Sunday, May 12, 2013
Review: Homegrown was the best fest around, again
It was a day of diverse Texas music under the embrace of downtown Dallas' skyscrapers.
DOWNTOWN DALLAS With weather that seemed too perfect to be real, the 4th annual Homegrown Music and Arts Festival pulled it off yet again. The lineup, built with only Texas-based artists, boasted names like the Divine Fits, the Polyphonic Spree and the Relatives. As the cold Shiner began to flow, fans flocked to Main Street Garden early to get the most out of the beaming sun and eclectic lineup.
At the peak of the sun’s heat, the deep-fried rockers known as Somebody’s Darling took the stage. Their dose of Southern hospitality complete with rolling keys, sassy strings, and Amber Farris’ raspy chords feels distinctly Texan. All eyes were on Farris during their enthusiastic but tender cover of Jack White’s “Love Interruption,” a song that jived on the band's natural chemistry. The band's laid-back approach made crowds crave more. We hope to see big things happen for this Dallas band.
A few soulful backup singers and a blaring horn section is all Larry g(EE) needed to own the stage during his earlier set. The funky '60s, complete with Little Richard and James Brown, took over. Larry g(EE) played both his own material and covers such as Sly and the Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher,” and through it all, his arsenal of female vocalists brought it home. Closing track “Yo Mama” went out with a fight, making the crowds go wild. Larry ended up flat on his back, next to his mic.
The eccentric and always fascinating group the Polyphonic Spree made their signature entrance by cutting through a white sheet stretched across the stage. “Yes It’s True” was scribbled across the blank banner, advertising their upcoming record due out on August 6. The massive group, complete with a robed choir, cello, harp, trumpet, and former Tripping Daisy front man Tim DeLaughter, maintained high energy throughout the set, swaying and thrashing to the anthemic tracks.
With a crashing melody and DeLaughter’s contagious optimism seeping through, songs like “Two Thousand Places” reminded us why they’re still relevant after 13 years. For the closing, DeLaughter broke the mold and brought back “My Umbrella,” a Tripping Daisy song from 1992. The excited melody was reminiscent of the days when the streets of Deep Ellum were bustling, when you could hear multiple genres just by walking a few blocks.
The Divine Fits, the final headliner with a heavy roster, let the music do the talking in their 50-minute set with crunchy, psychedelic pedals and gritty guitar solos. Front man Britt Daniel, the lead singer of Austin band Spoon, and Dan Boeckner from Handsome Furs, fed off of each other’s energy and took turns singing and ripping through brief electric solos. Daniel’s vocal curves and high inflections took us back to those catchy Spoon songs, and yet his new project has a mind of its own.
The Fits' cover of Frank Ocean’s “Lost” added texture to the usually-smooth track, giving it a more vibrant personality with sectioned verses and rough guitar work. This set was so satisfying in part because the band hasn't made the rounds here. Their show gave area music fans a new indie flavor to chew on.