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None of them calls Minnesota home anymore. Most of them haven't even lived here for over two decades.

Somehow, though, Saturday night's kindred pairing of the Hold Steady and the Bob Mould Band at the State Fair grandstand still felt like a homecoming celebration.

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The last full-fledged concert in this year's well-attended fair grandstand series — the amateur contest finals are Sunday, then children's act Blippi is Monday — Saturday's pairing fell under the banner of Minnesota Public Radio's rock station the Current. Its attendance figure, 5,909 fans, doubled the number of last year's Current show with Portugal. The Man and Manchester Orchestra, which had to be evacuated because of a tornado warning.

Rather than lean on younger and trendier bands this year, the Current's Music-on-a-Stick concert stuck to two beloved and reliable old standbys who play in town often. In fact, the show's locally based opening band Dillinger Four ironically has been more scarce in recent years than the expat acts — the Hold Steady featuring band members who grew up in the Twin Cities, while Mould lived in Minnesota for most of the 1980s, when he co-helmed the influential punk trio Hüsker Dü.

Saturday night's concert was thus loaded with songs either set in the Twin Cities or written in the Twin Cities.

In the former category, the Hold Steady's "Southtown Girls," "Stuck Between Stations" and "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" all referenced local landmarks such as City Center, Southtown Mall, Rainbow Foods and the Washington Avenue Bridge.

In the category of songs written here were the trio that opened Mould's 45-minute set: "Flip Your Wig," "I Apologize" and "Hate Paper Doll," all Hüsker Dü songs.

As he did on the same stage nine years earlier, Mould steamrolled through his 13-song set with an intensity and sturdiness that belies his 62 years. His drummer Jon Wurster (from Superchunk) broke through his snare drum a few songs in trying to match Mould's delivery.

Mould also ended with his two best-known Hüskers tracks, "Celebrated Summer" and "Makes No Sense at All." In between, he threw in cuts from his earliest solo albums (including "See a Little Light" and an extra-stormy "Stand Guard"), his more recent solo LPs ("The Descent," "Siberian Butterfly"), and his early-'90s band Sugar ("Hoover Dam," "If I Can't Change Your Mind"). What a jam-packed, no-nonsense performance.

For the Hold Steady — playing the fair for the first time — Saturday's gig continued the band's long tradition of making its Twin Cities gigs feel more like events than just standard tour stops. In this case, the show was also tied to the sextet's 20th anniversary.

"We've been having birthday parties all year, but we wanted to make our party in Minnesota extra special," Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn, who was raised in Edina, said after another song based on local lore, "Party Pit."

The set list was rather standard, but not the setting or the audience's enthusiasm. Finn seemed extra animated when the songs suited the moment, such as the horse-race saga "Chips Ahoy" (since the grandstand lies on the fair's old track). Both he and the crowd lit up in "Constructive Summer" over the line that name-checks a Dillinger Four song ("DoubleWhiskeyCokeNoIce").

"Not only did we get to play the fair," Finn added, "we had two groups with heroes of ours play with us."

Nineties-era punk veterans who regularly gigged with Finn's old band Lifter Puller, Dillinger Four blasted through a 30-minute set without much goofing around. It sounded like a band that's been steadily gigging all along, too, in songs including "Gainesville" and "Let Them Eat Thomas Paine." Bassist/co-vocalist Patrick Costello humorously made it sound like this might be their last gig, however, based on how excited guitarist Billy Morrisette was to play it.

"I'm pretty sure we're breaking up tonight, because this exceeds anything Billy ever wanted out of this stupid band," Costello cracked.

Go figure: A punk-rock show wound up being one of the most positive and feel-good grandstand concerts in this year's fair lineup.