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RibFest slathers on the tasty musical talent

Singer-songwriter Steve Earle celebrates the 30th anniversary of "Copperhead Road." Special to The Forum1 / 5
The voice of Ratt, Stephen Pearcy, plays RibFest. Special to The Forum2 / 5
ThundHerStruck brings its tribute to AC/DC to RibFest. Special to The Forum3 / 5
Paradise Kitty pays tribute to Guns N' Roses. Special to The Forum4 / 5
Joe Nichols brings his country sound to RibFest. Special to The Forum5 / 5

FARGO — Happy Harry's RibFest rolls into the Fargodome parking lot this week for four days of saucy, tangy meats and savory side dishes.

While meals from the seven rib-cookers take center stage, the musical acts each night serve as their own attraction.

You'll hear lots of barbecue terms — a vocab-RIB-rary, if you will — describing the food, but how to characterize the tasty chops of the performers onstage? Here's a sample.

Steve Earle

Wednesday, June 6

The "Hard-Core Troubadour" is on the road celebrating the 30th anniversary of his landmark album, "Copperhead Road," playing the disc in its entirety. In the three decades since, he's released a string of critically acclaimed discs, won Grammys, served time in prison and spoken his piece at every corner, appeasing and appalling fans with his views on the death penalty, politics and whatever comes to mind. As gruff as he is lovable, some would call him salty, but his diverse experiences in music and in life make him a well-seasoned artist of complex taste.

Stephen Pearcy

Thursday, June 7

When Ratt debuted in 1984, the quintet was heralded for its crispy dueling guitars and the raspy vocals of Stephen Pearcy. The group is on-again, off-again, and different members have claimed the name, but Pearcy's bark remains the signature sound of the band, just as a crunchy crust is the sign of a good pulled pork to a barbecue aficionado.

ThundHerStruck and Paradise Kitty

Friday, June 8

AC/DC and Guns N' Roses were always super-sexualized hard rock bands, so all-women tribute acts were a natural turn of the table. ThundHerStruck claims to be "the ultimate all-girl tribute to AC/DC" (take that, Hell's Belles!), and singer Dyna hits Brian Johnson's squeals with ease while guitarist Tina Wood nails Angus Young's fretwork note for note and in a schoolgirl's uniform to boot. Paradise Kitty's singer, Jenna Syde, puts more hips into Axl Rose's slithering but matches his snarl. Both are suitably sassy, saucy acts.

Joe Nichols

Saturday, June 9

When he first hit the radio in the early 2000s, the Arkansas singer was heralded for his classic Nashville sound with charming, cheeky tunes about drinking and girls, like "Brokenheartsville" and "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall off". He went a bit more contemporary and mainstream with recent hits like "Yeah" and "Sunny and 75". The common thread through his music is a rich voice that soaks the songs in a tasty mix of salt and spices to make for some juicy cuts, just like a well-developed brine.

If you go

What: Happy Harry's RibFest

When: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, through Saturday, June 9

Where: Fargodome, 1800 N. University Drive

Info: Admission and parking $5 per person (free admission and parking 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday), wristbands for Games Galore activities range from $7 to $13; or 701-241-9100