Tag Archives: Ottobar

Two Halloweens for the Price of One!

So, Halloween is pretty much here. Like today. Like right now. You may think that Halloween falls on Sunday, and that that’s totally lame, but for all intents and purposes, it’s really a blessing in disguise for fans of the holiday. A blessing from the Devil maybe. A super secret double bizarro blessing. Or something like that. For the kiddies, trick-or-treating may indeed be Sunday evening, but for the rest of us, we get a two day holiday for drinking and carrying on. Plus a Sunday to sleep it all off again. Talk about a win/win situation…

We spent some time in and around Station North last Halloween, and if you’re in the mood for going out, we’d definitely recommend doing likewise this year. The college kids can have the East Side and the South Side. Take ’em. We’re done with ’em. We’re perfectly happy right here in North Baltimore. Station North has been doing Halloween right for a few good years now, and if previous experience is anything to go by (and it is), there will be just enough costumed revelers to make every place in the neighborhood fun and interesting, but never so many in one place that the party is overwhelming or overcrowded.

 

Of course you can be two places at once. You've got superpowers.

So, by now you’ve got your costume, and you know what to look out for, but where are you going to go, eh?

There’s plenty going on around town tonight, but there are two events we feel are especially worthy of your attention. First up at the Ottobar the Charm City Roller Girls are going to be holding their 6th annual Bruisers’ Ball. This year’s theme is a Supervillain Soiree, and the costume contests will showcase that with various prizes in several different categories. There’s going to be plenty of other fun stuff too, like Halloween themed drinks and a photobooth, and of course, plenty of rollergirls all about the place. They’re even going to tape Dirty Marty to a wall, which just in itself should be worth the price of admission. And of course there’s a solid slate of bands including the Degenerettes, Hollowboy, and the Stalking Horses, as well as the Moustache dance party upstairs.

And if you can’t get your fill of heroes and villains in just one place, you can always head down to the Windup Space for a separate party with a similar theme. It’s Atomic Books’ second annual celebration of heroism and villainy, and this time around it’s going to feature. DJ Miracle Ear, debut videos from Atomic TV, and the new Rock Band 3 for your enjoyment, complete with Keytar.

Plus, the costume contest pays $400 in cold, hard cash. We’re calling it right now: if you’re lucky enough to snag a jackpot like that, the only right thing to do is to buy the house a round of drinks.

Happy Halloween.

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The Bruisers’ Ball at Ottobar (2549 N. Howard, Charles Village) begins at 9pm with the show bands playing at 10:00. $10, 18+.

Atomic’s Heroes and Villains Costume Ball at the Windup Space (12 W. North Ave in Station North) runs concurrently.

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An Evening With Greg Dulli @ Ottobar Tonight

Well, if tonight’s show is anything, it’s proof that we’re out of touch. Almost cool. You might think we have our finger on the pulse of the scene, but we do not. We have it up our nose.

We went ahead and bought a ticket for tonight’s Greg Dulli show in advance since we were on the Missiontix site anyway. We figured it would be a pretty low key Saturday night, with just a few aged scenesters drinking heavily and gnashing their teeth at the thought of being 22 again with their present bitter, jaded knowledge of how the world works. Hell, even though Dulli is touring nationally and about to split for England, tickets were only $12.

Greg Dulli plays the Ottobar tonight. 8 pm Doors.

So we were surprised when the show not only sold out, but sold out well in advance. We’d tried to track down an extra ticket for a friend from New York, and came up empty handed. Word is that the very few tickets available at resale are going for up to five times face value. With that kind of demand, you’d think they would have cost more initially, or that they would have booked the show into a bigger venue. Oh well. We’ll see how it goes.

Perhaps it’s fitting that we’re way out of touch on this one. We were pretty well aware of the Afghan Whigs during their Gentlemen/ Black Love heyday. As a 12 or 13 year old kid who knew very little about music (or life) we thought they sounded good enough, but most of those songs went right over our head. You can’t expect a middle school kid to actually understand songs about hatefucking, cold revenge, solitude in company, and danger for danger’s sake. It wasn’t long before we caught on to the broad brush anthems of three chord punk and spent the next decade not looking back.

Sometime around our mid-to-late 20’s though, we began to rediscover a lot of this music of which we were dimly aware as a kid; Pavement, Mudhoney, Dinosaur Jr., Catherine Wheel, etc. Once we did, our admiration and appreciation for Dulli grew exponentially. We’re an adult now. We’ve been fired from jobs, scorned by women, abandoned by friends, dragged into courtrooms, drunk by noon, and and even, on occasion, betrayed by our own body. All of that happened.

It’s only now that we fully understand the music of Greg Dulli.

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Craig Wedren (Shudder to Think) opens tonight’s show. Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. in Charles Village.

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Tim Barry, Josh Small @ the Ottobar Tonight

When Tim Barry played with Drag the River at Fletcher’s on Memorial Day Weekend of 2008, it was easily the best show in the history of that venue, and one of the best Baltimore shows of the decade. This is no hyperbole. The crowd consisted entirely of a who’s-who of local record collectors, musicians, indie media critics and other such arbiters of taste, and these two acts did not disappoint.

Even the most aloof and elite of scene types made no bones about being in a full on transport of musical reverie. It sort of felt like Christmas in the Rockefeller house in there. That’s how happy and excited everyone was.

Tim Barry and Josh Small play the Ottobar Upstairs today. 6 pm Doors.

For fans of stuff like Lucero, the Gaslight Anthem, and Paul Westerburg, the former Avail frontman, along with Suburban Home labelmate and sometimes collaborator Josh Small should definitely be worth sneaking out of work early for. And you might have to do just that, since their show at the Ottobar tonight is a happy hour set in the upstairs bar, very acoustic and intimate-like.

After all, there’s nothing better than some low-down, southern-fried songs about drinking heavily to start off the first full weekend back in town.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. Doors at 6, Show at 6:30. $10, all ages.

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Polar Bear Club, Lemuria +3 More @ Ottobar Tonight

What’s important to you Baltimore? Is watching the World Cup really very important? Is it of grave urgency that you wear funny wigs and feather boas and drink in the street this weekend? How about stealing back the foursquare mayorship of some bar? Is that crucial?

Tonight something actually important is happening at the Ottobar.

Understand, it’s not like Haiti Earthquake important or Oil Spill important… but to us it’s important all the same. Just like we said that the Easter Sunday record release show was a milestone in Baltimore music, so is tonight’s show. This is what makes 2010 a celebrated summer. (haw haw haw!)

Aside from the completely and totally sick bill that’s been assembled tonight, this show marks the Occasion of Mike Riley’s wedding to Julie Benoit. If you like punk rock in Baltimore, or if you ever did, it behooves you to tip your cap to Mike tonight. We could go on at length about what he’s done for this city, but his new blog Speech Impediment gives a much better picture than we could here. It’s an amazing online document of the history of Baltimore punk since 1997, and will only continue to grow.

As if running multiple venues, putting on shows, and being in some noteworthy bands himself wasn’t enough, Mike also continues to maintain Firestarter Records, and if you’ve got any kind of good taste at all, you’ve probably got a record he made on your shelf right now.

We wish Mike and Julie the best, and all the happiness they deserve, although we’d hate to see him make any sort of attempt at becoming a grown up. (Zing!)

But as if the chance to glad hand the man of the hour and buy him a Coke wasn’t enough, he’s also found five amazing bands to fete the occasion tonight. You know how we sometimes pick one or two bands to write about on a multi-band bill? Well, we can’t do that today. All five of these bands are incredible, and if we tried to quantify that, we’d run to 20,000 words. So we’re just going to tell you who they are:

Polar Bear Club

Lemuria

Cloak/Dagger

Dead Mechanical

Deep Sleep

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. Doors @ 8:30. All ages.

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Surfer Blood, Weekends @ Ottobar Tonight

You’re going to this show tonight Baltimore. Of course you are. It’s a no-brainer. It’s more than a no-brainer, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Seriously. Maybe the Chop’s not as cool as we used to be, but it seems like Surfer Blood came out of nowhere and got real famous, real fast. If we were a betting man, we’d bet that the Ottobar tonight is likely your last chance to see them on an actual club stage. They’re already busy touring the world and getting on TV and (maybe) modeling designer jeans and banging out record industry and PR interns 2 at a time. That’s rock and roll for you.

What’s more, a Wednesday after a holiday weekend is perfect timing, since we’re hoping it’s going to be adult swim up in there. That may be wishful thinking though, since schools are out, the doors are open early, and it’s all ages.

Surfer Blood takes you back to the future with Weekends at the Ottobar tonight. 8 pm doors.

Reason number two why it’s a no-brainer? Weekends. Sure, they’re from here and you can probably go see them anytime, but you know what Baltimore? That’s a shite attitude to take. That’s why you all probably missed them at last weekend’s show with Height, because you were too busy going to the beach and the swimming pool and the cook-out. We’re guilty of it too. We seem to keep missing Weekends, and we’re going to try to put that right tonight.

You know how people always reference certain bands from the 80’s and say how they’re visionary and genius and way ahead of their time? Well, with bands like these, it looks like rock and roll is finally catching up to the best of the 1980’s, and that’s what tonight’s show is all about.

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Leatherface is Canceled @ Ottobar Tonight

Jesus H. Christ!!!

This is exactly the kind of bullshit that makes us want to hang it up and quit blogging about Baltimore nightlife forever!

We were very, very looking forward to seeing Leatherface at the Ottobar tonight (scroll down), but late breaking word on the street is that their visas were denied by the US customs and border protections. Long story short, they’re not playing tonight and shit’s fucked up.

'Keeping America safe from old punks since 1789.'

(For the record, the Chop has a pre-existing grudge against CBP, as they have prevented us from sneaking some really good booze into this country, and we give them two fingers and bollocks officially here and evermore.)

We heard by ‘word on the street’ at ~6 pm yesterday that Leatherface was denied their visas. Since we’re trying to be RESPONIBLE and all that, we called the Ottobar, and even stopped by in person to determine the current status, but the best we could come up with was “Yeah Bro… it’s probably not happening.” Our Twitter feed provides links to Leatherface cancellations in NYC and StL for this tour for the same reason.

So, we don’t expect to see Leatherface at the Ottobar tonight, and we don’t know what’s in store for refunds, rain checks, tonight’s bill, etc. When we know you’ll know, but in the meantime we expect to sit around and watch the O’s lose to a last-place team in the rain again.

Loves and smooches…

-The Chop.

Update: The Ottobar website now indicates that a 3 band show will take place and the cost for it will be $8 at the door. It also states that refunds for Leatherface pre-sales will be issued automatically.

News is still sparse, but you can read a little bit about it at Brooklyn Vegan, Dying Scene, Vinyl Collective, and Suburban Home Records.

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Leatherface @ Ottobar Tonight

With the British parliamentary elections taking up headlines the past few days, you’ve probably heard a lot about the special relationship enjoyed between our two countries. Aside from sounding slightly suggestive and covering intelligence, economics, and military power, the special relationship also encompasses Baltimore punk rock.

To wit: We sent them Double Dagger, and they’re sending Leatherface to the Ottobar tonight in return.

Leatherface plays the Ottobar tonight. 7 pm Doors.

This blog has come down pretty hard on aging English punk bands lately, and while the Sunderland lads are no spring chickens, we believe they’re the exception and not the rule. In more than twenty years of continuous recording and touring, they’ve not been spoiled by success. In fact, they may even be British punk’s best kept secret. They’re one of those bands that has influenced every band that came after them, whether those later bands realize it or not.

Leatherface has a new record out on No Idea Which proves our point. We’d probably have written them off forever if they had signed with Epitaph, but you know No Idea is going to do right by everyone concerned. Don’t believe us? You can go ahead and stream it right now from Punknews.org like we’re doing while we write this. We’re especially digging track #7, Diego Garcia.

Rounding out the bill tonight is Baltimore’s own Sick Sick Birds who we love so much we’ve written about them before, as well as local newcomers Post Freedom about whom we’ve heard good things, and Georgia’s Ninja Gun.

Part of us thinks this is going to be a massive sold-out show which will be legend in this town for years to come. But then we remind ourselves that it’s still a weeknight and that everyone who cares about Leatherface is our age or older, and/or a huge music nerd, so there might be plenty of elbow room at the bar. Either way, we get to put a big check mark next to their name in the column of ‘Bands we love and never got to see.’

Get out and see them tonight Baltimore. You’ll see the Queen go about in her knickers before they come back around again.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard Street. 410-662-0069 Tickets are available at www.missiontix.com

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Thoughts on Being a Grown-Up Punk

Malcolm X was once asked what he thought of Socialism. His response; “Is it good for black people?”

It’s a simple, yet very profound sentiment.

The Buzzcocks are playing the Ottobar this Wednesday. The Chop will not be in attendance. We’ve already been very clear about our feelings on aging punk bands, and the Buzzcocks are definitely aging. The big idea on this tour is that they’re making it well-known that they intend to play their first two records in their entirety, and they’re not going to try to recycle any of that crap from the ’90’s that they tried to foist off on our generation of teenagers 15 years ago. We love the Buzzcocks, and they can really do no wrong in our eyes, but they make us consider what it means to be a grown-up punk.

One of the world's great punk bands was also high on style. The Buzzcocks in the late '70's.

Being an adult punk can’t just mean going around doing a pale impression of your teenage self. It can’t be listening to the same records over and over again. It can’t be tattoos, middle fingers, and a ‘no future’ mentality.

But it can’t mean giving up either. Grown up punks can never be satisfied with becoming their parents. Sitcoms, malls, and SUV’s are no way to live. Growing up punk has taught us all that we shouldn’t, cannot accept the status quo. In a lot of ways that old saying is true: If you’re not now, you never were.

We still feel conflicted though. So many times we feel like an undercover punk. Most days now there’s not so much as a one-inch button on our jacket by which we’d be recognizable. While we’ll never outgrow punk, we have outgrown high school tribalism.

To our mind though, a great example of how to be a grown up punk is Mark Andersen. Here is someone who has made himself a way to live out his ideals every day, and to continue fostering community and effecting change in so many positive ways. Being punk never meant changing the world. It means changing your world.

So now when we’re asked what we think of something, we’re forced to consider; “Is it good for punk people?”

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Buzzcocks play the Ottobar Wednesday, 5/10 5/12 with the Dollyrots and DJ King Gilbert. 2549 N Howard St. 8 pm doors.

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A Modest Proposal: Old Bands Go Gentle Into That Good Night

The Business is coming to Baltimore tonight. We should be excited about that. We should be dusting off our Doc Martens and brushing up on the finer points of football hooliganism. We should realize how lucky we are to get a chance to see one of the greatest hardcore/punk bands of all time, and within walking distance of our house.

But we’re not. Instead we’re sitting on the couch saying ‘meh’ and ‘feh’ and other made up words that denote a general sense of apathy.

See, we’ve already been to three shows in the last three days and we just don’t have it in us anymore to feign excitement over something that was thrilling in 1979 and has been watering itself down ever since. We’re a grown-up punk. Grown up punks are supposed to slow down a little. You can’t claim you’re street punk when you have a mortgage.

Most old bands are the worse for wear.

We suppose no one told this to the Business. We suspect they know it anyway though. A recent publicity photo on their myspace page doesn’t hide the wrinkles very well, and shows them to be a bunch of guys who have more in common with today’s baby boomer parents than their ‘Suburban Rebel’ kids. While you’re there you can check out the new single, which is banal, amateurish, and frankly beneath the dignity of a band as great as the Business was.

We can’t fault them entirely. British punks and skins in the 70’s and 80’s never claimed to be brilliant musicians. They never had designs on getting real jobs or having a life after punk either. We suspect that the Business and countless other bands like them (not just punk bands either) continue to recycle themselves and play the same old chords because it’s all they know how to do in the world. They were the voice of their generation, but unfortunately their generation’s time has passed.

We propose, here now and for the record that any band should be a band for twelve years only. No more. You get 2 years to practice, play local clubs, and get your first record out. After that you get 10 years to go as far as you can and create as much good music as possible. At that point the music gods should yank your band license. You break up, and forget about any reunion tour nonsense. You’re free to form a new band, of course, or go solo; but leave the past in the past.

One example of someone doing it right is Baltimore’s own Ryan Shelkett. He’s managed to remain relevant and interesting by allowing room for musical growth and experimentation. If he were still running out the same old songs from the Blank/ Dead Red Sea days no one would listen, great songs though they were.

Ian MacKaye has come pretty far from his original sound without losing any love from anyone. Even though it’s been damn near 30 years since Minor Threat played live, their songs are as beloved as they ever were. And while Fugazi was maybe the one band that could have carried on gracefully indefinitely, had they not stopped, the Evens likely never would have happened.

John Reis is another great model for change. As popular as Rocket From the Crypt was, for our money Hot Snakes was Reis’ best work, and we’d rather see the Night Marchers live than a Rocket reunion any day.

So we’re not going to the Ottobar tonight. Instead we’re going to do some work around the house. Watch the Orioles blow another one, and have a quiet dinner at home. And we’ll probably be listening to Suicide Invoice at some point too.

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Oranges Band Anniversary, Under the Strobe Light Preview Party Tonight in Baltimore

It’s a big old Saturday night in Baltimore, and the Chop in on the scene-uh, like a sex machine-uh. Much as we regret it, we can’t make it down to the Roller Derby tonight, but instead we’re going to stay uptown and make appearances at two other events.

Under the Strobe Light is released at Bijon tonight, 8:30 pm.

First we’re going down to check out Josh Sisk’s preview party for his new book Under the Strobe Light: Club Photos 2005-2010 at Bijon. Although the Chop’s not big on clubbing, we got a chuckle recently when the man himself posted the following over at Unicorn Meat:

“I don’t think I have any/many Baltimore followers anymore but.. you never know.”

You never know indeed. We remember Josh from when he was living in the DC area and putting out great records from bands like Flowers in the Attic, Medic, and the New Flesh on his McCarthyism label. Once he moved to Baltimore he went all clubby and we haven’t seen him in a few good years and in fact, that McCarthyism website is like a time portal to 2004. But you know what? Josh Sisk is a stand-up guy, the photos look great, and we wish him all the best with the new book.

Oranges Band celebrate ten years at the Ottobar tonight. 9 pm doors.

After we sip some free champagne courtesy of Mr. Sisk, we’re heading up to the Ottobar to check out the Oranges Band’s 10th anniversary show with Slow Jets, Highrise and Doug Gillard Electric.

We could sit here for an hour and tell you all about the Oranges Band, but you know what? It’s nice out and we want to go down to the Hopkins Spring Fair and see if they have any fried dough. Instead, we recommend you check out the excellent write-ups over at Aural States and the Midnight Sun Blog while we sit around the beer garden and watch the co-eds be all, um, collegial.

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Bijon is located at 226 W. Monument Street (corner of Howard St.) in Mount Vernon.

The Ottobar is at 2549 North Howard Street. 410-662-0069

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