Blimp Rocks Superior & Devin Rules Carmody

Blimp rocks Superior and Devin rules Carmody

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

Blimp rocked in the opening of Sideshow (formerly Shooter’s) in Superior and Carmody Irish Pub was jazzed up by The Marc Anderson Trio last Saturday night.

The Sideshow still had the smell of fresh paint from its grand opening as Blimp, a Saint Cloud based Led Zeppelin cover band, and other harder cover bands performed throughout the weekend. The venue was filled with a diverse group of seekers, a bouncer nervously pacing, and a crowd ready to dance.

“Sure glad you braved the sea of titty-bars to get here,” the lead singer of Blimp, Stacy Bauer, said of the bar’s precarious location. “We only play Zeppelin, but we do take requests.”

Blimp is fronted by Bauer and features Mark “Hazzy” Hasbrouck on guitar. Originally together in the popular jam band Stearns County Pachanga Society, these two musicians have worked with an array of well-known artists and styles. The last time I saw them together was when they fronted Janis Joplin’s band Big Brother and the Holding Company in Saint Cloud about a year ago. Stacy has a voice that is powerful enough to do an honest rendition of Joplin, or in Blimp’s case, even Robert Plant.

What stood out most at the show on Saturday was the relatively loose feeling of the band. This was homecoming weekend in Saint Cloud, and usually Blimp headlines the top venues there. So I was left wondering what they were doing playing up in Superior. The Homecoming ritualistic party begins Friday night, carries on to pajamas and breakfast at the bars on Saturday morning, and eventually the marathon ends with a crash sometime during that evening. One must truly train to endure a Saint Cloud Homecoming, which was what made me wonder if this wasn’t their first show of the day.

Blimp plays Zeppelin almost as good as the band itself, but they don’t dress or act like them on stage. Bauer has long dreadlocks and an anything goes personality. Hazzy is cool on guitar and even impressed Sam Andrew of Big Brother when they played together.

“I love playing at The Pioneer Place Theatre in Saint Cloud with those two,” Sam Andrew said. “Stacy and Mark are so congenial, easy, and gifted that it is a real pleasure to be with them… always.”

The entire dance floor filled with movers and shakers after two brave women broke the ice. There were also members of Hairball and other bands who had played earlier that weekend in attendance at the show.

Across the bridge in Duluth the Marc Anderson Trio jazzed in a cool feeling at Carmody.

While waiting to be served at the bar a younger gentleman came up from behind me and asked if I knew the bartender’s name. He then commented about how this was the best bartender he had ever met. While talking with Devin, the bartender, I was impressed by a joke about Ghandi that ended with a punch line too long for me to remember. He was congenial, and seemed to be able to predict what was coming up next. There were a few times when he would sneak out for a smoke before finally ringing the bell for last call. Devin’s stories and anecdotes impressed me so much that I didn’t even move to sit by the band.

Not that I want to take anything away from the band, who played very well, but more to acknowledge the real star of Carmody that night.

The definitive eye catcher behind the bar (and even the ceiling) was all of the well decorated dollar bills. There was one in particular that had a giant octopus on it right below a bottle of octopus-labeled liquor. Others had elaborate names on them and various patrons’ art. It added a unique feel to the whole bar.

Of course Carmody has the Irish theme to it, right down to the flags hanging from the ceiling, but they also have their own brewed beer now. It has been awhile since I had patronized there, but it felt like I was in a bartender’s bar. One could spot barkeeps from Grandma’s, Red Star, Fitger’s, and many other local establishments.

I don’t want to forget to talk about Marc Anderson’s Trio, who finished out the night with “The Girl From Ipanema,” a staple of Jazz music and a personal favorite. They had their small intimate crowd mesmerized and were a nice end to a great night of local entertainment.