Festival Review + Photos: Cities 97 Basilica Block Party 2012, Day 1 (Minneapolis, MN)

Train (San Francisco, CA), Cake (Sacramento, CA), The Head & The Heart (Seattle, WA), A. Wolf & Her Claws (Minneapolis, MN), Mat Kearney (Nashville, TN), Tyrone Wells (Fullerton, CA), Imagine Dragons (Las Vegas, NV), Prissy Clerks (Minneapolis, MN)
July 6th, 2012
Cities 97 KTCZ
The Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, MN

Smugmug Gallery: Basilica Block Party Day 1

What’s better than taking a day off work you ask? Taking a day off work to cover the Basilica Block Party so you can see Cake and many other amazing bands, all situated on hillsides and in parking lots in the shadow of the Saint Mary Basilica.

It was a hot day, much like the week leading up to the concert. Forecasters predicted 97 F with a “feels like” temp of 105 F. You could tell it was hot, because the soda and water lines were longer than the beer lines in the early afternoon. This did not stop A. Wolf & Her Claws from taking to the Vita.mn stage and putting on a great set to start the day.

This two-day festival is a fundraiser to raise money to help restore the Basilica and supporting the St. Vincent de Paul outreach program that provides food and other services to those in need. After spending some time throughout day one snapping pictures of the vendors, volunteers, sponsors, and visitors, I made my way to the second stage to catch Tyrone Wells.

Shooting from the photo pit, we were given the first three songs to get our shots in, which is usually more than enough, but with the schedule and distance to the main stage and people traffic, coupled with the main stage starting 15 minutes after the second stage: Shoot two songs and run like heck. Yup, I said heck, this is a family friendly event.

After shooting Mat Kearney on the main stage, rain was starting to work its way into the day’s plans. It really hit hard around 6PM and made all stages stop. After about 30 minutes of light and heavy rain taking turn, the main and second stage started back up with Imagine Dragons and The Head & The Heart, but the Vita.mn stage was done for the day due to too much water and Prissy Clerks‘ set was cut short. Phantom Tails was moved to the second day, and performed at 8PM.

Imagine Dragon put on one of the more entertaining sets of the day. Along with that, Dan Reynolds scored very high on the “OMG TOUCH MY HAND!” scale whenever approaching the edge of the stage. Their thunderous set was a wonderful surprise and made it all the more painful to leave after two songs and fight the masses to make it to The Head & The Heart. Also, none of us that were at the second stage were sure if the stages were still staggered by 15 minutes after the rain delay. Thankfully they were and I made it on time… out of breath, but on time.

This isn’t the most flattering shot I have of Josiah Johnson, but it isn’t him I want to point out as much as the shirt he is wearing. Tyler Williams was also wearing the same shirt, supporting gay marriage. On the November ballot in Minnesota, people will be voting whether to add an amendment that defines marriage in Minnesota as between one man and one woman. This has been a hot button topic all over the country and I personally applaud them for donning those shirts.

Back on the second stage; and where I would end my day; Cake and their vibraslap took the stage and busted out “Stickshifts And Safetybelts” and “Opera Singer”. John McCrea’s always dry and monotone stage banter had a special element to it that I really enjoyed.

The headliner of the day was Train and while they put on a great show, I shot my three songs, took a little break and made my way back to Cake. As I walked back, it was apparent that another storm was heading our way. It was close, and chalk full of lightening goodness. Thankfully, it held off until the bands were done.

While shooting from the sound tent, I heard Cake’s sound guy say “OK, one more song and we’re done”. One more song was played, and they left the stage… and then came back out. Not sure if it was planned or not, certainly did not seem like it, but all I know is it wasn’t going to be a pretty sight if they did not come back out with the amount of people chanting their name.

Be sure to watch for my day two recap, and visit the Smugmug gallery link (top and bottom of the article) for many more photos from the day!

Smugmug Gallery: Basilica Block Party Day 1

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