Gambler’s Daughter at Can Can Wonderland

You know what a real gambler does? Plays a place as crazy as Can Can Wonderland! I’ve got to set the stage. Can Can Wonderland opened about six weeks ago in St Paul just off University Avenue, West of Midway. It’s a renovated canning company, turned indoor miniature golf and stage and dozens of old school pinball machines and fun drinks for kids and adults.

It’s crazy – but it’s actually crazy good. I wasn’t sure what to expect especially for a show. I brought my favorite 12 year old just in case. We ordered a Fruit Loop malt and set in for a few songs before hitting the machines.

Gambler’s Daughter played before an audience of all ages – a full house. Luckily Jessa Roquet’s voice is robust enough to fill the space. Somehow either due to the band or some excellent sound engineering, the setting feels pretty cozy and the band really becomes the center of attention – a little bit like being in the eye of the storm.

The music straddle s pop and folk. Roquet’s voice is clear and she can hit the high notes. Harmonies with her sister Emily Carlson deepen the music. And watching the two on stage in such a crazy place is worth the price of admission – sort of a good natured how-in-the-heck did we get here wonderment.

She plays with a full band, including a lot of strings and there’s an echo of guitar in a few songs that’s really nice. She played a few somber songs. The inspiration for The Woods was Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. She makes it her own with new imagery but uses many of the famous line (“miles to go before I sleep”) and especially seeing the band with a kid, I appreciate an artist building from past art and giving that art to a new audience.

There was a song that isn’t on her new album. It was perfect for the location with a circus theme about a carousel and watching the world from above it. It gives me something to look forward to on the next album!

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