I am trying something different in terms of concert reviews. There are going to be times where I feel like reviewing the venue itself and the live local scene. Well, I am going to do just that with the first venue that I want to talk about and that is Amsterdam Bar & Hall, which is located in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In terms of getting to the venue, it’s relatively easy. St. Paul is the easier of the two cities in terms of getting around in as it’s located in their vibrant downtown business part of town. It is safe there and it’s walking distance from the XCEL Energy Center, which is where the Minnesota Wild play hockey. For location and in terms of getting around, it was easy. 5 stars for this.
The service there was also 5 star service. Granted, I went in there to write up my interview questions for Secrets and the waitstaff and bartenders were eager to serve. Granted, all I had was a few glasses of water as I was driving and I did have some of their delectable turkey legs with various seasonings. One seasoning tasted like a gravy with some bite to it, and the meat on the turkey melted into your mouth and it was tender. The service was fresh and it was quick. They were quick when it came to customers coming in. Very friendly waitstaff, 5 star rating.
In terms of getting in for the show, I thought it was kind of cool that it was only separated by a black curtain. The acoustics and sound was really great, my only “complaint”(boy this is going to sound trivial as all get out), was if you’re not there for the show, then I wouldn’t recommend having dinner there just because it’s really super loud, but if you’re there for the show, it’s a great atmosphere. I enjoy their little beer garden area where there’s some type of fencing up where it feels like you’re secluded yet right in the middle of everything.
In terms of menu selection, a lot of the cooking is Danish or Amsterdam themed, you’re going to get cuisine that’s pretty traditional from that area in the world. It’s definitely a nice contrast from the typical burgers and fries joint and the only beers that they have is Bud Light and Natural Light. There are many drink choices and food choices and it’s comparable to what you would pay at a restaurant like Applebee’s except the atmosphere is awesome and you get a lot of food for what you purchase.
In an effort to support the music venues, we need to tell others about where a great show is. In terms of advertising and in terms of letting others know about the show, Amsterdam Bar & Hall does a great job of getting national, regional, and local entertainment to the show. They have posters for every show hanging up everywhere and the posters are strategically located where the customer can’t miss it. They also have calendars and postcards of a calendar of events, and lastly, they do a great job of advertising their event via social media. If I’m them, I would spend more capital on advertising so they can consistently have great crowds. For a Monday night, they had a good audience of roughly 125 people(it holds I would say 250 to 300 people give or take) for Secrets and Picturesque. They are also extremely accommodating for local bands to get on the bill as Conundrum, For Once, Time Keeper, and Nomad all received golden opportunities to get on the bill to support Secrets and Picturesque. Plus, the changeover in between sets made it for a smooth transition. Picturesque had a little bit of technical difficulties but someone was right there to help them.
Now onto the show. Conundrum, For Once, Time Keeper, and Nomad all did blistering sets. It was a diverse arrangement of music as Time Keeper offered their metal with a form of ambiance whereas For Once mixed in covers with originals(I enjoyed their covers of “Bones Exposed” by Of Mice & Men and “The Red” by Chevelle), whereas Conundrum and Nomad offered more hardcore and more breakdowns, which really showcased the diversity and talent. The important thing is that all four bands got the audience warmed up for Secrets and Picturesque and I noticed the bands helping each other out and supporting each other. That’s what a good local band should do, when they do good things like that, then they will reap the rewards in the long run. Here are a few pics from the show.
Depicted above is a slideshow of Conundrum.
Depicted above is a slideshow of For Once.
Depicted above is the slideshow for Time Keeper.
Above is a couple of photos for Nomad. I was not feeling well at this time. My apologies to Nomad for not getting more photos.
Overall, Secrets and Picturesque both brought it that night! A few takeaways were that I couldn’t get over how high pitched that vocalist of Picturesque could sing and they were able to get through their technical difficulties with a blistering set. Plus, Picturesque were supporting all of the local bands that opened up the night, and for me that gets major props for checking out the Twin Cities local scene! Picturesque will be headlining one day as more people get to know them!
Secrets is a band that delivers live! They offer pounding rhythm, great guitar work and Wade Walters is probably my favorite vocalist due to his range and his vocal styles out of any of the vocalists that Secrets has had. They made it to where it was a tremendous night by primarily playing material off of their self-titled release as they were using this night to roadtest some of the new material as they prepare themselves to go overseas for some shows. The fans responded really well to “3.17.16” and to the songs “Fourteen” and “Strangers”!
Special thanks to Amsterdam Bar & Hall in St. Paul for having this night for Madness To Creation and for the fans of Secrets and Picturesque. Here is the rating we’re giving Amsterdam Bar & Hall.
Atmosphere= 4 out of 5 stars. The only thing I would change is have more than a curtain separating the venue from the dining area. I would put up a wall(this is just me) that is more soundproof so concertgoers can go there to enjoy the show and they can get business on the dining area of the restaurant. I do like the small stage set up, they could do acoustic shows or standup comedy in the dining area.
Advertising- 4 out of 5 stars. While they got a good amount of people there for a Monday night for Secrets and Picturesque. I would like to see more of a presence from them in their social media and where they do more of a grassroots form of advertising, for example, I’d have a punch card where ten drinks equals a ticket of their choice to a concert or something like that. I really like the posters and how they advertise on the tables in the dining area.
Service: 5 out of 5 stars. The waitstaff there is spectacular. Friendly service and they are eager to have your business. This makes me want to come back whether I just want to get food or for another concert.
Unique: 4 out of 5 stars. It’s very unique. I’m not going to give anybody 5 out of 5 stars in this. I love the Amsterdam/Holland theme that they have going on. Many choices for drinks and for different international beers, etc. That makes it a really nice touch for sure, and the cuisine is Amsterdam/Holland theme. It’s not your typical “beer on tap, burgers and fries” type of joint. Plus they cater to those that are gluten free or live the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.
Go support the scene! Check out some entertainment at Amsterdam Bar & Hall. For more information on Amsterdam Bar & Hall, like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amsterdambarandhall