They collaborated on a new album called Bringin' Back the Trash. A high probability of dancing.

Photo by Nick Kozel
Sonny Knight & the Lakers | Bazaar After Dark | 7:30 p.m. & 8:45 p.m., August 29-30 | Free
There's a reason Sonny Knight has been on a local tear this year. The guy loves to perform, and his band of vintage soul lovers in the Lakers are right there with him. With Secret Stash's release of his first official album, I'm Still Here, there's reason to celebrate and make up for lost time. Now in his mid-60s, Knight has seen so many eras of music pass, and knows how to pull the timeless elements out for his own purpose. Potent, raw, and passionate songs like "Juicy Lucy" and "I'm Still Here Part 2" speak to a man with a creativity that he can't help but share. Lots more here.

Location Info


Minnesota State Fair Grandstand

1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, MN

Category: General

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