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Cover band Hairball returning to Duluth on July 3

One of the summer's most reliable concert draws will bring their glam rock tribute show to Bayfront Festival Park.

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Joe Dandy pays tribute to Van Halen during the Hairball concert at Bayfront Festival Park on July 3 in Duluth.
Clint Austin / 2021 file / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — Hairball, the band known for recreating the visual and musical excess of glam rock's glory years, have booked a return to Bayfront Festival Park on July 3.

In a crowded landscape of cover bands, Hairball have distinguished themselves by the scale, energy and jukebox ambition of their live show, which sees the group cycle through closely observed performances evoking the flash and bombast of artists like Queen, KISS and Van Halen.

"The Hairball concert experience has been part of Duluth’s July 4 celebrations for a decade attracting upward of 8,000 people to Bayfront Festival Park," wrote the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, which manages Bayfront as an event space, in a news release.

Chris Kroeze, Bad Girlfriends and Disco Kingz will all play opening sets at the show on the eve of Independence Day, with a new "Hairball VIP experience" available to fans who pay a premium for "front of stage and on-stage access." The Hairball VIP experience also comes with VIP bars — and VIP bathrooms.

The Minnesota-based arena rock tribute band Hairball prides itself on near-identical portrayals of icons like Alice Cooper. So when a white vocalist appeared wearing dark makeup to play Prince's "Purple Rain" to a crowd of 7,500 at the Minnesota ...

The Minnesota band's polished presentation has earned praise from some of the rock stars they emulate, like Rob Halford of Judas Priest. Prince covers have also been a staple of Hairball's show, engendering concerns when, in 2018, the band confirmed that vocalist Kris Vox, who is white, had used skin-darkening makeup to portray the late Black music icon.

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Hairball eschew terms like "tribute band." According to their website, "Hairball is an experience, an attitude, and expression of music that isn't simply a retro flashback, it's a way of life!"

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A fan uses a smartphone to get the attention of Hairball band members at Bayfront Festival Park on July 3 in Duluth.
Clint Austin / 2021 file / Duluth News Tribune

After last year's return to summer festivities in the wake of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Duluth's Fourth of July weekend festivities will be in full swing again this year. Bayfront alone, in addition to the Hairball show and the Duluth Fourth Fest, will host a July 1 Bayfront Country Jam and a July 2 concert yet to be announced, according to the venue's website. Meanwhile, animatronic dinosaurs will be afoot inside the DECC itself.

Hairball tickets ($25-$65, depending on date of purchase and VIP perks) go on sale to the public Friday at 10 a.m. For information and details on a "Friends of the DECC" presale, see decc.org.

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Related Topics: MUSICDULUTHCONCERTSBAYFRONT FESTIVAL PARK
Arts and entertainment reporter Jay Gabler joined the Duluth News Tribune in February 2022. His previous experience includes eight years as a digital producer at The Current (Minnesota Public Radio), four years as theater critic at Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages, and six years as arts editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet. He's a co-founder of pop culture and creative writing blog The Tangential; and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can reach him at jgabler@duluthnews.com or 218-279-5536.
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