What started out of cold desperation has turned into one of the most hotly anticipated events of summer for local music lovers in the Twin Cities.
The Hook & Ladder announced the lineup for its third annual Under the Canopy concert series on Thursday, an outdoor marathon that will kick off in early May and extend into October — with 36 shows already scheduled for the season.
"This is the largest amount of concerts we have ever announced at one time," said Jesse Brodd, whose company Nobool Presents books the series at the nonprofit venue off East Lake Street. "It is also still the initial launch with many more really cool concerts coming up."
St. Paul rapper Maria Isa — who was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in November — will kick off the series on May 4 headlining the Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice Fundraiser. That early May run will also see a 45th anniversary celebration for KFAI and the 96th birthday party for Cornbread Harris, who reunited with his son Jimmy "Jam" Harris on stage at last year's Under the Canopy series.
Other marquee Minnesota music acts lined up to perform throughout the summer include Davina & the Vagabonds, Jeremy Messersmith, Trailer Trash (marking its 30th anniversary!), the Belfast Cowboys, the Flamin' Oh's, Turn Turn Turn, Malamanya, the Shackletons and the Big Wu.
The venue's usual array of special events also will return, including: the Soul of the Southside Juneteenth Festival on June 19; Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival in July (details TBA); the Reggae Summer Splash over Memorial Day weekend, and the Built to Last tribute to Jerry Garcia on Aug. 5. New events lined up include a tribute to producer/musician Ed Ackerson on July 16, the Amerigrass Festival on Oct. 7 (bluegrass, not cannabis), and dance parties with Shannon Blowtorch and the GRRRL Scout crew.
Touring acts on the schedule include Crescent City party vets the New Orleans Suspects, Florida's repeat Blues Music Award winner Selwyn Birchwood, and Texas blues vet Sugaray Rayford with the Blood Brothers and Lightnin' Malcolm.
With their neighborhood still in ruins following George Floyd's murder and their patrons still worried about COVID-19 safety protocols, the Hook & Ladder crew converted their parking lot into a safely distanced concert venue to create the Under the Canopy programming in 2021. Many of that year's shows sold out despite ongoing COVID concerns.
The series returned in 2022 without the social distancing pods and was an even bigger hit. This year, the layout will be changed further to accommodate more general admission patrons and fewer seats, with improvements to sightlines and stage lighting, according to organizers. Some of the concerts also will feature "Hook After Dark" shows inside the Hook & Ladder after the 10 p.m. outdoor curfew.
Tickets for this initial batch of Under the Canopy concerts go on sale to the general public on March 10 at 10 a.m. via thehookmpls.com. Prices are usually in the $15-$30 range.
Members of the nonprofit venue's Patreon MPLS Club 21 — which comes with lots of other perks — get the first shot at tickets starting Tuesday at 10 a.m. via patreon.com/FirehousePAC. There's also a presale option for the Hook's email club subscribers on Thursday.
Here's the full Under the Canopy 2023 series lineup so far:
- 5/04 - Maria Isa - Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice Fundraiser
- 5/05 - KFAI's 45th Anniversary Community Celebration
- 5/06 - 10 Years of Mactír – A Wolfpack Celebration
- 5/07 - Cornell '77 Turns 46 - A Grateful Dead Concert Recreation
- 5/11 - Cornbread's 96th B-Day Party Extravaganza
- 5/12 - Steeling Dan - Music of Steely Dan: 2 Albums Aja & Royal Scam
- 5/13 - GRRRL SCOUT: May Queer Dance Party
- 5/18 - The Shackletons / Little Man with Christopher Mullins
- 5/19 - The Belfast Cowboys anniversary show with de'Lindas
- 5/26 - Summer Breeze Yacht Rock Fest featuring Lonesome Losers
- 5/27 - 2nd Annual Reggae Summer Splash with Socaholix / Innocent / International Reggae All Stars
- 6/01 - The Immaculate Beings, Sleeping Jesus, & Beemer
- 6/02 - 5th Annual Morel Feast Fundraiser
- 6/03 - Trailer Trash's 30th Anniversary Celebration
- 6/16 - ELnO and DJ Time Machine
- 6/17 - The New Orleans Suspects with Kung Fu Hippies
- 6/18 - Heatbox album release with Maxaphone, Alex Steele, & Reed Grimm
- 6/19 - Soul of The Southside - Juneteenth 2023
- 6/24 - Black Hearts Burlesque Block Party
- 6/24 - EXTRA AF presented by DJ Shannon Blowtorch & Elektra Cute
- 6/29 - Jeremy Messersmith
- 6/30 - Selwyn Birchwood
- 7/01 - Flamin' Oh's with Annie and the Bang Bang - Parkinson's Foundation fundraiser
- 7/14 - '90s Dance Night with You Oughta Know
- 7/16 - SUSSED-TACULAR: Celebrating new music on Ed Ackerson's birthday
- 7/20 - The Big Wu
- 7/21 - Malamanya + Salsa Brava
- 7/27 - Sugaray Rayford / Blood Brothers with Lightnin' Malcolm
- 7/28 - Jon Sullivan Band / People Brothers Band
- 7/29 - Frogleg
- 8/04 - Church Of Cash
- 8/05 - Built To Last Festival 'Jerry Day'
- 8/11 - Davina & The Vagabonds
- 8/19 - Turn Turn Turn / Scarlet Goodbye
- 10/13 - 14th annual Big Fat Love: Celebrating John Prine's Birthday