Homegrown: Day 1

Coyote, featuring Marc Gartman (left), Jerree Small and Matt Mobley, kicked off Homegrown Music Festival Sunday at Teatro Zuccone. Steve Kuchera/skuchera@duluthnews.com

Turns out Mayor Don Ness and other Homegrown Music Festival royalty didn’t get to make a very special horse-drawn entrance — insert weather gripe here — but the eight-day festival still started Sunday night and wristbands were activated (I’ve TM’ed the phrase “Fun Shackle,” but you can use it), music was played and eardrums vibrated and, sure enough, some guy is already wandering around dressed like a chicken.

It’s impossible to see everything — although not yet. I ran into one Homegrowner who had, so far, caught every act and said it would be possible to continue at that pace into today.

This loud and growl-y band fronted by Ben Butter triggered some serious down deeps in this listener, namely flight instinct and anxiety. Remember when you were in junior high and you went to slumber parties and sometime around 5 a.m. the Jolt Cola would wear off but the will to continue to jam would overrule the nausea. You’d zero in on MTV, which was in its prime strobe lights/animal sacrifice hours. There would be this man with a demonic voice and you’d wonder if this is what it would feel like to be Rosemary’s baby. Well, Sordes. Toward the end of the set, Butter stripped down to his tattoos and told the audience he’d waited his whole life for this. He left no emotion unrealized.

Total buzz-worthy buzz band. Part blood-red lipstick and wet cellar (that must be partly the moog-effect, manned by Jake Larson), part thrashed so hard the vintage updo liberated itself, part dark-side-of-the-roller-rink with GoGo and Doo-Wop moments. This is singer Rachel Phoenix’s first Homegrown, I think she said, but she’s got a natural command of the stage. She danced, she banged her head, she got down too low to see. And everything she sings sounds like she really, really freaking means it. Her bandmates, Jesse Hoheisel, Ryan Nelson and Jacob Swanson followed suit. Suffice to say: There was enough authenticity on that stage to open an Authenticity Shop and never run short of supply.

And here’s a contribution from Mike Creger:

Coyote, above, officially opened up the music for the week at Teatro, and the trio was haunting and beautiful at once. Jerree Small was several songs in before she noticed, and was startled, by the Homegrown Chicken in the front row at stage left. Marc Gartman, showing his love for Homegrown in backhanded way, told the audience they should head up to Thunder Bay this summer for the Bluesfest. “The Spin Doctors are headlining.” The crowd roared. It was delicious to exit the Coyote show and walk through the indoor smelt festival detritus — streamers, sequins, fried bits — in the lobby near the bar.
Toby Thomas Churchill, in his turn as atheist bard Starling of Athens, asked that no one leave and everybody shutup after the mayor’s shenanigans at Tycoons. Many did, and were treated to insightful songs on how God isn’t his father and why men are afraid of death and vaginas per the Bible.
Devin McKinnon almost didn’t yell at anyone during a raucous Carmody Pub Quiz. It’s usually quiet as a church for regular quizzers each¬†Sunday, mostly in fear of Dev’s wrath. In the spirit of Homegrown, all was warm, fuzzy and loving. And the winner received the 2014 stuffed mascot, Actuall Woof, a dog in glasses that are probably shattered on the floor at Luce.

In other news:

Somewhere out there is a stuffed dog wearing red sunglasses who is being referred to as Actual Woof. Oh, Duluth.

Here are the Homegrown stories I’d link to if our website was working:

Sunday’s News Tribune included tips from Homegrown vets on what to see and how to have the happiest of Homegrown Music Festivals.

There was a featurette on The Social Disaster, which also ran in Sunday’s News Tribune.

Monday’s News Tribune included a little story about Dedric Clark and the Social Animals, the band formerly known as Diet Folk.

Stay tuned to this space for further Homegrown related material. And, for you I’ve made a Homegrown Monday Spotify Playlist. Apologies if I missed any bands.




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