Jason Gabbert of Plymouth:
1 Pointer Sisters, State Fair. Original member Ruth Pointer, 71, along with her daughter Issa Pointer and granddaughter Sadako Pointer, showed great vocals and high energy doing hits from the 1970s and ’80s.
2 Tanya Tucker, State Fair. She treated a standing-room-only crowd at the bandshell to old favorites including “Sparrow in a Hurricane” and “Delta Dawn.”
3 Redhead Express, State Fair. These four sisters from Alaska displayed a wide range of talent in a show featuring originals and covers from the country and pop worlds.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Black Alley, Paisley Park. The winners of the first Battle of the Bands came across like Janelle Monae fronting Living Colour. A richly deserved victory.
2 Lucius, State Fair. Their quirky vocal blend and personalities made for a perfect Saturday night treat. Bonus: Cactus Blossoms joining them on “Save the Last Dance for Me.”
3 Taj Mahal and Keb Mo, State Theatre. Two veteran bluesmen with one band simmered more than cooked but rewarded nonetheless.