Once upon a time, Homegrown Mondays meant strictly visual art, film, and spoken word. Retaining one’s hipster cred and getting a good night’s sleep were not mutually exclusive, as a working person could go out to enjoy a drink and a few poems and be home in bed by 10. Those days are long gone; this year saw the traditional arts programming paired with four music venues that were, for the most part, packed shoulder-to-shoulder throughout the evening.
Monday night started at the Herring at 5, with a photography exhibit that felt equal parts celebratory and nostalgic. Thirty minutes deep and Maddy Siiter rang in the day musically— alluding between songs that Homegrown is indeed better than prom (which she’d attended a few days earlier). Siiter heads off to college this fall but, lucky for us, it’s only a few hours away, so chances are this Homegrown performance wasn’t her last.
Later the Herring crowd enjoyed a visual feast as the lavishly costumed belly dancers of LadySlipper performed accompanied by the band's acoustic grooves.
This year’s Music Video Festival was all killer, no filler with seven entries totaling only half an hour. From Tomas Soderberg’s delightfully creepy interpretation of “The Owls Have Eyes” by Benjamin Blood to Brian Barber’s stop motion animation version of the Dames’ “Head of State,” all of the festival videos are worth a watch at this week’s encore showings (including tonight’s at 7 at Zinema 2).
Midway through the night, somber, poignant, and funny readings abounded at Sacred Heart. The duo of Allan Sparhawk and Gaelynn Lea gave each poet a musical backdrop for their work. “Can you play any Metallica?” inquired Bob Monahan, and the Murder of Crows obliged. Other musical requests at the poetry showcase included 90s hip hop group Jagged Edge (did not play) and “garage sale music.”
Richie Townsend’s progressive power trio, Lesser Planets, featuring a new rhythm section, drew a full house of guitar worshippers to the Red Herring for a mesmerizing performance. Their expansive riffs were enhanced by atmospheric stage lighting.
Some sets were running slightly on punk time, but that just gave homegrown-ers an excuse to hit the bar and reconnect with old friends. Speaking of, Woodblind hit the Rex with friends in mind. Jen West of Space Carpet lent background vocals to Jason Wussow and Veikko Lepisto’s patented ska/beatbox combo. Also, two drummers, one guitarist, and even Teague Alexy showed up to lend harmonica and vocals to the grooves.
Alexy followed with a set of his own with what looked like a Homegrown supergroup; Eric Pollard (Actual Wolf) and Marc Gartman were the soulful back-up singers in the frontline harmonies with Teague center stage.
Back at the Herring, ear plugs were in, disco lights on and a fog machine set as back to back black metal acts readied. As any true doom show can attest, a moment of silence between songs is a waste, and Ire Wolves made sure distortion was continuously in the air.
Enter/Void followed as the second trio of the night. “Can we get less light?” asked Dean Berlinerblau, as the Herring dimmed for doom metal, the floors vibrating in reaction to the sound.
Upstairs at Fitger's, the Barrel Room hosted a night of electronic and experimental performers including T. Dack, Dong Dot Surgery and Anatomy of Ruminants, who put on a transfixing set that felt like ambient nature church. The one-woman project from Tina Fox featured a bed of bird noises over reverbed keys and looped vocal chants; a Georgia O’Keefe skull placed in front of the setup. A barefoot Fox played the entire set seated on the Barrel Room floor, and, so naturally, half the audience followed suit.
Silverback Colony closed out Night 2 at the Rex, interspersing romantic blues and country croons with some Neil Young covers, getting the crowd to join in on “Ohio” and making an extended jam out of “Down by the River.” Couples of all ages (above 21) swayed and danced the night away while the Colony repeatedly cheers’d the fest.
As for tonight’s action, Homegrown fans can pick their preference. Have a craving for loud fast punk? Head to Prøve. Hankering traditional bluegrass performed by smartly dressed young men? Borderstone at Amazing Grace is a good bet. Jen West is a last-minute addition, performing at Bent Paddle at 6pm. Rumor has it that the Farsights will be joined by drummer Ryan Nelson’s dad at their Dubh Linn set tonight, while Superior Siren is hinting that we can expect the unexpected when they play a set sandwiched between much-anticipated Blackeyed Snakes and Àlamode performances at The Sports Garden.
For our full gallery from Day 2, click here.
KUMD's Homegrown Music Festival coverage is made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.