(For more Booster Days-related activities, in addition to music, see this web site’s Picks of the Week department).
Although its heavy on blues and classic rock, the soul of Hudson Booster Days music may be its diverse line-up, which also swings toward indie-rock, funk, hip-hop, jazz, alternative, and of course country.
The music acts at the annual celebration have been largely changed up from many previous years, giving listeners a wider range of entertainment to revel in. There is no cover charge for any of the live music during the festival at Lakefront Park, which runs June 30-July 3 and has lots of music acts — count ‘em, a total of eight — in the band shell. There also are other featured activities, some old and some new, such as the bean bag tournament, magic show at two different times, and kid’s pedal tractor pull.
The bands that will play, on order of appearance throughout three days of music, are the Alex Rossi Trio, Chris Lawrence, Kingsview, Cadillac Kolstad & The Flats, Paisan, The Sixes, Ross William Perry and of course, Uncle Chunk. Two of those bands are on Friday, and three each on Saturday and Sunday.
These are the bios of the bands:
– The Alex Rossi Trio is made up of blues, soul and funk music, with a twist.
Rossi has been performing professionally for over 15 years. With strong roots in the styles mentioned, Rossi has created what’s called a unique and recognizable sound from his diverse musical background, filling the dance floor. The band has been a mainstay of the Minneapolis music scene for a over a decade, for years holding down a popular gig at Gluek’s. Rossi’s talents were recognized when he was picked a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. He has shared the stage with notable artists including Chicago, Steve Miller Band, Johnny Lang, Eric Hutchinson, Jimmie Vaughan, Blues Traveler, Morris Day & The Time, The Funk Brothers, Susan Tedeschi, Los Lonely Boys and others. Rossi has recorded five albums.
– Chris Lawrence is one of a number of singers with Hudson connections to go deep into the American Idol contest — twice, with his sultry R&B, soul, funk and a hint of hip-hop.
Lawrence, age 25, has been signed by Pitbull’s label imprint Mr. 305 Ent., and he’s already generated a buzz with his tender heartbreak single “Withdrawal,” as the song was on the nationally syndicated radio show “The Weekend Top 30,” which airs on KDWB. MTVhits, MTVu and VH1 have also aired the video, which includes a nod to Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones.” The single was produced by Kay Gee of Naughty by Nature, and Lawrence recently finished off his full-length album with the help of Gee.
– Kingsview boasts alternative and indie-rock with catchy lead melodies and infectious harmonies, they say. The group is active in the local music scene and brings a new style to live songs, mixing original music with unique covers and a blend of today’s popular music. The set list played is often referred to as “a breath of fresh air” by staff and patrons during shows. The group prides themselves on energetic concerts tailored to the venue and the audience — like the band shell. The band has been writing and practicing material for their second record, due out mid-year.
– Cadillac Kolstad & The Flats features throwback rock and blues with a bit of boogie-woogie, especially on the piano. Kolstad says the name was “awarded” to him because he owns three 1964 Cadillacs, and he considers himself a history fan, which fits with his traditional roots style and the older and historic venues he often plays. Kolstad has released three albums — one with the band to be seen this weekend, one a solo album and one with Cornbread Harris. He performs his versions of roots and jazz standards, along with his own songs, and includes some subtle political commentary or views on current events — at times playing both impromptu and planned concerts in pubs around Ireland and in hotels in China.
– Paisan plays high-energy, hard-charging rock and roll, and although you may have heard that before, they’ve been doing it since 2006, starting as an impromptu get-together for a local festival much like Booster Days to fill an open spot on the main stage. Since then, they’ve performed classic rock, country new and old, and of course oldies. They are best known for showcasing well-known artists’ less-known songs. However, the young group still plays the greats that everyone can recognize.
– The Sixes and Ross William Perry start off the next day, with first-off acoustic blues, followed by gritty blues and guitar. The Sixes play that acoustic music with an edge, bringing a very intimate atmosphere that is also engaging to songs about life, love, and everything in between. No particular genre defines them, as there are soft melodies and “moments of intense in-your-face bluesy rock.” The duo from both ends of Wisconsin is led by Dwayne Thomas and yes, they play the cajon, too.
Ross William Perry has been doing his homework since age four and it shows. Focused on a lifetime of playing his music, Ross has been a rising star on the Midwest blues scene since graduating high school in 1998. Blending blues, rock and jazz influences, Ross has created a sound that is distinctively his own.
– Uncle Chunk is a popular headliner of local fests and a fan favorite. They perform covers of more then 80 different bands on their 115-song play list, which is heavy on Green Day, among others, and also includes seven originals. For more than 20 years now, they also cover the best from all genres, they say, and back it up by virtue of the gigs they get.
Sponsors of the acts are, Demon Rum (two bands on Saturday) and Mallory’s Restaurant and Rooftop Bar (two Sunday bands). The Village Inn in North Hudson is sponsor of the bean bag tourney, The Giggle Factory Inc. is sponsor of the magician, and Frontier Ag and Turf is lead sponsor of the kid’s pedal tractor pull.
Two other featured events will find you in luck if you are in any of the first three places.
The new bean bag tourney, with players trying to slide their tosses to just the right spot, has registration from 11:15-11:45 a.m., ($20 per person, double elimination). There are cash prizes awarded to first, second and third place winners, with the other half of the money raised going to youth sports. Competitors are given two drink tickets each with entry.
The kid’s pedal tractor pull is an officially sanctioned event, which is demonstrated by the long-stretching girth of the competitors, taking place just south of the band shell. There are five divisions, boys and girls mixed: four years and under, five and six, seven and eight, nine and ten, and 11 and 12 years of age.
Registration is at 1:30 p.m. and pulling starts at approximately 2 p.m. There are trophies for first, second and third places, and a free treat for all participants. Places 1-3 in each division are eligible to move on to the State Pull. The event is run by Roger and Laurie Neumann of New Richmond.
These are the bands and other selected entertainment activities among the dozens available for people to enjoy at Booster Days:
Friday, July 1 — 5-8:15 p.m., Alex Rossi Trio; 9-12:30 p.m., Chris Lawrence Band.
Saturday, July 2 — 1:30-4:30 p.m., Kingsview; 1:30-3:30 p.m., kids’ tractor pedal pull; 5:15-8:15 p.m., Cadillac Kolstad & The Flats; 9-12:30 p.m., Paisan.
Sunday, July 3 — noon, bean bag toss tourney; 1:30–4:30 p.m., The Sixes; 3-7 p.m., Booster Days car show; 4:30-5 p.m., Acme Magic Factory magician, (new this year); 5:15-8:15 p.m., Ross William Perry; 8:15-8:45 p.m., Acme Magic Factory magician; 9-12:30 p.m., Uncle Chunk; at dusk, fireworks over the St. Croix River, sponsored by the city of Hudson.