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Woodshop at Mears Park

Two days of hot and muggy with only a day of transition to sweatshirt weather and dry.  But if you were wearing that sweatshirt, it was a beautiful day to sit outdoors.  Today at Mears Park in downtown St. Paul was just such a day.  In the band shell a mixed three piece band, guitar, drums and a guy who seemed to revolve around the harmonica, washboard and Kazoo.   So with some sunshine and oldtimey blues, my lunch hour was a pretty enjoyable thing.

The band was Woodshop and they were playing a few originals intermixed with covers.  I recognized some Dylan and maybe a couple others.  They played a great job on _The Bull Frog Blues_.    One of the originals was a blues song about not being able to catch the number 16 bus (a regular ride for me) and get to Savoy Pizza (with it’s interior mural painting of The Wife when she was a wee girl of nineteen)   Topical.  I liked it.  The balance I would guess were 1920s-ish blues.  …Or maybe they were just doing that treatment on newer songs.  I enjoyed the selection.   There were a fair number of old codgers around the edges in wheel chairs, and without a doubt, bar-none, absolutely, positively the oldest air guitar/piano player I have ever seen in my whole life right in front of the stage.  Good mixed crowd though.  Parks are deceiving, how many they can hold.  I would guess maybe a hundred people total.


The guitar player, who’s name I can not find anywhere online, was playing what was likely at one time a regular acoustic guitar.  At some point in this guitar’s life, someone had added a humbucker pickup right across the sound hole.  Feed that into an amplifier with some overdrive and you have a pretty distinct sound.  For some songs he was able to clean it up some, but it was an interesting backing to songs they were able to deal a old timey twang.  

Both guys had good vocals.  The guitar player’s voice was higher and faster.  For a couple of the songs he really sounded great on lead.  He was at other times singing backing and providing a little humor now and then.  The wash board player was Eric Schwarz and had a deeper voice which was also clearer in his vocals.  Both of them had great timing and were pretty much vocally in tune all the time.  So, great job Woodshop!

Keep these Mear’s Park noontime concerts in mind if you are in the big city over the lunch hour.  The park is usually lined with food trucks as well.  So plenty to eat.   Woodshop will be on my list of bands to see again.

The other thing of significance that occurred this week is that I was contacted by Facebook and given seven days to either prove my legal name was Freaks Geeks or be blocked.   So I will be dropping out of my voyouristic peak into all your lives.  You shall have to come find my blog on your own.   I encourage you to come join me on the new social media platform.  The new site, Ello ( is where the cool kids are hanging out these days.  Conceptually it’s just like Facebook (except for you being there of course).  It has an easier to use interface and less Facebook junk.  So far anyway they don’t have any advertising and they promise to never have any.  The big thing for me, you can be who you want to be.  …Even if it is Batmom.  You can be anonymous.  They don’t mine your data and sell it to marketing companies.  You have to remember, the only reason Facebook requires you use your real name is because it makes their data more valuable.  Consider it.  Invite your friends, it won’t be lonely there any more.  

You can also follow me on Twitter @chipfreaksgeeks.  I hadn’t been doing much with that but now I am going to do more.

But until social media brings us together again, I shall miss all of you.  Many of you live amazing lives and you don’t even know it.  Through Facebook there are several people I became friends with and have never met.  A few of you …we met but you didn’t know who you were meeting.  >:-)  One person I have never met but still I asked an absurd favor.  So many other honorable mentions.  People who politically align with me, and a dude who lives on Rural St who was my republican redneck anti-matter and who actually expressed regret as soon as posted my news of being kicked off to my timeline.  Another person I have never met, but she will be forever etched in my memory as the woman who’s cancer I have watched unfold.  From the first announcement only back in September.  Now I will miss the final chapter which can be in no more than weeks.  —And the guilt I feel for the relief of sitting here in under a shade tree at the Northrup Auditorium Plaza, weeping over a keyboard, rather than the random spot I would have otherwise gotten the news.   But the time has come to say goodbye my Facebook Friends.   You were five hundred people who cared enough about music to not go looking for the un-friend button on my page.  I thank you for that as well.

The Music Business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.  There's also a negative side.

Hunter S. Thompson