Homegrown: Day 5

DULUTH DOLLS BURLESQUE & CABARET
Walked into The Main Club on Thursday night and it was so thick with people and breath that it seemed likely to rain. Looked over my right shoulder and saw a tall body dressed in a white puff of a dress. This bride-like woman, June LaPurrr, danced and through a slit in the crowd I saw two women on the ground fanning her with large fans.

Turned away for a second and by the time I looked back the white dress was gone. The black shorts seemed to be bedazzled with the words “Get Down,” and the black top was discarded to reveal shiny pasties. Duluth Dolls Burlesque & Cabaret then closed out its set with a jail-themed act set to a Black-Eyed Snakes song that featured the entire troupe first in orange jump suits and behind bars, then dressed in stripes. Many “Orange is the New Black” references were made.

DROHM
This electric drone act features Phil Tyson and Tobin Dack playing switches and nobs and making sounds that bring to mind hubcaps spinning, spaceships landing, sword fights. Occasionally, Dack mounted a mic and accompanied the music with whooshing vowels. The volunteer working the door found it great for dancing. But it was also 45 solid minutes of “diving into your own brain and thinking your own super weird thoughts.”

BONDAGE SYMPHONY
This longtime group was billed as dark-wave electronica, but I’m going to say that the words that kept running through my brain were “rock opera.” John McLoughlin, who opened the show by saying “Music. Is the (O-word). Of the soul.” plays the keys and makes some new wavy sounds and usually sings while Clark Anderson plays drums.

McLoughlin has a booming and theatrical voice and sings things like “Come with me/I’ll make all your dreams come true” and “King of my castle” and segues into a slow ballad proclaiming “I would die for you.”

It brought to mind this time I saw Trans-Siberian Orchestra perform “Beethoven’s Last Night” at Amsoil Arena and there was this interesting mix of people who thought they were at a classical concert and people who thought they were at a metal show. There was a drunk man there who kept yelling “Savatage!” in a “Freebird”-ian way, a nod to the metal band half of Trans-Siberian’s players were part of. Memories.

Here’s a bit from Mike Creger:
MARY BUE
Crowded. That was Superior night in a word. It began at the Red Mug with usually solo Mary Bue changing things up with accompaniment from hubby Kyle Maclean. The vegan tried out a new song about a caged calf raised for veal that will never see the sun, blue river or jump over the moon. It was sweet lament with a message that wasn’t preachy.

RYAN VAN SLOOTEN
People were on top of each other in the coffee shop as even more pressed in for Ryan Van Slooten and crew. “Nothing like a rock concert in a coffee shop,” one lucky person at a table remarked.

EMILY HAVOC
Emily “Havoc” Haavik brought her powerful voice for the close at Red Mug, joined by a backup singer and musicians on the banjo, beat box and guitar. She said it’s probably the last time you’ll see her under the “Havoc” moniker, a sort of Homegrown goof inspired by her growing fan base.

Haavik keeps writing songs sparse in lyric, allowing musicality to fill in and her incredible talent in building a song. It was talky at the coffee shop — and irritating when a song began quietly. But there was no need to hush anyone because Haavik did it with her voice — rising to bear out heartache and satisfaction of living in her own skin. She said “Havoc” makes her sound too hardcore, but she did sketch out the havoc found in confusing relationships and interpersonal perceptions.