Best Bets: Cloud Cult at Bayfront, Martina McBride, Theatrical Music and More

Cloud Cult plays Saturday at Bayfront Festival Park. Photo by Graham Tolbert
By Christa Lawler, Duluth News Tribune

Cloud Cult headlines free show

An experimental rock band that travels with live painters and has recently shifted into the movie biz will headline the Reader Weekly’s 20th birthday party. Cloud Cult shares a bill with Red Mountain, Alamode, Reflectivore, Jaw Knee Vee and Superior Siren. The event is free and open to the public.

Cloud Cult, formerly based in Duluth, is an eight-person, eco-friendly indie band that most recently released “The Seeker,” an album that serves as a soundtrack to an award-winning dramatic film about loss starring Cloud Cult-superfan Josh Radnor and Alex McKenna. Expect great big swells of euphoric sound, no shoes, full band participation on drums and shoutouts to Lake Superior. You might cry.

Red Mountain is a synth-driven pop band that has a brass section, dancers and costumes; Alamode is a superfun disco-pop-ooey-gooey delicious mall-bound band fronted by the almost-always shirtless Nathan Holte; Reflectivore is a post-metal experimental band (also moviemakers) that wraps around your internal organs; Jaw Knee Vee describes itself as “deep fried lo-fi rawkabilly punk blues surf trash boogie woogie stomp”; and Superior Siren is a dark folk foursome fronted by Laura Sellner, whose vocals are as unique as her perspective.

The Reader’s 20th Birthday Bash is at 2 p.m. July 22 at Bayfront Festival Park. Tickets: Free, open to the public.

Get weird with Big Science

A super group that bills itself as “harnessing the power of science to create quasi-futuristic outer space music … from space” plays a show July 21 at The Red Herring Lounge.

Big Science is Tyler Scouton, Chris Modec-Halverson, Aaron Molina and Christian McShane and a bunch of sounds, gadgets, synths and presumably things that blink.

Also on the bill: Duluth DJ Tobin Dack, San Fran experimental musician Brian Day and Minneapolis psych-rock band Harakiri.

Big Science plays at 8 p.m. July 21 at The Red Herring Lounge, 208 E. First St. Tickets: $5 at the door.

Country star Martina McBride plays today at Black Bear Casino. Photo courtesy of Marbaloo Marketing

Martina McBride plays Black Bear

A longtime country artist who landed on Billboard charts in the mid-1990s with songs like “My Baby Loves Me” and “Wild Angels” will play a show July 20 at Black Bear Casino.

Martina McBride released her 13th studio album “Reckless” in 2016 β€” which critics described as a throwback. Taste of Country likened it to red wine on an empty stomach: “the buzz growing stronger the more you sip.”

Martina McBride plays at 7 p.m. July 20 at Black Bear Casino. Tickets: Start at $55 at

Musical theater mix

This go-round of Zenith City Cabaret will offer sneak peeks of Renegade Theater Company’s upcoming production of “Dogfight” and Duluth Playhouse’s “Cabaret,” which open in August at The Underground. The monthly musical theater hodgepodge features Lauren Hugh, who was recently in North Dakota Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and is Two Bears/Chippy in “Dogfight,” Shad Olsen, David Packa, Jennifer Robbins, Adam Sippola, Cally Stanich and Sara Wabrowetz.

Zenith City Cabaret is at 8 p.m. July 22 at Zeitgeist Arts Cafe atrium, 222 E. Superior St. Tickets: Free, $10 suggested donation.

Chamber opera channels correctional facility

The Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra presents “It Rained in Shakopee,” a chamber opera by New York City-based composer Wang Jie. It was inspired by the Shakopee Women’s Correctional Facility, and Jie said it channels “the voices from inside the fence to the public.”

Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra performs at 7:30 p.m. July 20 at Weber Music Hall, 1151 University Dr. Tickets: $20 adults, $18 seniors, $10 students, $5 children 12 and younger at

Pier view

Someone should let The 4onthefloor know that there is a new precedent for Concerts on the Pier: stage-diving into Lake Superior. Thanks, Boomchucks. The 4onthefloor, a blues-rock ‘n’ roll band that channels equal parts The Guess Who and The Black Keys, plays the pier Wednesday.

The 4onthefloor pylas at 7 p.m. July 26 at Glensheen, 3300 London Rd. Free, open to the public

On point

A locally grown, nationally touring handbell choir will play its homecoming concert on July 23 after a tour that took the crew to Colorado.

Strikepoint β€” which plays six-plus octaves of bronze Schulmerich handbells, seven octaves of handchimes, two octaves of Silver Melody Bells and other instruments β€” is an 11-member ensemble led by Bill Alexander.

Strikepoint plays at 7:30 p.m. July 23 at First United Methodist Church, 230 E. Skyline Pkwy. Tickets: $15 suggested donation.