Heart this City: A night on the town with Stefan Philbrook

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Around 8:50 p.m. on Saturday night my wife, taking the parental duties for the night, dropped me off at Elm and Merrimack. I was going stag, lone wolf, my preferred choice. I always run into someone, and/or make friends easy. I walk by the Shaskeen and head to Cheddar & Rye to have a primer. The bartender immediately tells me I’m going to have a tough time getting into the Prince tribute show at the Shaskeen as he tells me it’s sold out!!!  What?!  I hastily finish my very yummy craft-made concoction and head to the Shaskeen. I am stopped at the backroom table and asked if I have a ticket.


Yup, apparently it is sold out and I am told there are five people waiting in front of me to get in. But — tonight was the night I was going to offer up my boxers to the gods during, “I Want to Be Your Lover.”  I was quickly shooed away. Lucky for me an old employer was in the same predicament as me and offered to buy me a drink. While catching up and enjoying the libations we we’re notified we would not get into this show. I said my goodbyes and booked a follow-up sober meeting the following week, and went out in search of music.

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I walked home after a night on the town, and stopped for a selfie with Gen. Casimir Pulaski. Photo/Stefan Philbrook

For many who know me I am a stickler for people performing their original music.  I stopped briefly at Bonfire. Not sure if it was original or not, but it didn’t appeal to me and it was too late for free bacon!

I settled up my one-beverage tab and headed north. Ended up at Penuche’s. I ordered a drink and ran into a couple of fellow fossils, excused myself and went to the bathroom. Walking back upstairs from the bathroom, to my surprise, Amanda McCarthy and her band we’re performing a cover of Aerosmith’s “No More No More” from my favorite Aerosmith album, “Toys in the Attic.”
Amanda McCarthy performing a song from my favorite Aerosmith album at Penuche’s. Photo/Stefan Philbrook

The drums and bass were on point, the guitarist embodied the ghost of Joe Perry and Amanda commanded the leads, all raw, all real instruments. It was fantastic, tons of energy, something different than I have been accustomed to finding all too often in Manchester, a guy playing guitar karaoke to recorded tracks on a beat machine.

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Christmas lights to guide me home. Thanks, son. Photo/Stefan Philbrook

After the show I made my way to the Arrow. Note, all this time I had not been approached by any homeless people. I had noticed two earlier sitting with their belongings, but that is all. None of this aggressive behavior that people have reported on social media or at BOA public session.

I decided to walk home under the star-filled night. I cut through Pulaski Park to 7-Eleven, then my last stretch. A block from my house I see my son Lydon had put Christmas lights on a flagpole on our roof as a beacon to help me with my final steps.
I love this city.

Screenshot 2019 04 14 at 9.38.40 PMStefan Philbrook was born in Manchester and grew up on both ends of Hall Street, graduated from Central High School, married his best friend, and is proud to raise his children in the city he loves.  Co-founder of Maggie’s Beat, a pediatric cancer awareness non-profit in memory of his dearly-departed eldest child Maggie, he is a self-employed freelance construction project manager.


Want to share your own adventures in the city you love with InkLink readers? Send your submissions to carolrobidoux@manchesterinklink.com subject line #heartthiscity

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