Christopher Ludtke of Minneapolis:
1 Rebirth Brass Band, the Dakota. Founding members Phil and Keith Frazier and their crew of New Orleans players brought a little NOLA warming joy to Minneapolis.
2 Fury Things, Turf Club. Opening for Birthday Suits, this Twin Cities band offered a roaring and restorative blast, with music from its forthcoming release, including a song referencing Kyle Werstein’s recovery from his bike accident last year.
3 “We Can Be Heroes” tribute to David Bowie, the Dakota. It was Julius Collins with an all-star band led by Michael Bland doing two sets of Bowie’s music. Featured were members of Melismatics, two Suburbs and great vocals all around.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Kendrick Lamar, College Football Playoff Championship halftime. His appearance in a park near Atlanta’s stadium underscored that hip-hop is truly mainstream — and he is a compelling force to be reckoned with.
2 Bad Plus, the Dakota. In their farewell as the original Twin Cities-launched trio, these much acclaimed jazzers showed continuing creativity and convincing chemistry despite some offstage acrimony. Wonder what will happen when new pianist Orrin Evans comes on board? Highlight: A smashing cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.”
3 Bono, the Rolling Stone interview. He was personal, mortal, humble (for him) and expansive about politics (of course) and U2’s new music. Loved how he quoted advice from Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney.