Over at the Yellow Stage, Har Mar Superstar is the only person who could have ever confidentially followed up the Air Sex Championships. Taking the stage to the audience chanting his name while “1st Of Tha Month” by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony blasted through the speakers, Har Mar (real name: Sean Tillmann) was initially wearing a Mexican blanket around his head and red striped Zubaz pants.
The 10-song set began with “Don’t Make Me Hit You,” a track from his most recent album “Bye Bye 17.” The record was recorded here in Austin with Spoon’s Jim Eno as a co-producer. He mixed in several tracks from that record like “Restless Leg” and “Everywhere I’m Local” with older gems from his catalog like 2004’s “DUI” – a nod to the art of the drunken dial. Over the years he has perfected a style of music that is heavily influenced by 70s-era AM radio R&B and funk, but manages to sound current at the same time.
It’s unlikely that Otis Redding has been resurrected as a thirtysomething man from Minnesota who looks like Ron Jeremy, but it’s hard not to at least want to believe it when you hear Mr. Tillmann sing. Another ode to his home state came with “Power Lunch,” a Prince-inspired jam from his “You Can Feel Me” album that still had The Gossip’s Beth Ditto featured on the backing track.
As the set wore on, he removed several layers of clothing until the pants (“Minnesota pride!” he declared) were all that were left. Wrapping up with “We Don’t Sleep,” he sang the final verse of the track in a headstand. As the stage shifted back to comedians, it was a hard act to follow.