Breanna Soroka / Lantern reporter
Good food, loud music and an eye-catching venue made for a great experience at Wafflepalooza Sunday night.
The event was held at Brothers Drake Meadery and Bar and featured free waffles from Taste of Belgium, as well as live music from local singer-songwriter Matt Monta and the Andy Shaw Band.
I’ve never been a waffle person – pancakes are my breakfast food of choice – but these waffles made me change teams. The line for the waffles stretched across the venue for a majority of the night, but they were well worth the wait.
These treats were rich and delectable and transformed completely with the switch-up of toppings. I topped my first waffle with steaming, spicy fried chicken and a special hot mead-based syrup produced by Brothers Drake. I had never understood the appeal of the popular chicken-and-waffle combination, but I get it now.
I followed that waffle with one smothered in extra crunchy peanut butter, gobs of hazelnut spread and a towering pile of whipped cream. I had free dinner and dessert all in one sitting, and the entire meal was based around a food that’s meant to be eaten for breakfast.
Though the advertisements for the event said to bring your own toppings, I was pleasantly surprised that there were quite a few to choose from at the venue as well. Thick-cut bacon, a variety of syrups, chocolate sauce, caramel drizzle and an incredible homemade lemon curd were just a few of the options available. It was hard not to pile it all on into a heaping mess of sticky sugar and greasy meat, it all looked that good.
Brothers Drake was transformed from a dainty meadery into a vast space as the doors leading to the outdoor patio were kept ajar, but the feeling of intimacy didn’t float away through the open doors. The friendly and inviting atmosphere made me feel like I was in a room full of friends just hanging out even though I had never seen any of those people before. Even without the promise of free food of any sort, I would definitely return to Brothers Drake just to take in more of that relaxing air.
Columbus-based performer Monta was the first performer of the night and his folksy, harmonica-heavy style of music made the environment even more enjoyable. He was joined onstage during several songs by Chris Shaw, drummer of the Andy Shaw Band, who accompanied Monta with the fiddle, as well as Andy Shaw, guitarist and lead vocalist of the Andy Shaw Band, who added his trumpet skills to Monta’s set.
I used to think music in this bluegrass style was utterly boring and not deserving of my attention, but I couldn’t be more wrong. I plan on following Monta’s Columbus performance schedule so I can hear as much more of this sweet sound as I possibly can.
After a short break between sets, the Andy Shaw Band finally took the stage. I was expecting something pretty similar in style to the first performance of the evening, but was happily struck by the major differences in musical genres. Whereas Monta was acoustically driven by lilting melodies and soft plucks on his guitar, the Andy Shaw Band produced a driving beat and a reggae groove that Bob Marley would have been proud of.
Once again, this is a music I don’t listen to often, so I was not really expecting to enjoy it. Just as before, though, I began to fall a little head over heels for the way I couldn’t get my foot to stop tapping or my head to quit bobbing to the beat of the music. Both of these acts were extremely talented in their respective genres, and I can’t wait to stalk them at shows around the city so I can keep listening to their amazing sounds.