Homegrown: Day 3

Retribution Gospel Choir played Tuesday night at Grandma’s Sports Garden. Photo by Jana Hollingsworth.

It took folks a while to realize that this was it: the RGC show had begun. It was all guitar wails and percussion and Alan Sparhawk tossing his body in a syncopated way. And then realization spread and people faced forward and watched and wondered aloud if this is what it felt like to see Low’s controversial performance at Rock the Garden last summer. (The easy joke: Rock the Sports Garden).

Except this is what RGC does, these extendo-songs that fill the length of an album. Back when “3” was released he told the News Tribune that the concept dated back to his vinyl-filled younger years listening to “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” or the Doors.

Meanwhile, the floor was vibrating. A woman wearing a cape spun.

Ten minutes, 15 … it was becoming clear that Sparhawk wasn’t going to raise his hand in the air and growl all Brit-like “‘Ello Duluth!”

The master jam ended and the band kicked into “Hide it Away” like nothing had happened. BTW: They were all dressed in neck-to-ankle denim.

Sparhawks hair was damp. His neck veins looked pluck-able. Lights and shadows played on a white screen behind the band.

“They should have a wet jean jacket contest,” someone said.

RGC closed with another jam, then there was the rare Homegrown encore.

Laura Sellner’s alter ego Superior Siren would be considered another buzz act. The young singer-songwriter filled Amazing Grace Bakery & Cafe. She was a gracious host, with a big smile and bouquet and individual thank-yous to the — what, say hundredish? — people who came to see her.

This, friends, is some textbook folk music. The kind of stuff that makes you hum and sway and hug friends and tidy public spaces. Kristy Marie’s voice is both strong and whisper-y and Hall harmonized or played the harmonica while Bryce Kastning played drums with his hands.

The room was warm and the crowd appreciative and it all felt a little retro. Maybe your mom would turn to you and say: “And that is how a music scene gets born.”

Here is Mike Creger’s contribution to the mix:

Red Mountain opened Tuesday night’s shows at Grandma’s Sports Garden. Steve Kuchera/ skuchera@duluthnews.com.

Somewhere between the saccharine 1980s Minnesota pop act The Jets and the Psychedelic Furs lies Red Mountain. The infectious group of of young musicians was the perfect warm-up for Grandma’s Sports Garden night.

It helps to know that keyboardist and lead vocal Anton Jimenez-Kloeckl is the mad scientist behind the Smelt parade shenanigans.

Red Mountain at first glance looks like some Up With People incarnation. They sound like Simply Red with horns in one moment, then the Furs, then Tom Waits, then Culture Club, then some oily Australian band, then something you’d see at Burning Man.

In short, they were difficult to turn away from, even to ask your buddy to get you another $3 Bent Paddle Black. It was a panoply with the sax player in a high school band uniform and everyone wearing red of some scheme — stripes, plaid, lipstick. The circus was definitely in town, all we needed was a Molly Ringwald appearance. Instead we got the mayor and what looked like a quorum of some type of local pols.


The mass of humanity on stage made the following act, the three-piece Cars & Trucks, look naked in comparison, although Tony Bennett and crew made up for things in volume and rawk.

Cars & Trucks opened with their Music Video Festival song, “Rock and Roll is Complicated,” and showed they really, really do know how to crank out the bluster. Bennett along with Matt Osterland and Mat Milinkovich told us we were “We’re All Gonna Die Someday.”

Soon lighters were up, perhaps inspiring the band’s Creedence Clearwater Revival finale.

Yeah, we’re all going to die, but not tonight, said Toby Thomas Churchill as he followed and wailed as well. Alan Sparhawk made a pre-RetroGosCho appearance on stage.


Hippy Dick, the known leather and metal artist and excellent speller, said the Drunken Spelling Bee hosted by birthday boy Starfire at the Red Star was “difficult.” It required knowing the exact spelling of certain Homegrown bands. Like Acceleratii.

Wednesday’s News Tribune has a bit on the ska band Wood Blind.