Downtown brewery hosts local talent
By Shauna Stocken
A & E Editor
On a budget and looking for something to do with friends this summer? Midtown Brewery, located at 402 S. Washington Ave. in downtown Lansing, has got you covered.
Free to attend, the Thursday night concert series features a running performance by artist and host Pat Zelenka. The host is responsible for finding an additional musical guest to perform each week.
“I think it’s important for people to hear a wide array of musicians from different genres,” Zelenka said. “This event is not genre specific because I don’t want it to be.”
The event starts at 7 p.m. every Thursday and lasts for three hours. The performances involving Zelenka and the special guest are what sets the event apart from open mic night at the bar on Monday evenings.
The performances on Thursday, May 10, featured the soulful and acoustic sounds by both Zelenka and local singer/songwriter Alex Mendenall.
“I want everyone to come and be unique and be themselves,” Zelenka said. “Primarily because that’s how I listen to music … That’s why it’s great to have Alex (Mendenall) here, because it introduces people to him that may not have heard him. I wanted to bring in a wide array.”
Mendenall said this is his first time playing in this series, although he has performed at Midtown Brewery many times in the past.
“I like playing lots of different places. Lansing is cool because it’s close to home,” Mendenall said.
Mendenall played a mix of old and new music not yet released. Zelenka entertained the audience with a combination of his music and classic hits by other artists including The Allman Brothers.
“I definitely like performing, although I like the writing and production aspect more than playing live,” Mendenall said. “But I still think it’s fun to get up on stage and sing.”
The evening’s crowd was mellow. The audience enjoyed beer, light conversation and burgers while Zelenka and Mendenall performed.
In the crowd singing along to the lyrics was Kayleigh Slone, Mendenall’s girlfriend for almost a year.
Slone said there is a lot of support for local music in the Lansing area.
“He’s (Mendenall) really made a name for himself and has done really well,” Sloan said. “I just think he does really well at what he does and that shows.”
New to Midtown Brewery is waitress Andrea Huffman. She said one reason she chose to work at the brewery is for the musical atmosphere.
“I think that music helps center a lot of people,” Huffman said. “I think that music is really important to help people get through their day; they need it.”
Huffman explained that while every Thursday night performance is different, the event is appropriate for guests of all ages.
“I see a lot of college students and adults, but there are quite a (few) kids that come in here for dinner,” Huffman said.
Zelenka’s Instagram page, patzelenka, lists future guests at the brewery.