Homegrown Day One: New Band Night

In a perfect world, the Homegrown Music Festival would kick off with a parade down Superior Street. Musicians chucking picks and kazoos and Tootsie Rolls. Everyone would gather in Bayfront Festival Park for the annual reading of the Homegrown origin story and Pageant.

In reality it started with a cry for help from a musician with the voice of an angel.

“Who wants to give me a really bad haircut,” Old Knifey asked into the Twitter void.

Young Old Knifey went on to win the Homegrown Pub Quiz with his teammates Mayor Don Ness and DJ Walt Dizzo at Carmody Irish Pub. This is the something-number of consecutive years this team has won. This year’s prize was lizard-shaped headwear, which was stolen from the winners within the first hour of ownership by Paul Lundgren and deposited somewhere in the city limits probably.

Meanwhile, Sunday night at Pizza Luce looked like a Friday night at Pizza Luce. I think I said that last year, but I mean it even more this year.

Damn that Swenson Band was a lot, a lot of people on a stage and two more violins than the current average for all bands everywhere between Jon Choi and Nori Teague Perrine. Nick Swenson’s voice suggests a metal band. But the acoustic guitar and fulltime harmonica player give it a country lean. Although, there was a head bang or two. Good show.

Then … chaos. Aaron Gall and the Likely Story — name changed recently from Aaron Gall and the Collectively Compassionate Band — had even more people on stage. The usual lineup, plus a washboard, saxophone, trombone. After Gall broke like every string on his guitar he added an accordion. Let’s just say that if Gall had one of those prominent forehead veins, that sucker would have burst. He was all over the place. Dude has this kind of soul-style voice and this was exactly the kind of spectacle one expects to see during Homegrown Music Festival.

Meanwhile, Crystal Pelkey used puffy paints to decorate a T-shirt (featuring Mayor Ness’s face) worn by live model Jon Lee. She wrote “Keep Duluth shark free” on the back and “Vote Ness” on the front. All while keeping up with the music.

By the third song, Pelkey had gone Gallagher on a tub of Mod Podge while she danced and crafted. She closed the night playing a drumstick against a pint glass.

Aaron Gall and the Likely Story closed the night with a song that seems to be titled “White Boy Drunk Tonight,” the band and the crowd chanting it over and over even after the lights came up.

You’ll know which of your coworkers caught this. They’ll probably still be chanting it today.