Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘downtown

Speaking Easy

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No time to write on and on about absolutely everything we’ve already done (yesterday) that was incredibly fantastic to celebrate Cyndie’s big birthday (that actually transpired last Monday), because I am heading out early this morning to put on more bike miles with her brother, Ben.

But… I must at the very least mention the superb speakeasy in Uptown Cyndie picked for a first-stop before the spectacular dinner in downtown Minneapolis that we enjoyed with Barry and Carlos last night.

In classic form, the entrance is virtually invisible. We reached the appointed address on Lake Street, but made the rookie mistake of hunting inside the front door of said address. A charitable resident recognized our obvious “searching” mannerisms and gave away the secret.

Of course. Walk through the alley to the back side of the building, go around the dumpsters, look past the HVAC unit for a metal door with a covered slit for a window. Rap on the door and the cover slides open to reveal two eyes asking if we are there to look at their hats.

“Sure.”

The door opens and we step inside, where our ID’s need to be checked to find out our “hat size.” Then it is down the stairs into the ultimate destination for some drinks and eats in a perfect atmosphere depicting our perception of what a speakeasy of yesteryear might have been like.

The only other thing they could have added to enhance the experience would be a police raid with us scrambling out a back way to escape.

A beautiful night, great food, and precious company celebrating a special birthday girl.

It couldn’t have been any easier than that.

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Written by johnwhays

June 9, 2018 at 6:00 am

Downtown Again

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Once again, we made the easy dash from our beautiful countryside into the metropolitan energy buzzing just 45-minutes away. Last night, it was the precious Palace Theatre in downtown St. Paul for the Iron & Wine concert.

It was another fabulously successful adventure for Cyndie and me. As a soaking rain settled over the land, Cyndie was able to escort the chickens into the coop early, allowing us to venture through fading daylight and blurring road spray to compete for parking with NHL’s Minnesota Wild hockey fans.

My first parking ramp option just happened to be closed for construction, so it was a single trip around the block, barely squeaking through an intersection on the brink of gridlock, to reach an easy and convenient second choice.

We arrived at the theatre early and took some time to explore the layout, as this was our first event at the renovated historic venue. It is a wonderful mashup of new and old. The almost scary looking ceiling made an early impression, but every other sense was extremely positive for a place to enjoy music performance.

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I had chosen to buy reserved seats in the balcony over the main floor standing general admission. Even though I purchased the tickets as early as possible, the best available was half-way up from the front of the balcony. Cyndie captured a shot while I was checking out the view from the first row. Really nice seats, if you can get them.

We aren’t overly familiar with the full career of Sam Beam as Iron & Wine, but being repeatedly struck by the sound every time I hear a cut played on the radio, I wanted to see where it comes from in person. We weren’t disappointed.

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The giant hanging cotton balls were a little funky, but they captured the colored lights nicely. The dancing light on the back curtain was perfect, every song.

Sam Beam was wonderfully social and totally obliterates any concept of a fourth wall separating the performer from the audience. At one point, he graciously interacted with a fan who shouted a knock-knock joke.

Almost every time, just as the interactive banter approached a point of being too much, the imaginary veil would fall and a song would swiftly transport the ambiance to a far away place of Sam’s creation. He does well with plying a craft of sparse quiet guitar work with delicate instrumentation from his supporting musicians, bolstered by moments of full momentum and volume.

Even though the show started around the time we often head for bed, we hung around for the full show, including the perfect encore song, for which the female members of the band returned wearing beards that looked mysteriously similar to Sam’s.

What?

A wonderful time was had by all. We chalk it up as one more good experience heading downtown from the countryside, again.

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Written by johnwhays

October 15, 2017 at 10:37 am

Great Show

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Many, many months ago, I bought tickets for a show in downtown Minneapolis at the State Theater on Hennepin Avenue, not really sure why I was picking this concert over so many other more obvious choices for us. Must have been my keen intuition.

Last night, the performance date finally arrived and we headed to the big city to see the TajMo band. Two blues greats, Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’, have joined forces to come up with a very pleasing combined version of themselves.

Here is a link to a nice review of their show in Nevada back in June that matches closely with the version we experienced. It does a good job of capturing the essence of the night we had.

The only drawback with our little forays to the Twin Cities on work nights is that it cuts into my sleep, which usually makes for short blog posts, too.

I’ll leave you with a couple of shots taken on my phone from up in the balcony. Did I mention it was a really great show? It truly was.

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Written by johnwhays

September 7, 2017 at 6:00 am