With summer quickly slipping from our grasp, yesterday’s street festival was the perfect excuse to get out of the house and enjoy the weather one last time. Have I told you how much I love living in a city where, on any given weekend in the summer, you can walk a couple of blocks and find yourself at a block party full of great local food, vendors and bands? That’s exactly what I got into yesterday. After my friend and I walked about a mile through somewhat unfamiliar streets, we were greeted with familiar people, vendors and music. The smile that took over my face as we walked up to the closed off street never left my face.
Due to an epic hangover and an overall feeling of laziness, I didn’t make it to the festival in time to catch all of the bands playing but even if my friend and I had been there on time, the amount of running from stage to stage would have been overwhelming. After we walked the long strip of closed road checking out the art from vendors and salivating at the smells coming from the grills and food vendors, we got a local brew and claimed a spot at the Ramen Kazama tent in their tiny parking lot. There was definitely a method to my madness on picking this spot. Although there was great music happening all up and down the street, Peelander-Z was headlining this stage and PZ is one of those bands that you just don’t pass up an opportunity to see live.
The first band we were able to catch was Gay Witch Abortion. Okay, sure, by the sound of their name these guys are extreme and a bit less than family friendly but, for this family friendly event, they were the perfect fit. The duo took the stage and wowed the crowd with their instrumental set. Although rocking and a bit loud, the music seemed to set the scene well as families walked by and usually stopped to check out what was going on. I loved watching as parents would get in line for a beer as their children were completely captivated by the rockstars on stage. Although to me and majority of the rest of the audience GWA was just a couple of local guys playing some great music, the look in the kids’ eyes screamed wonderment and the smile on my face stretched to an almost painful size.
After GWA was a quick set from Birthday Suits. Much like GWA, I’ve seen these guys more times than I can count but it never gets old. These guys brought a new sense of intensity and chaos to the afternoon. Still remaining completely family friendly, Birthday Suits powered through their quick set and left no survivors. Whether you had a drink in your hand, had your kids by your side, or were literally just standing there alone, you could feel good vibes throughout the parking lot. Neighbors were busy spreading some gossip, long lost friends were catching up and everyone else had eyes glued on the stage as they whispered to their friends about how great the music was.
Closing out the night was the one and only Peelander-Z. I caught these guys a couple of months ago and honestly had more fun at that show than I had had in a long time. I swore that I wouldn’t miss them the next time they came to town. I was honestly a bit shocked when I saw they would be playing this free show for a block party at a ramen joint and I’m still not quite sure why it happened or what the connection is (vocalist/ guitarist Peelander Yellow actually painted the mural on the side of Ramen Kazama so there is clearly a connection between the band and the Ramen Kazama owner– who, side note, was in two of the bands that played yesterday) but I’m not complaining and was just overjoyed to be able to catch PZ again and in such an amazing atmosphere.
PZ was up to their usual antics. With innertubes being thrown through the air and metal bowls and sticks being handed out to the audience so they could be part of the show, I couldn’t help but laugh uncontrollably throughout majority of their nearly hour long set. Frontman Peelander Yellow (instead of using names, the three members are named after the color they wear) had a habit of stopping mid-song to yell at the cars that were slowing trickling down the newly opened street behind us. “Stop! You come listen!” he yelled in his super thick Japanese accent. The entire audience roared with laughter as the group would kick back into a song. PZ’s songs are super simple and honestly kind of dumb but it’s perfect. My favorite is easily their song “Mike” which is about how too many people out there are named Mike. Pretty perfect considering the friend I was with is dating a good friend of mine named Mike.
From forcing the entire crowd to do the limbo under a giant rope that the band walked across the crowd with (and I mean they made everyone do it– they took the rope all the way to the building that was on the other side of the parking lot) to dumping their instruments on unsuspecting onlookers from the crowd and having them play an entire song so the band members could take a break, there are really no words to describe the size of the smile that was on my face. All I can tell you is that my cheeks legitimately hurt when I woke up this morning and I’m already praying that PZ announces another show here in the Cities sooner rather than later.
I’ve been toying with the idea of moving to Colorado after falling in love with everything about that state when I went to Red Rocks in August but then I have a day like yesterday and realize– Why in the hell would I love a place that’s as magical as the Twin Cities?
Seriously a huge shoutout to everyone involved in yesterday’s festivities and a special thanks to Chef Matthew Kazama for not only hosting such a great parking lot concert, but for rocking the stage and killing the ramen game.