Monthly Archives: September 2012

Tesfagiorgis at AQ

Was rifling through my phone videos and thought I would bless my blog with the amazing sax work of Dejen Tesfagiorgis, 2008 University of St. Thomas Tommie of the Year and lead man of the Tesfa Quartet. Video was shot last winter at Artist Quarter.

Dejen at AQ


My experience with Eisenberg’s

Love to my bud Fred on bringing me news today about Eisenberg’s downtown planning to close (this reporter is everywhere folks).

After reading the story, I felt compelled to chime in on both what I read and my experience at Eisenberg’s over the years.

First, not sure if I believe the light rail excuse. Sure, maybe business went down and that can be documented, but Eisenberg’s was three blocks off the nearest construction on Cedar Street. The store’s parking lot was not affected, and it wasn’t a literal construction zone around the shop like some other businesses have seen (Black Dog Cafe, anyone?) How, exactly, was it affected? If Eisenberg’s was affected, than nearly every business in downtown could legitimately say they were affected. I’m not buying it.

My guess would be the guy felt squeezed out by the impending Lunds, but that project won’t be done until mid 2014, according to the story. Railing against light rail by business owners is getting stale, and this might be the weakest example yet. Eisenberg’s isn’t near construction. Look at Lenny Russo, perhaps one of the most vocal light rail supporter, and his Heartland restaurant. Russo’s one of many closer to the mayhem of construction and has thus far stuck it out. If you want to feel truly sorry for business owners, look up the way at the desolation of University Avenue east of Lexington.

Eisenberg’s was a friendly corner store, but also had its faults. Selection of produce was fairly limited, it was poorly lit, old and smelled weird, and bargain cereal was often expired. Take stuff off the shelves if it’s expired. One thing I would specifically stop in for was orange juice, which featured second hand prices. The thing was, every container was covered with this sugary film, probably coated while being transported from whatever big box grocery Eisenberg’s gets its stuff  from.

Then there were the hours of operation. The story lists them, and yeah that’s a problem. It opens early, but closes by 6 p.m. Many folks grocery shop after work, not before.

I’m not exactly crying it’s leaving.

Buzz band at Amsterdam

I filmed about a minute of last night’s Cloud Nothings’ show at Amsterdam in St. Paul. Check it out:

It was the first actual rock show I wanted to see at the bar’s Hall Stage since Amsterdam opened two years back. It was a sparse crowd, evenly spaced out through the room to give the illusion it was bigger than it was.

The cold, clean feeling of these renovated old St. Paul warehouse spaces just is. They have large, sometimes arched windows, high ceilings with exposed new HVAC work, and cold, hard epoxied floors.My condo gives off the same feeling with its exposed brick, hard floor and giant windows. You can feel what I mean at most of the new Lowertown “hot spots:” The “B” Trinity (Barrio, Bulldog, Bin) and now Amsterdam.

Took Amsterdam almost two years to host a buzzy national touring band with Cloud Nothings last night.

Anyway this ambiance feels new, and very St. Paul (there might be places in North Loop that feel similar). But is it the best place for a shredding rock show? Well, no. For that, give me 331 Club, First Avenue or Turf Club down the way. But to not dwell on negative, the band absolutely shredded last night, and I’m seeing a lot of reviews today calling it one of the best “underground” shows of the year. Why underground? Because it was at Amsterdam (a still fledgling local concert venue), on a Sunday night.