"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."
~Henry David Thoreau

Monday, January 19, 2009

Funk N Waffles

Last night, I went to see Joe Driscoll in performance at Funk N Waffles. It was absolutely amazing!

Funk N Waffles is a fun little place on the SU campus, behind Marshall Street. To get there, you walk down a little alley and down some stairs to reach a set of double doors. Inside of those doors is an awesome restaurant and music venue. Serving waffles and panini sandwiches with a variety of hot and cold drinks, this place is definitely funky. They have normal hours, but are often open after hours for band performances like Joe's. Also, this venue doesn't serve alcohol, making it a prime place to hang out for "cool" high schoolers and collegiates that are under 21. The fact that there is no alcohol also makes it more family-friendly, in a sense.

We arrived at the door a few minutes before 8:00, hoping to get in early for good seats. Unfortunately, we had to wait outside in the doorway until exactly 8:00, because of setup.

Once we were inside, the café opened up, allowing us to order all sorts of fun dishes. I, being very traditional, ordered the Brussels: a typical, light Belgian waffle. It was fantastic. I was with several friends and my family; they ordered Brownie Waffle Sundaes and a Grilled Cheese Panino on foccacia. Both were excellent as well. The food was wonderful, and it was to be followed with some amazing music.

The ambiance of this little restaurant is very unique. Drawing in a crowd of "indie"-type students, it's not uncommon to see Afros, dreadlocks, piercings, bushy beards, and tons of original clothing items. This clientel brings with it a rambunctious, fun-loving, risk-taking mood, accompanied by the occasional usage of some swear words. I was a bit overcome by this crowd at first, and I could tell that some of my company was as well - we don't usually hang out with this type. With time, I grew to love the feeling in the room, and relax. Overall, the crowd stayed under control, having tons of fun dancing and singing along to Joe's music.

The night was opened by two members of the band Dufus. I found their music to be a bit on the wild side, but with lots of positive energy and emotion. They played one set, with very original songs and sounds. It was pleasing to listen to, but to think about the meaning of the words/music would be to ruin it.

Then came Joe. Joe Driscoll is a performer who uses a loop machine to create background for his singing. He beatboxes/sings/plays guitar or digeridoo into the mic, and it will record and repeatedly play back, creating the sensation of a band, when there is only one man. This is a truly fantastic thing to watch, and listen to. This was my first time seeing him live, after hearing his CDs. It was so cool to see Joe beatbox for a couple of beats and then be able to stop without the sound ending. His spectacular performance got the crowd dancing. We danced long and hard, and Joe's first set didn't end until 11:00. The crowd definitely enjoyed this one-man band, who happened to be accompanied by a saxophonist and an African drummer on that night. It was great to see.

So, overall, what did I think of Funk N Waffles? Amazing, if you couldn't already tell. It's great to have a local alcohol-free spot for teens to hang out. Good times!

By the way, Happy MLK Day! Happy Inauguration Day Eve!