To anyone who has ever zipped into a thick parka in mid-January to bounce from Duluth bar to bar for Homegrown Music Festival’s annual teaser, the Winter Fiasco, a gift: All the music is now available on the screen nearest you.
This means a video of The Slamming Doors socially distanced at Quarry Park.
This is a flashback to Emily Haavik playing “Fools Gold” on stage at Minneapolis' 7th St. Entry in 2019 — complete with bar chatter in the background.
And this is Richard Chida, of Shadows of Me, seemingly wearing slippers as the band plays “This Fire” in a basement.
A four-episode online version of the Homegrown Winter Fiasco went up on the festival’s YouTube channel early Friday morning and includes an old-school MTV-style of video experience — new footage (Breanne Marie and the Front Porch Sinners are masked), archived moments (Reflectivore’s video for “Ticonderoga”) and interviews with musicians and members of the steering committee.
“I wanted to get as many bands involved as possible,” said Cory Jezierski, who put the footage together into episodes and, in some cases, went to a musician’s home to record a song and quick interview.
The latter is how he captured guitar whiz Moriah Skye, who claims Jimi Hendrix as one of a handful of influences.
“(I’m a) lover not a fighter on the fretboard,” Skye said before playing a new song, “Rainbow Wings.”
Jezierski collected nearly 40 videos for the one-song-each showcase. It will remain available for viewing on the Homegrown channel.
“It’s very doable,” festival director Melissa LaTour said. “People, at their leisure, can go through it.”
Compared to an in-real-life experience: Last year’s Winter Fiasco featured 12 bands at four downtown Duluth venues.
Homegrown Music Festival typically features about 200 acts performing at venues in Duluth in Superior — an eight-day festival that falls in late April to early May. Last year’s in-person events were canceled because of the pandemic, and that is the case again this year, too — though expect virtual shows and last minute pop-up events.
Here is some of what you will find during the Homegrown Winter Fiasco.
Minneapolis-based musician Mary Bue, who maintains ties with the area, sets the scene with a casual, self-recorded song “My Ego is Huge” in a sunny spot in front of a piano. The Slamming Doors brought bongos to the Quarry for “Grown Man” and Boogeymen’s “Something in my Head” is a trippy old-school video-video. Isolation Band is having the most fun, though, a family basement band with a kid-drummer and a catchy bass-heavy life lesson: “Don’t Live Your Life Like a Couch Potato,” they sing.
Beyond Bliss opens the second episode with, first, a call-back to AOL dial-up internet. Then, perched on a camping chair in a tight corner, he raps “It’s Homegrown, but I’m at home alone.” Reflectivore recorded its video for “Ticonderoga” during a Homegrown show at Red Herring Lounge and it gets a rerun here. You just get a peek of Sonofmel's head in a black and white video where he channels the old folkies in “Hello from Johnny Cash” — who he sounds like here and there.
Luke Moravec’s family-friendly project Zeb or Zeke and the Run Away Screamings pays homage to “Scooby-Doo” at the start of the third episode. Suzy Jezierski, an aerialist, performs from Ignite Studio to the song “Choke Cherry” by The Social Disaster. Torment’s intense “Burn,” with Caden Dudek’s signature screams, is fan-footage from 2019 Homegrown recorded at RT Quinlan’s.
“You’ve got those crazy eyes,” Lyla Abbukhodair sings and plays guitar in a DIY video from a home living room space. Cities Never Sleep is a portrait of another time with “I Could Have Been a Contender” — recorded live from Whiskey Junction in Minneapolis in early March 2020. Meanwhile, the Cuellis are a portrait of now with “Ordinary Blues” — recorded with Jake Searl and Matt James in separate spaces on the same screen. And if Hannah Rey looks at ease on her couch with her guitar, that’s because she has been coming atchya live from that space ever since the venues closed.