Sunday, May 15, 2011
Photos and concert review: HomeGrown Music and Art Festival at Main Street Garden in Dallas (May 14)
HomeGrown had a lineup so good, it deserved a time slot on your precious Saturday.
DOWNTOWN DALLAS The second annual Homegrown Music and Art Festival, hosted at Main Street Garden in the heart of downtown Dallas, had everything necessary to pull off a perfect festival. The weather was just warm enough to get a tan but not hot enough to sweat; the live music was on schedule; and the artists’ tents were bustling with customers. The colorful lineup included (but certainly wasn't limited to) Ishi, the Burning Hotels, Neon Indian, Seryn, and This Will Destroy You. Every hour, the audience was guaranteed to get a different sound than what they heard last, showing the level of thoughtfulness the organizers gave while preparing the lineup.
As the sun first made its blaring appearance, Denton band Seryn began playing some tunes for the early attendees. Word of their inspiring live performances has already spread, but seeing them outside is a different story. The summer weather is just another magic element that makes this band so appealing. After the numerous shows we’ve seen, their natural harmonies and booming beats can still trigger goose bumps.
On the opposing stage, the jazz influenced singer Larry G (ee) and his band started up shortly after Seryn. Not only can the crooning front man Larry G (ee) hold his own onstage, each member of his band can too, including the four horn players. They were dressed in black suits and white shirts, reminiscent of the infamous Rat Pack. A notable cover, “It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over,” showed Larry G (ee)’s incredible range and power, bringing to mind Black Joe Lewis.
Another Dallas native, Gallery Cat, picked up the mic for another impressive show. Gallery Cat are goofy rappers who will make fun of themselves on stage, but they also tell an encouraging and uplifting story if you’re paying attention. And this show is where the dancing started. A brave and creative cover of Cage the Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” proved that this humble group can not only sing, but can successfully express themselves lyrically.
While the Shiner continued to run icy cold, the summer heat began to build. Rock bands the Burning Hotels and Analog Rebellion played back-to-back sets, bringing the first edgier styles of the day. The Burning Hotels, one of the only Fort Worth bands on the bill, resemble Two Door Cinema Club with their catchy choruses and softer vocals. Analog Rebellion pushes to the max with lead singer Daniel Hunter’s reaching notes and multiple pedal effects.
Next was the always-cheerful The O’s, who brought a folky show to the stage. John Pedigo and Taylor Young, wearing their signature all-black ensembles, proudly announced that this was their second Homegrown Fest and said they were impressed with how fast it had grown in a year. Whether the banjo and harmonica does it for you, these two can convert you with a few songs.
Unfortunately, equipment difficulties always occur at these events, and it had to happen to the anticipated instrumental group, This Will Destroy You. Their set was cut in half, giving the fans only four songs to enjoy. These guys play well-thought-out music, knowing when to add a gritty riff or crashing symbol effects. Even though their style is almost ear splitting, the crowds stood in groups, hardly moving, as the talented musicians cast their spell.
The garden then quickly filled in anticipation of the headlining acts. Ishi fans could be spotted with pastel-painted faces, in tribute to singer Taylor Rea's usual costume. Ishi's vibrant mix of electro beats and calm vocals attract fans like a bug to a light. John T. Mudd and Rea took it to another level: belly dancing, climbing on one another, and walking out into the crowd. The Bangles’ “Walk Like An Egyptian” proved successful with the fawning audience, inciting even more belly dancing from Rea. The crowd seemed to enjoy the sincerity of the fun-loving band. The massively popular single, “Pastel Lights,” ignited more excitement than we thought possible.
Neon Indian brought their particular brand of electro synth rock to the fest. From the outset, Alan Palomo and crew had the large glowsticks-in-hands crowd bouncing and swaying to their deep beats and dreamy lyrics. They began the set with a song from their yet-to-be-titled forthcoming album, but stuck largely to tracks from their 2009 debut Psychic Chasms.
Dallas is becoming even prouder of their “homegrown” talent. Here’s to dreaming of another explosive lineup for 2012; this one will be hard to top.
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