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Homegrown vets share tips, must-see shows

A Beyonce dance party, the rare pairing of a folk favorite and down-and-dirty blues rockers, and the view off the beaten path top the list of pro-tips from those in the know.

Homegrown Music Festival veterans shared strategies on how to have the happiest Homegrown ever and dished on the must-see shows of the annual eight-day, 200-band, multiple-venue event.

The 16th annual festival kicks off with a new level of fanfare: There will be a procession down East Superior Street, from Fitger’s Brewhouse to Tycoons Alehouse, that includes a horse-drawn carriage filled with Homegrown dignitaries and a keg of Homegrown Hempen Ale.

The official mayoral proclamation and keg tapping is at 8:30 p.m. today at Tycoons.

The music gets a head-start, though, with Coyote playing its opening set at 7:30 p.m. today at Teatro Zuccone. The festival, which includes music, art, film, fire dancing and kickball, runs through Sunday, May 4.

Here’s the scoop from savvy Homegrowners:  

  • “I want to see Bratwurst. I’ve never seen them before. I want to witness the meat show. Also: Wolf Blood, because they play loud and have a good name. Finally, American Rebels, because I love Kyle McLean’s songs.” AMY ABTS plays with Extinct Gingers at 6 p.m. Saturday at Beaner’s Central. Abts played the first Homegrown Music Festival, but said she can’t remember the last one she played. Bratwurst, which plays at midnight Saturday at R.T. Quinlan’s, is famous for incorporating raw meat into its act. Wolf Blood, which earned much chatter last year, plays at midnight Friday at R.T. Quinlan’s. American Rebels play at 11:15 p.m. Friday at Dubh Linn Irish Pub.
  • “I’m looking forward to seeing Cars & Trucks, Black-Eyed Snakes and Charlie Parr, The Boomchucks, The Keep Aways, Cockfight, Father Hennepin, Crew Jones. … Realistically, I’m going to see old bands that I know.

    “I don’t live in Duluth, so I don’t see enough shows to keep up with the new stuff. I’m hoping to stumble upon new music that I like, but mostly I’m headed to Homegrown to catch up with friends.

    JASON CORK, a former Duluthian, has attended every Homegrown Music Festival, sometimes traveling across the country.

  • “I’m looking forward to discovering new things. My tip would be to break out of your comfort zone and go see something you’ve never seen before.

    “Last year I went to a lot of shows that were off the beaten path. They weren’t the shows of all the bands I’ve seen before. One year I went to Amazing Grace and I saw a pop-punk group start their set by singing a song in a barbershop quartet. It’s something you would never see if you just went to the same shows every year.”

    ADAM DEPRE, AKA Old Knifey, plays at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday at Player’s.

  • “As far as the week goes, it’s definitely a marathon and not a sprint type of deal. As far as things I’m really stoked to see: Sarah Krueger has a Beyonce dance party thing up her sleeve. Nobody should miss that. The Charlie Parr-Snakes show is going to be completely off the hook.”

    KYLE KEEGAN plays with Sarah Krueger, Silverback Colony, Two Beat Band and Superior Siren. Sarah Krueger plays at 10:15 p.m. Saturday at the Rex Bar.

  • “I made a decision this year. I always do the same thing. This year I’m going to try to see kids. We, Father Hennepin, played for the Music Resource Center. It was part playing, part practice for Homegrown. It was super scary playing for kids. They all have bands (playing Homegrown). Some of them weren’t even born when the first Homegrown happened, which freaked me out.

    “I want to go see these young kids who are probably more talented than I am now.”

    SCOTT “Starfire” LUNT created Homegrown Music Festival as a way to celebrate his 30th birthday. His band, Father Hennepin, plays at 9:45 p.m. Saturday at Carmody Irish Pub.

  • “I am especially excited about the (Grandma’s) Sports Garden shows on Tuesday night. I love Red Mountain’s first album, and I think they’ll thrive on the big stage.

    “Toby Churchill will always be in my top-five favorite Duluth acts, no matter what he’s working on. The guy is insanely talented. (I’m) really excited to hear material from his upcoming album. Cars & Trucks and Retribution Gospel Choir always put on amazing shows.

    “That’s four hours of world-class talent that is worth the price of a week-long pass on that one night.” MAYOR DON NESS is known to be a fan of local music and was at one time the director of the festival.

  • “I would say what everybody says — ‘Pace yourself’ — but I don’t even know if it’s worth it to try. Just let the wind blow you around.” TONY PETERSEN is part of Dedric Clark and the Social Animals, which plays at 10:30 p.m. Monday at Carmody Irish Pub and Saint Anyway, which plays at 10:45 p.m. today at Tycoons Alehouse.
  • “The biggest thing I’ve learned: It’s a showcase of a ton of diverse musicians. Commit yourself to one place or a few places and go with the ride. (Otherwise) you’ll spend more time waiting outside of doors, if you try to go to too many places.

    “I’ve found it to be more fun to hunker down at one or two venues.” RACHEL PHOENIX of The Social Disaster plays at midnight today at Pizza Luce. Phoenix said she’s looking forward to Wednesday night, which features West Duluth venues such as Kom-on-Inn.

  • “I have a music video that my friend (Kate Harrison) shot that is playing in the Music Video Festival. I haven’t (seen it). She was going to show it to me, then she said, ‘Let’s just have it be a surprise.’

    “I’m looking forward to poetry on Monday, and I’m looking forward to Southwire and Black-Eyed Snakes and Charlie Parr.” LAURA SELLNER is Superior Siren. She performs at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Amazing Grace Bakery and Café. The Homegrown Music Video Festival is at 7 p.m. Monday at Zinema 2 and the Poetry Showcase is at 8 p.m. Monday at The Underground.

  • “I’m excited that ‘The Playlist’ is recording the Wednesday main stage acts at Clyde (Actual Wolf, Southwire and Black-Eyed Snakes with Charlie Parr). All stand-out musicians.

    “If it’s too crowded to hear your favorite band, be flexible and move down the street. Memorable music moments happen all over the Twin Ports. Homegrown is an opportunity to discover a new favorite music group, one currently not on your radar. Be open to it.

    “Beware the Sharpie patrol on the trolley. Stay hydrated. Call a cab.” KAREN SUNDERMAN hosts “The Playlist” on PBS North (WDSE-TV).


Homegrown vets share tips, must-see shows Sunday's Homegrown schedule