Homegrown Music Festival 2022: Day 3
Day 3 of the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival was Canal Park Night and Track Suit Tuesday.
At 5pm the Zeitgeist Arts Atrium hosted the Homegrown Photography Showcase, highlighting work from Amber Nichols, Ivy Vainio, Terry McCarthy, just to name a few of the many contributors. The Goat Hill Quartet provided the soundtrack, closing it out with “Pachelbel’s Canon.” The music video festival followed downstairs.
After the Goat Hill Quartet, Kenneth Gregory Bressler was the first act of day 3 at Amazing Grace. His performance was a multimedia immersive soundscape, with Bressler and saxophone player Joseph Anderson on either side of a screen on which manipulated video footage was projected. Bressler used a double keyboard set up to create slowly building synths that rose and fell in cyclical patterns complemented by the slow motion and distorted animal life projections.
At Vikre, Grand Holler started the evening with a straight-ahead, dirt-road rock 'n' roll set that featured gritty vocals and a cover of the Black Keys “Gotta Get Away. “
Sir Ben's was Tuesday's outlier venue, with a maze of construction detours leading from Canal Park to that section of Superior Street. Several hardy souls were outside in the 40-degree weather, warmed by the mini flaming fire pits at the center of each table. Inside, many diners were fueling up for the night ahead while the night's first act, John Agacki, performed a mostly instrumental set on acoustic guitar.
Since the last in-person Homegrown festival, a key Canal Park venue, Grandma's Sports Garden, shifted gears and is now a wedding venue. Instead this year, the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center stepped up to host Homegrown shows for the first time. Aerialist Suzy Q, dressed in a leotard / chicken costume put on a graceful display to start the evening. Patrons then headed upstairs to the Harbor Side Ballroom, where Emily Haavik (fresh from a trip to the Arctic) and her 6-piece backing band the 35s gave a warm and polished Americana performance, backed by high windows providing the perfect view of Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge as a backdrop.
Back at Amazing Grace, the Lindula Brothers from Cherry, Minnesota charmed the crowd with their originals and homegrown covers played on banjo and guitar. "At my first Homegrown I saw Trampled by Turtles and they became my favorite band," said brother John, introducing a cover of their song "Darkness and the Light." Afterwards he added that, in his personal opinion, "Dave Simonett is one of the best songwriters on the planet; I'd put him up there with Bob Dylan."
Those lucky enough to get to Robot Rickshaw's set at Vikre early were treated to performance art featuring Troy Rogers' silver-clad alter ego and his cart of music-making robots, dancing from LeeAnn Ilminen of Alchemie Dance (who perform Thursday at Empire Coffee), and a haircut administered with an axe. Latecomers were left to fight through the crowd unaware of anything but the beats emanating from the side of the room obscured by densely-packed bodies.
Back at Sir Ben's, Blu Volta played blues rock with rolling bass licks, getting the crowd revved up with their covers of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and Christone “Kingfish” Ingraham’s “Empty Promises.” At the DECC, Robyn Graves was also revving up the crowd, this time with screaming thrash metal guitar licks. “I love the feel of sweat down my ass and feedback in my ears," quipped bandleader Moriah Skye.
Something gentler was happening at Amazing Grace, as Aimee Tischer shared personal songs, spoken word pieces, and stories. Using pre-recorded tracks to flesh out her sound, she performed on keyboard and guitar, sharing songs inspired by the vulnerabilities brought on by online dating and by eventually finding her "rock," her current partner.
Down the street at Vikre, Darin Bergsven started a wonderful jazz guitar set with a cover of Weezer's “Undone (The Sweater Song)." Meanwhile, at Sir Ben's, a barefoot Scott Lamps was creating looped layers of guitar and keyboards, accompanied by Ida Joe's repeating violin lines with mesmerizing results.
Back at the DECC, the Harbor Side Ballroom was filled with Homegrowners grooving along to a feel-good set from New Salty Dog and their classic jam band grooves and harmonies. The addition of Bryan "Lefty" Johnson on congas felt like a thread connecting the festival's early days with one of today's most popular young bands; he's a Homegrown veteran with bands including Black-eyed Snakes and Accidental Porn on his resume.
Darren Sipity, originally scheduled for Sunday, performed his re-scheduled 9pm set at Dubh Linn Irish Pub. The Fond du Lac native brought bars; his super lyrical raps and jazzy beats had the crowd bobbing along to songs spanning his catalogue from his 2016 debut Nacolean to his latest project the Probably Your Cousin EP.
Winzige Hosen, as expected, brought the party to the Harbor Side Ballroom with lederhosen, polka rhythms that inspired wild dancing on all sides of the stage, and oh, sooo many songs about beer. "Do you know what the best beer is?" asked accordian player Brian Schanzenbach. "Free beer!" and the band launched into "Free Beer Polka." Their set included a rousing, spot-on cover of Nathaniel Rateliff's "S.O.B."
Back at Dubh Linn, the Elements played a loud pop punk set including a cover of Cage The Elephant's “In One Ear.".
Blush hosted two late-night shows starting with Bark Point, named after the place in Herbster, Wisconsin where Adam Hildebrandt
(aka Bark Point) got engaged; the musician mentioned he spends lots of time on the South Shore. His solo acoustic guitar singer/songwriter performance included a cover of Trampled by Turtles' "Alone."
Next at Dubh Linn, the Mallards played a great set that moved effortlessly between rock and country and kept the crowd
The worst kept secret of the week was the Cars & Trucks reunion show at the DECC's Symphony Hall, seven years after the rock trio's last performance. Although word leaked well ahead of time, there was still a fun buzz surrounding the event; leaflets were scattered around the Harbor Side Ballroom directing patrons to access the secret show by heading outside and going in the loading dock behind the DECC. Mock protesters (including Bratwurst's Tyler Scouton) held signs outside with slogans like "God Hates Cars & Trucks," a throwback to a similar stunt from back in the day. The show happened entirely on stage of the hall, with the band backed by a soaring wall of cables bathed in a red light. It was a cool, theatrical backdrop for the tight rock set delivered by the band, who easily lived up to the hype of their long-awaited return. "We ARE devil music," said lead singer Tony Bennett, perhaps referencing the mock protest. "You think there's cool bands in heaven? They're all in hell."
The night ended at Blush, where Discord at Dawn (DAD for short) rocked hard, passed out headbands reading "adopted," and sent a stuffed DAD doll mascot out to the audience to "crowd surf."
Coming up Wednesday:
Tonight is Westside Wednesday, with big sets at Clyde Iron Works from Ingeborg von Agassiz, Sadkin, and the Latelys, and a dozen plus shows farther west.
In a first for Hannah Rey , they will be performing with their South of Superior bandmates backing them up on their original tunes for the first time ever. That set happens at the Gopher Restaurant and Lounge at 10:45pm.
Dig out your cowboy gear for tonight's theme, Western Wednesday.
Join us Live from Studio A at 1pm for a Homegrown session with former The North 103.3 DJ Emma Jeanne.