General 7-12-2003

Green Man Continues

Read ongoing coverage of the Green Man Festival in Duluth here (July 11-13). Jeffrey Kalstrom provides capsule reviews of Friday's performances. Photos provided by various people using the Duluth Art Institute's camera.

Green Man

People arrived under wildly changeable skies, set up camp, and the green flank of Spirit Mountain gradually turned into the usual maze of cables and food carts. Some people wore butterfly wings, another had a large hamburger on his head, Jesse the glassblower had no prices on his work but asked people to pay what they wanted, “within reason.”

A twelve-hour mountain bike race and skateboarding are part of the festival, as are other artforms–theater, big puppetry. The Green Man Poem is growing line by line. Festival-goers can add to it at the Duluth Art Institute / / Tweed Museum tent. It will be posted to this site Sunday evening. Pick up performance scores at the art tent as well.

Jeffrey Kalstrom of the Duluth Art Institute provided today’s capsule reviews of a few of Friday’s performers:

Leftover Salmon
Main Stage

A band from Colorado that blends the down-home from Bill Monroe with the charming and seemingly endless improvisational song structure of the Dead. Never taking themselves too seriously, Leftover Salmon will hoot and holler and bark like dogs and do anything to please the audience. Interestingly, the rather young crowd seemed to respond with more fervent dancing to the bluegrassy numbers rather than the ones that referred strongly to standard rock structures. Very pleasing to the young and dreadlocked, this is music that I guess you could describe as baroque psychedelic bluegrass.

Wookie Foot
Main Stage

A big crazy lifestyle band:.Wookie Foot is a cross between a hippie jam band, a hiphop band, and a Los Vegas spectacle / TV game show. They’re vastly entertaining and fun to dance to, but they’re not just a band. They’re a theatrical entertainment group as well: they’ll stop and do games with balls and hula hoops that they hand out to the audience; then more music; then more bubbles, costumes, and funny hats. Crowd loved ‘em, everybody happy.

Old Yeller, Lindquist
Indoor Stage

These two bands had a similar effect, so I’ll talk about them together. It’s the Singer Problem. Old Yeller, for instance, with sparse instrumentation, has great musical competence, big sonic punch, good musicianship, but the lead guitarist, who sings the songs and probably writes them, can’t really sing that well and you can’t hear any of the lyrics. Lindquist, too, suffers from something like this. Mark Lindquist’s excellent former band, Giljunko, was very much a group effort and so had more to go on. The band Lindquist rests on Lindquist’s songwriting, and the thing is, he’s a good songwriter–a good writer–but his singing, though certainly adequate, can’t really do justice to the material. All in all, excellent musicianship, great playing, songwriters aren’t always great singers.