Ways to keep yourself awake on a long drive home:
1. Put your brother in charge of iPod music. Don’t let him fall asleep.
2. Drum your hands on the steering wheel to the beat.
3. Bite your nails to the quick.
4. Turn on the air conditioning and maneuver the vents so the cold air blows in your face.
Last night’s two and a half hour car ride home was long and tiring to say the least, but it was worth it. Why?
Because I got to see these guys.
I am such a sucker for men with accents. Just ask Dave. He can quash my fury in two shakes of a lamb’s tale just by saying “my darling girl” in an Irish accent. It’s a good thing I didn’t get too close to the stage.
But let’s rewind.
After a crappy night’s sleep Monday night, I was flippin’ exhausted on Tuesday, but I was determined to power through. My brother Tyler, my friend Britni, and I left my apartment at 3:00pm to meet our friend Michelle for an early dinner before the concert in Milwaukee. I hadn’t anticipated leaving early, but it was awesome beating rush hour traffic. I try to be a patient driver, but city driving is the bane of my existence.
We got to Milwaukee around 5:00pm, met Michelle at an intersection, and decided to walk until we found an interesting looking restaurant.
It didn’t take us long.
One look at the menu, and I knew this was my kind of place. Handcrafted cocktails and small plates–two of my favorite things.
We sat outdoors, where a big chalkboard sign on the ground said “Try our Victorian Lemonade!” so I followed orders.
House-infused citrus gin, mint, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup. The perfect cocktail for outdoor dining on a lovely summer’s eve.
Britni decided to order an entree: Baked Stuffed Chicken with asparagus, applewood smoked bacon, and gorgonzola over garlic fettucine.
She let us try some, and it was wonderful. I loved the addition of gorgonzola cheese.
Tyler and Michelle agreed to order small plates with me.
Black Mussels with leeks, lemon zest, and white wine sauce with toasted baguettes.
Smoked Salmon Tower. Because how could we not order this? Atlantic smoked salmon, tomato, red onion, cucumber yogurt, avocado, dill, and peppercorn honey with toasted baguettes.
I loved the combination of flavors and textures in this dish. The peppercorn honey was great but a little too sweet paired with the salmon. I think it would have been wonderful paired with cream cheese on toast, though.
Rustic Flatbread with basil pesto, snap peas, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella and aged parmesan.
The flavor of this dish reminded me of the artichoke and tomato calzones Dave and I made last week. Very fresh tasting. I loved the addition of snap peas–I never would have thought to add that to pizza.
Lobster Stuffed Roasted Poblano Pepper with queso cheese and red pepper sauce.
I adored the combination of lobster, creamy queso, and tangy red pepper sauce in this dish, but I felt strange eating it with a fork. I felt like it should have been served with crackers or baguette slices. Either way, it was delicious.
And to top it all off:
Baked Brie. Served with preserves, toasted baguette, and fresh pear slices.
The sweet preserves on melty brie were the perfect end to the meal. The restaurant got really busy in the middle of our meal, so we had to cancel our second drink order on account of the time. The waiter was very nice and comped our first round of drinks for the wait.
I would definitely return here to dine on the remainder of the small plates listed on their menu.
We were all full by this point, so it was nice (for me, anyway) that we had a long walk to the Marcus Amphitheater.
There were a few of things that did not impress me about the amphitheater. First, it was incredibly hard to navigate due to the poor signage. There were so signs on the stairwell pointing to our section, so we just had to guess until we found it. Although it turned out we were a lot smarter than some people there who, once they were inside, couldn’t seem to navigate their row despite the clearly labeled steps….
Secondly, there were only two price points for tickets when there were far more degrees of distance to the stage. Our friends who paid the same price as we did (whom we never met up with, because we couldn’t find them) were in section 7 about five times closer to the stage than we were and had backs on their chairs, while we sat on bleachers. The people who paid fifteen dollars less than us were seating about ten feet behind us on the lawn.
Thirdly, there were only two exits. For 25,000 people.
Still, even though we were pretty much as far back as you could go and still be sitting on something other than the ground, the view was not bad. There were plenty of large TVs and a videographer above capturing it all to display to those in the “should-have-been-cheaper” seats.
We heard two bands open for Mumford and Sons: Bear’s Den and The Vaccines (Marcus Mumford mentioned a third artist, but he must have started before 7:30). Bear’s Den was actually pretty good, but I wasn’t super impressed with The Vaccines. I went to buy a t-shirt instead.
Here they are! (Trust me, they’re there. My eyes see better than my phone’s camera).
The band finally started at 9:00pm, which had given everyone around us just enough time to get plastered. The guys in front of us to the right were triple-fisting beers and talking horribly loud, the guys in the front of us to the left were dancing and yelling erratically, and the people behind us were singing so loud into mine and Ty’s left ears that we could barely hear the band at some points. (“Oh, I really love this song!” Yeah, so do we. That’s why we paid money to be here).
This is when you learn to channel every ounce of goodness and patience in your body and concentrate with all your might on the energy coming at you.
Or do what our friend Britni did. “Hey guys, we all paid $70 dollars for these seats, so it would be really awesome if we could hear the band. Instead of you. Being really loud.”
The guys in the front either left or shut up, and we just learned to deal with the people behind us. I can’t say I was exactly a stellar listener either at the bluegrass and jazz festivals the last two weekends, but I was definitely not that obnoxious nor had we paid that much money for the shows. People are so silly sometimes.
I bet the people closer to the band were nice!
So, back to Mumford and Sons.
I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!
All the band members are so incredibly talented. The lead singer’s voice is pure poetry; it was crazy that he sounded exactly the same live as he did on the albums.
They played nearly every song in their repertoire (they have only released two albums thus far) and closed by calling the opening bands up to the stage and surprising us with a cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together.” It was so flippin’ awesome that I forgot about the stupid people behind us.
After several encores, we hung out inside for awhile until the massive crowds cleared out, and I set to the awful task of driving while half-asleep. Fortunately, my tactics worked, and we arrived safe and sound at home, where I promptly passed out with dreams of Mumford and Sons dancing in my head.