Taking a Guess at Rock the Garden 2012

This widely-acclaimed annual feature attempts to read the minds of the programming and event planning departments at the Current and Walker Art Center and guess the top-secret lineup of Rock the Garden, their back-patting summer festival of love and overpriced Summit EPA. This year it’s on June 16. This is our way of sneezing in the Current’s oatmeal.

Josh Keller

Best Guess: Bon Iver.
I know it is the easy/cop-out choice, but to the music fans who make up the core constituency of the Rock the Garden fan base, he is like a combination of Prince, John Lennon and Jesus.  Only better.  I’d half expect a pond of water in front of the stage where the local music media will expect him to walk on water for the encore.

Dream: David Byrne/Talking Heads
I would gladly swallow any 89.3 The Current bashing I have done in the past to get a chance to see Byrne playing his classic material.  Hearing “Life During Wartime,” “This Must Be the Place” or “Strange Overtones” on a nice summer night as the sun is setting would be close to perfect.

Worst Case Scenario: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Kind of like wondering what was up with the people who voted to re-elected W in 2004 or Nixon in 1972, I look back in awe that this band was so popular.  The crazy thing is, I think they still are just as popular and could see them being another perfect fit for the crowd that will buy tickets to this event before they even announce the lineup.

Supporting Slot 1
Best Guess: The Shins
I have no idea why, but they seem like what the doctor ordered for a mid-sized festival like this, right?  Pretty general mass appeal from these dudes, which fits in with the general aesthetic of the event.

Dream: Ty Segall/Big K.R.I.T
Adding either the thrashing garage fuzz-punk of Segall or the contemplative bangers of K.R.I.T would shake things up in a very good way.  Don’t hold your breath.

Worst Case Scenario: Peter Bjorn and John
In addition to the fact that they are overrated and really lackluster live…it would lead to a wildly annoying sing-along to “Young Kids.”

Supporting Slot 2
Best Guess: Of Monsters and Men
I went above and beyond and did some research for this post, finding out that a band called “Of Monsters and Men” have the top song on the Current’s chart show for the last few weeks.  I have no idea who they are or what they sound like, but they are my educated guess for this spot.

Dream: Peaking Lights
How awesome would Peaking Lights dubbed out pop bliss sound on a warm summer evening with a cold beer in hand?

Worst Case Scenario: Odd Future
If they decide to have a hip hop group, hopefully they don’t have these talent deficient assholes.

Token Locals
Best Guess: Polica
Outside of it not working for their schedule, they seem like an obvious choice. They fit in the Bon Iver mold of how can you fawn over a band so much and not do everything possible to get them to your summer festival?

Dream: Food Pyrmaid
They put out my favorite local release of the year (Mango Sunrise) and would be a great way to start a chill on the grassy hill outside of the Walker.

Worst Case Scenario: Howler
Because no matter how much we all know they are a blip on the radar, they are the blip on the radar de jour, which means they would be a natural fit for the opening slot of RTG.

Jon Behm

Best Guess: Bon Iver.
A few years after Justin Vernon’s opening slot RTG debut I wouldn’t be surprised to hear him invited back, though the organizers may choose to “rock things up” a little with a slightly more upbeat choice like the Black Keys.  Probably Bon Iver though, because it gives us a chance to speculate about the “Minneapolis Sound.”

Dream: Tom Waits
You get Tom Waits and as far as I am concerned, you could fill all three slots with anyone and I am still coming.

Worst Case Scenario: Foo Fighters
One of the worst bands ever and yet, somehow still popular. I think they were my nightmare scenario last year too. If I had to choose someone new then my other perennial least-favorite-band, Death Cab For Cutie.  Or perhaps when the organizers pull the stage back out of storage, My Morning jacket will still be there jamming away on extended guitar solos. Just plug em back in and go, man.

Supporting Slot 1
Best Guess: Polica
If my other guess turns out to be right, I foresee a Justin Vernon/Polica cover duet that will be widely praised until it is the stuff of local legend, giving rise to “Bon Iver and Polica, 2012: I was there” tattoos.  Local media will throw the band member’s names into the random content generator and then take a two month vacation as their stories will all be written for them.

Dream: Portishead
In my dreams I see the clouds suddenly blotting out the sun as Beth Gibbons takes the stage.  Children begin crying and mothers cover their ears as the band begins to pummel the audience with mirthlessly punishing tunes from Third.  Sips of Grain Belt turn to ash in drinker’s mouths, but this is the least of their problems as ghosts have begun to rise from their graves and steal the souls of the living.  The previous flood of obnoxious tweets quickly dries to a trickle, ending with one final “OMG I’m totes dying #RTGtoolmysoul.” After the show ends all that is left are a pile of empty “Life is Good” t-shirts, iphones, and hundreds of plastic cups.

Worst Case Scenario: Soul Coughing reunion
I have heard that in some antechamber deep underneath the Current studios Mike Doughty keeps the whole band in dry-storage.

Supporting Slot 2
Best Guess: Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Let’s get some culture up in here! Get some of those wrinkled white butts shaking but in a “tasteful” way.  Actually, I am tempted to say Major Lazer just because I would love to see the look on people’s faces when Skerrit Bwoy does his stepladder-vagina-dive.

Dream: Julia Holter
Even though she’s an NPR favorite, I still think that Holter might be a too “difficult” choice for the beer-swilling environment of an outdoor music festival.  Still, like Julianna Barwick before her, I am convinced that eventually Holter will end up at the Walker in some capacity (most likely an intimate indoor show). If not Holter then how about Big Freedia? “Ass Everywhere” is totally ready for prime time exposure.

Worst Case Scenario: Some combination of the words “Britpop” and “internet sensation” or just one or the other on their own, really.

Token Locals
Best Guess: Trampled By Turtles
Bring a bike lock for your djembes folks – you gotta leave them at the door, maaan. Or Polica if they don’t get the other slot. Seriously, is there any way that Polica ISN’T going to play this show?

Dream: Mother of Fire
Whichever souls slip away from the Portishead reaping will quickly be consumed by the elemental demons conjured by this trio.

Worst Case Scenario: Some attempt to capitalize on the Howler and 4onthefloor “controversy” by having both bands play. Omigod, will they fight each other?  Of course they won’t.  But we could pit them against each other in local media beforehand and have all sorts of fun with snarky interviews and speculation and whatnot.  Actually, if this does happen it will just make the Portishead soul-stealing scenario (see above) all the more sweet.

Adam Bubolz

Best Guess: Death Cab For Cutie.
While I sometimes think I’m a little out of touch what the masses of safe indie rock like, I think this is always a pretty safe bet.

Dream: Pulp
This is part of my “get Pulp within 10 hours of me” campaign for 2012. If that fails, I’d accept Radiohead.

Worst Case Scenario: Dawes
We’re still into this boring rootsy rock here, right?

Supporting Slot 1
Best Guess: tUnE-yArDs
Here’s where they throw in the curve ball of the hip new young and slightly weird band to try and prove they’re still with it.

Dream: Suicide
Recent lineups have seemed to add a bit older “classic” artist to the lineup so what better than Martin Rev’s keyboard echoing off the Walker Art Center for something classic?

Worst Case Scenario: tUnE-yArDs
Seriously though, people really like this?

Supporting Slot 2
Best Guess: Phoenix
Seems reasonable.

Dream: OFF!
There hasn’t been a good shake up on the lineup since the first Rock The Garden’s Sunship Sextet. I’d love to see the crowd handle 20 minutes of hardcore.

Worst Case Scenario: surprise me

Token Locals
Best Guess: Polica
They may have headlined one of the Current’s birthday shows but Polica seems like an obvious choice for the local on the bill. They’d also big a pretty good improvement over anything else that could end up on this bill.

Dream: Brute Heart
We’ve been cheering on Brute Heart since we started here and it’s about time they got even more recognition.

Worst Case Scenario: Howler doing a 4onthefloor cover set
The way to finally end this thing, right?

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70 Responses

  1. Matt says:

    Hahaha nice, Adam. I would love to see Pulp rock the garden. Tune-Turds is horrendous. Idk how people actively listen to her music.

  2. Adam Bubolz says:

    Josh, didn’t David Byrne headline the 2nd or 3rd Rock The Garden? Might have been the pre-Current ones.

  3. jonbehm says:

    I like Tune-Yards you jerks. Obviously you just don’t like her because you are hipsters because that’s the only reason why anyone doesn’t like anything that I like

  4. jonbehm says:

    But yeah, Tune-Yards also seems like a pretty likely guess. Lets also not rule out the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s or one of Jack White’s bands

  5. Matt says:

    Haha Jon, I actually don’t “get” tune-yards, so maybe I’m the anti-hipster.

    I think we can all agree that it would be a delight seeing people’s faces melt if Food Pyramid played this show though.

  6. Jamey says:

    definitely not Dawes, Edward Sharpe, The Shins, Bon Iver, Poliça, or Foo Fighters

  7. solace says:

    i would say Howler or Night Moves as the local is a safe bet. wouldn’t be surprised by Tune Yards. possibly St. Vincent since she’s in town the day before @ the Fitz.

    other than that I really have no clue…

    Head & The Heart? Silversun Pickups? Beck? Jack White? Alabama Shakes? Dr. Dog?

    your guess is as good as mine.

  8. jonbehm says:

    Jamey – if not those bands then who?

  9. Jamey says:


    I actually don’t know, but those bands can be ruled out due to touring schedules and playing other festivals and shows locally this summer that are within the radius clause.

  10. Jamey says:

    for example, Edward Sharpe plays a big outdoor gig at the Cabooze 3 weeks before on May 25th. The Shins play Brick on June 1st, both can be ruled out as a result.

    Dawes have a gig in Virginia the day before and in upstate New York the day after, so I suppose they could fly in for a one off, but that seems risky and the other gig in NY is a festival as well.

    as for Foo Fighters. no way they could afford a band that big. their guarantee is likely upwards of 400-500k for a festival these days, which is more than their entire budget.

  11. jonbehm says:

    Safe from the Foo Fighters then – that’s good. I suppose we could have looked some of these up but its more fun to speculate off of the hip.

    Revised guesses with those considerations:

    Silversun Pickups
    Head and the Heart
    Night Moves

    Solace, I took a couple from your list. I doubt St. Vincent would play another show right on the heels of her Fitz show – and isn’t there a radius rule anyways? Silversun Pickups would also be right up there on my “most dreaded nightmare” list. Speaking of nightmares, how about Matt & Kim?

  12. solace says:

    re: St. Vincent… yeah hard to say… that event is an MPR sponsored event and she’s not playing a full show, just 3-4 songs is what they usually play during Wits. but she’s also playing First Ave on May 12th too, so it seems unlikely (albeit feasibly possible).

    i wouldn’t be surprised if Tune Yards was on the bill… seems like nearly every Current DJ fell for them over the last year.

    I actually wouldn’t put your Howler + 4otf proposal past them either to be honest…

  13. Matt says:

    No more MN roots rock…

    Let’s get Deerhunter…Brandford’s on a roll in Minneapolis after his last performance.

  14. solace says:

    I like Americana :/

    Always have tho. I blame Uncle Tupelo

  15. solace says:

    Any plans to do guesses for the L

  16. solace says:

    Any plans to do guesses for the Live Nation Festival the weekend after RTG?

    Or SoundTown? (7/26-7/28)

  17. Adam Bubolz says:

    I got no overall Americana issues, just the boring bands people really go nuts for.

    I think we’re doing at least SoundTown guesses…

  18. jonbehm says:

    The Strib beat us to LiveNation – guessing that their guess was an educated one.

    Soundtown is anyone’s guess – suprised they haven’t announced any bands yet. Maybe behind the scenes everyone’s fighting over the Raconteurs or something?

  19. solace says:

    yeah, but those are only the two headliners for the LiveNation thing… those are the same 2 rumors i’d heard as well, so they seem legit.

    and Adam… fair enough. i can see how if the only Dawes one is exposed to is the songs on The Current, i wouldn’t be interested much either, but they won me over live the 3x I saw them prior to North Hills coming out and have loved them live ever since. I rarely listen to their records.

    and Jon, maybe you hadn’t heard, but Jack White has a solo album out in May and is not working with any of his other bands this summer as a result (Brendan Benson also has a new solo record out too and is playing the Varsity in June fwiw).

    Should be hearing about SoundTown soon too apparently (maybe even some bands today).

  20. Matt says:

    Solace…I love Americana, I’m more echoing the disdain for the overplayed stuff.

    Dont blame UT, I love Tupelo, Son Volt, Golden Smog etc etc. Speaking of which, why don’t they throw a curve ball and get Golden Smog to play.

    I’m also looking forward to SoundTown. I didn’t make it out last year, bit of looked like fun.

  21. solace says:

    hmm… Dirty Projectors just released a sweet new track off what is supposedly a new album out this spring.

    maybe they’ll play RTG or one of the other 2 festivals?

    and the Walker has hosted Dirty Projectors before… would be pretty cool (i can’t actually attend RTG this year due to a wedding anyway).

  22. solace says:

    looks like Soundtown is releasing their initial lineup on Monday (was supposed to be today)

  23. solace says:

    scratch that… apparently the person doing their twitter account was jumping the gun a bit… soon tho

  24. groovez says:

    Why has Bon Iver been ruled out? He has a break in his tours starting June 10th (after Bonaroo) and he isn’t playing anywhere near the Twin Cities before that. I’d say Bon Iver is a pretty good possibility for this year’s headliner!

  25. Jamey says:

    because he’s playing another outdoor gig this summer

  26. jonbehm says:

    Jamey – I don’t think that takes him out of the running. A lot of artists will play multiple outdoor gigs this Summer

  27. Jamey says:

    Jon, true, but you’re forgetting radius clauses for the larger festivals… ie: can’t play another show within a specific amount of time before/after within a certain number of miles.

    I don’t think RTG has nearly as strong of one as other festivals, but I’d imagine the LiveNation one the very next weekend has a pretty strict one…

  28. jonbehm says:

    I don’t see anything on Bon Iver’s festival schedule that would prompt a radius clause dispute. Unless you are saying he (they) are playing the Live Nation thing?

  29. solace says:

    far as i’m aware he’s not playing either, but obviously things could have changed.

    i have a feeling Free Energy and/or The Hold Steady will play RTG. FE have a new album done and out this summer/fall, THS are finishing one up and play a one off festival in Calgary the weekend after RTG.

  30. solace says:

    oh, and with the announcement of a new Dirty Projectors record soon, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on the bill either. they have a past relationship with The Walker too.

  31. solace says:

    aaand i see I already mentioned that above… nice short term memory you got there ace.

  32. jonbehm says:

    hey solace, you think maybe the Dirty Projectors are going to play? How about the Dirty Projectors?


  33. solace says:

    I dunno… do they have a new album coming out soon or anything? 😉

  34. solace says:

    apparently not caring about embargos… Chris R. dropped sly dropped that there will be 5 bands on the lineup this year:


  35. solace says:

    dropped sly dropped is my favorite new band name.

  36. And the announcement will feature a performance from one of the 5 bands. Howler will be back for their show at the Varsity the next night. I can totally see them doing it.

  37. solace says:

    yup. my thoughts exactly.

    plus they moved the announcement from the 17th to the 18th a while back, probably to make sure they were back from Ohio on the 15th.

  38. jonbehm says:

    Ah, perhaps America will have Given Up by then

  39. Adam Bubolz says:

    Ooh I hope they have the old guy from the Howler commercial do the lineup announcement! That guy hates young people!

  40. Notorious L.O.B.E.S. says:

    Drive By Truckers!!

  41. grahampbua says:

    Polica.. fawned over.. thats an understatement. I bet that Grim Reaper walking around SXSW figured that 89.3 was going to play Polica to death and wanted to case the action.

  42. Josh says:

    Now I am glad we didn’t guess the live nation/river fest. Such awfulness.

  43. solace says:

    yeah… what a waste of brain power that would have been.

  44. C Brown says:

    Wow, you bloggers couldn’t be more off base if you tried. As a long time fan of The Current I have to say that I mildly appreciate the music of Bon Iver but neither me or anyone else sees him as a deity. And nobody in the band Magnetic Zeros is named Edward Sharp; the singer’s name is Alex. They are a them, not a him. Do some research before you speak so pretentiously. Sorry if you are all too cool for school but get over yourselves for Christ’s sake; to each their own, right? If you don’t appreciate attending the show you can all spend the night in Uptown sipping appletinis.

  45. solace says:


    who the hell said there was anyone in the band named Edward?!? i’m quite familiar with them, as i’ve seen them 3x and they’ve disappointed all 3x (so much so that my wife begged us to leave after 5 songs @ First Ave).

    and what are we “off base” on? the lineup?

  46. Josh says:

    I’ll fall on the sword for that one…pure laziness/putting things together last minute on my part. I know they are a band and not a person ….I also have had the unfortunate experience of seeing them live before, so I know all too well the makeup of the band. Despite my lackluster writing/editing skills, I stand by the fact that I don’t like them. I’ve corrected the post…thanks for pointing it out “C.”

    In regards to “to each their own,” I wholeheartedly agree. People tell me the music I like sucks all the time and I often get pissed and tell them they don’t know what they are talking about…but the whole point of these posts is to say who we would love to see and who we would hate to see. It wouldn’t be much fun if we pulled a Rolling Stone and gave everyone a 3.5 out of 5 and said “no matter what they choose it will be super!”

    As for Uptown and anywhere serving appletinis, I avoid both. They would probably be playing Bon Iver or Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. 😉

  47. jonbehm says:

    Noone disparaged Bon Iver in the post either – I think C Brown is just projecting. I have enjoyed the hell out of some Bon Iver shows – He’s (they) my most likely candidate to play because he fits the demographic completely. I think some of the hyperbole thrown around Bon Iver approaches ridiculousness, but I have no problem with the band itself other than a few cuts off the last album that I can’t stand.

  48. Adam Bubolz says:

    I’d disparage Bon Iver if I had the chance

    -Adam Appletini

  49. C Brown says:

    Solace: My “off base” comment was directed to the original posts; not the following comments. You, in fact, were spot on with speculative bands and were refreshingly non-judgemental. Josh: sorry if I came off as abrasive…I was a little heated that evening. I appreciate the update. Whoever plays that night I highly doubt it won’t be worth seeing as a whole.

  50. solace says:

    Adam is gonna be happy with at least one band on the lineup!

  51. solace says:

    and yes i’m being facetious

  52. C Brown says:

    I don’t see Bon Iver as a headliner. For one, he opened in 2008. Also, I would expect a more energetic closing set. As for Phoenix…they don’t have anything scheduled so I would personally count them out; I highly doubt they would make RTG their only show this summer. As for Edward Sharpe: playing the Cabooze on May 25th, I’d write them off as well. Has anyone considered the Hold Steady for a supporting act? If you check their schedule it makes sense logistically. For what it is worth I’m hoping for Jack White to headline.

  53. Adam Bubolz says:

    I’d actually like to see Jack White

  54. Jamey says:

    Hold Steady are definitely playing… Jack White sadly is not

  55. Matt says:

    This is, by far, this worst RTG lineup ever.

    What in the fuck were they thinking?

    In the last year these bands have played a combined 50+ shows in the cities. What a load of shit.

  56. lolmatt says:


  57. solace says:

    Matt… i’d still take it over the 2010 lineup…

    that one only had Sharon Jones, and she wasn’t even the headliner

  58. Adam Bubolz says:

    I’d take the Hold Steady over the previous headliners of the last few years for sure. I’ve already said what I think of tune-yards and the local components I really have no strong feelings towards in any ways really.

    Matt is right though, all of these play here really frequently…

  59. Jamey says:

    yeah, but this festival has not been for the die hard/avid concert goers for quite some time imo… it’s for the people who go to 2-3 shows a year more than anything.

    also, My Morning Jacket KILLED it last year :). best actual “rock” headliner that they’ve ever had play RTG for me.

  60. jonbehm says:

    solace, if you are going to go into MMJ superfan mode you may as well use your real name

  61. Adam Bubolz says:

    “yeah, but this festival has not been for the die hard/avid concert goers for quite some time imo… it’s for the people who go to 2-3 shows a year more than anything.”

    Fair enough I guess. It’s not like I’ve attended any of these since the Sonic Youth/Stereolab one.

  62. Matt says:

    “lolmatt” – Matt

    Said and done, I’m just surprised they didn’t rope in a more nationally known band, one without ties to Minnesota. No, The Hold Steady doesn’t count.

    Yeah, it’s put on The Current, but this is a recycled circle jerk of a lineup. Gimme a break. Probably the safest lineup/bands they could’ve picked.

    And tune yards is terrible. Still.

  63. solace says:

    whatever do you mean Jon? 😉

  64. solace says:

    and Adam… i’ve been to all but 2010 (MGMG / Sharon Jones / OK Go / RGC) and 2003 with Wilco/Bad Plus/Fog (was out of town, otherwise I would have been there).

    my favorite one is most definitely David Byrne (i sadly missed Antibalas’ opening set). after that probably the first one back (Andrew Bird / New Pornographers / Cloud Cult / Bon Iver), last year, Sonic Youth / Stereolab, then The Decemberists / Calexico / Yeasayer / Solid Gold one.

    as much as I adore Sonic Youth, they were touring for NYC Ghosts & Flowers when they played RTG and that album isn’t one of my favorites sadly, even though I saw them 4 times on that tour (granted most were opening for Pearl Jam).

  65. Adam Bubolz says:

    That was the first time I ever got to see them so it holds a special place. Also seeing Cock ESP outside on that stage as part of the opener sure was something. Someone get them on this lineup.

  66. solace says:

    true… that was my first Sonic Youth show too (have now seen them probably a dozen times crazily enough).

    my love of Sonic Youth is very untraditional… it mostly started with Murray Street and furthered with Sonic Nurse and Rather Ripped, which is my favorite 3 album run of theirs. I always dug Daydream Nation a ton and heard it sometime in the early to mid 90’s, liked Goo, Dirty and Washing Machine a bit too, but they really seemed to find their stride of experimental sounds + pop melodies with Murray.

  67. Adam Bubolz says:

    Solace, let’s see if they’ll let us book next year to fix this. We’ll get Arcade Fire, Wolf Eyes and Journey to headline. World peace will be achieved.

  68. Grahampuba says:

    Circle jerk.. you took the words right out of my mouth.

  69. solace says:

    Adam, don’t forget Bad Brains

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