July 7, 2011

Goodbye, you wretched Movable Type

micdown.jpgToday, the blog moves to a spiffy new publishing system and a new URL.

From now on, Midnight Sun can be found here, at

In a month, the old url will automatically re-direct to the new one, but in the meantime, be sure to adjust your favorites, rss feeds, etc.

Click here to find out why. 

Continue reading "Goodbye, you wretched Movable Type" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 6:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Housekeeping

July 6, 2011

Baltimore man sues Live Nation for "exorbitant" Jackson Browne tickets

A Baltimore man sued Live Nation and Ticketmaster last week saying the entertainment behemoth overcharged him for Jackson Browne tickets.

Now he's seeking to recover the service charges as well as punitive charges and attorneys' fees.

The man, Andre Bourgeois, filed the lawsuit last Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for Maryland as an individual and also as a class action. Or, in other words, on behalf of anyone who bought tickets from the Ticketmaster in the past four years and felt gouged.

Though the lawsuit does not ask for a specific amount from Live Nation, the combined damages from those in the class could exceed $5 million, according to the complaint filed by Towson firm Quinn, Gordon & Wolf.

The Daily Record, which first reported the news, points out that Live Nation already settled a similar case in January for $22.3 million.

At the heart of this lawsuit is Bourgeois' allegation that Live Nation and Ticketmaster are not registered as ticket agencies by the city of Baltimore, and therefore, their "exorbitant" service fees are are tantamount to scalping under city law.

Through a spokeswoman, Live Nation had no comment. "We do not comment on pending litigation," Liz Morentin said.

Continue reading "Baltimore man sues Live Nation for "exorbitant" Jackson Browne tickets" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:19 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Music News

Don't Know Tavern lawsuit settled for $115K; in shocker, lawyer grabs most of it

Jason Zink has settled the lawsuit five former employees brought against him two years ago.

Under the settlement, which was filed Tuesday in federal court, Zink agrees to pay his former employees and their attorney $115,000.18. 

The payment is to be made in several installments of several thousand dollars over the next two years. 

Under the settlement, Zink and the former employees also agree to a confidentiality agreement that bars them from discussing the details of the case. The Daily Record first reported the settlement news.

Continue reading "Don't Know Tavern lawsuit settled for $115K; in shocker, lawyer grabs most of it" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:43 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Bars & Clubs

July 5, 2011

African American Heritage Festival in images and video

Talib Kweli, Chuck Brown, Charlie Wilson, and Corey Mitchell (above), performed this weekend at the African American Heritage Festival. More festival pictures by staff photog Kim Haistron can be found here. Below, a video summary of this year's festival.

Continue reading "African American Heritage Festival in images and video" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:43 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Concert Photo Gallery

July 5 - 10 in Baltimore nightlife: Cut Copy, Animal Collective, Def Leppard

Still recovering from America Day, eating too many cheese dogs and drinking too much sangria? You wouldn't be a patriot if you weren't. The big event in local music this week is the Animal Collective show at Merriweather Post Pavilion, even though you shouldn't expect the band to play much of "Merriweather" at the venue. Elsewhere this week: a food truck rally, rock dinosaurs Def Leppard perform at Jiffy Lube Live, Jonny Blaze spins at the Ottobar, and, in what is hopefully not a new trend, a pirate party.

On Tuesday, Providence band Sasquatch and The Sick-a-Billys performs at the Sidebar, 218 E. Lexington St. Also on the bill: Baltimore's Sonic Creeps. No cover listed. 8 p.m.

On Wednesday, Jonny Blaze spins at the weekly Ottobar party Friendzday. 2549 N Howard Street. Free. 9 p.m. Also: Cut Copy performs at Rams Head Live. $30. 8 p.m.

On Thursday, the USS Constellation hosts what is billed as a $35 "pirate party." The ticket gets you a performance by Telesma, an eye patch, a swab bag and some finger food, according to the Facebook event listing.

On Friday, from 5 to 10 p.m. all of Baltimore's food trucks will gather on the lot at 421 Central Avenue. Thank nightlife poobah Damian Bohager for making it happen. Also: the Ottobar hosts its weekly Underground party. Apparently, tickets to Animal Collective, Wiz Khalifa, and Gang Gang Dance will be given away. Free before 10 p.m.

Continue reading "July 5 - 10 in Baltimore nightlife: Cut Copy, Animal Collective, Def Leppard" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:13 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Nightlife Pocket Guide

Virgin Mobile FreeFest line-up, date to be announced next week

The Virgin Mobile Freefest will announce its 2011 line-up and show date on July 11, a spokeswoman said Monday.

In June, the festival had already been confirmed as free and returning to Merriweather Post Pavilion.

It will be the festival's third year in a row at the venue, and its sixth overall. Before Merriweather, the festival was held at Pimlico Race Track.

Earlier this year, readers picked the bands they'd like to see perform. We'll see on Monday who made the cut.

Posted by Erik Maza at 8:06 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival

July 4, 2011

Photo Gallery: R. Kelly in concert at 1st Mariner Arena July 1

R. Kelly, above, performed at 1st Mariner Arena Friday night in what was his first local performance in two years. More photos like this one are at our photo gallery of the show, courtesy of staffer Gene Sweeney Jr.
Posted by Erik Maza at 9:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Last Night's Photo

Baltimore's best places to watch the fireworks

At 9:30 p.m. today, fireworks will explode over the Inner Harbor in the annual Independence Day show.

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, which produces the show, says the best place to see them is at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater or the West Shore Park. 

Below, are some of the suggestions Midnight Sun has culled over the years.

Beyond the fireworks show, today the city has also scheduled several children’s shows, starting at noon at Inner Harbor West Shore Park with a magician and comic, and followed by the Grammy-nominated Baltimore children’s band Milkshake at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Air National Guard Band and the Electric Brigade, the U.S. Naval Academy band, will perform at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater starting at 4 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

The music that accompanies the fireworks show can be heard best at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater and on the harbor’s west shore, according to BOPA.

Continue reading "Baltimore's best places to watch the fireworks" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 8:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Random stuff

July 2, 2011

June 27 - July 2 reviewed: Muggsys's, R. Kelly, African American Heritage Festival

Looking for places to watch the fireworks this weekend? We have a helpful guide from last year. Personally, I'm a fan of Tide Point Waterfront Park. This week was a definite change of pace from last. We released the schedule for the African American Festival, or as it's being called this year, the African American Heritage Festival. The festival is taking place through Sunday. Charlie Wilson talked about his legacy in our interview. If you wanted an interview with another veteran who's also performing this weekend, Chuck Brown talked to us last week. The IFC show that goes all Bruce Parry on Baltimore premiered on Friday. The Black Eyed Peas, Ani DiFranco and Stephen Malkmus all announced area shows. In bar news, Muggsys's served its last beer. Baltimore Taphouse was reviewed. Power Plant Live started offering $1 Miller Lites at its new Friday happy hour, a good deal or not depending on your tolerance for Miller Lite. Beer prices went up by 25 cents at some bars thanks to the new state alcohol tax. We looked for fourth of July drink specials. Nick's Fish House, for instance, has $2 domestics all weekend. If you're still looking for other stuff to do this weekend, you might find some suggestions here. Later today, we'll have pictures from Friday night's R. Kelly concert.
Posted by Erik Maza at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Roundup

June 30, 2011

Charlie Wilson spans the R&B generation gap

On Sunday, Charlie Wilson will headline the African American Festival at M&T Bank Stadium. Al Shipley interviewed Wilson for tomorrow's Live Section.

Here's an excerpt:

Charlie Wilson has been alive for 58 years, and has been singing for nearly all of them — first in his church choir and then in The Gap Band, the pioneering funk group he formed at the age of 14 with his brothers Ronnie and Robert.

That long, remarkable career has reached an unlikely new peak with Wilson's success as a solo artist...[He] credits his continued good fortunate to his instrument.

 "The sound of my voice never went out of style," he said.

The rest of the interview is here

For a full schedule of performances at the festival, click here. Another veteran singer, Chuck Brown, who will also be performing at the festival this weekend, was interviewed in last week's paper. 

Continue reading "Charlie Wilson spans the R&B generation gap" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Live!, Music News

Sam Sessa's Weekend Watch: African American Festival, 4th of July

FindLocal has more weekend events. If you know of good Independence Day specials, add them to the corkboard. Click here for a full schedule of performances at the African American Heritage Festival.
Posted by Erik Maza at 12:14 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Sessa's Weekend Watch

IFC show featuring Baltimoreans, including Dan Deacon, to premiere Friday

"Young, Broke and Beautiful," the IFC travel show that filmed an episode in Baltimore in March, will broadcast that episode Friday.

An IFC spokeswoman said that while host Stuart Schuffman - aka Broke-Ass Stuart - was in town, he went  "to see singer Landis Expandis’ boom box collection, gets a taste of crabs, parties with the locals, listens in on a rhyme fest  with Ms Streamz (sic), visits Mink Stole at the American Visionary Museum, attends a live hypnotherapy performance and moves his body at a live show with Dan Deacon."

In March, Schuffman  taped a semi-secret performance at the Bell Foundry that featured Deacon, Jimmy Joe Roche, Ed Schrader, the Santa Dads, and keyboard-and-trumpet duo The Creepers. They also taped a Double Dagger show.

Continue reading "IFC show featuring Baltimoreans, including Dan Deacon, to premiere Friday" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:04 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music

Review: Baltimore Taphouse, Canton's low-key taps bar

This week's bar review is on Baltimore Taphouse, a low-key Canton bar with 14 rotating drafts and 25 bottled beers.

After spending some time there, I've become a big fan, and will come back soon.

Here's an excerpt from the review:

Baltimore Taphouse in Canton looks just fine when you walk in. It's a long, narrow hall, with plenty of beer on tap and a pool table at the back.

But the first sign that you might be in better hands than you thought is found above the cash register. There, owner John Bates has propped up a dog-eared copy of Michael Jackson's "Great Beer Guide."

Jackson is the elder statesman among beer and whiskey writers — the Julia Child of beer lovers. His place above the bar suggests that the Taphouse serves one master: beer.

The rest of the review is here.  In Canton, there are lots of other beer bars - Mahaffeys's, Hudson Street Stackhouse - which one is your favorite?

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:37 AM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Bars & Clubs

Power Plant Live offering $1 Miller Lites at new Friday night happy hour

For the summer, Power Plant Live has started a happy hour for all its bars – which include Luckie’s Tavern, country-western bar PBR Baltimore (at right, as if you didn't know already) and Angels Rock Bar.

Called “Downtown is Happy,” Cordish Companies spokesman Chris Furst brags it’s intended to be “Baltimore’s biggest office happy hour.”

A venue-wide promotion is a first for Power Plant, which is just putting finishing touches on a multi-million dollar renovation that will also bring a Joe Squared Pizza and a Leinenkugel's Beer Hall to the Inner Harbor.

The happy hour, which had a successful try-out at Cordish Companies’ Kansas City Power & Light District last summer, started June 3 and is scheduled to run in Baltimore  every Friday this summer.

“It did very well [in Kansas City],” Furst said. “With a lot of the renovations, we decided to add it here as well.”

Continue reading "Power Plant Live offering $1 Miller Lites at new Friday night happy hour" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs

June 29, 2011

Thanks to new alcohol tax, expect a 25-cent bump on beer Friday

When the first tax hike on alcohol in a generation takes effect Friday, expect some bars to bump the price of beer by at least 25 cents, not the three cents that the lawmakers asked for. 

That's what Annie Linskey reports in today's paper.

"Bar owners, who typically include the sales tax as part of a beverage's advertised price, don't like dealing in pennies, nickels or dimes. Prices, particularly at the local joints, are set in 25-cent increments.

"If you are tending bar, and it is a Saturday night, you can't make change," explained Andrew Burke, the owner of John Steven Ltd., a bar in Baltimore's Fells Point neighborhood. "The guy at the bar isn't going to count out 86 cents while three more people are waiting for a drink."

 For some bars, like Slainte in Fells Point, it'll be the first time in three years they'll touch prices, and employees aren't happy.

But some drinkers say a 25-cent surcharge is too small to notice. Thoughts?

Continue reading "Thanks to new alcohol tax, expect a 25-cent bump on beer Friday" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:44 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Bars & Clubs

African-American Festival performance schedule released; Estelle on Saturday, Charlie Wilson on Sunday

aframpic.JPGThe African American Festival, which takes place Saturday and Sunday, has released its performance schedule, posted below in full.

The most well known performers this year are Charlie Wilson, Estelle ("American Boy"), Chrisette Michelle, Paula Campbell and Noel Gourdine.

Performances will take place on two different stages, Culture and Music. Admission to the festival is free. 

On Saturday, performances start at noon and end at 10 p.m. while on Sunday they start at noon and end at 9 p.m. On the music stage Saturday, Gourdine will perform at 5 p.m.; Estelle and Michelle will be on sometime between then and 10 p.m., the schedule does not specify.

Wilson will perform at 7:45 p.m. Sunday on the music stage, preceded by Campbell.  We'll have an interview with Wilson later this week.

Organizers have also released a map of its layout at M&T Bank Stadium.

One of the largest of its kind on the East Coast, the festival attracts some 300,000 people every year, according to the city. 

Map and schedule are posted below:

Continue reading "African-American Festival performance schedule released; Estelle on Saturday, Charlie Wilson on Sunday" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:54 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local music

June 28, 2011

Video: Baltimore reservoir rangers bust more swimmers this summer

You might have missed this story in Saturday's paper about increased enforcement at Baltimore's reservoirs, Loch Raven, Liberty and Prettyboy. The rangers have the highest number of members since they came back from a hiatus three years ago, and fines and warnings - $100 for swimming - have been steadily increasing, peaking last year at over 2,500. A reader commented on the story: "If I get a $200 fine for enjoying nature I'll gladly pay it as 'my dues'.  I will cooperate with Rangers and gladly accept my ticket(s). If I drown, that's OK, I lived life to the fullest." Thoughts? Above, a video of the rangers busting some illegal swimmers.
Posted by Erik Maza at 4:14 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Random stuff

Muggsys' owner Danny Young talks about bar's closing; denies Don't Know Tavern rumor

Muggsys's in South Baltimore will close Thursday, after its owners couldn't agree on a new lease with their landlord.

Danny Young, co-owner, said the disagreement with the landlord was amicable. 

"It was the best possible thing that could have happened," he said. 

Young denied a rumor that he or co-owner Brent Putman would take over Don't Know Tavern, which owner Jason Zink is selling. News of Muggsys's passing was first reported at Beer in Baltimore.

Young and Putman opened Muggsy's three and a half years ago as a Federal Hill haven for beer snobs.

But competition followed.

Continue reading "Muggsys' owner Danny Young talks about bar's closing; denies Don't Know Tavern rumor" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:21 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: News

Today's Nightlife Photo: Meek Mill at Dubai June 24

dubaiparty.JPGThe Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill performing at Dubai June 24. @destrukshawn sends in this picture. To see your nightlife and music photos on Midnight Sun, join our flickr pool or e-mail me directly.
Posted by Erik Maza at 1:27 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Last Night's Photo

Concert news: Black Eyed Peas, Stephen Malkmus, Ani DiFranco

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks will perform at Rams Head Live in September, it was announced today.

The Pavement frontman will release new album "Mirror Traffic," produced by Beck of all people, in August. He performs at Rams Head September 29. Tickets, at $20, are on sale already.

Also performing at Rams Head this Fall will be Ani DiFranco. The singer-songwriter will be in Baltimore October 22. Tickets, at $40, are on sale already.

Announced last week: the Black Eyed Peas, who performed in Baltimore last year,  are coming back this summer.

Their performance at Merriweather Post Pavilion July 30 is so far the only announced show of what is likely an upcoming tour. Tickets are on sale now.

Continue reading "Concert news: Black Eyed Peas, Stephen Malkmus, Ani DiFranco" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:16 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News

June 28 - July 3 in nightlife: R. Kelly, Kid Cudi, African American Festival, tape night at Windup

No U2 this week, which is bad news for some of you and awesome news for others. I know, I know, where we'll we get our Desmond Tutu fix this week? It won't be at the R. Kelly show on Friday. The singer comes back to Baltimore for the first time in two years. Elsewhere: Charlie Wilson performs at the African American Festival, Kid Cudi will be at Merriweather, Ledisi appears at Sound Garden, and Club Hippo hosts Deep in the Game. 

On Tuesday, Mason Ross hosts another Wham City comedy night at the Zodiac, 1726 N Charles St. No cover listed. 8 p.m. Also: Matt & Kim perform at a sold-out 9:30 Club. 7 p.m.

On Wednesday,  Cyclops bookstore hosts a bluegrass jam and open mic night. 30 W. North Ave. No cover listed. Starts at 8 p.m.

On Thursday, R&B singer Ledisi, who released a new album last week, performs at Sound Garden,  1616 Thames St. Free. 7 p.m. Also: bring your cassette tapes and jam at the Windup Space's tape night, Compact. 12 W North Ave. Free. 9 p.m. 

On Friday, Schwarz' summer takeover culminates at his - and Mark Brown and Cexman's - monthly Deep in the Game party at Club Hippo, 1 West Eager St. Also spinning: Say Wut and King Tutt. $5. 10 p.m. Also: R. Kelly performs at 1st Mariner Arena. Expect a review afterward. Tickets start at $49.50. 8 p.m.

Continue reading "June 28 - July 3 in nightlife: R. Kelly, Kid Cudi, African American Festival, tape night at Windup" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:41 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Nightlife Pocket Guide

June 25, 2011

June 20 - 24 reviewed: U2, Roots Festival, Barfly's Pub, Rap Round Robin

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake declared June 22 U2 day. I'm sure for some readers it felt more like a month. There was wall-to-wall coverage, including on this blog: There were the fans sharing their favorite memories before the show.  A preview of the four-legged stage. Tour director Craig Evans discussing how the massive stage was set up. Behind-the-scenes video of the stage at M&T. Talk of tailgating. Maryland pols talking about how giddy they were about the show. Concerns about the weather disrupting the show, and what fans were not allowed to bring. Celebrity sightings at the show. But the weather did not mess up what ended up being a technological feat of a concert. Here's our review. At least 75,000 people attended. The attention devoted to the show is part due because the band hadn't played Baltimore in what seems like a decade; their last regional show was two years. Fans demanded their U2 fix. But also, this U2 show might be the last stadium concert we might see for a while. There were other news of course: today is the start of the music side of the Roots Festival. The schedule is here. In an interview, festival headliner Chuck Brown said he has no intention to retire. The Rap Round Robin announced this year's line-up, which includes Height and Rapdragons. Barfly's Pub was reviewed. Stevie Nicks and Erasure both announced local shows. Still wondering what to do this weekend? We've got you covered.  One night you might want to avoid is swimming at one of Baltimore's reservoirs. Rangers are stepping up enforcement, and a fine could be as much as a $1,000.

Posted by Erik Maza at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Roundup

June 24, 2011

Roots Festival headliner Chuck Brown scoffs at retirement

Chuck Brown has been making music now for over 50 years. On Saturday, he'll be one of the headliners at the inaugural Roots Festival. In an interview, Brown said he's not interested in retiring and still has new ideas to try out.

Here's an excerpt from that interview:

"I don't feel like retiring. I don't get any questions as to why I should retire," he said in his blustery baritone. "Music is just something I still want to do. I still enjoy it. The older I get, the more I want to play."

Brown picked up music when he was around 6 or 7, playing piano at his church and singing gospel songs.

"Run Joe," one of the songs in "We Got This," goes back to his youth. "I used to sing it when I was shining shoes," he remembered. "I knew if one day I was a musician, I would sing it."

The rest of the interview is here.  The schedule for Roots Fest is here.

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music

Barfly's Pub, the new Rafters, is reviewed

We've been keeping a close eye on Barfly's Pub since owner Mike Leeds first mentioned it. It's finally open, and reviewed in today's paper.

Here's an excerpt:

"[Rafters] has been remade as a casual neighborhood bar with an ample beer menu and several wine options. Already, it's drawing small crowds, even on the Monday night I went.

Owner Michael Leeds bills it as an "upscale dive bar," but Barfly's still needs some time to develop the personality of a dive and spruce itself up to be "upscale."

This might be a question of time, and since the project is clearly a work of love for Leeds, Barfly's could eventually reach that goal."

The rest of the review is here

Continue reading "Barfly's Pub, the new Rafters, is reviewed" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:14 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs

June 23, 2011

U2 draws 75,000 to M&T Bank Stadium, Live Nation says

Ok, one last U2 post. The official count for Wednesday night's U2 show is 75,000 people, according to Live Nation. The number is 5,000 shy of the crowd stadium officials had predicted earlier this week. But it matches the house record of 75,000 who attended the 1999 HFStival.

A spokeswoman for M&T Bank Stadium confirmed Live Nation's number, but could not confirm where the audience ranked in the venue's history.

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:52 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Music News
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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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