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Strike Anywhere, Copyrights, Younger Years @ Ottobar Tonight

So we’re going to see Strike Anywhere at the Ottobar tonight. Sounds pretty normal, except that we’re not actually going to see Strike Anywhere. Oh we’ll stand there and watch them. We’ll probably even sing along a little. What we mean to say is that even though they’re at the top of the bill, somehow they’re not the draw. If they were playing with different openers, we’d probably sit this one out.

No mistake… Strike Anywhere is still among our favorites, and their place as one of the better punk rock bands of all time is quite secure. It’s just that, well, it’s not 1999 anymore. The last time we saw the band (with Bane in College Park, May ’09) provided a very stark contrast to the shows of 10 years ago. The energy and urgency were very much lacking, not just in their set but up and down the bill. It was one of those shows that reminds you that even the best bands can’t keep getting better, and there’s no shame in moving on.

Yeah. We wish it was 2001 again too.

So we’re actually going to see the opening acts tonight. Specifically the Copyrights and local act Younger Years.

The Copyrights are very very possibly the best pop punk band in the world right now. Think of the Bouncing Souls, Screeching Weasel, and Face to Face all rolled into one. That said, being the best pop punk band in the world in 2011 is kind of like being the world’s best ska band in 2001. It’s not that hard to do because pop punk just isn’t cool anymore and high school kids are all pretentious little fucks these days. We still like pop punk. Some of the ambient dream pop cum shoegaze cum experimental fusion cum fake-ass world music acts that pass for indie rock today could stand to learn something from bands like the Copyrights.

We’re pretty stoked to finally catch Younger Years as well. They’re not exactly a new band anymore, but somehow we’ve managed to miss all of their shows so far. We’ve been hearing good things though, and really how can you say bad things about a band that, when you hear them for the first time you say “Oh, this is a band that sounds like Kid Dynamite and None More Black.” It’s about time somebody picked up that ball and ran with it.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N Howard Street in Charles Village. Tonight’s show is 7 pm doors, all ages. A Wilhelm Scream also plays.

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The Dating Game @ Ottobar Tonight

You read that headline right, Choppers. The Dating Game is at the Ottobar tonight. Not some obscure touring indie rock band called the Dating Game, but, you know, a homegrown version of the old seventies TV show. Their website is short on specifics, but presumably a handful of moderately attractive 20-somethings will get on the stage and answer some corny questions about dating, a girl will pick a guy, and they may or may not go on an actual date some time in the near future.

Second suitor: if we were making whoopee, what sounds would you make?

We are in full support of the staging of live game shows in local bars. It’s a trend we can get behind. We would have organized punk rock Jeopardy long ago if, you know, we weren’t just plain lazy about organizing stuff. We’ll be the first to come out and watch it though, as we were with the RTV ‘talent’ show and the Chatroulette Knife Throwing Contest.

The Dating Game at the Ottobar seems especially appropriate though since, well, who among us hasn’t met someone there? We’ve been on plenty of dates to the bar itself, and as for running into exes- well, there’s simply no better place in Baltimore for that.

We expect that tonight’s production will fall somewhere in that misty gray area between the dating show from Mallrats and some bona fide real life Hipster Wife Hunting. If nothing else, watching a bunch of awkward contestants stammer through embarrassing sex questions will probably make us feel pretty damn good about being single after 30. That is, as long as we can avoid getting the stinkpalm.

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White Wires, Deep Sleep @ Ottobar Upstairs Tonight

If you ask any punk in town, ‘What’s going on at the Ottobar tonight?’ they’d tell you ‘Reagan Youth, Duh.’

That’s not the right answer though. Well, It’s technically the right answer, but it’s not the best show going on in that particular bar on this particular night. We’ve already made known our feelings about old decrepit bands on this blog, and if we skipped the Buzzcocks and sat out Youth Brigade, then you can bet we don’t give a flying fuck about seeing Reagan Youth.

White Wires plays upstairs at the Ottobar tonight. Doors at 9 pm.

What we do give a fuck about seeing is the upstairs show. White Wires should be totally scene-famous right now. Like Vivian Girls or Wavves. but they’re not so much. They do okay. We think it’s because they’re Canadians. Don’t hold that against them though. You should go to the show tonight and buy their CD and then play it loudly all Summer long while you drink Natty Boh on your porch. That’s what it’s made for. If ever there was a Summertime fun band for 2011 Hampden kids, this is it.

But as well as White Wires does garage punk, we in Charm City still like to keep our garage and our punk seperate, much like our peanut butter and our chocolate. This is evidenced by the locals on tonight’s upstairs bill. Hollywood made their name by being more garaged than a ’56 Ford, and Deep Sleep’s, straight up west coast punk style is strictly street. Street parking, that is. (How’s that for not mixing a metaphor?)

So we’re gonna go see an excellent free show tonight, maybe drink some drink specials, and as a bonus, get to see what other old fucks turn up for the Reagan Youth show without actually having to sit through the Reagan Youth show.

Correction: this show is not actually free. $7 at the door.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard Street in Charles Village. Downstairs show is Doors at 7, all ages. Upstairs show is 18+ doors at 9.

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Super Art Fight 10 @ Ottobar Tonight

It’s Super Art Fight night again at the Ottobar. Once again, there’s nothing we can tell you here that hasn’t already been said over on their very thorough and entertaining blog. They’ve got more inside baseball stuff over there than the actual Inside Baseball. Check it out.

SAFX is at the Ottobar tonight. 9 pm doors.

Then again, maybe there is one thing we can tell you that they won’t. Perhaps it’s out of modesty, but they’ve made no mention that they’ve been selling out shows left and right lately, and enjoying incredible popularity throughout the region. The last time they were at Ottobar, 450 people showed up. There was a line down to 25th street. If you’re going, and you should, make sure you show up early.

Like, 7 pm and sit in Charmington’s until the line starts to form early.

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Chucklestorm Presents Neil Hamburger @ Ottobar Tonight

There’s no doubt about it, Baltimore- America is officially in decline. The Republicans are stealing and pillaging as fast as they can. Nobody has a job to go to, and it doesn’t matter because gas is $4 a gallon and the kids are more interested in cocaine and shitty dance music than work anyway. The last time things looked as bad as this was the late 1970’s, when the end of Vietnam drove a 40 year societal wedge into the US, New York City crumbled into a dilapidated, depraved urban wasteland, and we were all afraid of the big, bad Ayatollah.

What’s our best defense against a whole society crumbling around us? How will we come through it all? The same way they did in the 1970’s, of course… we’ll don our finest loungewear, grab a stiff highball, and laugh our asses off as a sloppy, mean-spirited jerk takes the stage and fires off insults at people who are much richer and better looking than the rest of us.

Neil Hamburger stands up at the Ottobar tonight. 9 pm doors.

The glory days of Don Rickles and Joan Rivers may be long gone, but for better or worse, we’ve still got Neil Hamburger, and he’s coming to the Ottobar tonight. If Neil Hamburger says that God is gay, well then it’s probably true. The man has a tuxedo, after all. And a cocktail in hand. And a stage and a spotlight. Logic dictates that any man who has all that at once must be an authority on things. Therefore God is gay.

And as much as Neil Hamburger knows about theology, well, that’s how much Kenny Strasser knows about yo-yos. You may better know “K-Strass” as the guy who single-handedly punked a handful of Midwest local news stations by appearing on their morning shows under the guise of a yo-yo expert and then not knowing how to do a single yo-yo trick. For our money, this was one of the most absurd and hysterical stunts in recent memory.

Rounding out the evening are “Major Entertainer” Mike H, along with the boys of Chucklestorm themselves, Dan and Alex. If you’re not familiar with Chucklestorm yet, we’d highly recommend you take this opportunity to get familiar, as they just seem to keep getting better all the time. Performing monthly at the Ottobar for the last year or so, Dan and Alex have continued to polish their act consistently, as well as displaying a sharp acumen for behind-the-scenes production like when they brought in Brian Posehn back in November. Getting up on stage and telling jokes to drunks is hard, and pulling it all together is just as difficult. To do them both consistently deserves a measure of respect and support.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. in Charles Village. Tonight’s show is ages 18 and up.

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Super Art Fight 9 @ Ottobar Tonight

We haven’t made it out to a Super Art Fight yet. We’re overdue. Way overdue. It’s been our understanding that it gets bigger, better, and badass-er with each installment, so with the approach of their 9th battle, it’s safe to say that it’s going to be the best one yet.

Here at the Baltimore Chop, we like to try to give you the dope on events happening in town, mixed with a little opinion, but sometimes the facts are hard to come by. Some bars and restaurants still don’t have their own websites. Some bands rely on abandoned Myspace profiles as their whole web presence. This is not the case with Super Art Fight.

The tag team tournament is only part of the pandemonium in store at SAF9 at the Ottobar tonight. 9 pm doors.

They blog the hell out of their events. If you want to know what to expect tonight, you can read all about it on the SAF blog, which has no less than 8 separate blog posts about tonight’s event. Hell, that’s almost too much. With all that info out there, we can’t even pretend to try to break it down into one little preview post.

Once you click over there, you’ll see the same kind of detailed posts highlighting SAF taking its show on the road, too. Super Art Fight-of-mass-destruction-program-related-activities have taken place all over the world (from Virginia to Connecticut), and we’re greatly heartened to see Baltimore’s quirky and creative side so well-represented abroad. Tonight the Ottobar, tomorrow, to infinity and beyoooonddd…” Or something like that.

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Ottobar is located at 2549 N. Howard St. All Ages.

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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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