Day One: July 7
Kicking off day one of the festival, Minnesota native, Cobi, took to the Preferred One stage, one of three stages on the festival grounds.
Before gracing this stage with his presence, Cobi had appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and both of his singles premiered on Billboard. After playing the same hit as on The Tonight Show, “Don’t You Cry For Me,” Cobi affirmed his love for his home state, saying, “Minnesota, you will always be my home.”
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Up next on the Preferred One Stage was Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, an indie rock musician with a striking stage presence.
Most well-known for the song “Cecilia and the Satellite,” named after McMahon’s daughter, the band had a full set featuring his most famous hits mixed with tracks from his new album, Zombie’s on Broadway, released this past February.
McMahon’s message to the fans was simple, to dance, forget stress and enjoy live music.
“All the people in this space love one another,” said McMahon to the crowd. “Tonight we all agree with something. We all love live music under the sun. And that may not feel like a lot, but to sing and dance next to a perfect stranger is a [explicative] beautiful thing.”
With that sentiment, a gym-class-style parachute was brought out into the audience, and soon, under the rainbow covering, McMahon joined the dance party, jumping off of the stage and into the crowd. During the song, “Don’t Speak For Me,” McMahon engaged the audience once again by crowd surfing on a giant inflatable rubber ducky, all while singing the hit from the new album.
“It was fun watching the sun go down with you,” McMahon said before closing the set with “Synesthesia” and “Cecilia and the Satellite.”
Competing for the headliner spot with Brandi Carlile, The Shins held their own, closing out night and drawing in an extraordinary crowd.
The 18-song set started off slowly with mellow songs like “Caring is Creepy”, “Name for You”, and “Gone for Good.” After a calm seven songs, the six-person band kicked things up a notch with the song, “Kissing the Lipless.” Complete with strobe lights and a high-powered fog machine, the real energy changer was the moment that the black background dropped, revealing a psychedelic looking skull that glowed in the blacklights of the stage lighting.
Five years since their last album, The Shins fifth album, Heartworms, released March of this year, drew in the loyal fans from the band’s first few albums and attracted new fans, many only having heard the latest album. Like most bands with new tracks, The Shins made sure to offer a mix of the old and the new. After at first closing out their official set with “Simple Song” from their fourth album, they returned to the stage for a three-song encore featuring selections from different albums; “The Fear,” “New Slang” and “Sleeping Lessons.”
The beautiful Saturday afternoon of day two of the Basilica Block Party was made all the more bright and cheery when Ben Rector took to the Great Clips main stage. Rector, most well-known for his 2010 hit, “When a Heart Breaks” not only sang his own tracks, but paid homage to those who came before him, performing covers of popular songs by Whitney Houston, The Jackson Five, and The Temptations.
Never one to let the crowd lose energy, Rector also broke out a popular song, most recognized by the millennials in the audience. After shouting, “Everybody in this crowd went to middle school, right?”, “The Cupid Shuffle” came on full-blast. Like a chain reaction, everyone in the crowd was sliding to the left and doing the Charlie Brown with Rector and his band.
Rector also made sure to play his famed love songs including “Forever Like That” and “White Dress.” He closed the show with “Brand New,” the title of his 2015 album.
Although not the headline act of the night, American singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw may as well have been according to the size of the crowd he drew to the Great Clips main stage. Playing songs from all six of his albums, DeGraw has also attracted a lot of recognition for his time with the show, One Tree Hill, where his song “I Don’t Want To Be” became the theme song.
DeGraw, in all black including a leather jacket and hat, braved the Minnesota summer heat and played a full set to adoring fans, only once complaining saying, “Anyone else sweating their asses off?”
Nearing the end of the set, DeGraw took a moment to address the audience to preface his song, “Soldier”. “This song is dedicated to the person in your life who you can call in the middle of the night,” DeGraw said. “They won’t ask you any questions, just listen.”
WALK THE MOON
Honored to be the headlining act, American rock band WALK THE MOON played the final set of the 2017 Basilica Block Party. Before taking the stage however, “The Circle of Life” from the movie The Lion King rose up from the speakers, and slowly the four members of the band took to the stage.
After the hyped up entrance, the band wasted no time in getting into their set. Without so much as a “Hello, Minneapolis” they powered through five of their songs, including the popular “Different Colors” and “Spend Your $$$.”
It had been rumored that the band has been hard at work on a follow-up album to their 2015 release, Talking is Hard, and during the set the audience got confirmation from frontman Nicholas Petricca, when he addressed the crowd saying, “We have a new record for y’all. We want to play so much more on it but it’s a secret so…”
With that, the band continued to play older songs and as to not disappoint the audience, they closed the main show with the radio hit “Shut Up and Dance” and the encore with “Anna Sun.”