Archive | April, 2012

Miniature Tigers? What Fun?! (A concert review)

23 Apr

The most wonderful thing about the House of Blues in Boston–is that there is a restaurant attached. Why,do you ask, is this the best thing? Three words: Pass the Line.

For my birthday gift this year, I asked to go to a concert at the House of Blues. Not just any concert: Fun. If you don’t know who Fun is–tune in to your local radio station some time. Or better yet, watch some television and keep yourself posted for the Chevy Sonic commercial with all the crazy car stunts. That, my dear reader, is Fun. The song everyone– from the tweens to the moms–seem to be singing lately is ‘We are young’. Frankly, it’s a bit disappointing that this is the song that caught everyone’s attention, since they have far better songs to offer. Nevertheless, since this commercial aired during the Superbowl this year, they’ve become suddenly and overwhelmingly popular.

So buying a meal at the House of Blues restaurant was a small price to pay for the opportunity to cut the seemingly endless line of eager fans at the door to get in. My boyfriend and I were one of the first guests inside, and the venue is by far one of my favorites. Small and warmly lit, the walls are lined symmetrically with artwork that looks as if small children completed them. The walls are painted in warm colors, and the stage is adorned with multiple religious symbols and the phrase “Who do you love” is framed at center stage. Arranged in three tiers of viewing, a bar adorns each level, back lit and glowing in the dim but welcoming light. The bottom level is standing room only, and features the authentic crowd-crushing capacity that most concerts are known for. I personally prefer to be able to see the stage with ease (as I am a regrettably short 5’4′–it is almost guaranteed that someone will be taller than me and will block my view of the stage.) and prefer the mezzanine level. There are two options for this level: standing room and ticketed seating. For both Fun and last year’s Panic at the Disco concert, I preferred standing room, just simply because you can wriggle closer to the stage if you get there early.   The standing room is to the left and right sides of the stage, and the seating is in the back. Above this level is similar, but shorter in length and can hold less people. I suppose this would be the best bet for those of you who find crowds extremely unpleasant but still love loud music.

The doors opened at 6, but I felt as if we were eagerly waiting, leaning against the railing for about an hour before the opening band, The Miniature Tigers began their set. Having been curious about this opening act, I had looked into the Miniature Tigers prior to attending the concert. From what I heard in their recordings, I doubted I would enjoy them. (Though nothing will ever surpass the horror that was Foxy Shazam. They played with their feet…literally…) Yet, I ended up being pleasantly surprised in that the Miniature Tigers were much better to listen to live than they were in recording. (A rare find–like a Charizard card in the original 150 decks.) However, I always find that the opening band is supposed to complete one simple task–warm up the audience for the band they really came to see. The Miniature Tigers seemed to fall a bit short in this respect. True, their lead singer did his best to get the audience interacting, but due to their somewhat mellow Modest Mouse meets The Beatles and Whites Stripes sound–it was difficult to get the audience pumped. Their last song, ‘Sex on the Regular’ was catchy enough to get a little “wiggle” (as the lead singer put it ) into the crowd. After re-listening to them, I think they may be something I could even get into.(And apparently their song ‘The Wolf’ was in  that movie Easy A.)

It was a bit of a long wait between the opening act and the main event–but was decidedly well worth it. Per when I witnessed Fun for the first time last year (At the previously mentioned Panic at the Disco concert) the lead singer, Nate Ruess, burst onto the stage full of energy and enthusiasm. This time, Nate sported a bright green Celtics Jersey, Rhondo’s to be specific, and proceeded to admit to the crowd that he wore the Jersey everywhere and that Fun had deep roots in Boston.

All members of the band seemed high energy and their joy was contagious. The crowd hooted and hollered, being encouraged by the band to sing along and make friends with strangers beside them. Fun lives up to their name with ease, and was a highly interactive and personable experience. Even in a crowd of easily hundreds, I felt as if I was interacting with the band. (If not the whole room.) They opened with the song, “One foot” (which I felt was an odd start out of the gate due to it’s strange almost grim lyrics) and ended with an encore of their newest song “Some Nights”. From start to end the energy was up, and Nate worked the crowd with the skill of a master performer. Each song was introduced like a personal friend of the band, and even the parents of the guitarist and the drummer were in the audience and brought to attention. The audience left with grins on their faces and I left with a skip in my step. Fun is by far one of my most favorite concert experiences yet, and I look forward to their next appearance nearby.

http://www.ournameisfun.com/

http://miniaturetigers.com/

http://www.houseofblues.com/venues/clubvenues/boston/

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Burger and Beer Day: The Mayflower Brewery and KKatie’s Burger Bar Review

15 Apr

There are many food matches in heaven: Spaghetti and meatballs, bacon and eggs and my personal favorite burgers and beer.

I had a Plymouth adventure this weekend with my good friend, Donnie and his lovely sister Lindsay.  Saturday was a gorgeous day for getting up a little on the earlier side and popping down to the commuter rail heading toward Kingston. I was astonished to find that from my stop, it was only $6 for a round trip to Kingston and a half an hour or so later I had arrived with Donnie eagerly greeting me. Off we went to his sister’s house to pick her up and then to the Mayflower Brewery. When I mentioned to Donnie that I wanted to tour this place, he had no idea what I was talking about.  Apparently, he had driven by this micro-brewery millions of times without realizing what it was.

Located at 12 Resnik road in Plymouth, the brewery is nestled in a little strip mall–that could easily be overlooked. Upon entering, we were not at first sure we were in the right place. It seemed to small! As you enter, you find yourself in a small, stand-up bar area. To the right is a small fridge where they sold bottled beers beside a small sales counter and to the left the well-polished wood bar top greeted us. Aside from two other patrons quietly sipping beer at the bar and two staff members–the place was empty. We were immediately greeted by the male staff member asking if we were here for a tour or free samples, to which we of course replied that both would be required. The female bartender was quick to provide us each with a small glass from the tap, explaining each brew as it was poured and tasted. The male staff member soon identified himself as a volunteer–who just simply liked talking about beer. The staff was informative and personable, making us feel right at home very quickly as we chatted from topics ranging from the beers themselves to places nearby that would be nice to visit on such a gorgeous day.

Soon, it was time for the tour, and the bartender quickly became our tour guide as well.  To my pleasant surprise, we were allowed to travel with our beer tastes in hand, (and the barkeep did as well) as we were led around in an informative but not impersonal tour of the tiny brewery contained behind the bar. Questions were readily accepted (and I eagerly provided them–as I can’t contain my curiosity for long) and I was very impressed with the way in which the tour was given. It was explained in a way that made it clear all of the staff members were well informed and passionate about what they participated in. Once the tour was done, we returned to the bar top and finished our tasting session. It was here that Lindsay and one of the staff members began to talk about a Burger Bar nearby called, K Katie’s.

“Yes,” the male staffer said “They have a burger that uses two grilled cheeses as buns.”

I was sold.

So not long after purchasing a growler full of fresh beer (only$11! and everything else had been free) we were heading down the road to K Katie’s Burger Bar. We took our time wandering over the graveyard, checking out older graves in the beautiful sunshine and breathing deeply the air that smelled of a mix of seawater and local eateries. KKatie’s looks like any other typical hole-in0the-wall bar but has an exceptional menu that doesn’t seem to fit the atmosphere.

Situated on 38 Main Street in Plymouth, you enter K Katie’s and find dark wood paneled walls and lit neon signs advertising various beers on the walls. It is a seat yourself establishment, and was fairly empty due to how early in the day it was when we arrived. As we sat, the waitress was already swooping upon us with bright green laminated menus, and a smile.  She patiently tended to our picky beer needs as Lindsay ran through several beers they didn’t have on tap currently–but the bartender (who was easily within earshot from our table due to the small size of the establishment.) was eager to send over tastes of beer that might suit her pallet before she made her decision. At first glance, the menu is a-typical bar food–but with a twist. Their burgers are all gourmet and full of different varieties and uniqueness that I had never seen before. (None of them were waistline friendly–but I was okay with that for the day.) I ended up with what was called “The Juicy Lucy” which was a burger topped with pickles and onion and rather then having the cheese on top–has it melted in the middle. Taking my first bite, most of the cheese dribbled out the back end–but then became a fun dipping tool. Their sweet potato fries were the best that I have ever had, and they also offered “green fries” which were essentially crispy green beans with a ranch dipping sauce.  Not up for a burger? That was fine too as KKaties also offered other menu options. But for sure–this is my new favorite burger joint.

Donnie then insisted that we visit a place nearby called Cupcake Charlies which sold, you guessed it, cupcakes of all sorts. At this point, I was so full I felt ready to pop–but I managed to squeeze in a taste of their Funfetti cupcake. (To be honest, the cake was far superior to the frosting from what I tasted. )

All and all, a fun time had. Foodies rejoice!