Sep 19, 2012

An 11th edition of Things Discussed at the Brewhaus

In recognition of my 11th blog posting devoted to the various conversation topics that have consumed many happy hours (to say nothing of the drinks consumed as well), here’s a list of 11 recent conversations:

Sep 17, 2012

Big Muddy Blues with Dr. John

If you’re tired of reading about the music I enjoyed last summer, I guess I owe you an apology up front.  However, I would be derelict in my blogging duties if I did not cover Dr. John’s performance at the Big Muddy Blues Festival at Laclede’s Landing in downtown Saint Louis. 

Dr. John was the headliner for the main stage on Sunday, Sept. 2.  With him on my short list of performers I’d never seen in concert but always wanted to, I was not going to pass up the opportunity, especially for a mere $10 admission!  You have to love the bargains you sometimes get at outdoor music venues. 

Plus, I had never been to the Big Muddy Blues Festival, which showcases not only national and international blues acts – many playing for free on the two street stages – but also the eclectic Laclede’s Landing area on the riverfront, which is full of restaurants, entertainment and nightlife  in its own right.  It may be time to do something about the brick and cobblestone streets, though.  I get the historic significance, but I’m surprised I don’t see more people twist ankles or take a tumble down the streets, which can also slope severely toward the water. 

Sep 11, 2012

Party like it’s 1979

Steve Miller Band and Dave Mason at the 2012 Illinois State Fair

First, I must give credit to my friend Kent Argenta, who was also in attendance at this concert, for coming up with the title of this blog entry.  Kent is more famous for his patented balancing beer bottle act.  It’s my belief that everyone should be famous for something.

The 2012 Illinois State Fair closed with a late addition to its grandstand line-up, but it was one that got a lot of people talking – the Steve Miller Band, with Dave Mason opening. I don’t know if it was because the show was on a Sunday or because it was added late in the game, but this concert deserved much better attendance than it had.

For those who are unfamiliar with Dave Mason, he has an impressive classic rock pedigree and showed off much of his resume during an hour-long acoustic set to open the concert.  Still, I was impressed that he joked about his relative obscurity these days when he said, “I am very glad to be here.  Actually, I’m very glad to be anywhere these days.”

Dave Mason does look happy to be there.

Sep 6, 2012

They came from the 70s (and 80s)

Classic rock revived at the 2012 Illinois State Fair grandstand

Not long ago I looked back at the 2012 Illinois State Fair, but I didn’t cover the unusually strong grandstand line-up they featured this year.  From Miranda Lambert and Eric Church to Creed and Train, there seemed to be something for most musical tastes.  Still, imagine my surprise when not one, but two, nights were booked for an old-school arena rocker like me in mind.

Perhaps the most interesting booking on paper for the fair was Friday, Aug. 17 – a four-bill of Georgia Satellites, Blue Oyster Cult, Night Ranger and Cheap Trick – and admission on the track (closest to the stage) for just $30.  Think about that … that’s $7.50 per band.  And we sometimes pay a $5 cover in Springfield on weekends to hear crappy cover bands (ok, most aren’t really crappy, but you get the point). 

Georgia Satellites
The Georgia Satellites opened with a clean, concise 45-minute set in which they crammed everything you’d expect to hear from them.  For instance, I was happy to hear “Battleship Chains” early in the set; it’s a song most people have probably long forgotten, but I think it’s one of their best. 

Sep 4, 2012

Of blues and barbecue – 2012 edition

As my four faithful followers have come to expect, I’m more than a week behind in blogging about events I recently went to.  The good news is that this commoner keeps on traveling, so there’s plenty of material to reminisce on to carry me into the fall. 

The purpose of this entry, however, is to recap the 9th annual Old Capitol Blues and Barbecue Festival, held Aug. 25-26 in downtown Springfield, Ill., appropriately enough at the old capitol.  It also coincided with my friend Big Don’s going away weekend before he spends two years working in Doha, Qatar. So, how appropriate we send him off with a bunch of beer and smoked pork since both will be in short supply in the Middle East.  The blues, of course, can be found anywhere.

And, for no particular reason, here’s a picture of Big Don starting the night off wearing a sombrero. 

That's more like it ... Big Don, me and Eric "SOHO" Welch (left)
Now if that doesn’t put you in a festive mood, what will?  Perhaps these pictures of the culinary stars of the weekend …

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...