In recent years the mid-point of the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival was dubbed “Westside Wednesday,” with music lovers fanning out to venues from Lincoln Park to West Duluth. This year, Soup Town night came early as Earth Rider Brewery in Superior kicked off their in-person series of shows dubbed “Starfire Unofficial Birthday Bash” that will continue through Saturday of Homegrown Week.
The evening’s festivities began at 5pm, with Black River Revue playing under Earthrider’s giant tent. Fans trickled onto the grounds throughout the evening, with a reasonably-sized crowd gathered by the time of Charlie Parr’s closing set. Whether inside the tent or outside on the grounds near one of the fires needed on a chilly May evening, fans still had space to spread out as needed. It didn’t quite feel back to normal, but it was obvious that vaccinations are making folks of all ages feel more comfortable with venturing out and sharing space and even hugs with friends they may not have been able to be with in a year.
The theme of the night seemed to be collaboration: Black River Revue welcomed Sonja Martin from Feeding Leroy, Clancy Ward of Sugar on the Roof, and Harrison Olk onstage for part of their set; Nate Hynum from Black River Revue returned the favor on Feeding Leroy’s set, which also included Ward on fiddle; as he had the previous night at 2104, Alan Sparhawk of Low joined Sarah Krueger for her Lanue set (although, ironically, she did her final song, a cover
of Low’s “When I Go Deaf,” solo); Lee Martin and Adam Staupe of Feeding Leroy sat in with Colleen Myhre’s band; and Sparhawk returned to the stage to accompany Charlie Parr (along with “Brother” Dave Hundreiser on harmonica). It was a joyful reminder of what Homegrown is all about, a celebration of local music and creativity, capped off by Parr’s encore, his a capella version of “Ain’t No Grave” that gave the tent concert the feel of a revival meeting for a few brief minutes.
For the first time this week fans had to choose their Homegrown adventure, live or virtual? For those who chose the stay-at-home option, 2104 provided another trio of performers beginning with Woodblind at 6pm. “Hi, we’re Woodblind,” said bassist Veikko Lepisto by way of introduction, “All hail the chicken!” The band launched into “The Sun is Gonna Shine,” a hopeful look forward to things getting back to a semblance of normalcy. Luke Moravcek managed to raise a surprising amount of ruckus for a one-man band in his Zeb or Zeke and the Run Away Screamings project, inspired by Scooby Doo, and Boxcar closed out the night with a solid set of alt-country covers and originals.
The only official Homegrown event on the schedule was a re-airing of the first of four videos made for the Virtual Winter Fiasco. When the Homegrown committee made the decision to cancel 2020’s festival, they wisely didn’t scramble to come up with a half-hearted virtual replacement and left it to bands and fans to fill the gaps. For 2021, with several months to put thought and energy into a digital plan, they’ve created quality content that not only shares local music performances, but a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to put on the festival. The segment includes an interview with Kala Moria about the Unofficial Homegrown Scavenger Hunt that was a bright spot in 2020 and has been a continued source of fun in 2021.
Coming up today:
2pm KUMD Live from Studio A-Misisipi Mike Wolf joins us live on 103.3fm or streaming at kumd.org
Earth Rider Brewery -Starfire Unofficial Birthday Bash
5-7pm Severio Mancieri (Cedar Lounge)
5pm Misisipi Mike Allstars
5:45pm SonofMel & the Slideman
6:30pm Adam Herman & Company
7:15pm Gavin St. Clair
8pm Black-eyed Snakes
6pm Aurora Baer
6:45pm John "Banjo" Bankson
7pm Alex Hecker X Ryann Daisy Swimmer
7:45pm John "Banjo" Bankson
8pm Jacob Mahon and The New Salty Dogs
Homegrown coverage on KUMD is made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.