By Denise DePaolo
When Brother Ali last took the 605 Summer Classic stage in 2013, things didn’t go as planned. A huge crowd clamored to see the Minneapolis-based hip hop artist, and he was ready to give it his all, but Mother Nature had other ideas.
“There was a really bad electrical storm,” he remembered. “We were really excited and the crowd was amazing. It was rainy and windy, but people were out there anyways. We were all dedicated to having a good time and sharing that moment together, but then the electrical part of the storm went crazy and the promoter was worried for everyone’s safety. They ended up shutting it down after a few songs.”
What followed was a harrowing late night trip back to Minneapolis for a frustrated Ali, one which he now admits was ill-advised. “The storm got really bad and there were times we thought the car was going to tip over. It really was not a good idea for us to drive home in that storm. So it’s a really profound memory that I have – remembering that tomorrow isn’t promised and we really can’t take anything for granted.”
Fast forward to 2016 and Ali is ready to finish what he started when he headlines the second night and final night of Sioux Falls’ annual summer kick-off party June 25. For those who have yet to see a Brother Ali performance, he says to expect to experience a wide range of themes, moods, and emotions. “When I perform live, the thing that runs through all of my songs, it all comes back to being hopeful. It always comes back to love. I think that’s something that I offer, where in a lot of modern music, especially hip hop music, there isn’t a lot of overt celebration of love. That’s what my shows are.”
In addition to finding resolution, Ali is looking forward to the diversity that comes with festival season. Jake Luppen, vocalist and guitarist for Minneapolis-based indie ensemble Hippo Campus, agrees.
“I think it’s cool to see people coming together at those events,” said Luppen, adding. “There’s so much light you can really see everybody and everybody’s faces. It’s a cool environment. It’s unlike anything else. Where else do you get the vibe of ‘we’re all together in this massive space and it’s all about music’?”
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