Tag Archives: Charm City Art Space

Double Dagger @ CCAS Tonight

Today is an important day in the city of Baltimore. Double Dagger will play its penultimate Baltimore show tonight at the Charm City Art Space. If you don’t know or care who Double Dagger is, or if you don’t think tonight is important, then you can go look at some fucking cats or something, okay? For the rest of us, Double Dagger frontman Nolen Strals was kind enough to sit down and answer a few of our questions about the last 10 years of his life…

Double Dagger plays CCAS Tonight. Go now or cry later.

So, why did you want to be in a band in the first place?

    In high school I wanted to be in a band just because, you know, I was young, newish to punk and it’s ideas and ideals and I was an angry kid in a small town with a lot to say. Being in a band gave me a chance to say things that were important to me. Sixteen years later I’m still in bands partly for that same reason but with new things to say. As anyone who knows me can attest, I usually have a lot to say. I’m full of ideas and opinions and I’m not afraid to let people hear them.

    Also, it’s just fun as hell to play shows. Double Dagger shows are almost always really fun, interacting with the audience. We’re giving them something, they’re giving us something back. I sometimes feel as if the crowd at the right show is like a fourth member of the band. Seeing people flip out for our music, hearing them sing along… there’s no questioning why I’m in a band when that’s happening. We all feed off that reaction.

What were your goals as a band? Do you feel like all of those goals were met?

    When Double Dagger started I think we just wanted to be a really high energy, smart-ass post punk band… In the middle years, when our original drummer Brian Dubin left and Denny Bowen joined full-time I think we were trying to figure out how to take the Double Dagger formula of spare bass, drums, and vocals and beef it up, fill it out, push that reductive combination further. The band as a whole got more serious, taking more care with our recordings, putting more effort into playing out of town and touring, etc. We definitely met or exceeded all of those goals. Touring-wise we exceeded it by going to Europe for almost a month in 2010.

    I think when we started people didn’t take us too seriously, and I’m really proud to say that I think a lot of people respect the band now. A ton of bands are liked or loved, but respect is harder to come by, and I think we earned that through the music we wrote and the way operated.

Looking back, would you have done anything differently?

    I wish we’d played more benefit shows, especially ones to help local organizations and causes. We care a lot about Baltimore City and that’s reflected in our songs, but I think our actions could have showed it a little more.

Baltimore could definitely use a bigger act like Fugazi, who played a lot of benefits and encouraged other bands to be more civic-minded and philanthropic.

    Totally agree. Bands who have a big draw have the ability to use that for more than just selling tickets. You can have an impact beyond that especially when playing locally, so there’s no reason not to.

    We’re a band that crosses a lot of the scene barriers in Baltimore. I love that we draw punk and hardcore kids as well as the art school warehouse types, plus high schoolers and old dudes. I think at times we pigeonholed ourselves to certain types of shows. Basically I just we’d played with more hardcore bands in the later years.

This final stuff you’re putting out is your last chance to design one of your own releases. How are you possibly going to top Masks?

    We’re thinking 1/6-scale vinyl toys of all three members with 9 points of articulation (11 for Denny), and when you pop the head off, a USB drive holding the songs is sticking out of the neck. Either that or something more traditional… we’re still hammering out the details.

After 10 years in a band, you'd be tired too.

What advice would you give to someone starting their first band today?

    Think. Practice. Practice. Think. Practice. Practice. We were a part of a generation of local bands who spent a few months figuring out their songs, their sound, and what they wanted to do before ever playing in front of people, because they wanted their first show to be as good as possible. They wanted people to take them seriously. It seems a lot of younger people (but not all) don’t have that mentality. It’s more of ‘Hey let’s just start a band and play our first show next week because we can and it will be cool.’ Those bands don’t last, and unless there’s some accidental genius at work they’re not very good.

    Figure out not just how you want to sound, but why you want to sound that way.

    Don’t accept that just because certain things are done regularly now, that you should do it too. When you first start out, book your own shows. You don’t need an agent, tour manager, or booking agent within your first several years of being a band. You’ll probably never need one. I’ve heard recently about some relatively new, comparatively tiny bands who have publicity agents and tour managers with them while playing only small DIY shows. That’s some rockstar bullshit. Get real/get out.

    Play out of town early and often. Playing in-town all the time is too easy. Play for people who aren’t your friends. That’s a better gauge of what you’re doing. Philly, DC, and New York are all close, and all have DIY scenes that are easy to access so play there. You’ll become better playing for strangers than you will for friends.

What are some of the more important things you’ve learned along the way?

    Oooh there might be some bitter replies in this one… The views in this reply are only mine, not speaking for the other dudes here:

    I learned hard work is often trumped by internet hype. Accept this early on. The lesson to be learned here is not to go after blog hype. Not if you want to last at least. Very few music bloggers are music journalists (don’t worry Chop, you wrote better questions than we usually get from music writers). Get ready to be let down and, at times, surprised.

    Don’t trust the words of people whose job title rhymes with the two words “Hooking…” and uh, I can’t finish this joke because nothing rhymes with “Agent.” Doing it the hard way pays off in the long run.

    And if you are going to do something the hard way, be it music or otherwise, you’d better be sure what all the repercussions of that will be in your personal life, and you need to determine if it’s worth it. Sometimes it is, sometimes it ain’t.

    If you eat shitty food on tour, you will play shitty shows on tour. Local, cheap, good restaurants trump any fast food ever. It may take an extra 30-40 minutes, but your body will appreciate it. Ask local folks where to go. Fat Sandwiches in New Brunswick, NJ are the best post-show food ever.

    Pack light, but pack thoroughly.

    Shows in towns that never get shows will always be more fun than selling out huge rooms in big cities. Small town kids will appreciate you going out of your way to play in their no where town more than even the most enthusiastic city dweller. You need to play those shows from time to time. I wouldn’t have gotten into punk rock without that happening for me.

    I realize most of these sound negative, but lessons aren’t always easy. The easy stuff happens the rest of the time, and it outshines all the bad. I learned a lot of amazing things in this band and saw incredible places and made great friends in places I never would have gone otherwise.

    The DIY Punk Community is international, beautiful, and inspiring.

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Charm City Art Space is at 1731 Maryland Ave in Station North. 7 pm doors, all ages.

Tonight’s show also features Holy Tongues and Ed Schrader’s Music Beat.

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A Ton of Music in Baltimore Tonight

So, basically, every place that has ever had music is having music tonight. There’s no shortage of choices, and there’s too much to talk about in detail, so we’ll just give you our picks and let you decide what kind of show you want to go see. Still not sure where we’ll end up tonight, but probably at one of these places.

Future Islands headlines Spring Fair tonight, one of may musical options in town.

The Philly Invades Baltimore Fest is kicking off at 3 pm today over at the Charm City Art Space. We went to this last year and had a great time watching bands like Algernon Cadwallader and 1994! who are both returning this year along with a ton of other acts.

The JHU Spring Fair is happening all weekend, but tonight’s music bill is the one to catch, featuring Future Islands and Lands and Peoples, among dozens more. Spring fair is also your best bet for dinner, with offerings like funnel cake and fried Oreos.

Just a few blocks south of the JHU Campus the 2640 Space is hosting the homecoming show for music media darlings Wye Oak with Callers and a favorite of ours, Secret Mountains. Unfortunately, this is a Dry show with no BYOB.

Down at Sonar local label Fan Death Records is having their annual showcase show featuring Pleasure Leftists and Heroin Sucks, a Charm City Suicides tribute band.

If you’re looking for something smaller scale, Dionysus is hosting a rare live show with former Iron Cross frontman and local author Sab Grey along with surf-garage dudes Sal Bando.

And if you want to go even more old school and off the radar than that, you can check out the rockabilly stylings of local pie-man extraordinaire Rodney Henry with local roustabouts Danny Kay and the Nightlifers at Fell’s Point’s 1919.

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Top 10 Signs You’re Too Old to Be at the Hardcore Show

It doesn’t matter who you are, you’re going to grow out of hardcore. It happens to all of us sooner or later. Even the legit, bona-fide True Til Death types among us will eventually stick with the records they grew up with, and turn out to shows less and less often.

There’s no denying it: hardcore is a young man’s game. While there’s no age limit on a dance floor, there are some unmistakable signs that you’re too old to be on it…

Sacred Love plays CCAS tonight. 7 pm doors.

10. You shave your head to hide baldness, not to look tough.

9. You only wear your New Balance sneakers and Adidas shorts to the gym.

8. You actually go to the gym, and don’t make any jokes about hating ‘the jocks.’

7. You’re asking your wife to hold your coat.

6. You’re not wearing anything with varsity font writing on it.

5. You understand that getting ‘stabbed in the back’ happens all the time and isn’t worth writing a song about.

4. You only round up your crew when someone gets married or dies.

3. You’ve ever described a straight edge tattoo as ‘cute’ with a knowing snicker.

2. Records that you own became collectible while sitting on your shelf.

1. You had a Krishna phase.

We’re probably gonna go out to the hardcore show at the Charm City Art Space tonight, even though according to this list we’re way too old for it. Connecticut’s Death Threat are coming down to play with Youngblood Records’ Sacred Love. Alpha and Omega, Expire, and Dead and Dreaming are also on the bill.

Five bands… we may need a nap in between.

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Charm City Art Space is located at 1731 Maryland Avenue in Station North. All Ages.

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Pop-Up Shop and Show @ Charm City Art Space Today

It’s SPRING, Baltimore. You may be thinking that it’s not Spring, that it is in fact monsoon season, but we assure you that Spring has most positively sprung. Do you know what that means? Eh? Eh? Do you? It means that you need t-shirts. But not just any t-shirts will do. You don’t want to be shelling out good money to support some California pervert playing grabass with underlings, or buying a t-shirt which is not the thing that it is a t-shirt of.

No no. Not a bit of it. You want a one of a kind, thoughtfully designed, hand printed t-shirt made by a talented local artist and offered at a fair price. And that’s exactly what you’re going to find today at the Charm City Art Space. Marking the closing of the Rough Language show at the Hexagon, the goods from that show will be offered for sale around the corner at CCAS. We didn’t get a chance to see what was on offer over the last month, but from what we’ve heard just since we got home, it was pretty impressive, and worth your consideration when it goes up for sale today from 1 pm until 6 pm.

Goods from the Rough Language show go on sale at CCAS today. 1-6 pm.

You might think you want to get there early for the best selection, but the smart money says roll in around 5:30 for maximum haggling advantage. You can spend the money you save on a nice round of drinks over at Joe Squared or Club Charles, and walk back around for the 7:00 show. And you will want to stay for the show.

We went to a show there featuring locals Pianos Become the Teeth shortly before we left, and at that time we took the attitude “Meh, let’s go around the corner and watch another band. These guys will play again soon.” Well, soon is now. They’re playing again and we’re not going to take them for granted this time. We’re going to watch them, because they are great at what they do and they deserve a great crowd listening.

Sharing the bill tonight is Connecticut’s Make Do and Mend, who just released their first proper full length this fall. We predict they’ve got a very bright future ahead of them selling songs to video game developers, web-based advertisers, minor filmmakers and the like. See them in a garage now, because in a few years you’re going to be saying “Oh, that band again. Hmm.” They’re on the right track by being on their way to this year’s South By Southwest, no? That’s not to say we approve or disapprove of their sound, it’s just what we see in our crystal ball.

Also sharing the stage tonight are Diamond, Balance and Composure, and Invitational. And you’re invited. See you there.

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Charm City Art Space is at 1731 Maryland Ave in Station North.

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Lemuria, Nightbirds @ Charm City Art Space Tonight

Man, were we glad when December was over, because honestly all that Christmas mumbo jumbo is kind of boring. The thing about it is that when people schedule things well in advance, they all tend to do the same thing… look at the calendar and say “Oh well let’s pencil in something after New Year’s.” In consequence of that, we’re seeing more music this week than we did in all of December, and we’re trying to be in two places at once tonight.

Fortunately for us, those places are literally right around the corner from one another, and we can easily bounce back and forth from the show we told you about yesterday at the Metro Gallery, and the show we’re telling you about today at Charm City Art Space.

Lemuria brings their brand new record, Pebble, to CCAS tonight. 7 pm doors.

No matter how much bouncing around the block we may do tonight, we’re going to be damn sure not to miss Lemuria when they go on at the Space. The last time we saw them it was at Mike and Julie’s wedding show, because that’s the kind of super-adorable warm and cuddly emo-rific band Lemuria is. The kind that plays wedding shows. They’ve got a new record called Pebble that was just released this week on Bridge 9, so tonight marks your first good chance to buy it. If you don’t then your heart is obviously made of cold rusted iron and your body may resemble that of a scarecrow in an empty field. Just sayin’.

We’re also going to make a point of catching Night Birds who are ex- the Ergs (and other bands), and who remind us all of two things:

1. That not everyone from the Jersey Shore is a dumbass Guido shart.

and

2. That psycho-surf garage punk is taking over the scene in 2011.

Ever worthy openers on tonight’s bill are local punks Dead Mechanical, and post hardcore screamers Pianos Become the Teeth. We’re big on both of these bands, but on a night like this their solid work ethic is not in their favor. We’ve seem both several times before, and they play often enough that we’re confident we’ll see them again before long, which we can’t say about the acts at Metro Gallery.

It’ll be interesting to see how tonight shakes out, but no matter what, it’s going to be a good time. Among the Art Space, Metro and the premiere of Sticky Buns Burlesque at the Windup Space, Station North is going to busier than it’s been in a while now. Get in on it.

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Charm City Art Space is located at 1731 Maryland Ave in Station North. All ages.

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Black Wine, Head Home @ Charm City Art Space Tonight

We really should have more to say about this show.

We’re short on time though, and a little short on patience today. There are four bands playing this show: Head Home, Crimes, Brick Mower, and Black Wine. They are all good bands. They’re punk. They’re a little grunge. It’s music you can skate to. It’s music you can drive around the suburbs to. It’s music you can come see live tonight, and you should. We are.

Head Home plays CCAS tonight. 7 pm doors.

We’ve been seeing a lot of hype around shows recently. We’re not going to over-hype this show. We’re going to under-promise, and let these bands over-deliver. There’s no doubt in our mind that they will.

Same deal as always: Doors at CCAS are 7 pm. All Ages. No booze allowed, but you can walk over to Club Charles or Joe Squared during or after the show.

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Mikey Erg, Dead Mechanical & More @ Charm City Art Space Tonight

We kind of miss they heyday of pop-punk. When you go to high school out in the far suburbs, you tend to get sentimental about some pretty strange things; domestic economy cars covered in stickers, VCR’s playing cheeseball comedies, shopping malls, Denny’s, egg throwing… when we think of pop punk, it’s all bound up with these kind of things.

The last time we had anything to do with any of those things, legions of pop-punk bands roamed the country, cussing, skating, farting and snot-rocketing their way from town to town. Lookout! Records was at its peak, and bands like the Queers, the Mr. T Experience, Screeching Weasel, and Face to Face were elevating suburban punk to a new level.

Mikey Erg puts the pop back in punk at CCAS tonight. 7 pm.

Those were the days. The old guard of pop punk is, well, old. Very few bands these days are playing songs about basements and rent-a-cops, and even fewer are doing it right.

This is why tonight’s show at the Charm City Art Space is worth taking note of. Mikey Erg, formerly of The Ergs will be holding court Dunaway style at the Art Space tonight, playing old favorites, covers, and even new songs. He’s also bringing along bandmates from his new-ish band House Boat, featuring former members of other bands you should have heard of by now.

Rounding out the bill are DC’s Junkpile and Baltimore’s own Dead Mechanical, who are perennial favorites here at the Baltimore Chop.

If the kid in you has a Christmas list full of whoopee cushions, Dead Milkmen t-shirts, and skateboards, you’re going to want to make it out to this tonight.

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Charm City Art Space is located at 1731 Maryland Avenue in Station North. 7 pm doors, all ages.

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