My Year in Concerts: 2011

Craig Finn of The Hold Steady gesticulating wildly in Cleveland, Ohio, one of my favorite 2011 concerts

Less Than Jake @ The Rave | Milwaukee, WI 2-5-11
With Mike

It is bittersweet seeing a Less Than Jake concert, more than 10 years after my first show. Mostly everything on the stage is the same; it is the crowd that has changed; we are less in number, though more of us are consuming alcohol. Besides a few diehard ska lovers, skanking has pretty much gone by the wayside. I spent most of the concert outside of the pit, just watching, rather than mixing it up in youthful revelry. The songs are the same, LTJ dutifully avoids playing a lot of their new stuff, sticking to their classic albums, ‘Losing Streak’ and ‘Hello Rockview.’ Those songs still get the crowd the most pumped up. Still, I marvel that when I listened to those songs, then, as an 18-year-old, they are about people who were the age I am now. How they haven’t transcended that spectrum and become even more meaningful to me is a mystery. Maybe we just tire of music eventually. Eventually, when we come back around again, these familiar anthems comfort us, bringing us back to a time where things were simpler, but also more complicated. These thoughts, coursing through my mind, while the beer coursed through my veins, didn’t allow me to fully live in the moment at the show, but there was something comforting about seeing LTJ again. Read More


The Lambeau Letdown: In the Crowd for Packers v. Giants

It has been 15 years since I saw my first and only NFL Playoff game. On January 4, 1997, the Packers, on their way to a victory in Super Bowl XXXI, took on the San Francisco 49ers on a chilly, rainy afternoon.

I remember only a few things from that game; Desmond Howard’s scintillating punt return for a touchdown; the fact that the 49ers quarterback was inexplicably named Elvis; Reggie White running around the field postgame urging the crowd to cheer louder for the victorious Green Bay Packers; and the mud. Mostly, I remember the mud; it covered the players’ jerseys, caked on their helmets and allowed them to slide across the field, carried on by their forward momentum, when they were tackled or knocked down.

Which brings me to this past Sunday; what will I remember about this game 15 years from now? There was no electrifying, Howard-esque touchdown, no exhilarating post win celebration. No strangely named quarterback or weather-related anecdotes, it was just a cold, winter Sunday at Lambeau.

So, I think what I’ll remember is the people who shared the stadium with me. The fans. And I wish I could say that was a good thing… Read More

A is for AJ Bombers

Since opening around two years ago, AJ Bombers has established itself as one of the key stops for burger lovers in Milwaukee. I’ve heard some people suggest that this has more to do with their social media prowess than their food, but to those people, I simply say this… try a burger.

It is ironic that AJ Bombers is located in the same building that previously housed The Corner bar (Water and Knapp), which was closed after receiving one too many violations for exceeding capacity. When we arrived at AJ Bombers (Michelle’s nomination) on Friday night at around 7:45, it was packed, but we were seated quickly.

Most of our party had dined at AJ Bombers before (some of us with more success than others) and were excited to try some new things. The drink fare is pretty standard, but I tried Shannon’s Bloody Mary (it had a cheeseburger in it) and it was pretty tasty, you can read a review of that by going to Bloody Marys of Milwaukee. I had a Lakefront IPA, which is my typical standby, but also an absolutely great IPA. Read More

The ABCs of Milwaukee Dining: An Introduction

“There are three types of friends: those like food, without which you can’t live; those like medicine, which you need occasionally; and those like an illness, which you never want.”

The Weekenders at Firefly Urban Grill + Bar, Wauwatosa

The sage advice captured in the unattributed quote above reveals a universal truth. See those people in the photo to the left, those are my best friends, Shannon, TJ, then me, Michelle, Adam and Cindi. It wouldn’t be true to say that it was food that brought us together, actually it was music. We’ve taken the liberty of un-ironically calling ourselves “The Weekenders,” inspired by a song by a band we’ve seen all over the Midwest, The Hold Steady.

Our passion for live music is only rivaled by our passion for great food and drink. That’s why I wasn’t surprised with the quick assent I received when I shared an idea I heard from a friend at work: Eat at a different restaurant every month, start with a place beginning with ‘A’ and in 26 months, you’ll have enjoyed 26 meals and countless adventures.

Rules: Everyone picks one restaurant each time. We pick the restaurants out of a hat and the final one in the hat is the one we go to. Since five of the six of us share August birthdays, we decided to modify the idea that each person gets an extra entry during their birthday month. Instead, once a year, each person gets an extra entry in whatever month they want.

We are trying to be aware of cost, but other than that, there are no restrictions on the places we can choose, although, geographically, until necessary, we don’t plan on leaving the Milwaukee area. I am so excited to begin this quest and to share it with my best friends!

I hope you will join us on this 2+ year gormandizing journey through my new blog, A Slight Discomfort, which, not coincidentally, is also named after a Hold Steady song.

Here’s to great meals, great beers and great friends!

Enjoy and bon appétit!