You know how it is. One minute, you’re biking down the Greenway en route to another weekly block party. And the next, you’re Craigslisting your tickets to see the 4onthefloor in the Mainroom because you’re afraid your genitalia won’t survive the wind chill. Am I right?
I am. Minnesota summers only are as blissful as they are fleeting. It’s officially August, and there are only so many days left to enjoy music in it's most enjoyable element before you’re unpacking your parkas and going into seasonal hermitude.
Before that happens, a call to action. Don your plunging-est tank top and get your sun-kissed ass to these outdoor concerts before the bandstands and amphitheaters go dormant for the next nine months.
Music and Movies at the Walker
August 1, 8, 15, and 22
Loring Park, 1382 Willow St. Minneapolis
The folks at the Walker Art Center are giving you a four-pack of opportunities to take your Netflixing to the park. Every Monday in August, they’ll screen a film and invite a local band to play before the credits role. August’s gauntlet includes appearances from Grant Hart Associated with A Hard Day's Night (Aug. 1), the Pines with Hairspray (Aug. 8), and Bruise Violet (who I hear are pretty good) and Big Cats with Man with a Movie Camera (Aug. 22). If you can only make one, Mixed Blood Majority are paired with Wayne’s World on Aug. 15.
Music in Mears
August 4, 11, 18, and 25
Mears Park, 221 E. 5th St. St. Paul
Music in Mears really kicks into high gear for the final shows of the summer, featuring headliners the likes of the New Standards (Aug. 11) and the Honeydogs (Aug. 25). But the Lowertown festival series is especially enjoyable because of its brilliant matchmaking ability. For example, August 4’s juxtaposition of Lehto & Wright and the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra is a kooky aesthetic matchup, and August 18’s co-headliner with Erik Koskinen and Rogue Valley almost makes too much sense.
August Music and Movies
August 5, 12, 19, and 26
Lake Harriet Bandshell, 4135 E. Lake Harriet Blvd., Minneapolis
Our less-salacious parent publication the Star Tribune also hosts a weekly music and movies series in August, but their residency at the Lake Harriet Bandshell runs on Fridays. Like the discussions in their comment sections, the Strib’s evenings skew juvenile, so expect more juice boxes than Grain Belts. Friday's inaugural edition joins Koo Koo Kangaroo and Heavyweights in what is a nearly perfect combination, and other weeks present Prairie Fire Lady Choir with Troop Beverly Hills (Aug. 12), Chastity Brown with Moonrise Kingdom (Aug. 19), and Cactus Blossoms with The Parent Trap (Aug. 26).
Pizza Luce Block Party
Pizza Luce Downtown, 119 4th St. N., Minneapolis
Over the past 13 years, Pizza Luce’s annual block party has become a rite of passage for local bands. This year, upstarts like Bruise Violet and Holidae will join dyed-in-the-wool vets like Charlie Parr, Run Westy Run, and Carnage the Executioner for one of the most well-rounded block parties on the summer schedule. Lizzo -- whose music could turn a convent into a flashmob -- headlines this year, meaning it’ll be impossible not to have a good-ass time.
The Bachelor Farmer, 50 N. 2nd Av., Minneapolis
The North Loop is a high-end neighborhood, so if you wanna upscale your block party, The Bachelor Farmer and Marvel Bar are the folks to help you do it. Your $25 ticket to Kraftskiva will benefit Climate Generation, but it also nets you a live performance by Canadian indie-rock sensations Metric. Don’t worry your Minnesotan heart, though, hometown favs Alpha Consumer (featuring Jeremy Ylvisaker, who rules) and Fort Wilson Riot are schedule to rock as well. Expect fun hats and mountains of crayfish.
Borough Block Party
Borough, 730 Washington Av. N., Minneapolis
If you’ve still got a block party hankerin’ for North Loop block parties after Krafskiva, bosom restaurant Borough is holding its fourth annual block party the very next day. It’s the perfect opportunity to roll your hangover into another daylong buzz. Borough’s undercard acts include Dig Deep, Private Oates, Viva Knievel, and International Reggae All-Stars, though headliner Chase & Ovation is the really special get here. As the only Prince-sanctioned Prince cover band in the world, Chase & Ovation are the closest thing you’ll get to seeing The Purple One rock out in the open air of Minneapolis.
Red Stag Block Party
Red Stag Supperclub, 509 1st Av. NE., Minneapolis
The main draw of the Red Stag Block Party is the In Cahoots brew-off, which pairs breweries into teams to compete head-to-head with one-off collaborations. Pretty cool shit, especially on a hot August afternoon, but the entertainment is too good to be rendered a footnote here. Mark Mallman (who wrote the best rock record of the year) heads up a lineup that consists of Night Moves (who dropped a pretty good album themselves this year), Sims, Black Market Brass, Farewell Milwaukee, and more.
Music in the Zoo
Minnesota Zoo's Weesner Family Amphitheater, 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley
Music in the Zoo can be pretty hit or miss, depending on the headliner. Tower of Power on July 27 was a ripper, but Grace Potter on back-to-back nights (Aug. 7-8)? No thanks. Thankfully local soulster Har Mar Superstar will be among the oxen and leopards on Aug. 20 to make good on the promise of his recent album Best Summer Ever. This could be the night the real-life Sean Tillmann turns his hit song “Lady, You Shot Me” into a staunch anti-poaching anthem. This month will also see Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle (Aug. 2), the Mavericks (Aug. 9), Neko Case, k.d. lang and Laura Veirs' supergroup case/lang/veirs (Aug. 10), and Jerry Jeff Walker (Aug. 27).
Minnesota State Fair
August 25-September 5
Minnesota State Fairgrounds, 1265 Snelling Av., St. Paul
Take your pick of Grandstand acts -- Don Henley (Aug. 25), Charlie Wilson (Aug. 26), Dixie Chicks (Aug. 27-28), Happy Together Tour (Aug. 29), G-Eazy (Aug. 30), Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas (Aug. 31), and more -- or free acts like G. Love & Special Sauce (Aug. 25-26), Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters (Aug. 31-Sept. 1), and others. Click here for more info.