Now in its fourth year of opening The District's summer-festival season, Hornucopia is established enough that most people understand that the diverse festival welcomes any style of music that features horns, from the hip-hop jazzy funk of bands such as Liquid Soul and The Pocket Dwellers to the rockier sounds of Fenster and The Groove Hogs. Now that its identity is entrenched in the public's mind, the festival can just focus on its specialties: spicy music and food.
Hornucopia 2002 runs from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday in The District, with 10 acts performing a total of 14 sets.
The biggest attraction, clearly, is Grammy-winning Liquid Soul, closing the festival Saturday with an 11 p.m. set on the East Stage. The Chicago-based outfit specializes in funky acid jazz, with hip-hop touches, but it's also omnivorous - you can expect to find just about anything in the band's music, from soul to salsa. "Liquid Soul is always a great show," Fowler said. After the band won its Grammy last year, it was expected it wouldn't be playing in this area again, but Rock Island has continued to be a regular stop. Miss this set at your peril.
Strip away one coat of jazz from Liquid Soul, and you might get a pretty good sense of The Pocket Dwellers, who are making their first appearance in the area with two sets: Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 9:30 p.m., both on the East Stage. Bottom-heavy funk and hip-hop serve as the base, with spice added by the horns, and it's a safe bet that The Pocket Dwellers will provide the best butt-shaking sets of the weekend.
In the same vein, the oddly named (for several reasons) Guy Smiley Blues Exchange also traffics some heavy funk with jazz tinges and some progressive-rock shifting and guitar out of left field.
While Hornucopia was seemingly built for funk, the festival's strength is its diversity. The most unpredictable music of the weekend will probably be turned in by Fenster, performing a pair of early sets: at 6 p.m. Friday on the West Stage, and at 7 p.m. Saturday on the East Stage. The band shows great range, from earnest pop-rock with gentle horn accents to horn-driven funk to ska-rock anthems that build to cacophony. The band is known for its high-energy live shows, and it will be interesting to see how Fenster's carefully modulated studio sound is transformed in person.
The Planet Smashers promise ska via Canada, while The Groove Hogs stand firmly on blues ground. Quad Cities regulars The Jungle Dogs bring their wide-ranging world-beat-influenced party music from Carbondale, Illinois, while Iowa City's Orquesta de Jazz y Salsa Alto Maiz offers a steady diet of corn-fed salsa. Ray's Music Exchange will provide some jazzy jamming, and The Dynamics brings a blend of rhythm-and-blues, funk, and blues classics.
New this year will be non-musical entertainment on the Great River Plaza: a re-creation of the television show Blind Date on Friday night, and "Fool Fest" on Saturday featuring Comedy Sportz.
Returning this year is two-for-one admission from 5 to 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. And as in previous years, Hornucopia will feature plenty of hot-and-spicy food in many different types of cuisine, from curry to Creole to barbecue. "Hot and spicy is the way to go," Fowler said.
Admission to Hornucopia is $6, with children 12 and under admitted free with an adult.
Hornucopia 2002 Band Biographies
Friday, May 17, 7 p.m., East Stage; Saturday, May 18, 6 p.m., West Stage
Style: R&B, funk, and blues classics
Hometown: Bloomington, Indiana
CDs: You Ain't Got to Go Home, 2001; Doin' It ... LIVE, 1999; Make That Change, 1996
Band members: James "Mr. Dynamic" Hartfield, lead vocals; Dennis Rhoades, saxophone; Tim Zackery, trumpet; James "JB" Black, trombone; Brian Gill, key boards; Tim Pruett, drums; Danny Alvarez, bass; Tj. Jones, guitar
Web site: www.cs.indiana.edu/hyplan/tj/ dynamics.html
Friday, May 17, 6 p.m., West Stage; Saturday, May 18, 7 p.m., East Stage
Style: horn-driven rock; "to truly appreciate Fenster, you must experience them live"
CDs: Causing Problems, 2000; Fenster, 1999
Band members: Roman Kravec, guitar; Paul Robinson, vocals; Ed D'Angelo, bass; Brian Yarbrough, trumpet; Tony Moore, trumpet; Jared Keron, drums
Web site: www.fensterband.com
GUY SMILEY BLUES EXCHANGE
Friday, May 17, 10 p.m., West Stage
Style: funk flavored jazz, groove-oriented music; self-described as pyschafunkadoobalicious
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Year Founded: 1993
CDs: GSBE LIVE, 2000; The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange, 1998
Band members: Patrick Dolan, alto sax, flute; Jon Grant, bass; Graham Spice, guitars, keyboard, trumpet, vocals; Chris West, tenor & soprano saxophone, flute, bass clarinet, funkyaphone; Jim Kolacek, drums; Ryan Styles, baritone saxophone, bass saxophone; DJ Viper, turntables; Tommy McCormac, percussion
Web site: www.GSBE.com
Saturday, May 18, 5 p.m., East Stage
Style: blues-branded rock & soul; blues-based rock sound that leans heavily on the horns and electric guitars that make a hot in- your-face kind of sound
Hometown: Fox Valley, Wisconsin
Year Founded: 1994
CDs: Wrong Side of the Street, 2002; No Small Feat, 2000; The Groove Hogs, 1997
Band members: Chris Andersen, alto and tenor sax; Steve Cooper, tenor sax, vocals; Brian Gruselle, keyboards, sax; Rob Hanson, vocals, harmonica; Pat Kiel, guitar, vocals; John Laws, bass guitar; Patrick Phalen, lead trumpet, flugel horn, vocals, percussion; Adam Plamann, baritone sax, alto sax, vocals; John Stelzer, drums, vocals; Tom VandenAvond, trombone, vocals
Web site: www.groovehogs.com
Saturday, May 18, 10 p.m., East Stage
Style: rock, reggae, calypso, ska, funk; party music heavily influenced by world-beat sounds
Hometown: Carbondale, Illinois
Year Founded: 1987
Band members: Klaus Bank, sax & vocals; Eddie Chapa, bass, vocals; Larry Daly, trombone, vocals; Keith Huffman,
keyboard, vocals; John Hunter, drums; Matt Linsin, percussion; Dan Schingel, guitar, vocals; D. Ward, trumpet, vocals
Web site: www.jungledogs.com
Saturday, May 18, 11 p.m., East Stage
Style: acid jazz, jazz and urban dance music, everything from hard-bop to hip-hop
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Year Founded: 1994
CDs: Here's the Deal, 2000; Liquid Soul, 2000; Make Some Noise, 1998
Band members: Mars Williams, saxophones; MCB, emcee; Ron Haynes, trumpet, flugelhorn; Ajax, turntables; Ricky Showalter, bass; Victor Baker, drums; Johnny Showtime, trombone; Ernie Denov, guitar; Simone, vocals; DJ Eddie Mills, turntables; Mr. Greenweedz, emcee
Web site: www.liquidsoul.com
ORQUESTA DE JAZZ Y SALSA ALTO MAIZ
Friday, May 17, 8 p.m., West Stage
Style: latin jazz; bringing salsa, merengue, and latin jazz to the heartland
Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa
Year Founded: 1986
CDs: Anejando, 2001; Live at Montreux, 1999; Decada, 1996; Azucar Caliente, 1994; Dancing in the Corn, 1992
Band members: Bob Washut, piano; Steve Grismore, guitar; Ed East, lead vocals; Mark Urness, bass; Bill Bergen, trumpet; Jim Dreier, percussion; Al Naylor, trumpet; Paul Cunliffe, percussion; Rich Medd, trombone; Dan Hummel, percussion; Bob Thompson, sax, flute
Web site: www.salsaband.com
Friday, May 17, 11 p.m., East Stage; Saturday, May 18, 8 p.m., West Stage
Style: ska, with super-catchy horn riffs and solid melodies
Hometown: Montreal, Canada
Year Founded: 1994
CDs: No Self Control, 2001; Life of the Party, 1999; Attack of the Planet Smashers, 1997; Inflate to 45 RPM, 1996; The Planet Smashers, 1995; Meet the Planet Smashers, 1994
Band members: Matt Collyer, vocals; Dave Cooper, bass; Tim Doyle, drums; Kurt Ruzchenisky, trombone; Leon Kingstone, tenor sax
Web site: www.unionlabelgroup.com
Friday, May 17, 9 p.m., East Stage; Saturday, May 18, 9:30 p.m., East Stage
Style: hip hop, funk, jazz; "get where the groove is happening"
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Year Founded: 1996
CDs: Digitally Organic, 2000; Pocket Dwellers, 1996
Band members: Dennis Passley, saxophone; Sheldon Moore, turntables; Nigel Williams, MC; Christian McKibben, guitar; Dave Leitao, keyboards; Gord Shields, bass; Marco Raposo, drums
Web site: www.pocketdwellers.com
RAY'S MUSIC EXCHANGE
Friday, May 17, 5 p.m., East Stage
Style: jazz; dedicated to the creation of eclectic and innovative music
Hometown: Cinncinati, Ohio
CDs: Turanga, 2001; Alivexchange, 1999
Band members: Eli Hludzik, drums and percussion; Nick Blasky, bass; Joe McLean, guitar; Brad Myers, guitar; Michael Mavridoglou, trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion
Web site: www.raysmusicexchange.com