Live at the Homebody
Last weekend, Homebody House Concert Fest took over nine homes in three neighborhoods for nine house concerts. Homebody was conceived by Myles Robertson, known locally as co-founder of (resurgent) arts organization The Birdsell Project and general manager at Purple Porch Co-op in the East Bank.
Artists from Alaska, Maine, Michigan, and more traveled to our city to play in living rooms throughout the Near Northwest, Near West, and Monroe Park neighborhoods. Each evening consisted of three sequential shows placed within walking distance of each other.
It was a ball. Enjoy Friday through photographs:
The festival opened in the Near Northwest at a home on Hudson Avenue with Michael Thomas Howard who, though hailing from Alaska, has now played three shows in South Bend. His punk-inspired folk style is quintessential house concert music – he remarked multiple times how refreshing it is to play for a captive audience.
One of my favorite things about house concerts is the natural interaction between members of the audience. You're in a small-ish venue that isn't your home, and I think that mix of intimacy and discomfort lends itself to new friendships. This started as soon as people began arriving.
After Michael's set, folks with the Friday day-pass or the whole weekend pass took a few block stroll down Riverside Drive for the second concert with Caroline Cotter. Caroline is a 'travel-inspired singer songwriter' coming all the way from Maine.
Throughout Caroline's set she shared a wealth of stories about family, traveling, and meaningful relationships that drew the audience into her lyrics. As we arrived to the third home later on, one person attending all of the shows remarked how much her stories shaped their experience of her music.
After another short stroll down Riverside Drive, we arrived at the home of Gabrielle Robinson and Mike Keen. Some of you will know Mike from our podcast on equitable real estate development in this very neighborhood, and others will know Gabrielle as the author of Better Homes of South Bend, a book telling the story of African American Studebaker workers who aimed to build homes away from the factories where they were forced to live.
Our final musician of the night was Humbird, an indie-folk guitarist from Minneapolis, MN. She killed it.
One common theme that came up at all of the shows is how many different people needed to join up for Homebody to happen. When you consider that each concert needs a home, each musician needs a home to sleep in, and each concert requires sound technology, photography, and coordination – Myles and co. pulled off a beautiful display of community.