Homegrown Music Festival 2022 Day 2
As Sunday proved, tackling the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival head-on after a two-year hiatus requires some adjustment. Everyone’s three years older, and could benefit from easing back in to staying up past midnight and drinking on a work night (or several consecutive work nights as the case may be). Monday provided the perfect choose-your-own-adventure opportunity, with chill, early-evening events like the Homegrown Poetry Showcase; it was easy to participate in Homegrown and still be home tucked safely in bed while God's Holy Blood unleashed a metal storm at the Caddy Shack.
Teague and the Paddy Wagon played a morning set at Duluth Coffee Company, echoing the string of morning shows Actual Wolf hosted as an unofficial complement to previous Homegrowns.
Evening entertainment started at 5 with a respectable turnout for acoustic singer/songwriter Ty Johnson at Wild State Cider. “I hope I'm starting your night off right," he told the crowd, "you’ve got a long way to go.”
Misisipi Mike Wolf was next, accompanied by Clancy Ward on fiddle and harmony vocals for a country set featuring songs peppered with outlaws, whiskey, and heartbreak. Side note: Ward played several times on Monday and has probably lost count himself of how many shows he'll play before Homegrown is done.
Over at Sacred Heart Music Center, experimental trio Big Science opened the evening. The space was perfectly suited for the bleeps, bloops, demented violins, droning, and other cosmic sounds generated by computers, keyboards, and Tim Kaiser's homemade gadgets.
At Ursa Minor, Sam Miller, aka Robin Hood was Right, followed up his solo set in the North 103.3 studios earlier in the day with a full band show, offering a chance to hear more fleshed-out version of the songs he performed Live from Studio A. They played “Water's Coming Up" and other tunes to a packed house, with a line stretching out the door almost to the street.
BeatKeys, featuring Abe Curran on guitar and Eric Bong on drums, fulfilled their mission of paying tribute to the Black Keys and the Beatles simultaneously. They ended their Duluth Cider set with a rousing blues-rock mashup of "Come Together" and "Give Peace a Chance."
Back at Wild State Cider, Mad Violin Scientist, in a lab coat and a fluorescent green wig, concocted ambient pieces with an array of pedals and two violins. He he alternately bowed and plucked the instruments and used the pedals to create and loop various sounds.
The Homegrown Poetry Showcase at Sacred Heart Music Center was an oasis of calm in the bustling evening, with a well-curated selection of poets reading often emotional pieces with an unobtrusive piano accompaniment.
Back at Ursa Minor, old timey supergroup Side String Band gathered around one microphone and got the crowd dancing to their bluegrass licks.
Down the street, Luke Moravec worked his one-man band magic with his Scooby Doo tribute project Zeb or Zeke and the Runaway Screamings at Duluth Cider. Meanwhile, Gavin St. Clair got things started at Bent Paddle, backed by Alex Piazza on bass and Owen Mahon on drums.
Back at Duluth Cider, Father Hennepin took the stage. “It’s our 25th anniversary,” announced Homegrown founder Scott “Starfire” Lunt. “Ted used to have black hair, I used to have more hair. Suzi looks exactly the same.” The band opened with Neil Young’s “Homegrown” and ended with “I Like it in Duluth,” the John Berquist tune that’s become a local classic. In a testament to how jazzed the community is that Homegrown is back, the venue was at capacity on this Monday night.
Next up at Bent Paddle, Abe Curran and Eric Bong exchanged their BeatKeys sport coats for shorts and wildly-patterned button downs for their Abe Curran Band set with drummer Pat Bowen and keyboard player Nathan Olson. Their set of easy-going grooves included a well-received cover of "Valerie, the Zutons' tune made famous by Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse.
Throughout the evening the red MN Whitewater Rafting shuttle roamed up and down West Superior Street. Michael Smišek performed an acoustic set in the back of the bus with his wife holding her phone to light up the “stage." "Best bus ride ever!" said one rider as she disembarked at the Caddy Shack. Smišek also plays tonight in Blu Volta.
The Israel Malachi Orchestra wrapped the night at Bent Paddle; the power trio featured Eric Bong, on his third performance of the night. "Anyone want to hear some low down dirty blues?" asked bandleader Malachi before ripping into "Red House."
Led by Starr Brainard on vocals and Andy Lipke on guitar, God's Holy Blood brought the iron to the Caddy Shack. Their painted faces and stage costumes enhanced a theatrical metal performance, inspiring lots of headbanging and the stirring of a mosh pit in the packed-to-capacity venue. Their closer was a cover of Moody Blues “Nights in White Satin."
Next, MC Willie Diction of BOOG3YM3N brought the noise to the Caddy Shack. He had the crowd dancing and singing along on the hooks while maintaining a high-energy stage presence. After some technical hiccups, Diction and his crew got right back into the flow to close out Monday night's Homegrown festivities.
Coming Up Tuesday:
Brand new business Dream Cloud Coffee Roastery and Tea Room in downtown Duluth is hosting an opening week celebration that coincides with Homegrown, bringing local musicians in to perform Tuesday through Sunday. Lanue got things started this morning with a performance from 11am-noon; tomorrow catch Sam Miller of Robin Hood was Right at 11am.
Today at 2pm on The North 103.3fm Alberto del Toro will be Live from Studio A.
Tonight's Homegrown dress-up theme is Track Suit Tuesday
Cars and Trucks reunite for their first show in seven years at 11pm at the DECC. It was intended as one of Homegrown’s infamous “secret shows,” but word leaked early. This is, by the way, the first year the DECC has been a Homegrown venue.
Coverage of the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival on The North 103.3 is made possible by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.