Local Current Blog

‘I’m proud to be from here’: Har Mar Superstar plays his hometown of Owatonna for the first time ever

Photos by Mary Mathis/MPR

If you missed catching a glimpse of Sean Tillman performing as Calvin Krime on Wednesday night at the Turf Club, hopefully you were lucky enough to see him last night at his first-ever performance with his full Har Mar Superstar band in his hometown of Owatonna.

As the second stop on his 2019 tour that began in Seattle on June 1, Har Mar performed a sweaty, dance-infused, 90-minute concert on an outdoor stage at the kick-off event for the city’s Downtown Thursday music series.

Presented by the Music Space of Owatonna, the event also showcased local beverage vendors, local artists, and a variety of food trucks. You could even buy cans of Har Mar Superstar’s Bye Bye 16 oz. Personal Tall Boy Best Summer Ever Beer, a Modist Brewing product that debuted last year.

The stage, set between two buildings in an empty lot, began filling with fans early in the evening. Lawn chairs started to fill the grass and standing fans gathered around the stage. “He is awesome, quirky and I appreciate his vibe and his songs,” said Cat Cloyd (below) of Owatonna. “He’s eccentric and talented. I appreciate that a lot.”

Fan Nicholas Eustice of Fairbault said he was “incredibly stoked” about the show and that it was “a very nice gesture bringing his music to the local scene.”

“I am looking forward to them playing ‘Tall Boy,’” said Eustice. “It’s going to be really funky. The song is really fun and has amusing innuendos.”

Before the show, Har Mar told me, “I’m excited. This whole thing is a little bit nuts.” He added that he hopes the whole series will be a success. “Hopefully more bands come down from the Twin Cities, because this is set up really well and it is a lot of fun.”

As the show began, Har Mar’s six-piece band entered the stage wearing matching red windbreakers. Moments later, Har Mar appeared on the stage wearing a Sriracha hot sauce costume with hot pink sunglasses.

The set began with the song “Personal Boy,” from Har Mar’s 2017 Personal Boy EP. While performing this song, Har Mar removed the Sriracha costume to reveal a ramen-themed outfit.

Showcasing a wide range of his catalog, Har Mar and his band continued with “Prisoner,” “Restless Leg,” and “How Did I Get Through the Day.” At one point, Har Mar jumped off of the stage and danced with the crowd in the grass while continuing to perform.

Between songs, Har Mar encouraged his hometown fans to pursue their musical aspirations. “I see a lot of younger people out here tonight,” said Har Mar during the show. “I love that. This reminds me of all of the chalets we used to rent out and play music. If you are thinking of starting your own band — don’t be afraid. Do it.”

Ahead of Prince’s birth date weekend, Har Mar paid tribute to his fellow Minnesotan with the cover “When You Were Mine.” The set continued with “Tall Boy,” “Almond Joy,” and “Confidence.” While performing the last song of the set, “We Don’t Sleep,” Har Mar did one of his trademark handstands.

The band ended with a two-song encore. During the second song of the encore, “Lady You Shot Me,” Har Mar stopped for a moment to tell the crowd, “I’m proud to be from here.”

If you missed seeing Har Mar rock the streets of Owatonna last night, you will be able to see him again at Rock the Garden this summer as part of his Heart Bones collaboration with Sabrina Ellis. The Har Mar Superstar U.S. and Canada tour continues through June and ends in Winnipeg on June 25.

Marla Khan-Schwartz is a writer who is mostly inspired by music, deep conversation, and a bold glass of red wine.