You might wake up on Homegrown Saturday sounding a bit raspy and wonder what happened to your voice. Ah, yes. You were part of a mess of people on Friday night that tried to encourage raunchabilly band The Acceleratii, playing the final show of the night at Pizza Luce, to perform an encore. Preferably, the band’s super hit “Poop Fight,” which appears on this year’s compilation of Homegrown music, “Sparhawk’s Mix.” It worked and the people went crazy. It wasn’t even on the band’s set list, frontman Chad Lyons said before the show. Seems like this song has taken on a life and fandom that the band cannot control. It’s their “Zamboni,” and will forever be the band’s anthem. It will appear on soundtracks and compilations and they’ll be able to live off of the royalties, but they will loathe playing it in public. Sorry, Acceleratii. You can’t pick your anthem.
Three hours earlier I was smooshed into a sold-out show at Tycoons watching something so completely different with an equally appreciative crowd. Such is the nature of Homegrown Music Festival, a true sample pack of Duluth music makers spiraling in interesting directions. Southwire, featuring the lovely-voiced self-described “pansy folk singer” Jerree Small, combined with improvisational spoken-wordsmith Ben Larson and his Crew Jones mate Sean Elmquist and the city’s busiest bass player Matt Mobley. This is soul-kicking music.
Perhaps one of the greatest of Homegrown traditions: Catching the rare Bratwurst performance. A bit of industrial music you can dance to and on-stage weirdery that equals performance art. If art is supposed to make you feel something, this band succeeds. This is terrifying.
Set up takes the length of a set as the band fills the stage with props and seemingly builds a piece of percussion. There is a mannequin head, a street sign, a metal garbage can and something with wheels. In the background, there is a video that incorporates commercials for meat and Hormel chili as well as grizzly murder scenes including something from the late 70s horror flick “Suspiria.” Don’t forget the power saw.
Tyler Scouton starts by bashing away at a pinata filled with meat, then gets right into the band’s signature move. He balls up the raw meat into his fist, holds it over his head and squeezes it until red drips down his face and on to his white shirt. Then he rubs it into his face, like he’s exfoliating, and it clings in leech-like chunks. He holds a cackling doll up to the microphone. He beats on the metal can.
“This song is about how your family wants to kill you,” he growls.
He pours a drink on his head and the front row sprays him with booze. It gets in his eyes and he suggests that this might be his last Homegrown. At one point he opens his shirt and ground beef oozes out of his chest. Every time he cranks up the power saw, you wonder how far he will take this. If he were a character in a book by Chuck Palahniuk, he would amputate a limb.
After that, Two Many Banjos just seems so wholesome.
There used to be secret shows after Homegrown. Bands would play a house party for whoever knew someone who knew someone. Since the dawn of Twitter, there is no such thing as a secret show anymore. Now it’s a widely publicized show at an easy to find address and a three band bill.
This party drew hundreds to catch Actual Wolf, 500 Million Society and Black Eyed Snakes. A nice touch: The taco bar and Pizza Luce’s muscle bringing in a stack of pizzas.