Tag Archives: Sonar

Puerto Rico Flowers, Pfisters @ Talking Head Stage Tonight

The astute among you will quickly notice that the shape of the graphic below is not Puerto Rico, but is in fact Australia. It’s Australia because that’s where John Sharkey III fucked off to after Clockcleaner. Sharkey returns to the US tonight with his new project Puerto Rico Flowers for their only 2010 US date at Sonar‘s Talking Head stage. Welcoming Sharkey back tonight will be Fan Death Records label-mates and unfuckwithable local trio Pfisters as well as DC’s Screen Vinyl Image.

Puerto Rico Flowers plays the Talking Head stage tonight. 9 pm Doors.

We’ve got the feeling that Puerto Rico Flowers is going to be one of those bands for whom there is no middle ground at all. Anyone unfamiliar can slap on headphones and listen to about ten seconds of their 4 ep and decide instantly whether they want to listen to it on repeat all day, or whether they want to run screaming at its mere mention.

The Chop is squarely in the former camp, and we predict the forthcoming full length will be going into heavy rotation on the iPod for late drives home or nights out on the back deck. Sharkey has always been the sort who makes a very particular sort of music. It’s the sort that he wants to hear, and he makes it precisely because it doesn’t yet exist in the world. Whether anyone else listens or not seems to be irrelevant. PRF represents what has become all too rare in 2010… something entirely new.

That said, the influences are immediately discernible. The 4 ep easily conjures the best work of Joy Division, the Damned, Bauhaus, et al, and will become seminal listening for fans of those stripes.

The next time you hear someone staunchly defend Baltimore’s music scene as being better than DC’s and more genuine than Brooklyn’s don’t dismiss it. Shows like this one tonight stand as proof.

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Sonar is at 407 E. Saratoga Street downtown. Doors are at 9 pm, all ages.

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Charm City Roller Girls Championship and Awesome Saturday Tonight in Baltimore

We’ve noticed something peculiar these last few months. Here at the Baltimore Chop, we keep track of local happenings and events pretty closely, and it seems to us that a pattern is beginning to emerge. Much as each week has a social ebb and flow to it, so do the months. And for the last few months, the final Saturday of the month has been Awesome Saturday.

It’s starting to feel like planners, promoters and party-people are all looking at their calendars in advance and zeroing in on Awesome Saturday as the date to schedule their event. We often find ourselves hard pressed to decide what to do on Awesome Saturdays.

Charm City Roller Girls' championship bout is at DuBurns Arena tonight. 6 pm doors.

A lot of that has to do with the Charm City Roller Girls, who routinely hold bouts on the final Saturday of the month. We’re always grateful that CCRG opens the doors at DuBurns nice and early, since it leaves us (and them) plenty of time for post-game raging.

We never quite understood why people don’t like showing up for things until 11pm or later. We’ve always been of the opinion that if you’re out to have fun, more time= more fun. So listen Choppers… get there early. You’re clearly not working on Saturday, so get yourself down to DuBurns and grab a PBR before the sun goes down. Tonight is the final final Saturday for a while. It’s the league championship bout, and the last chance you’ll have to see derby until July 24, when Charm City takes on Denver at home. Tonight also determines who’s awarded the prestigious and much sought-after Donaghy Cup. We don’t know all the details, but we like to imagine that it’s part Stanley Cup and part pimp cup… something you can take turns dragging to bars around town and drinking beer out of.

What else is so awesome about Awesome Saturday? Glad you asked.

In addition to the Innovate Love Art Auction that we mentioned yesterday, which is probably sold-out anyway, you could go see Matt Porterfield Speak at the Catonsville Library. Porterfield has enjoyed much acclaim recently for his film Putty Hill as well as setting the blogs on fire with the new Double Dagger No Allies video he directed.

If you’re in the mood for dinner and a movie you can check out the Slideluck Potshow at H & H’s Gallery Four. It’s bound to be a veritable bohemian bacchanalia and worth checking out.

Musically speaking you can keep it calmed-down tonight with Wrens at Sonar, step it up a notch with Loved Ones, Dead Mechanical and the Desert Boys at Golden West or get goofy and thoroughly rage with Pfisters and Davey G at the Windup Space.

If you’re not having an Awesome Saturday it’s your own fault, Baltimore.

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Lucero, Desert Boys @ Sonar Tonight

So what kind of music do you listen to? Oh, you know… I like everything. Except Country. So you like alt-country? Ummm? What?

Yes. The correct answer to that question is a resounding yes. Not ‘what?’. Not no. Not a semantic discussion of what ‘alt-country’ means… just yes.

The Chop likes us some sonofabitchin’ alt-country, and we’re about to show you how much down to Sonar tonight when we go holler at Lucero.

Lucero plays Sonar tonight. 8 pm.

The first thing any self-respecting alt-country artist will tell you is, of course, that they are not ‘alt-country’. Like emo and alternative rock before it, those who invented it are the quickest to disown the label. You’ve got to call it something though. It needs a name to set it above the flood of crap that passes for commercial country music. Call it honky-tonk. Call it Midwestern roots rock. Call it down home. Whatever you call it, acts like Drag the River, Tim Barry and Drive-By Truckers are making phenomenal records with the momentum of a bona fide movement. Even Barack Obama loves Wilco.

Lucero is at the forefront of that movement. The Chop has had the great good fortune to see them several times before, and we can personally attest to the fact that they are possibly the hardest working, hardest drinking band in the country. We’re talking about a band who spends 200-250 days a year touring, and makes damn sure every show is a full-on 2 hour extravaganza. That’s 2 hours of stage time. It doesn’t include drinking with fans, glad-handing, and impromptu acoustic or a capella sets in the parking lot- all of which are cornerstones of the Lucero experience.

Tonight’s show marks the first time they’re bringing a full horn section on the road with them, which should be an interesting addition to say the least. They’re also bringing fellow Tennesseans Glossary who, at their best, sound like a country-fied Billy Joel. (We mean that in a good way. Billy Joel was cool like 30 years ago.)

We’re also really anxious to check out the Desert Boys, who are actually not from the desert at all, but are Charm City locals of long standing.

The Desert Boys support Lucero @ Sonar tonight.

You’ll recognize Ryan Shelkett from Blank and Cross My Heart, as well as from Liars’ Academy with fellow DB Matt Smith, who also played guitar in Strike Anywhere. There’s a couple of members of Squaaks. in that photo too. Shelkett ain’t never done no wrong in our opinion, so if he wants to start writing alt-country songs, we have every confidence they’re going to be some of the better alt-country songs you’ve ever heard. Especially if they’re produced by Brian McTernan.

Doors open up at 8. Show up on time, cause these guys have sold out bigger rooms than this.

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End Of An Era (Which Actually Ended A Few Years Ago)

Sam Sessa over at Midnight Sun blog reported today that the end times have finally arrived for the Talking Head Club.

The Talking Head, which opened up in a dinky underutilized space on Cathedral Street in 2002, stayed there about the course of the summer before moving to the former Ottobar Space at 203 Davis Street Downtown, where the club really came into its own.

Original Site of the Talking Head

Original Site of the Talking Head (Photo: baltimoresdeadvenueproject.blogspot.com)

In the following years, the Davis Street bar was an epicenter for the Baltimore underground, filling the niche for a true independent venue smaller than Fletcher’s or Ottobar, but larger than most of the DIY spaces in town. The Talking head will be long remembered for playing host to some of the Chop’s favorites like Braid and Q and not U, and for being the spawning ground of Baltimore’s own Oranges Band. Its also, of course, the place where Taxidermy Lodge blew the fuck up from a weeknight DJ to a full-on east coast Phenomenon.

203 Davis Street

203 Davis Street (photo:baltimoresdeadvenueproject.blogspot.com)

Much as we hate to say it though, the Chop is going to be happy to see the Head go away for good. Since moving into the backroom at Sonar, its been more or less on its last legs, and a distraction from what may come next.

This whole turn of events though is a perfect illustration of why the Baltimore music scene has always been among the best in the country. In Baltimore, we can accept when things are at an end, because we are absolutely certain that something better will take shape in its place. Just as there was no need to wail at the loss of the Marble Bar, The Rev, or Memory Lane, we can be sure that something will replace the Talking Head. And sooner rather than later.

The only question is, What form will it take?

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