Photos of Homegrowns past kicked off Day 2 of the 2016 Homegrown Music Festival as the Red Herring Lounge hosted the bustling opening reception for the Photo Show. Attendees were treated to a Nerd Nite-worthy performance by Northland’s Finest Horn Choir, four professional French horn players whose repertoire included a cover of “Stairway to Heaven” and a Star Wars medley.
Over at Zinema 2, a standing-room-only crowd got a first look at this year’s Homegrown Music Video Festival entries. Redneck aliens, Duluth’s natural scenery, and claymation were among the highlights. Catch the first encore tonight at 7.
Back at the Herring, Robot Rickshaw marked the first surprise guest(s) of the fest, as Alan Sparhawk of Low joined mastermind Troy Rogers’ music-making robots on stage to provide a little guitar work. Two colorful, hypnotic backup belly dancers gave each electronic exploration the lull of a siren song.
Overheard at the Homegrown Poetry Showcase at Sacred Heart Music Center: “I once caught a bat here with my bare hands.” Fortunately it was a bat-free evening for the large selection of local poets who read with musical accompaniment from NPR Tiny Desk Contest winner Gaelynn Lea and guitarist Richie Townsend. Host Tina Higgins Wussow shared a fanciful poem about a mock battle between her eyelids, eyeballs, and brain while trying to fall asleep. Bob Monahan, known for his profane Peter Pain performances (one of which got him kicked off the stage of the Club Saratoga during a previous Homegrown), surprised the crowd with a sweet love poem. "That's a side of Bob we've never seen before, " said Wussow.
After a laid-back start, the Festival shifted into full rock mode for the evening. In case you didn’t get your sweat on during Sunday’s Playdate set, punk night at the Barrel Room ensured that any calories from beer and food truck tacos were burned through a rigorous work out of headbanging and moshing. Luchador masks, power stances, and a constructed catwalk made the Ball Slashers set quite memorable. The night was bittersweet, however, as word around the venue was that Brain Bugs (filling in for Dad’s Acid) may be playing their last bar show, due to psychedelic frontman Jack Klander (Pizzaghost, Brain Bugs) moving to the warmer region of California. The announcement didn’t put a damper on the mosh pit, where bodies collided and shoes were lost.
Speaking of missing footwear, Charlie Parr opted for a solo gray Converse All Star while performing the rare set with three piece Devil’s Flying Machine to a fully packed house.
Looking forward to tonight, some best bets include Todd Gremmels-- who always has a surprise or two-- and an opportunity to catch Mary Bue & the Holy Bones before the frontwoman leaves for the Minneapolis. Another surefire way to get your rock-on is the Social Disaster, who close out the Day 3 at the Sports Garden.
KUMD's Homegrown Music Festival coverage is made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.