First of all, it’s Migos — not Mingos.
Despite scoring a huge hit in 2016 with “Bad and Boujee,” the hip-hop trio isn’t yet a household name, at least not to some folks in Minneapolis, who repeatedly mispronounced the band’s name even as they jumped up and down to their music.
Each year at the Super Bowl, there’s one act that seems to turn up, usually to perform, at every party. Last year in Houston it was DJ Khaled. You couldn’t make a move without the guy hollering at you to stand up. This year, it’s Mingos — um, Migos — who appeared on a stage at a venue we were at three times in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.
But then someone had to do it. Veterans of the Super Bowl party circuit agree the wattage this year wasn’t what it’s been in the past. No doubt that had something to do with the weather in Minnesota. The people here are nice, but Bloomington isn’t Bourbon Street.
Still, there was plenty of action the night before the big game — if you didn’t mind slogging through frozen slush in four-inch heels. We met a few wrecked fans who Ubered over to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul to see Dave Matthews play a set that included a cover of Prince’s “Sexy M.F.” The fans we talked to were thrilled, but the pop music critic at the St. Paul Pioneer Press called it “the second worst Prince development of the day,” a reference to rumors that Justin Timberlake planned to include a hologram of His Royal Badness in his Super Bowl halftime show. That did not come to pass. Timberlake even reached out to fellow musician Sheila E. and assured her that it wouldn’t after she tweeted that Prince told her before he died that he didn’t want to be used as a hologram, for religious reasons.
At the former Minneapolis Armory, a WPA-style bunker that hosted four big Super Bowl bashes, including the postgame Players Ball (which was expected to feature old friend DJ Khaled, Diddy, French Montana, Cardi B, G-Eazy, and, we’re guessing, Migos), Jennifer Lopez was the star of Saturday’s DirecTV party.
Billing itself “the crown jewel of Big Game parties,” the party did draw plenty of folks we recognized, notably JLo’s boyfriend, Alex Rodriguez, actors Milo Ventimiglia and Justin Hartley (from “This is Us,”), Ne-Yo, Derek Hough, QB Russell Wilson and wife Ciara, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Foxx, Miles Teller (decked out in Eagles gear), and Manning brothers Peyton and Eli and their father, Archie.
When she wasn’t being carried on the shoulders of sculpted, shirtless men, or changing clothes — one outfit was a leopard-print leotard — Lopez performed some actual songs, including a Prince medley and her own hits “Waiting for Tonight,” “Jenny From the Block,” “On the Floor,” and “I’m Real.”
For the more indie inclined, the Nicollet Mall was the place to be earlier Saturday as a collection of vintage Twin Cities bands performed — outdoors. Wearing winter coats and hats in the 10-degree weather, a band fronted by Bob Mould, formerly of Husker Du, performed first, playing a short, ferocious set that included “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” theme “Love Is All Around.” (Celebrated producers and Minneapolis natives Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who curated the week-long series of free shows on the mall, could be seen vibing just off stage.)
Mould was followed by local faves the Suburbs, and then the Jayhawks, and finally Soul Asylum, whose singer, Dave Pirner, closed the proceedings with a singalong of the band’s biggest hit, “Runaway Train,” which came out 26 years ago. (That make you feel old?)
You may not have known Maxim is still a thing, but it is, and the men’s magazine is a stalwart of the Super Bowl party scene, sponsoring a debauched affair that always manages to entertain. In past years, a large part of the appeal has been the venue: In Jacksonville, the Maxim party was at a botanical garden; in Scottsdale, it was in an airport hangar.
Unfortunately, this year’s bacchanal took place in a generic warehouse space on the north side of Minneapolis. But the crowd didn’t mind. The drinks were free — everybody but us seemed to be swilling cocktails with a splash of red — there were barely clad dancers on roller skates, and the e-cigarette maker Blu was giving free vapes to anyone who wanted one. (Many people did.) There was also an odd assortment of sports and rock ’n’ roll memorabilia being auctioned, including a signed pair of Muhammad Ali boxing trunks. (The minimum bid of $3,700 wasn’t met.)
Cardi B, who was almost as omnipresent this weekend as her boyfriend, Offset from Migos, was the evening’s headliner, but she didn’t stay long. Wearing a fabulous blue vinyl dress/raincoat, Cardi B took the stage just before 12:30 a.m. and was gone by 12:50, but that was long enough to be joined by Migos on a version of their hit “Motorsport.”
As always, there were a lot of athletes in the crowd, including Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, who made the so-called “Minneapolis Miracle” catch to beat the New Orleans Saints in the NFL playoffs. Boxer Floyd Mayweather — and an entourage that went on forever — arrived after Cardi B was finished, but in time to see Post Malone, the evening’s other featured act. On the red carpet, the rapper, whose braids, gold teeth, and facial tattoo reading “Stay Away” can be distracting, was at a loss to describe the music on his forthcoming album, “Beerbongs and Bentleys.”
“Very cool stuff,” he said. “A lot of live instrumentation. A lot of bass. Just cool stuff.”
On stage, Malone was more in command. We looked at Rams running back Todd Gurley grooving to Malone’s music, and then at our watch, and decided it was time to get some sleep.