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Monday, August 15, 2005

Pizza Luce Block Party Remembered

Christy Hunt (Ouija Radio) amp jump
Christy Hunt of Ouija Radio leaps from her guitar amp at the Pizza Luce block party. Photo by David de Young

The crowd continued to grow as the afternoon progressed at the Pizza Luce Block Party, and lines for the more 6 portapotties continued to do the same until the waits were sometimes a half hour or more. Some attendees discussed toilet line strategies, i.e. don't just pick the shortest line, pick the line with the most guys in it because it tends to move nearly twice as fast. (Ultimately I found a scooter ride down to The Country Bar was actually the quickest way to relieve oneself legally.)

Ouija Radio wowed the crowd, getting even the little people (and by that I mean the toddlers in attendance) to dance. And I was lucky to capture an action shot of Christy Hunt leaping from her amp onto the stage, more gracefully than you would think possible for someone wearing white, high-heeled boots.

We spent the rest of our time divided between the stage and hanging out by the PBR tent drinking tall boys with Rex Sorgatz from and Melissa Maerz, former City Pages Music editor, now an associate editor at Spin Magazine, who was in town for the weekend. I also had the chance to meet Chuck Klosterman for the first time and chat a bit with him while standing in one of those long-ass portapotty lines.

I spoke briefly with Sean Tillman (aka Har Mar Superstar), who as I'd mentioned previously ("My Report From London - Bombed but not beaten") had performed a gig in London the night before the tube and bus bombings on July 7th. Apparently, at the same time I was trying (and failing miserably) to get into the city that morning, Tillman was finding it much easier to get out via cab to the airport to fly back to L.A. And though security was tighter, as might have been expected, he didn't face too much additional hassle due to the terrorist attacks.

Har Mar Superstar
Har Mar Superstar checks the ID of a lucky just-turned-18-year-old before granting her a snog.

Har Mar Superstar, of course, headlined the Luce block party this year, and his ever-growing popularity was obvious from the nearly un-navigable crowd toward the front of the stage by the time he went on just after 9 PM.

"What's up Eden Prairie?," Har Mar asked the crowd, tacking on shouts out to Chaska and Blue Earth as well. And of course Owatonna. "Owatonna. That's where I'm from," he boasted, adding smugly, "And look at me now."

Early in his set, a young fan clambered onto the stage and was about to start dancing when the beat abruptly ended. Har Mar quipped about the guy's bad timing, saying, "That was a waste of a stage invasion, man."

Har Mar's top notch set included favorities such as "Body Request," "DUI," "Power Lunch," "Cut Me Up" (the song he wrote with Karen O), and "EZ Pass." His voice was almost angelic on some of the sweeter, R&B numbers he performed. (Kudos to the Block Party crew for the overall good job on sound.)

To round out his Minnesota visit, Har Mar plans a 3 day tubing adventure (and adventure is probably an understatement) down the Cannon River. All are invited. For details see his website.

See more Har Mar photos as well as pictures of Die Electric! in the full set of HowWasTheShow Pizza Luce Block Party photos here.