Homegrown Music and Arts Festival With Spoon, Old 97's, Shakey Graves and more The Bomb Factory, Dallas Saturday, May 9, 2015
Texas' unpredictable did its best to wreck havoc on the sixth annual Homegrown Music and Arts Festival over the weekend, but for once Mother Nature found itself outmatched. Organizers made the call to move festivities indoors to The Bomb Factory all the way back on Thursday, and while some seasoned Homegrowner's may have been disappointed by the lack of sunshine, it was made up for by spending the day in an air-conditioned venue, complete with bathrooms and a pretty impressive makeshift vendor and food truck setup.
Getting the party started was the Fort Worth's the Orbans and Austin's the Rocketboys. Both of these bands carry their own solid fan base and really brought the down-home, sultry beard game to their sets. Houston's chillwave house heroes, Wrestlers, followed suit with their electronic indie dance jams. This kind of body moving space music was the perfect addition for earlier attendees, who just wanted to bust out some hula-hoops and par-tay with a long day of music -- over 12 hours, in fact, thanks to the adjusted indoor schedule.
-Topic and KoolQuise, with support from local Dallas band Mix Magyk, brought the proverbial turn up next. These two MCs have one of the most synergetic stage presences I have ever witnessed, and they were the first artists to really capture the audience's attention. If the spoken word or the beat-boxing tribute to OutKast's "So Fresh, So Clean" didn't intrigue you, their rendition of the Pokémon theme song definitely should have.
For many festivalgoers, the following band was a pleasant, Aqua-Net drenched surprise. Hailing from Austin, glam-rockers Sphynx are millennial's answer to Queen - but "with two Freddie Mercury's and also Phil Collins" according to their Facebook. (They're modest folks, too...) This electro-pop trio could give Andrew W.K. a run for his money in a headbanging contest, while still hitting those falsettos and looking fabulous doing it.
Oil Boom took the stage next, bringing things back to D-FW once again. While this trio was slightly more reserved than their predecessor, that in no way deterred from their ability to rock the crowd. Oil Boom's music flirts with hints of surf-rock and straight up rock 'n' roll, and while each member of the band played their parts perfectly and had an appropriate amount of on-stage banter. All the same, it was bassist Steve Steward's perfectly quaffed mullet that really stole the show.
Next up was local Dallas' Sealion, which featured HG6's sole female performer. Prior to playing, HG founder, Josh Florence, informed the crowd that it was lead vocalist and guitarist, Hunter Moehring's birthday - and the inevitable birthday song soon followed.
Sealion's music falls somewhere between surf punk and Joy Division, with a healthy dose of Scott Pilgrim dance moves. That led me to ask the question: "Is Sealion actually the real-life version of Sex Bob Omb?" We may never know the answer to that, but I do know this: 1) I need a Sealion T-shirt and 2) Hunter Moehring needs to teach us all how to dance. #nicemooooooves
Black Pistol Fire was up next. Originally from Toronto, currently taking up residence in Austin, this band is comprised of just two members, frontman Kevin McKeown and drummer/swim trunk enthusiast Eric Owen. And y'all, this bluesy, Deep South-infused rock duo blew my fucking mind.
McKeown alone had enough energy to power a third-world country and Owen's luxurious locks would keep citizens warm at night. Seriously. Even if you weren't into this type of rock, it was damn near impossible to look away. During their performance, McKeown seamlessly navigated his way behind the microphone, to intermittently jumping atop Owen's bass drum, to balancing on top of a rolling amp cart (which a seemingly annoyed security guard had to hold in place). By the end of it all, McKeown, with his guitar in tow, finished out the last song whilst crowd-surfing and not missing a single note.