After rocking out with Retribution Gospel Choir until nearly 2am, Rock 'n' Run organizer Alan Sparhawk still managed to lead a small but hardy group of runners (including former Mayor Don Ness) through the trails of Chester Bowl at 11am as a precursor to the Homegrown Kickball Classic. Cheap beer and happy dogs were the unofficial mascots of the game, where according to Rick McLean, the "Fridays" were playing the "Saturdays," in the rare match where both squads were the home team.
Re-configured lineups and last minute musical pinch hitters are a common Homegrown occurrence; when the trio Planemo took the stage at Beaner's Central, it was with a new face on drums."Thanks to Jesse, this is his first time playing drums with us," said bassist Matt Donoghue. referring to Jesse Hoheisel, whose regular gigs are as a guitarist for the Social Disaster and Black Diary. "Actually, his first time playing drums with us was about an hour and a half ago."
Maddy Siiter fans filled Sir Benedict's Tavern to watch the folky teenaged singer/songwriter go electric, as promised via social media earlier. Siiter switched to electric guitar and brought the Farsights on board for her last five songs, adding a new dimension to her sound without overpowering it.
Scott Lunt celebrated his birthday onstage with Father Hennepin, the band he formed to play his 30th birthday party that led to the founding of Homegrown the next year. Near the end of their set, the band welcomed Low's Mimi Parker up to sing lead on a beautiful, harmony-drenched version of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses." "That's the best birthday present ever," said Lunt afterwards.
Humor was in full effect at the Rex, when Lord Montague frontman Marcus Gruenstern stated: “we’ve got one song left… it’s really short.” The bassist smirked before they launched into 7-part number that clocked in at over 20 minutes. Jokes continued into Actual Wolf’s set, who began with, “Hey! We’re Mumford & Sons!” before launching into a number about being broke.
Teatro Zuccone was the perfect intimate setting for Black Diary, who mesmerized the hushed audience with a performance featuring three-part harmonies from singers Rachel Phoenix (Social Disaster) and sisters Tasha and Sophie Turk (Lion or Gazelle) with spare guitar backing from Jesse Hoheisel.
To the delight of longtime Homegrown fans, Toby Thomas Churchill reunited with his bandmates from beloved local group the Alrights for his set, with drummer Chavo Amborn and bassist Danny Cosgrove backing him up.
And for those who didn’t feel like attending church today, Heaven’s Gate Away Team brought some “faith” to Pizza Luce’s Saturday showcase. The noise-cult/supergroup (Rick Mclean, Jake Swanson, Dean Berlinerblau, and more) finished their soundcheck, left the stage, and then entered after a cloaked Tina Fox read some “scripture,” praising a deity called “Mr. Applewhite.” Faces covered in purple shrouds, they proceeded to perform a sprawling 45-minute song, surrounded by lit styrofoam heads.
HGAT’s visual spectacle was rivaled only by that of the Electric Witch, which felt like the soundtrack to dystopian video game from the future. Frontwoman Mary Bue gleefully ditched any of her folk proclivities for an outfit from the year 2080, complete with wispy siren hair and sleek talon-like nails.
After an intense night, it’s only fitting that Sunday is an easy come down. Borderstone, Tallulah, and Red Pine wrap up the fest at Canal Park Brewing, while Paul Newberg takes Tycoons.
For the full gallery from last night click here.
KUMD's Homegrown Music Festival coverage is made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.