Rock the Garden strikes again
With its picturesque location and backing from the coolest museum (the Walker) and radio station (89.3 the Current) in town, Rock the Garden has heretofore been a foolproof formula. Well, except for maybe the year indulgent electro-pop band MGMT headlined (2010). So it was daring for organizers to mess with the formula and book so many Minnesota-bred bands, which have strictly played opening slots in years past.
How's this for daring, though? A punky hip-hop group -- the first rappers ever booked at RTG -- going on before a bluegrassy string band, both following an Afrobeat-influenced experimental group, with two straight-up, guitar-heavy rock bands for the opener and headliner. That's how widely Saturday's RTG lineup reached.
That Afrobeat-spiked band, New York's tUnE-yArds, was the only group without local ties, and indeed it fulfilled the role of discovery that Rock the Garden has served in promoting envelope- and genre-pushing new bands of the day.
Here are the most memorable moments during the rest of Rock the Garden 2012:
Howler doing Huskers: A band that has said less than amazing things about its hometown to the press, young Minneapolis pop-punk band Howler kicked off the show with a makeup-kiss of a cover song, Hüsker Dü's "Don't Want to Know If You Are Lonely."
Trampled by Turtles not alone singing "Alone": The Duluth-bred string band also chose a bold opening tune, their mellow and serene new single instead of one of their rapid-fire crowd-pleasers (such as "Wait So Long," which came last). It was a had-them-at-hello moment as half the crowd joined in on "Alone," about as close as RTG has ever gotten to a campfire singalong.
Hip-hop makes its debut: Hard to believe that no rapper has ever performed at RTG. Doomtree's opener "Boltcutter" cut right through the proverbial barriers, though, and the seven-member collective was soon treated like typical rock stars. They even beat rap stereotypes by cleaning up their act for the Current's live broadcast, though Dessa did joke about suffering from "pent-up obscenities."
P.O.S. makes the case again for "Get Down": As he did at Soundset and the Blowout concerts, Doomtree rapper P.O.S. turned the event into an all-out dance party with an electro-bouncing show-stealer of a song that hasn't even been released yet (it's on his record coming out Sept. 18).
The Hold Steady's "Killer" finale: Coming off an extended hiatus, Finn & Co. seemed a little off for much of the night, and it didn't help that they pulled heavily from the poorly received 2010 album "Heaven Is Whenever." They hit their stride in the end, though, with "Stay Positive" and the closer, "Killer Parties," dedicated to late Soul Asylum bassist Karl Mueller.
- Chris Riemenschneider
'Project Runway' tabs a local
Another year, another Minnesotan on "Project Runway." Last Friday, Lifetime announced the cast for the 10th season of the fashion reality show, and it includes Minneapolis' own Raul Osorio. The 27-year-old, California-born designer spent most of his childhood in Honduras, having moved to Minnesota seven years ago. He's the fifth local designer to appear on the reality show (after Danielle Everine in 2011, Christopher Straub and Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman in 2009 and Katy Gerdes in 2006).
Since debuting at "Voltage: Fashion Amplified" in 2010, Osorio has made a strong impression on the local fashion scene, thanks to his slightly androgynous, matador-inspired menswear and his feminine-yet-confident women's wear.
Along with Friday's announcement came the reveal that the first challenge would be taking place that same evening with a public runway show in New York's Times Square. The 16 designers showed a total of two complementary looks each: one created at home, the other created at Parsons the New School for Design in one day with only $100.