Homegrown Day 5: Superior

So much pageantry when it comes to a Sexhawk show, the only band of Homegrown Music Festival that has a guy introduce the guy who introduces the band. Then there are the jabs at other local musicians — referring to Trampled By Turtles as Mumford & Sons, a knock-knock joke starring Alan Sparhawk and a fictitious take on Old Knifey’s birth.Then they dissed the four days worth of music that happened before they got on stage at Norm’s Beer & Brats in Superior.

“Homegrown begins tonight,” guitar player Aaron Ashley announced.
“Homegrown begins right now,” said Cory “Hotrod” Ahlm, in  a T-shirt with the sleeves ripped off and a Top Gun baseball cap.

Then, pure chaos.

The band of Ahlm, Ashley, Chris Whittier and newbies Shanna Willie and Jeff Foline played a set that landed somewhere near the stuff people listen to while washing their Camaros on a Saturday afternoon.

The band, which retains touches of its Bone Appetit roots, played a newer tune “That’s Regal,” which Ahlm said they wrote three weeks ago.

(Overheard in the audience: “Does he know what ‘regal’ means?”)

Then Ahlm asked the audience if someone would get him a Bacardi Diet.

“Nobody Told Me We Were Through” showed the band’s vulnerability, and Ahlm sang about seeing a love interest get out of another dude’s car at the bar.

(“We just wrote that song on stage,” he said at the end).

About midway through the set a guy in a chicken suit jumped on stage and went nuts, bouncing around the performers. Then the relatively new band played a relatively old slow song “I’ll Never Grow Up” and they were met with lighters raised.

Ashley, who went to the Headbanger’s Ball school of guitar antics, thanked the audience for 300 unique hits on the Sexhawk bandcamp site.  (Some songs have salty language, beware).

Over at the Main Club, The Cutthroats played an alt-country set rich in drink-themed songs. (“It’s Friday night, I’m spending all of my money in a bar.” “I don’t need to quit drinking, I just need to quit drinking with you.”) Frontman Old Knifey wore a cardigan and tie and did surprising covers of Simon & Garfunkle’s “America” and the doo-wop song “Come and Go with Me.”

Local faves Cars & Trucks closed out the night with about a dozen songs, including the big-hitters from its last album “Mere Mortals,” like “We’re all Gonna Die.” Then, this band that includes Tony Bennett, Matt Osterlund and Mat Milinkovich, performed the super laid-back and cool  — not to mention potentially dangerous — act of letting Ahlm close out its set on lead vocals. Ahlm live-band karaoke’d his way through part of a cover of G”n’R's “Don’t Cry” which segued into the Bone Appetit ballad-turned-singalong “Drive Away” and then closed with ACDC’s “Highway to Hell.”

Still, it was the work of Cars & Trucks that caused one fan to say “Tony Bennett is all five of Trampled By Turtles.”

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