General 7-13-2003

Green Man on Saturday

Read ongoing coverage of the Green Man Festival in Duluth here (July 11-13). J. Kalstrom provides reviews of a few of Saturday's performances. Photos by various people using the Duluth Art Institute's camera (as always, click on image to enlarge).

Big Heads
Main stage
The Rev. Lumpy G.

The music continued and the puppets strolled around under huge cumulous clouds that released a brief shower and then an entire rainbow. A group mural was painted, lots of kids, lots of costumes. Random Radio, Duluth underground station, broadcast throughout the festival. Jeffrey Kalstrom offers these impressions of a few of the day’s performances:

If Thousands
Indoor Stage

If Thousand’s twenty-minute pieces pursue the slow development of a raga, adding layers of complexity and volume until the hearer’s body is fully engaged. This layered harmonic moving sound has been honed by recent touring (with Low and Haley Bonar), and is now more sparse and directional. Easily the most abstract and experimental group of the weekend, and perhaps the most sonically sophisticated as well. In their one hour set, Christian McShane and Aaron Molina played 3 pieces. The last one almost rocked, with the addition of some brutally girlish drumming by Haley Bonar, cowgirl extraordinaire.

The Heiruspecs
Main Stage

Heiruspecs, the stunning sterling stars of Minnesota hiphop, turned in a very exciting set. In many ways the best of the festival, they masterfully connected with the crowd, building intense energy and feeding off it. A black hiphop band with a white rhythm section, they fly in the face of the usual racial politics of the genre; the lyrics retain a witty edge that the audience responded to with passion. Cannily, in a call and response anthem, they trained the audience in the correct pronunciation of their unusual name, and had them all bellowing “Hy-ru-specs!” as if the word would bring salvation.

Boy Girl Boy Girl
Indoor Stage

The Duluth band Boy Girl Boy Girl is a seemingly semi-serious side project of veterans of Gild, Black-Eyed Snakes, Father Hennepin, and the Keep-Aways. Their sound is diverse and amusing, with material that veers toward English-flavored pop. In my youth this would have been called “New Wave.” Promising, a touch cartoonish, and with songs like “Spy Girl,” fun.

Big Wu
Main Stage

Big Wu, they do what they do, and do it well, if you like that thing. They plow, and plow competently and thoroughly, that fertile Hootie field that lies between pop and rock and country. For outdoor concert dancing with a bellyful of beer, you can’t beat them.