Random Stuff from a Few Weeks Ago

Sweeney’s

On the Fourth of July, we decided we wanted to go out for dinner. Many of our attempts were foiled, because a lot of restaurants were closed. I wasn’t sure if this was normally the case or if a lot of them made that choice because of the economy, although a lot more people were staying in town this year. We drove around to a few different places before deciding on Sweeney’s in St. Paul. We weren’t settling at all because they always have good food and beverages. We ordered the fried pickles with ranch dressing, and we indulged in their 50 cent tacos, one of the best dining deals around. The tacos have a crisp shell and are filled with ground beef, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. They have a little bit of a kick to them (but not too much for a wimp like me), and they’re cheaper than Taco Bell, and you can get tasty adult beverages to accompany them. They have a wide selection of Three Olives vodka, which is a bonus.

No Doubt/Paramore/Bedouin Caravan

My friend Sarah won tickets to see No Doubt and Paramore on Sunday 7/5, and she was kind enough to invite me along.

Xcel Energy Center only had tickets on the club level and lower (including general admission on the floor), and it was only about 2/3 full.

We were surprised to see a third band on the bill, because I hadn’t seen them mentioned in any of the reviews until the day of the show. Bedouin Caravan was fine. You could tell they had been to Jamaica a few times and really loved Bob Marley.

Paramore had a ton of energy. They performed a solid set, although the pauses between songs seemed just a tiny bit too long. They had an extremely acrobatic bass player performing backflips, with their lead singer running back and forth onstage. They sounded really good and had a mature stage presence as if they’d been performing for a long time.

No Doubt was outstanding. I can’t believe Gwen Stefani has those kind of abs, especially after having two kids. (I have no such excuse.) The set was all white and very futuristic looking. The band was great, performing all their catchy hits and showing colorful videos on the giant screens. They sounded fantastic and the show was visually entertaining. It was a fun excuse to shake our collective groove things and the band seemed to be enjoying themselves too.

American Burger Bar

We met at American Burger Bar before the concert. I tried their version of the Juicy Lucy. It’s called the Klucy and is made of Kobe beef. Not only did it have cheese on the inside, but it was covered with cheese on the outside. It was delicious, but it had too much cheese– so rich I couldn’t finish it. I also had a delicious Surly Furious and sweet potato fries. Still my favorite place to go for dinner, drinks, or both before a concert at Xcel Energy Center.

Fountains of Wayne/Jon Auer

Tim and I took in a rare Fountains of Wayne acoustic show at Cedar Cultural Center.

There were several really young children in the audience, including a toddler about three rows ahead of us. Fortunately the kid was better behaved than the drunk guys at the last show I attended at the Cedar, but it’s a lot to expect of a kid that age to sit still for three hours. His mom ended up taking him outside halfway through both the opening and main sets.

Jon Auer from the Posies opened, and was very entertaining. He used up a lot of his set time with banter, but he was a good storyteller so I didn’t mind. He performed some new material which was quite good, and an amazing cover of Swingin’ Party. He also swore a lot, which made me wonder if the young ones picked up some new words to use at daycare.

Fountains of Wayne was excellent. I’m excited to see them in a more rocking venue in the future. They made everyone stand up for the last two songs before the encore, and the place definitely had more of a club feel. They delivered a solid list of songs, and everything worked acoustically because the melodies were so strong, even though I love the production on their albums. They performed a hilarious version of “Stacy’s Mom” with Chris playing guitar and singing lead, and Adam playing piano and echoing the lines Chris sang. I left the show with a tremendous amount of respect for them as performers and storytellers and songwriters. It’s amazing what a rich catalogue they have, and while love songs are wonderful, they go so much farther beyond that in their material.

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