Duluth Homegrown Music Festival 2022: Day 7
Day 7 of the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival was the last big hurrah before Sunday's cool down, with 15 venues worth of music all over town. First, though, was the kickball game at noon.
Saturday was sunny and mild, perfect for the annual match at Chester Park. The Wrong Notes Pep Band played, someone brought a colorful parachute to play with, and spectators and their dogs looked on as players from bands that performed Saturday beat the Friday night bands.
Later that evening, Jesse Luoma and Steve Garrington were the first act at Annex du Nord. "We're going to play some original tunes tonight and one ZZ Top cover," joked Luoma. The duo DID play a cover of Peter Gabriel's "Digging in the Dirt," much better suited to their style and Luoma's emotive vocals. They started the set with two songs that they wrote together at the beginning of the pandemic.
Across town at Wussow's Concert Cafe, C-Silence, who had performed earlier in the week with Boog3ym3n, introduced some new songs during his set.
Meanwhile, Ryan van Slooten performed with a band that featured violinist Erin Aldridge and bassist Tom Berrigan (previously spotted at Homegrown in NewBerrigan and backing Hannah Rey) at Sacred Heart Music Center. "We haven't played together as a band for four years," he remarked, expressing excitement at performing again.
At the Owls Club, Tobin Dack was creating rich soundscapes with changing moods and tempos, using a variety of drum machines and synthesizers. At times his creations had an ambient feel, and other times felt more danceable when the drums kicked in.
Breanne Marie and the Front Porch Sinners filled the stage at Sacred Heart Music Center with a set of their country tunes.
On the DTA Trolley, singer-songwriter Shane Nelson was the first act.
At the Spirit of the North Theater at Fitgers, Al Church and his band performed to an overflowing crowd. He dedicated the song "Night Games" to the Woodland neighborhood he grew up in and his mom and other relatives in the audience. He introduced a new song, written just that day, called "One Step Closer to Summer Time," ending with an extended, squalling guitar riff.
Meanwhile, Black River Revue took the stage at Sacred Heart, where they'd previously recorded a live album. Towards the end of their set they brought out Jacob Mahon, one of the artists who was seemingly everywhere this Homegrown, for a cover of the Beatles' “Rocky Raccoon."
At R.T. Quinlans, the Old Smugglers were selling stickers that read "Shoutier than thou," and it was an apt description. The core duo of Erik Pearson and Joshua Murray attacked their acoustic guitars (and a cigar box guitar) ferociously, wearing old-timey suits and beards and backed by a new rhythm section.
Actual Wolf took the stage with his band back at Spirit of the North Theatre for an extra-long set, thanks to the Iron Range Outlaw Brigade, who were supposed to close out the night but had to cancel last minute.
Back at R.T. Quinlan's, Boss Mama was next backed by the Jebberhooch, which this time included the Mahon brothers as well as some of frontwoman Colleen Myhre's bandmates from The Holy Hootenanners. Myhre played "The Derby" in honor of the Kentucky Derby that had happened earlier in the day, dedicating it to her dad, who worked with horses.
Alamode's set at the Rex Bar in Fitger's was a welcome reunion for the group, who'd recorded a live album there back in 2019 before taking a break from performing. Frontman Nathan Holte, wearing a silver wig, and the band had the crowd dancing to their funky, sweaty pop songs. The dancing continued when the next act, Prone, took the stage decked out in reflective silver clothes. They performed an original, “What’s It Gonna Be." and then a great cover of America's “Ventura Highway" to wrap up their set.
Some of the best audience participation of the festival happened at JamesG's set at The Duluth Flame Nightclub. The rapper, also known for his heelys videos and for his America's Got Talent audition, quickly jumped offstage and into the enthusiastic crowd. He got the audience to form a whirling circle pit around him while he rapped, then changed into heelys and skated under an arch formed by the upraised arms of the fans into the bar and back onstage. He introduced "No Pressure," mentioning that "it's about balloons" and is one of his most popular songs on the internet.
Although listed as "Glassine" on the schedule, the duo of Rachel Phoenix (formerly of the Social Disaster) and Jeff Cornell, quickly let the audience know they'd been asked to cease and desist using that name and, until a new name is determined, are the group "FKA [formerly known as] Glassine." Wearing a shiny blue jumpsuit, charismatic lead singer Phoenix led the crowd through a set of catchy electropop, getting everyone chanting along as she spelled out "R-O-L-L-E-R-S-K-A-T-E" during a song about the joys of skating.
The Duluth Dolls closed the night at R.T. Quinlan's with a crowd-pleasing burlesque show that kicked off with Velvet Noir dressed as a German bar maid.
The big finish for the evening, was, appropriately, Bratwurst back at the Rex. The industrial noise performance art project had patrons dressing for the occasion, one fan wearing an umbrella hat and another a garbage bag in case of splatters. "“Let’s play with some meat," said one audience member on his way into the venue, referencing past Bratwurst performances. The band did not disappoint; highlights included a baseball bat hitting a 55 gallon plastic bin, a wrench hitting an air canister, and frontman Tyler Scouton pouring blood on himself. It was a fitting spectacle to wrap up seven consecutive nights of Homegrown fun and prepare for the next day's chill festival wind-down events.
Coverage of the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival on The North 103.3 is made possible by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.