21 Minnesota music acts to book for your Super Bowl party
Its looking distinctly possible that the hometown team might find its way into U.S. Bank Stadium when Super Bowl LII takes over Minneapolis on Feb. 4. Trust us, though, the hometown music scene knows how to deliver a good kick when you need it and is a way more reliable bet.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis certainly seemed aware of this when after being confirmed as the producers of the free Super Bowl Live series on Nicollet Mall announced their intentions of making the 10-night marathon of free outdoor concerts (Jan. 26 to Feb. 4) a mostly Minnesotan affair.
This is a great opportunity for us to showcase and be proud of the great music from our hometown, Lewis said.
All due respect to the Grammy-winning producers and songwriters whove lived in Los Angeles since 2005 we figure they could use some pointers on whats current and noteworthy in Minnesota music. Which is to say nothing of the many other party planners and promoters without any local ties who are also putting together music lineups for giant soirees or high-buck bashes around the big game.
Here are our recommendations on who to fish out of the local talent pool.
If youre looking for local legends
You can forget the firmly retired Replacements. Probably Bob Dylan, too, unless Victorias Secret is putting up the money.
1. Soul Asylum. Frontman Dave Pirner of Runaway Train-hitmaking fame and his remade band touch down between the pylons of alternative and classic rock.
2. The Revolution. Princes Purple Rain bandmates reunited to honor him last year and still know how to make a crowd go crazy.
3. Atmosphere. This veteran hip-hop group has also been tapped for recent jock gigs with ESPNs X Games and the MLB All-Star Game.
If youre looking for current buzz makers
1. Lizzo. The provocative, high-energy hip-hop/RB powerhouse doesnt currently have Minnesota residency, but she earned her It Status here.
2. Hippo Campus. These college-age lads play jangly, catchy yet sophisticated pop/rock that proved admirably accessible for big crowds at this years Minnesota State Fair.
3. ZuluZuluu. Their hints of Afrofuturism might not jibe with NFL standards, but this five-man team of producers, singers and rappers have scored big locally with their cosmic funk and neo-soulful RB.
If youre looking for (talented) local characters
1. Har Mar Superstar. The average-Joe-looking ex-punk-rocker with the above-average soul-singer voice is a local fixture whos been in big Hollywood movies but hangs in small Nordeast bars.
2. Cornbread Harris. Jimmy Jams father has been plunking piano and singing classic RB and blues songs in Twin Cities bars since the 50s and is still rolling strong.
3. Worlds Most Dangerous Polka Band. The house band from Nyes Bar is still standing even though (most) of the legendary supper club was demolished last year.
If youre looking for real country (not Florida Georgia Line)
1. The Cactus Blossoms. These two brothers recently made it to Twin Peaks with their cool vintage country sound and rich, Everlys-like sibling harmonies.
2. Trailer Trash. The most tried and true honky-tonk band in town can play you all the classic Hank, Willie and Johnny covers your Super Bowl cash can buy.
3. Erik Koskinen. Hes a tall cool one who happens to be a bit of a maestro on twang-guitar as well as a gifted songwriter.
If youre looking to dance
1. The Suburbs. One of the most locally beloved bands of the rich 80s scene even had the punks grooving back in the day. Now they fit right in amid modern dance-rock flavor.
2. Davina the Vagabonds. Frontwoman Davina Sowers wows listeners with her booming voice while her bands rollicking, Southern boogie-woogie woos them onto the dance floor.
3. Name-brand DJs. Shannon Blowtorch, Keezy, Jake Rudh, Sophia Eris, the Get Cryphy crew, Mike Gervais and Christian James are among the many spinners with followings around town.
If youre looking for something classy
1. The Steeles. The gospel-rooted family act, long favored by Prince and Garrison Keillor alike, can deliver mountain-high classic RB and soul hits.
2. The Valdons. This classic four-man 60s RB harmony act has earned renewed attention in recent years as the Minnesota group that shouldve been the next Temptations.
3. The New Standards. Two rockers of Suburbs and Semisonic notoriety paired up with a vibraphonist and a cool song list to become a popular lounge act that even the Minnesota Orchestra has imbibed.
If youre looking for something completely different
1. Grammas Boyfriend. Singer Haley Bonar is a much-loved indie tunesmith who shows off her wild side in this freakish, colorful, Devo- and Blondie-channeling glam-punk band.
2. Metallagher. Its a sure bet that next years Super Bowl host city, Atlanta, doesnt have a watermelon-smashing, bad-joke-telling band that plays a mean Master of Puppets.
3. Prairie Fire Lady Choir. The 50-member womens a cappella group that coolly reinvents pop and rock staples (also including Metallica!) might offset all the testosterone flowing through town that week.
Chris Riemenschneider 612-673-4658