Who: Music lovers
What: Two-day outdoor concert that funds the continued renovation of The Basilica of Saint Mary.
Where: The Basilica’s front lawn on Hennepin Avenue
When: July 9-10
Why: Because of the annual musicfest brings in some great bands and the crowd watching is top notch.
A definite highlight to summer, The 2010 Basilica Block Party does not disappoint. At this summertime staple, a mix of music lovers, hipsters, and partygoers gather annually to watch the bands brought in by the historic church—but don’t be fooled by the sponsor, this party isn’t religion-centered in the least. Though we were amused when headliner Barenaked Ladies reminded us that this show was probably the “only rock show sanctioned by God.” Thank heavens!
For those of you not familiar with one of the biggest parties of the summer— hello, where have you been for the past 15 years —here’s the scoop: The Basilica Block Party began in 1995 as a way to raise funds for the structural renovation of The Basilica. The emphasis of the party has notably shifted from publicizing the church social to touting the bands, but that’s OK—since the bands they bring in are pretty impressive for a church-sponsored party. Funds now go to continuing the renovation of the church and five percent of proceeds go to the St. Vincent de Paul outreach program, which provides food and shelter to those in need.
The lineup this year was impressive with great headliners both nights. Friday night—night one—we were overcome by the high-anxiety action that filled the party when a popcorn machine caught on fire in the vendor area. But the Minneapolis Fire Department quickly came to the rescue and we continued on with our listening pleasures.
The M&Ms stage started out with hunter(HERO) and then moved onto Rogue Valley, which features Minneapolis-native Chris Koza. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals followed up with some amazing wailing by Grace. When jamband Spoon took the stage as the headliner and played their hit “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb,” we danced and sang along with the rest of ‘em.
The Sun Country Stage opened with British band One eskimO, who was playing the party as the last stop on a 12-month tour. Eric Hutchinson was up next and he debuted some new music, but we were mostly focused on local drummer and musician Elliott Blaufuss, who is in Hutchinson’s band. Like the rest of the crowd, we had a bit of trouble deciding between Spoon and Weezer to end the night, but the rock gods Weezer won our hearts when they played new and old material, including crowd favorites “Say It Ain’t So” and “Buddy Holly,” plus an MGMT and Lady Gaga cover.
Saturday’s crowd was bigger and more boisterous and the weather was perfect. The M&Ms stage featured Chester Bay, Robert Francis, V.V. Brown, and The Avett Brothers—many told us that this was best show of the weekend.
The Sun Country Stage had a great lineup with Ingrid Michaelson starting and, of course, playing her most well known hit “The Way I Am.” The sweetest moment of the night happened during Ingrid when Ryan Hogan asked his girlfriend, Kate, to marry him on the jumbotron. She said yes and we let out a heartfelt “awww” with the rest of the crowd.
Guster followed and played their hits from a few years ago including “Careful” and “Amsterdam,” plus newer material. The show’s headliner, Barenaked Ladies, did not disappoint despite some changes in the band, most notably a change in lead singers, over the past few years. The crowd jammed to their classics, including “It’s All Been Done,” “One Week,” and “If I Had A Million Dollars,” plus they did some quartet-style harmonizing, which we thought was pretty impressive.
The show was over by 11 p.m. Given the lineup and great shows, there’s no doubt in our minds that the crowd headed home humming—we certainly did.