If you're looking for something different to do during your Friday lunch hour, let me suggest the Cushman & Wakefield Free Friday Concerts. Held every other Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. throughout the summer outside the Antlers Hilton, these performances are a great way to get out of the office, kick off your shoes (which, this summer, seem to be either flip-flops or wedges) and listen to a little music.
Last Friday's concert featured Denver's own singer/songwriter Wendy Woo, who makes it down this way a couple of times a year. She's been performing in this series for more than 10 years now, and as she said Friday, "We've become the family band over the years." The boy in blue in the photos is just one of the little ones the five-piece group now travels with, albeit one of the more involved kiddos as he cries nonstop if he's removed from the stage during a performance. (Seriously, it happened.)
Woo had a bit of trouble, blowing out the amp for her electric guitar early on. But even so, she pushed forward with her acoustic, mixing familiar Woo tunes such as "Addicted to You" with covers of U2 and John Mayer. She and Robin Hoch (vocals/violin/guitar), who recorded Saving Grace together in 2009, performed an absolutely beautiful acoustic rendition of Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah."
If you don't have time to pack a lunch to bring, don't worry about missing out on eating. Ranch Foods Direct has a grill out, and offers burgers, brats, chips and drinks for sale. And the hotel provides free ice cream bars to attendees. I enjoyed an Orange Dreamsicle, though I was still a hungry vegetarian after the show (Ranch Foods: I know your thing is meat, but could you maybe offer a veggie burger?) and after the concert decided to pop by the new OPB&J for lunch. And boy, was I glad I did.
Their all-organic Thai ginger peanut butter, with ginger pear fruit smash on wheatberry bread, hit the empty spot in my belly. If you haven't tried out this new restaurant at 3 E. Bijou St., I recommend a visit. While friends have complained that the prices are a wee bit high ($5 for a sandwich, with add-ons available), I think the organic, house-made element, as well as the incredible variety, makes it worth it.
In the meantime, you can catch Woo in Castle Rock on Aug. 8 at the Fido Fest, or see her website for more upcoming statewide performances. And as for those Friday concerts, there are two more of them this summer: Dotsero on Aug. 6 and Phat Daddy & the Phat Horn Doctors on Aug. 20.