Saturdays are for the Bands: Bon Iver and The Revolution headline Rock the Garden 2017
July 29, 2017
*This article can be found here*
For one day a year, the beloved Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota transforms into the festival grounds of any art lover’s dreams for the Rock the Garden music festival. Local and internationally recognized artists join forces to put on a show for members of the art museum and the local radio station, The Current.
The July 22 show was no different, filling two stages with performers that brought in crowds of thousands, despite the sweltering temperature and little cloud-cover. The main stage acts were staggered, as to give time for the audience to wander about the grounds, explore the outdoor exhibits and grab a brew and a bite to eat.
The huge turnout was mainly due to the last two stars of the evening’s line-up and their ties to Minnesota, The Revolution and Bon Iver.
The Revolution, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was once the band that Prince played along with from 1979-1986 and then sporadically up until his untimely death in April 2016. With Minneapolis still mourning their hometown hero, many fans came decked out in Prince’s signature purple emblazoned with the iconic logo.
Knowing just how important his songs are to the community, singer and guitarist Wendy Melvoin addressed the crowd saying, “These songs belong to you guys now. We’re just the band, they are yours now, so sing ‘em loud!”
With that, the band played through classics like “1999,” “Paisley Park,” and of course “Purple Rain,” complete with purple stage lights and a swaying crowd. After The Revolution finished their set, they joined hands in solidarity and took a bow to a standing ovation and whooping cheers from the very touched and thankful audience.
Their latest album, 22, A Million, dropped five years after the 2011 self-titled album, but many fans of Bon Iver have been loyal since 2008. This was recognized by Vernon, and at the end of his set he took a single chair down into the audience and took a moment to address their dedication. “We are honored and privileged to be here,” Vernon said. “This is for everyone who has been with us from the beginning” He then played a hauntingly beautiful rendition of their first widely recognized hit, “Skinny Love,” closing out their set and a full day of music in the sculpture garden.
Taking it back to the beginning of the day, the opener of the festival was Margaret Glaspy, a California-native singer-songwriter with a passion for indie folk music. Aside from her two self-released albums, (released in 2012 and 2013 respectively) Glaspy mainly showed off tracks from her 2016 record, Emotions and Math. Glaspy got right to the point, playing song after song with little to no commentary in between, as, admittedly, the heat was getting to her as well.
The next act, Car Seat Headrest, followed Glaspy’s plan to play straight on through their set, leaving little time to get to know the bandmates behind their shields of hair. Lead singer, Will Toledo, came ill-prepared for the Minnesota heat in an all-black ensemble featuring a turtleneck sweater and a heavy head of black hair to match.
Having released their last album in May 2016, called Teens of Denial to accompany their 2015 album, Teens of Style, the band has been on tour ever since. The set itself was very instrument-heavy with little vocals from Toledo. A stand-out song however was “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales,” not just for the presence of lyrics, but for the crowd’s loving reaction towards the band’s hot single.
Following Car Seat Headrest, Benjamin Booker took the stage for a blues-rock spin. Having just released a new album earlier this year, Witness, Booker mainly played songs off of that, splicing in a few singles from his 2012 album as well.
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