Rock the Garden 2011 lineup: My Morning Jacket, Neko Case, Booker T. Jones, Tapes 'n Tapes
Before we get to the whole lineup portion of today's Rock the Garden announcement, here's a quandary: How many tickets do you think the Walker and the Current could sell to this shindig without disclosing a single band on the bill beforehand?
Last fall, when the Current announced that it would be hosting its sixth birthday party at First Avenue by unveiling just three of the five acts set to perform, the show sold out so fast that it never made it past the MPR member-only presale. Granted, First Avenue holds 1,700 while Rock the Garden has a capacity closer to 10,000, but the Current's tastemaking prowess has only continued to strengthen in recent years, and the already behemoth force that is the Walker Art Center only adds more heft to the event.
Tickets for Rock the Garden are on sale this afternoon for MPR and Walker members only, but the station was already prompting its listeners to pull up the ticket ordering page on their browsers this afternoon and input their credit card info, prior to the lineup announcement -- meaning a good portion of Rock the Garden's attendees were trying to purchase their tickets before they knew who was scheduled to play. So many of them, in fact, that it crashed the Walker's servers. Now THAT's what I call a Current Effect.
Anyway, about those bands: This year's headliners are My Morning Jacket, a band who probably first registered on the radars of most Current listeners via lead singer Jim James' contributions to the Monsters of Folk project. They have a new record, Circuital, out on May 31, and were already on some Rock the Garden predictors' short lists because they had a gaping hole in their U.S. tour dates that would land them in the Twin Cities in time for the June 18 show.
Neko Case will be working the festival circuit this summer, including her spot at Rock the Garden and a performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago the following month. The righteous songstress has been performing with the New Pornographers of late, and will be in the midst of a solo tour by the time she gets to the Twin Cities in June.
Though he may not be immediately familiar with the Current's young fanbase, the real treat on the lineup this year is Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy lifetime achievement award winner Booker T. Jones, best known as the bandleader for Booker T. and the MGs. Booker T. has a new album coming out, The Road From Memphis -- and I'm hoping that his addition to the Rock the Garden lineup means the Current will mix in a few more tracks from the new disc, because they've already played his collaboration with Sharon Jones into the ground.
Last but not least, the local contingent of this year's festival will be held down by Tapes 'n Tapes, who have been busy touring behind their third and arguably best album to date, Outside.
Tickets are $46, with VIP tickets available for $175. Tickets are on sale now to MPR and Walker Art Center members, and go on sale to the general public on May 3.
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