In the heart of downtown Minneapolis is the Basilica of Saint Mary, the first basilica established in the United States in 1907. Every year the basilica throws a block party to encourage volunteerism and raise money for the Basilica of Saint Mary and the Basilica’s St. Vincent de Paul outreach program which help people get bus cards, thrift store vouchers, help with identification fees, and many more. This year was the 20th anniversary and had two nights of music, food vendors, and information about community volunteerism.
It was cloudy most of the evening with previous showers earlier that day, so everyone was a little worried about the rain but by 8:00 the sun came out to shine at the city while the festivities were right at it’s peak. With food trucks selling ‘Walleye on a stick’, and the constant conversations of “Going boatin’ on Lake Calhoun, you betcha” it was an obvious place for us Minnesotans to gather and have fun.
I started off the night by checking out the artist Crash, who started the first main stage set by “getting groovy”. Crash kept the crowd entertained with his soul songs and big band southern themes. His debut album, Hardly Criminal, is out now on itunes and you can find his music on his website at www.crashdangdoodle.com
On the Vita.mn (local guide to art and entertainment) stage, a local band by the name of Black Diet started their set. It was my first time seeing Black Diet perform and I was blown away. The tight six piece band got the crowd dancing right away with a lot of local support in the audience.
This past April, their album Find Your Tambourine, was released with their single ‘Nothing to Say’. Check out First Avenue’s pick for Best New Band of 2013 on their website at www.blackdietband.com
The crowd was chanting, and I got in position as soon as Panic! at the Disco hit the stage. With enormous amounts of energy, lead singer Brendon Urie, started off the show to get the whole crowd singing and jumping. The audience doubled in size as the sun came out and hit the stage. Having only an hour set, Panic! at the Disco performed many songs off their latest album Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die but threw in a couple minutes of Journey and ACDC songs before ending the show with the crowd favorite and the bands beginning “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies”.
The Basilica Block Party had a very successful first night in downtown Minneapolis. Other than amazing entertainment, delicious food, and cold beer, I think all of us were excited that this meant that summer was here and we could finally move on from that cold long winter, for at least a couple more months.