It's a given every year that the Minnesota State Fair's most interesting music isn't at the Grandstand but scattered around its smaller stages, particularly the bandshell. That'll be the right place at the right time again to catch the crown jewel of this year's free acts: newly minted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, multiple Grammy winner, swamp bon vivant, gris-gris totin', piano pokin', Fess-invokin', New Orleans icon Mac Rebennack, a.k.a. Dr. John Creaux, the Night Tripper. Great on the 88s, an encyclopedia of NOLA music, a crusader against the numerous indignities foisted on his hometown, and a rolling embodiment of everything that is quirkily wonderful about the Crescent City and its music, Mac has been at it since his baby face appeared on Ivory Soap boxes in the '40s. He played hundreds of sessions in New Orleans and L.A. before his Dr. John character emerged in the late '60s. Now he has an entire festival named in his honor (sorta): Tennessee's Bonnaroo fest is named after Mac's 1974 album Desitively Bonnaroo, NOLA Ninth Ward slang for something really good. A stroll on Mac's gilded splinters will beat the fun house any day.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. Starts: Sept. 2. Continues through Sept. 3, 2011