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October 31, 2008

Tour diary: We are Seahorses lead singer knifed at Baltimore show

we are seahorsesGet ready. This is the most wild, hilarious story you will ever read on Midnight Sun.

Well, maybe the J-Roddy Walston samurai sword story was weirder. But this one is pretty freaking far out there.

I had heard something about the lead singer of the New Jersey-based band We Are Seahorses (pictured) getting knifed at a recent Baltimore gig.

His name is Darren Mabee, but everybody calls him Dale. He describes himself as a "300-pound monster singer guy."

Since there is no way I can do this story justice, I'm going to let Dale describe it in his own words ...

we are seahorsesMe: What happened?
 
Dale: Everyone was wearing Halloween costumes, so we decided our Halloween costume would be Hitler releasing a comeback rap album. We went to the Goodwill store and we got a bunch of clothes: Really baggy jeans, some Allen Iverson jerseys, hoodies and stuff.

We put those on, and we painted on Hitler mustaches. Then we cut swastika bling out of cardboard. So we were wearing these big swastika chains. We came out and we started our song -- we made this really cheesy punk song with a Knight Rider sample; it was really cheesy -- and we start in, and this guy that looks like he's possessed by the devil -- he kind of looked like Charlie Manson -- his eyes were all cloudy, he was small but kind of intimidating and he came over and stood where we were playing ...

I could tell he didn't get the joke or didn't appreciate it. I was like, 'This guy is going to punch me. What is he going to do?'  So I start humping him. I started grinding on him.

The next thing I know, I feel a blade in my side. He was trying to kill me! He cut me a little bit. It was just a little bit. I didn't need stitches or anything. There was blood and stuff. As he was doing it, I pushed the knife away and backed up.

Nobody realized he had a knife. I was like, 'That guy has a knife! Can somebody please pull him out of there before somebody gets hurt?' ... I'm obviously trying to offend people a little bit -- trying to make you laugh. So they took this guy out and he came back maybe 20 minutes later and, finally, I stopped and I grabbed somebody and was like, 'That kid has a knife. He cut me right here. Can you please remove him?' He told people afterward he was trying to cut my swastika off, and I guess he fumbled the knife.

dale!Me: How old was this guy?

Mabee: I have no idea. ... He thought we were actually Hitler releasing a comeback rap album. He didn't realize it was a joke. He didn't understand that. He thought Hitler was actually reincarnated as a Southern rapper. It was pretty intense. That was probably the closest I've come to death. I had a guy throw a microwave at me once, and I've had people throw punches, but never knife me. That was a new one.

Me: Did you learn anything from your near-death experience?

Mabee: I just learned the Holocaust really did happen, and Hitler was a bad person and we should keep it that way. ... It was fun. We got to dance and share some laughs and learn a little bit. It was unexpected, unwanted and kind of little bit necessary.

Me: How bad was the cut?

Mabee: It was just a scratch. He cut my shirt more. I was backing up as he was doing it. But he was going for it. I'm a big guy, and he stabbed me in my fat, so it probably wouldn't have done much. It was a little sore the next day. I got a whole bunch of glitter and paint in it, but I'm fine. I'm going to live another day.

(These are photos of Dale from previous gigs -- not from this particular show. These photos are from the band's MySpace site.) 

Editor's note: To be clear, Dale did not seek medical attention or go to a hospital. The police were not called, and the venue declined to confirm his story.  

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:59 AM | | Comments (25)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music, Tour diaries
        

Midnight Sun's presidential endorsement

After much deliberation, calculation and libation, we at Midnight Sun have reached a unanimous decision on one of our nation's most important issues -- the presidential election.

As you well know, this election will shape our country for years to come. It is a crucial time for America, and there are tough decisions to be made. On that note, we are proud to announce Midnight Sun's presidential endorsement ... 

captain morganCaptain Morgan!

From the start, the captain's slogan -- "Party Without the Politics!" -- struck a chord with us. We knew he had something special to offer America.

As this race has unfolded, we came to see the captain as a deliciously smooth and spicy candidate who could lead this country in the right direction.

We like everything the captain stands for, from the two-day work week (and five-day weekend) to "making sure the party is hot hot hot" to drinking responsibly ("captain's orders").

Midnight Sun also admires the captain's rustic fashion sensibility and swashbuckling approach to politics.

Still undecided?

The following video should help you make up your mind.

(Photo from Captain Morgan's Flickr page

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:15 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Random stuff
        

October 30, 2008

The Ottobar's gig request form

Landing a gig at a local club isn't always easy. Sometimes you have to know the owner, or one of the more popular bands that plays there. Or maybe you email the club or snail mail them your press kit.

It can be a confusing and really frustrating process. That's why I really like what The Ottobar (2549 N. Howard St.) is doing ...

 

They put a Gig Request Form on their web site. Bands can fill in the form with their hometown, genre, MySpace site, contact, etc. and the folks at the venue will consider them for a show.

Sounds like a great idea. I wish other clubs around town were doing this.

The only thing that made me scratch my head about the form was "Average age of band members." Hmm. Does that reflect the band's appeal? It's coolness factor? I mean, there are aging rock bands around town whose average age has to be 40s or 50s. Does that make them less gig-worthy?

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:54 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local music
        

Need some Halloween nightlife suggestions?

jack-o-lanternsSince Halloween falls on a Friday this year (more specifically, tomorrow) MS commenter Patchen wanted some ideas for what do to.

Well, Patchen (can I call you Patchenzo?), it just so happens that I wrote a big story about what to do tomorrow night. For the record, it wasn't all me -- fellow Sun scribes Chris Kaltenbach and Mary McCauley helped out.

Here is a link Here is the right link to the piece, which came out in today's paper.

Also, since I'm probably not going to see all of you this weekend, I wanna know what everybody is dressing up as for Halloween.

And don't give me that "It's a surprise" nonsense. Whatchagonnabe?

(AP photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:22 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

The review: Backstretch Saloon

backstretch saloonHere is a link to my review of the Backstretch Saloon, which came out in today's paper.

As far as neighborhood dive bars go, the Backstretch ranks pretty high in my opinion.

Any of you been there? If so, it's probably because you live there.

The first time I went, a woman was talking about how she had to get surgery the next day.

The bartender told her she probably shouldn't be drinking. But she said she'd never be able to sleep without a few cold ones.  

(Photo by me) 


Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:57 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

October 29, 2008

10 spooky movies

ooooo scary pumpkinMaybe the whole go-out-and-party-until-your-face-melts thing isn't your idea of an awesome Halloween.
 
Maybe you'd rather stay inside and watch spooky movies. In that case, the friendly folks over at Gutter Magazine have you covered.
 
They gathered 10 of the scariest flicks ever made. This link will take you to their list.
 
Just be warned: Their site does have some curse words. But the Gutter crowd makes no apologies for that.
 
(Stock photo of a scary pumpkin) 
Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:47 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Random stuff
        

All you ever wanted to know about karaoke

derrick mason sings karaokeEarlier this morning, MS reader Michelle Davis sent me the heads up about a site she edits.

It's called Karaoke Traveler. Here is a link to the site, which has an exhausting list of bars and clubs with karaoke in Maryland and several other states.

But Karaoke Traveler doesn't stop there. It also has videos of celebrities singing karaoke and karaoke news updates from around the world.

I knew some people took karaoke seriously. But after reading this site? Wow.

(Photo of Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason singing "As Time Goes By" at Oak Crest Retirement Community by Sun photographer Jed Kirschbaum)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:17 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Zero tolerance parking

park and rideAs a nightlife writer and Federal Hill resident, I'm going to weigh in on this zero tolerance parking proposal. I don't want to, but I will.

There's already been an earnest discussion going on under the Jeff the Drunk post, and I want to add my two cents.

But first, a brief synopsis: In most Federal Hill parking zones, you can park on most non-metered streets in Federal Hill for two hours without a permit between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., give or take. Before or after those hours, parking is free.

But on baseball and football game days, if you don't have a permit and you park in one of these spots, you get ticketed and towed.

Got it? OK. Now, here's what they want to do ...

parking meterWith the new proposal, they want to make it so you can park for two hours without a permit between the hours of 7 am. and 6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and similar hours on Sundays. Before or after those hours, you're going to need a permit.

If you live in a house with a garage or parking pad, under these new restrictions, you have to use it. You get one less street parking permit for each parking pad/garage spot you have.

I'm not entirely sure of the time table, but if community organizers get enough signatures, we could see these changes go into effect next year.

There is also a good deal of free parking in Federal Hill -- by Digital Harbor High School and along Fort Avenue -- which won't be affected by these changes.

Now there is no question -- between all the bar patrons coming in on Friday and Saturday nights and all the residents coming home from work, parking is a mess in Federal Hill -- especially on weekend nights.

There is only one garage in Federal Hill -- the West Street Garage. On Friday and Saturday nights, it fills to capacity. But most other nights, it sits largely empty. People want to add another level on the garage or get the state to build a new one, but the garage's business isn't consistent enough over the course of the week to justify expanding it. Sigh.

I've heard rumors about another smaller garage near the West Street garage which could be opened to the public. But right now, they are nothing more than rumors.

The community organizers are also trying to speed up the process to have the old meters replaced with the new EZ Park meters, which could add one or two extra spaces to each block in the neighborhood's bar/business district.  

parking ticketAs you can imagine, the proposed restrictions have some bar owners up in arms. Jason Zink, who owns No Idea and Don't Know, recently put them both up for sale because of this. He thinks the new restrictions will cripple his business.

I don't think the new restrictions will make or break any South Baltimore bars. But I do think they will substantially hurt business. If people drive into Federal Hill on a Friday night and the garage is full and they can't park on the side streets without getting ticketed, some of them will get angry and stop coming.

On the flip side, some residents have to park five and six blocks from their house on a Friday night because there are no spots anywhere nearby. That can be incredibly frustrating.

There has to be some middle ground here. Maybe the community organizers can slightly scale back the zones so there are one or two free spots on each block. Maybe they can encourage someone from the private sector to build another garage nearby. I'm no expert on this, but there has to be something we can do so that everybody benefits a little.

(Sun photos) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:18 AM | | Comments (89)
        

October 28, 2008

Two Baltimore bands among top performers at CMJ

Now that music lovers in and out of New York City is shaking off the hangover from the CMJ Music Marathon, it's interesting to read the recaps.

Two Baltimore bands -- Ponytail and Wye Oak -- were both in renown music blog Stereogum's Top 8 From CMJ List, at numbers eight and seven, respectively. Baltimore, represent! Thanks to MS reader Mike for the tip.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:27 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

Homer's kidnapper is ...

I had hoped it would never come to this.

I had hoped Homer's kidnapper, Bad Guyz, would return my beloved magnetic Simpsons toy. But it was not to be. I gave them an extra week to bring him back, but they did not budge.

So now, I will reveal the captor. Homer was kidnapped by ...

Consuming Interests columnist Dan Thanh Dang.

DAN THANH WHY DID YOU STEAL HOMER? WHYYYYYYYY!?!?! I'M TRAPPED IN A GLASS CAGE OF EMOTION!!!! WE WORKED TOGETHER. WE SHARED LAUGHS. AND NOW YOU BETRAY ME!!??!?! WWWWWWWHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYY!?!?!?

Wheeze, cough, sputter, tissue, tears, drama.

I need a moment to collect myself.

OK.

Dan Thanh, I am giving you 24 hours to return Homer and apologize for your transgressions. Then, Midnight Sun attacks in a whirlwind of teeth and nails.

(Sun photo by Glenn Fawcett) 

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:42 PM | | Comments (16)
Categories: The Homer Saga
        

Vote and get a free beer

todd conner'sNext week, Todd Conner's (700 S. Broadway) is rewarding voters with one free beer or soda.

If you show up after voting next Tuesday and can prove you cast your ballot (usually they give you a sticker or something), you get a free glass of suds or soft drink.

I like this idea. Wonder if anybody else around town is running the same kind of special. Anybody know?

(Photo by Monica Lopossay/Sun photographer)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:01 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Ingrid Michaelson stumbles

ingrid michaelson

Sun writer Lindsey Citron latched onto Ingrid Michaelson's music.

But Michaelson's new album left a bad taste in Citron's mouth. I think Citron makes some pretty good points. You be the judge. Here are her thoughts:

Does Ingrid Michaelson want to be just OK?

The New York City-based singer/songwriter is probably best known for her singles: "The Way I Am" provided catchy walking music on an Old Navy fall sweater commercial, "Little Romance" debuted on the Sex and the City movie soundtrack, and "Keep Breathing" was featured on the tear-jerking season finale of Grey’s Anatomy.

Recently, Ingrid has been trying to transition from a nothing-to-lose indie singer to a more serious headlining performer ...

ingrid michaelsonWith lyrics as raw and childlike as "Let’s get rich and buy our parents’ homes in the South of France," it's clear she’s got the talent for it. Her songs straddle the fence between being relatable to the point of comfort and giddily absurd.

So the question is, can Ingrid be an occasional one-hit-wonder as well as a serious artist? After hearing her latest album, Be OK, I don't think so.

The single, "Be OK," hit iTunes on Sept. 2, and the album followed on Oct. 14. The final product felt more like a rush job than a completed project. Just over half of the 11 tracks are new or unreleased, and the other five are a random assortment of covers and acoustic versions of her older songs (like "The Way I Am").

"The Way I Am" was compelling when it debuted, and even the second time on the Old Navy jingle. But the fact that she’s recycling her old hits on a new album makes me skeptical.

Even more disappointingly, the track "Be OK" was one of the weaker songs on the album. It lacks her vivid imagery, and the lyrics are nothing new.

You can’t build a song around a line, and you can’t force an album out of a single. Until Ingrid can come to terms with her place in the industry, she will invariably be stuck in commercial-and-soundtrack-limbo.

(Photos by Deborah Lopez) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (8)
        

October 27, 2008

Pretty sweet deal at Rams Head on Stage

rams head on stage specialSpotted this ad today on the Annapolis restaurant and live music club's site and wanted to pass it along.

Not bad, not bad.

In case you don't know already, here is a link to the club's site.

They've got some pretty good shows coming up soon too -- Patty Smyth, WAR, Tower of Power.

The address is 33 West St. in Annapolis. The number is 410-268-4545.

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:44 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

What Charles Plaza needs

charles plazaI walked by Charles Plaza the other day, and I got to thinking -- this place needs a cafe/wine bar type place.

The first thing that came to mind was Kiss Cafe, which just closed. But I think Kiss Cafe's closing had more to do with management than the space itself. Who knows?

Either way, I think a cafe with a liquor license -- similar to One World Cafe (100 W. University Parkway) -- would be a good fit there.

You already have a classic Irish Pub right down the street (Mick O'Shea's) and plenty of expensive restaurants up and down the Charles Street Corridor.

And there are plenty of young professionals living in the neighboring high-rise apartments -- more than enough to fuel this place. 

Thoughts?

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:17 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Whatchadothisweekend?

arabian nightsAs I mentioned earlier, I was out of town. So I don't have much to report.

However, I do have this photo of the new Arabian Nights on Light Street. And you know what they say about Arabian nights.

So what was everybody up to this weekend? 

(Photo courtesy of MS commenter a) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:02 AM | | Comments (3)
        

October 25, 2008

Baltimore Club music strikes again!

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:13 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

October 24, 2008

My take on music Then vs. Now

All right, all right, all right! Glad to see the lively discussion going on about this topic.

In the past several weeks, I've put much thought into this. And I have decided that it is unfair to compare music then from now. When we think of music from the '60s and '70s, the really memorable bands are the first to come to mind. Right now, we won't know what the music of '90s and '00s will be remembered for until several decades from now.

But that's a cop-out. 

If I really had to compare, here is what I would say ...

radioheadFirst off, the Beatles are off limits. The Beatles are too good for lists or comparisons. I very seriously doubt another band will have the same impact on popular music in my lifetime.

Time warps people's perceptions. Everybody loves to look back with this sense of false nostalgia. 

One thing worth noting about the Beatles -- Rubber Soul and each of the subsequent albums sold far fewer copies than their previous, pop-focused records.

Oh, and Kind of Blue, the Miles Davis album regarded as one of the best and most influential jazz records in the history of the genre, took more than 30 years to reach gold status (more than 500,000 copies sold), according to the book Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece.

Back in the day, we had Eric Clapton, a blues guitarist who found mainstream success in the '70s with rock music. Yes, Cream were a hugely influential psychedelic blues rock trio. But they did not make Clapton a household name. He will be remembered as one of the best blues rock guitarists of his generation. Here is video proof.

Today, we have John Mayer, a blues guitarist who found mainstream success in the '00s with pop music. Yes, Mayer's live blues trio has the potential to be influential. But we won't know the extent of that until some years from now. Either way, there's no denying -- he will be remembered as one of the best guitarists of his generation. Here is video proof.

john mayerBack in the day, we had Pink Floyd, an innovative, experimental rock group who found mainstream success in the '70s. They sold out large concert venues, and their concerts had remarkable light shows and special effects. Here is video proof.

Today, we have Radiohead, an innovative, experimental rock group who found mainstream success in the '90s. They sell out large concert venues, and their concerts have remarkable light shows and special effects. Here is video proof.

Obviously, I can't offer comparisons like this for every genre, because that would take weeks and probably bore you to death. But these were the first two that came to mind.

And for those of you whining about my exclusion of the '80s -- that was a weird time for music. It gets its own blog post. Just not now.

So no, it's not fair to compare today's music with the music from past decades. Apples and oranges. But there were people doing remarkable things with music then, and there are people doing remarkable things with music now.

(AP photos)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:24 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Watchadointhisweekend?

I'm going to be out of town for most of it. What about you? Talk to me.
Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:37 AM | | Comments (11)
        

Is Kiss Cafe closed?

kiss cafeI'm hearing reports that Kiss Cafe in the Can Company (2400 Boston St.) has closed. Has anyone heard more about this?

I tried calling but the phone kept ringing. That's not a good sign.

Thanks to Mykel for the tip. 

(Photo by Elizabeth Malby/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (36)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

October 23, 2008

Joe the Plumber cocktail

joe the plumber cocktailSorry gang, but I'm not going to be able to blog about music Then vs. Now until tomorrow. I've been waylaid with more important stories (can you believe it? Pesky stories.)

In the meantime, I want to turn you on to Joe the Plumber Cocktail (pictured).

Joe The Plumber has been name-checked by top politicians. He is all over the news.

But as many of you know, you haven't really made it until you have a drink named after you. And here is Joe's drink, called the Everyman's Plumb:

3 ounces red plum juice
1.5 ounces Early Times Kentucky Whisky (they're the people who came up with the drink)
a squeeze of lime

According to a press release they sent out, Early Times is known as the "Working Man's Reward." Hee hee.

This might become my official Election Day Drink.

(Photo courtesy of Early Times) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:38 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

The review: Bourbon Street

bourbon streetThe new Bourbon Street (316 Guilford Ave.) looks great. But it doesn't look like it's drawing a big enough crowd. I went there last Friday, and it was less than a third full at 11 p.m. Here is a link to the review.

I think live music will help bring more people. Problem with that is you normally book bigger bands several months in advance. So it could be a while before they get up and rolling with regular live music.

And I'm not sure what kind of advertising they're doing, but more might help.

Also, I have started putting newsworthy blog posts in the nightlife column. We've done studies, and very few people read both the print  and online editions. I don't want the dead-tree readers to feel left out.

(Photo from Bourbon Street's MySpace site) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:40 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Help me out here

I need to talk to someone who goes out to clubs like Iguana Cantina and Power Plant Live and Paradox. It's for a story I'm working on. Call me as soon as possible at 410.332.6689. Thanks, gang.
Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:58 AM | | Comments (2)
        

I'm not allowed in The Place Lounge

the place loungeI've driven and walked by The Place Lounge (on the 300 block of West Franklin Street) for a couple years now. And while I've always wanted to go in and review it, I never did.

After walking by yesterday and seeing this sign, I know I can't. I'm not old enough. (In case the print is too small for you to see, the sign reads, "Age requirement 30 and older only!").

Not sure how many Baltimore clubs have an age requirement, but I know it's not many. In fact, I don't know if I've ever seen this before.

Oh well. Maybe I'll be able to get to The Place in five or six years -- if it's still around then.

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:11 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Punny

what's missing?Snapped this photo yesterday at a liquor store in Charles Plaza.

I couldn't help but chuckle.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:31 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Random stuff
        

October 22, 2008

Was music better back in the day?

roger daltryLately, Pops and I have been having some deep conversations about music Then vs. Now.

By Then I mean the music of the '60s and '70s. By Now, I mean the music of the 90s and 00s. 

I'm going to weigh in on this tomorrow. But I'd like to know what you think first.

Was music better then? Why?

Is it even fair to compare?

(Vintage stock photo of Roger Daltry, lead singer of The Who) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:44 PM | | Comments (28)
Categories: Random stuff
        

The elegant, hilarious Ruut

Aaaaaand we're back. Sorry for the delay -- the Internet was broken all morning. Sigh.

The first time I saw this video, I almost turned it off. It's from Baltimore-based singer/songwriter Ruut, who actually just became one of 12 finalists in the New York Songwriter Circle Contest.

This video, for the song "Nothing is Right," looks pretty generic at first. But wait until you get to the 1:12 mark. That's when things start to get funny. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:13 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music
        

Calling all audio geeks

Since I do some radio work and have recorded music in the past, I have a passing interest in breakthroughs in recording technology.

But this video fascinated me. It sounds like a 1990s infomercial -- complete with the crazy Swedish expert (maybe he's Finnish, I'm just guessing here). Above all else, the subject matter is pretty cool to me. Don't worry though -- Midnight Sun hasn't gone Geek Squad

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:25 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Random stuff
        

October 21, 2008

Approaching the deadline for returning Homer

Bad Guyz are pushing it. They know they only have until Thursday to return Homer. Then all heck breaks loose. If I were Bad Guyz, I wouldn't want all heck to break loose. So bring him back tomorrow, evil captors. Or face the consequences.
Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:20 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: The Homer Saga
        

Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials tear up The 8x10

lil' ed and the blues imperialsOh man! Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials lit up the stage last night at The 8x10.

A Chicago native, Lil' Ed calls himself the "King of the Slide," which is exaggerating a little bit. But Lil' Ed can sure make a guitar scream. And he loves every minute of it.

Sporting his trademark fez, Ed cracked big smiles after almost every line he sang or rif he played. He was having a ball, and you couldn't help but have a ball too.

Ed and the tight, punchy Blues Imperials tore through shuffles and ground out dirty Chicago blues.

At one point, Ed and rhythm guitarist Michael Garrett walked out into the crowd in the middle of a song.

Ed walked on tip toes (he's a blues ballerina!), bent over backwards and went down on his knees -- straight dealing on guitar all the while ...

And the audience ate it all right up. I love a good blues-loving crowd, because they know how to boogie. You go see an indie rock show and most of the time people just stand there. That almost never happens at a blues show. Unless I'm mistaken, last night's concert was sponsored by the Baltimore Blues Society, and about 50-75 people were there.

I got to the club just in time to catch the beginning of Ed's second set. He started the show at 8:30 p.m. and was still going strong when I left after 11 p.m.

How can a musician play so hard for so long on a Monday night? In a video on Ed's MySpace site, he explains:

"I am a blues musician and I like to get wild. And if you wanna get wild with me, come to my shows. Let's have a good time."

He's not lying. And the next time he's in town, you better take him up on that invitation.
Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:58 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music, Random stuff
        

Dueling hookah bars

zeeba loungeZeeba Lounge (916 Light St., pictured) has been the city's fanciest hookah lounge for a long time. It has those small cushion seats and rugs on the floor and walls.

But you pay for the atmosphere -- hookahs and food generally cost more there than at other city hookah bars.

If you wanted to trade the snazzy decor for cheaper, better hookahs, you could go across the street to Three Kings of Egypt (1027 Light St.). With its metal chairs, open kitchen and sparse decorations, Three Kings was the unpretentious Zeeba. 

But now, new owners have taken over Three Kings and renamed it Arabian Nights.* I peeked inside last weekend and saw black cushy sofas and tables and a black scrim dividing the kitchen from the lounge.

I guess the whole unassuming hookah bar strategy didn't work out for Three Kings. Now, a new approach is in order. Has anyone been to it yet? 

*I'm 90 percent sure it's called Arabian Nights, but I have to double-check on the name.

(Photo by Kenneth K. Lam/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:07 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

The best Britney Spears cover song?

"... Baby One More Time" may have been her breakthrough hit, but I don't know if Britney Spears will ever be able to top "Toxic."

From the slinky strings to the twangy guitar work, "Toxic" is three and a half minutes of pure pop seduction. And yes, I know, Britney doesn't write her own stuff. But her vocals fit that song like a glove.

When I heard Israeli-French soul singer and accomplished pianist Yael Naim regularly covers "Toxic," I was a little skeptical. Then I watched it and was transfixed. Naim's vocals are a little over the top and piercing at times. But I have to say -- after watching this, I have a new appreciation for the song (and Naim). And I bet you'll either love it or hate it. See for yourself ...

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:23 AM | | Comments (8)
        

October 20, 2008

Lindsay Lohan spotted at Mosaic

lindsay lohan, samantha ronsonMovie star Lindsay Lohan (pictured, on right) dropped by Mosaic in Power Plant Live Friday night to see her girlfriend, DJ Samantha Ronson, spin.

Lohan and Ronson arrived around 11:30 p.m. Lohan hunkered down in a booth during Ronson's set, event promoter Heidi Klotzman said. Klotzman's, HeidnSeek Entertainment, partnered with Mosaic for the show. 

"It was like a stampede," Klotzman said. "All the girls were going crazy and taking pictures." 

(AP photo)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:28 PM | | Comments (85)
Categories: Celebrity sightings
        

Midnight Sun's iTunes playlist?

ipodHey gang, what do you all think of me starting up a Midnight Sun iTunes download list? I'm not too familiar with iTunes (I don't even have an iPod) but I believe this is possible.

And I might be wrong, but I feel like you all don't really want to hunt down good local music. You'd rather me just put up a link that says, hey check this stuff out and buy it if you want.

The way I understand it, an iTunes list of some sort might be the best way to do it. But this could take a while. My computer died, my cell phone is half-dead (I have to take all my calls on speaker phone). 

(AP photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:26 PM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Local music
        

Drunk, stupid and irresponsible

broken bottleCoworker and South Baltimore neighbor Peter Hermann had some problems with disorderly bar crawlers this past weekend.

According to Hermann, a few young adults tipped over flower pots and broke bottles on the street.

Sigh.

"Is it too much to ask them to be responsible?" Peter wants to know. Nope. This kind of stupid, sloppy behavior gives us all a bad name, and can lead to misdirected anger against bar owners.

But usually, it's not the bars' faults -- it's the irresponsible drinkers' fault ...

I called 311 on neighbors a couple weeks ago after they chucked a couple glass bottles off their roof deck onto the street. Thankfully, the cops came quick -- dumb shenanigans like that could kill someone.

So is there an easy fix? Nope. A swift and tough police response might make these people think twice before doing it again. But that's no guarantee. Unfortunately, binge drinking and dumb behavior are part of the culture in this country. And until that changes, there will be no long-term solution.

(Sun archive photo)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:57 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Whatchadothisweekend?

bourbon street baltimoreHelllloooo and good morning!

We should have a lot of happy campers out there considering how the Ravens made snicker-snack of the Dolphins yesterday.

How was everyone's weekend? I had a rather relaxing one myself. Friday night some friends and I went to the new Bourbon Street super club on Guilford Avenue (pictured).

I really liked the space -- true to its history, the building still has a warehouse feel. But the renovations (wood floor tiles, etc.) added plenty of warmth.

On Friday nights, Bourbon Street runs a pretty crazy special -- women get in for free and drink for free.
You'd think tons of people would take advantage of that.

But at 11 p.m., the club was less than a third full.

After checking out Bourbon Street, we went to the newly reopened Metropolitan Coffeehouse and Wine Bar.

That's right -- the Metro is back in business on South Charles Street ...

After being closed for several months due to an electrical fire, the Metro has the same welcoming vibe. The dark wood shelves behind the bar and tables and chairs in the first floor dining room looked new.

The espresso martinis (one of the Metro's selling points) are as tasty as ever, but come in significantly smaller portions. Stupid recession.

What were all of y'all up to? (Did you like "all of ya'll? It rhymes!)

(Photo courtesy of Bourbon Street Baltimore) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:00 AM | | Comments (4)
        

Exciting developments in the Homer Saga

homer simpsonWell gang, I have some good news and some bad news.

First, the bad news. As you can see, Bad Guyz have brutally mutilated Homer. They are using scare tactics, and these scare tactics will not work.

As you may well know, we have begun an extensive covert operation to find and rescue our beloved Homer.

And that operation has born fruit. We now hold the smoking gun.

We, Midnight Sun, know who kidnapped and tortured Homer.

Allow me to explain ...

the letterWhen Bad Guyz sent their most recent email, Midnight Sun's crack team of Interweb Investigators quickly went to work, trying to trace the source.

And we have the source. And it shocked us to the core.

This source was someone we trusted. Someone who was close to us from the beginning. And this person betrayed that trust.

But we at Midnight Sun are not vindictive by nature. We have not tortured our hostages. Nor do we plan to.

Instead, we would like to make a proposal. Bad Guyz, you return Homer by Thursday Oct. 23 and we will return our hostages. If not, we will disclose your true identity. And may God have mercy on your soul.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:50 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: The Homer Saga
        

October 19, 2008

Happy Sunday

stained glassI live right by a Catholic Church.

And since today is Sunday, I thought I would share an old poem about drinking and church:

But if at the Church they would give us some ale,
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale,
We'd sing and we'd pray all the live-long day,
And never once wish from the Church to stray.

(Photo by Amy Davis/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:57 PM | | Comments (2)
        

October 18, 2008

Steve Hefter & Jason Dove live at the Talking Head

jason doveThursday night, two indie rock groups with the word "and" in their name took the stage at the Talking Head Club (inside Sonar, 407 E. Saratoga St.): Steve Hefter and Friends and Friends of Friends and Jason Dove and Vacation Face.

It was Hefter's last gig in Baltimore before he splits for several months in Canada. I caught (and enjoyed) the last handful of songs. Hefter's music can be sparse and ambling at times, but it can really grab your attention.

Hefter closed his set with what is perhaps his most poignant song, "Diamond Ring." Complete with whistling synthesizer riffs and a sharp snare drum, it was a wistful way to say goodbye (for now) to Charm City. Bye bye, Steve. We'll miss ya.

Next up was Jason Dove (pictured) and his new group, Vacation Face.  

Vacation Face includes a hodge-podge of local indie rock musicians: Mike Ward (from Egg Babies Orchestra) on keys, Steve Colmus on drums (from J-Roddy Walston and the Business) and Hefter on guitar and vocals.

Dove is a semi-goofy, totally unpretentious guy who likes poking fun at himself (check out his hilarious Jason Dove Diaries series). But on stage, Dove got down to business pretty quick. He played a fair share of new material from an album he's finishing right now.

Dove didn't introduce most of the songs, but I especially liked the one he dedicated to Neil. It ended with Dove and Hefter layering their guitars (a la "Blue Sky" by the Allman Brothers) and playing a tight melody in two-part harmony. It was a tight set of indie rock. Now I'm itching to hear the new album.

(Sun archive photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:35 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Concert reviews
        

October 17, 2008

Baltimore, represent!

human host

Suddenly, it's cool to be a Baltimore musician.

The Baltimore based experimental group Human Host was recently on tour. And in some cities, people came to their gigs just because they were from Baltimore.

Not because they'd heard Human Host's music. Just because Human Host is from Baltimore, and Baltimore's experimental music scene is exploding right now.

One dude came up to band member Mike Apichella and said "I heard if you go to Baltimore, your childhood never ends." ...

Apichella was a little stunned, but thought about it for a minute and kinda understood what the dude meant.

"Somebody that didn't know anything about Baltimore and made all their judgments about Baltimore from being exposed to Wham City would think Baltimore must be this day care center on acid -- the entire city," Apichella said.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) it is not.

(Photo by Scott Russell)
Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:31 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Zodiac Performance Space

zodiacZodiac's restaurant days are done. But the space at 1726 N. Charles St. might have a future as a live music venue.

I hear the Wham City kids are going to start hosting shows there on Tuesdays (I'm still waiting for the official confirmation from Dan Deacon).

A legitimate music space like this could be huge for Wham City. They've been searching for something like this for years.

I also talked to photographer/promoter Jim Lucio, who plans on starting a dance party there on the first and third Thursday of every month. It's called Trans-Am.

When he told me the name, I was like, "Oh, like the car?" and he said, "Yes, and also like transsexuals ..." 

As it turns out, there aren't many -- if any -- clubs or dance nights that cater specifically to transsexuals, and Lucio wants to tap into that market. 

"I just thought it was the perfect idea," Lucio said. "I don't have to worry about imitators popping up."

Though Lucio plans to play mostly '70s disco music, he doesn't want Trans-Am to be a raging disco party. The space isn't big enough for that, he said, and he wants people to be able to mingle.

"It's a little bit of an experiment," he said.

The first Trans-Am will be in November. I'll post more details when Lucio figures them out.

Oh, and for now, the tentative name for the place is Zodiac Performance Space. It's certifiably snooze-worthy. I suggested something a little edgier, like "Z." Anything would be better than Zodiac Performance Space.

(Photo by Monica Lopossay/Sun photographer)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:33 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

A thoroughly awkward encounter ...

I was walking down Calvert Street yesterday afternoon when a dude in a suit stopped, pointed at me and said "Sam Sessa!"

At first, I thought he knew me. But I didn't recognize him.

I was like, "Hi?"

Knowing I was confused, the dude said, "I read your articles. Good stuff, man!"

Then he walked away. 

Does this make me a celebrity? 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:49 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Whatchadointhisweekend?

Gooooood morning! Everybody ready for the weekend?

I'm headed out for a nightlife column tonight. My destination is top secret, of course. But I'll tell you how it went Monday morning.

So, gang, what are you up to this weekend?

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:25 AM | | Comments (14)
        

October 16, 2008

Turning back time with Led Zeppelin

plant and pageIf I had to pick a favorite band of all time, it would be Led Zeppelin. Early on, their music was deeply rooted in blues and early rock and roll. After a few years, the Zep pushed hard rock into uncharted territory.

In 1972 (after four years of endless screaming) singer Robert Plant pretty much blew out his voice. And a few years later, guitarist Jimmy Page's serious drug addiction began to make his guitar-playing sticky and less innovative. The Zep broke up in 1980 after drummer John Bonham died.

This point in time is pretty much where my steamy hot love of Led Zeppelin begins to cool. I dig on a couple of Plant's solo tracks, and of course, the stellar new collaboration with Alison Krauss.

Now, it pains me to watch either Plant and Page perform (they are pictured here in a 1995 stock photo), because they just don't have the chops they once did. I've seen pretty much every post-1980 video on YouTube and none have impressed me.

But then I saw the following video of "Since I've Been Loving You" from Glastonbury 1995. My jaw dropped ...

I don't know how. And thinking about it makes my brain hurt.

But somehow, for this one performance, Plant wails like it's 1970 again and Page expertly shreds his way through the whole song.

It is, in a word, awesome. Listen to Plant hit the super high notes at 3:29, 5:14 and 6:47. My spine gets all tingly. Goodness. Relish it, gang.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:47 AM | | Comments (19)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Help Ryan out

red brick stationHey gang. Ryan, an old buddy of mine from back in the day, sent me this email:

I’m actually emailing you to see if you had any recommendations for bars in the White Marsh area.

I’m planning my brother’s bachelor party and trying to find a good bar atmosphere (without the strippers, haha) ... thanks for any help you can give!

Not being too too familiar with the White Marsh area, I can only offer a few recommendations ...

I endorse Buffalo Wild Wings (8200 Perry Hall Blvd.) for lip-smackin' bar food, Della Rose's Tavern (8153 Honeygo Boulevard) for atmosphere and Red Brick Station (8149 Honeygo Blvd., pictured) for beer.

The plus side? They're all in walking distance of each other.

The downside? They're all in or around a mall, which can be kind of lame. But we are talking about the 'burbs, and that's where a good number of bars are in strip malls in the 'burbs.

So can you add to my list?

Ryan needs our help.

(Archive photo of Red Brick Station)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:18 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

The review: Tiburzi's

the windup spaceSorry for only posting twice yesterday. I visited my alma mater as a guest speaker for a journalism class, which muddled up my day.

I was expecting the students (with their never-ending enthusiasm and youthful optimism) to make me feel ancient. By they didn't, which is always good. 

Here is a link to my review of the newly re-imagined Tiburzi's (900 S. Kenwood Ave).

As you may recall, Tiburzi's recently transformed from an Italian cafe and grill to a sports bar. What did I think of it? "Meh." Good service though.

Also in today's dead-tree ...

a short piece about Ignite Baltimore, which comes to the Windup Space (12 W. North Ave., pictured) tonight.

More than 15 local speakers will each give five-minute presentations as part of the free event. The topics range from "100 Mistakes I Will Try Not to Make Again" to "20 Favorite Baltimore Stories."

If free mini-speeches aren't enough motivation, there will also be free pizza from Joe Squared. Now we're talking.

(Sun archive photo)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:53 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

October 15, 2008

Mum's has rules

mum'sAnd there are consequences if you disobey them.

Not sure what the consequences are. But there are consequences. 

If you can't read rule No. 6, it says "No Talking to Imaginary People."

And for the uninitiated, Mum's is at 1132 S. Hanover St.

(Photo courtesy of Kristin Bachran and Amy Wielunski)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:00 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Crazy for Shwayze

shwayzeMy good friend Evan Haga has a confession to make: He has an unnatural obsession with Shwayze.

Haven't heard of Shwayze? You must be crazy!

Sorry, I had to go there. Let me hit you with some knowledge: Shwayze is a California-based hip-hop/acoustic rock duo.

Rapper Aaron Smith (relatively unknown before the group) is Shwayze. He is joined by producer and Hollywood playboy Cisco Adler. They were featured on the MTV reality TV series Buzzin.

Before Shwayze, Adler was perhaps best known for being the frontman of Whitestarr, the son of famed producer Lou Adler and a dude who dates models. Actress Mischa Barton broke up with him after he "leaked" a nude photo of himself on the Internet.

Back to Evan.

Evan paid $20 to see Shwayze perform at Sante Fe Cafe in College Park this past weekend. You may ask yourself, "Why would a 25-year-old go to a college town and pay $20 to see a semi-successful acoustic rap duo?" His answer? "They make me giggle."

Here is Evan's take on the show ... 

shwayzeHow was the Shwayze gig? I'd put it alongside Springsteen, the Stones, Parliament, the Grateful Dead and Sonny Rollins as the most transcendent live show in human history. Kidding. 

It was fun. Considering how inept they were on their reality show (and how they never seemed to perform more than two songs in a set), my expectations were about what they’d be if Sarah Palin were to compete on Jeopardy!

Editor's note: Midnight Sun endorses neither Sarah Palin nor Jeopardy.

But Shwayze and Adler pretty much delivered. There was some twisted sense of professionalism about the pair, even if their job description is to recite moronic rhymes in front of a DJ named "Skeet Skeet" and shout expletives at drunk college kids.

And after looking at Shwayze’s eyes, I’m surprised he could stand up much less remember his rhymes—especially the really heady ones like "She said, ‘Boy, you crazy’/Nah, I’m Shwayze."

I’m being overly cynical about a group I actually paid 20 bucks to see. Critics destroyed their record, and they probably should have, but it interests me if only because it’s the most morally damaged music marketed to teenage girls since hair metal (also, not surprisingly, a Los Angeles invention).

shwayzeThe pot references are one thing, but one tune, "Polaroid," has the line "At a party on the hill/I popped a pill/Threw back a shot/And started to chill." Nice, guys. This isn’t a cautionary tale, but a song about how efficient it would be to photograph the young ladies you womanize because remembering their names is way too hard.

That sort of rhetoric is all over the album: The hit "Buzzin’," a song that at least feels romantic, is Shwayze’s "Ramblin’ Man" confession: "I move on like the Greyhound bus/I go town to town/And I prey on [a slang term for sexually promiscuous women that sort of rhymes with "bus"]."

At least he’s honest, and I think the inebriated party girls who got onstage to grind appreciated that candor.      

Adler, who at age 30 has developed into a totally awesome 19-year-old, can write a hook (almost literally, because they all sound the same). And he opens songs with their choruses a la Phil Spector, so there’s some production savvy there too.

Adler also produced "Corona and Lime," a hit whose chorus lyrics have nothing to do with the words in the verses. Very postmodern. Of course, when that song’s three-note intro kicked in and the sold-out crowd screamed and swilled more beer (try and guess what kind), the lack of continuity didn’t seem to be a problem.

(AP photos) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:31 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Random stuff
        

October 14, 2008

Inside Deep Flow Studios

amotionWhen it comes to Baltimore hip-hop, nobody reps it like Amotion (pictured).

The 27-year-old founded Deep Flow Studios, which includes a recording studio, online radio station, cable access TV show and event promotions.

She's a pioneer in the city's hip-hop community. Here's a link to my profile of her, which ran in today's paper.

"I'm doing really well," she said. "In the scheme of other 27-year-olds who went to college, I don't know about that. But they're probably not having as much fun as I'm having." 

Ace Sun photographer Monica Lopossay shot some seriously awesome photos, too.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:13 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local music
        

Do you have a pulse?

It's a valid question. After staring at a computer screen all day, sometimes I wonder if I have one myself. But every once in a while, a groove like this one comes along and shakes up my day. So I thought I'd share it with you: "Houses in Motion" by the Talking Heads, live in Rome, 1980. OH SNAP!

I like it better than the version from Stop Making Sense. Yeah, I said it.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:01 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Anyone for a U-beer?

U-beerDon't know if you've noticed or not, but the official Midnight Sun masthead (the logo near the top of the screen) has changed.

Midnight Sun's signature drink is no longer a Moon-tini (a martini garnished with a slice of moon). It is now a U-beer (a beer served in a large letter U).

Several surveys and focus groups all rigorously endorsed the new logo. The general sense was that "Sam Sessa is more of a beer guy than a cocktail guy."

Midnight Sun's online staff subsequently sprung into action. And we are all better for it. Effective immediately, Midnight Sun will officially endorse any bar which serves U-beers.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:57 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Random stuff
        

October 13, 2008

Inside Tiburzi's Sports Bar

tiburzi'sIt sounds odd -- an Italian Grill and Cafe morphing into a sports bar.

But for Tiburzi's, the transformation wasn't that much of a stretch. 

Way back in 2003, when Sun food Empress Elizabeth Large reviewed the Canton corner eatery, she made this observation:

"Tiburzi's feels more like a neighborhood bar with decent food than cafe at the moment." 

And this observation: 

"Both the downstairs and upstairs dining rooms are really bars with tables. They have potential, but I could do without the game machines and TV in at least one of them."

Well, at least they didn't have to change much about the interior when they flipped it from a restaurant to a sports bar.

But the question is, does Canton really need another sports bar? ...

 

Tiburzi's is only a few blocks from Canton Square, which already has plenty of sports bars. And from what I saw, Tiburzi's Sports Bar doesn't really distance itself from those bars. I can't see Tiburzi's becoming a destination joint.

Sure, the service was friendly and the prices reasonable, but nothing really stood out about the place. The place was clean but decidedly generic.

That means it's up to neighborhood regulars to keep the place afloat. I hope, for Tiburzi's sake, they can.

(Sun archive photo)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:48 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Where do these kids come from?

american apparelI often wonder how the American Apparel in Federal Hill (pictured) stays in business.

This clothing store seems to cater mostly to hipsters and fashionistas. It's a place where people spend a lot of money on clothes that make them look like they haven't spent a lot of money on their clothes.

But Federal Hill is a neighborhood of post-college kids, married couples with small children, natives and retirees. If you rounded up all the hipsters in Federal Hill, they would barely fill Dangerously Delicious Pies on Light Street.

I rarely see anybody in the place except the people who work there. But every once in a while, I see a customer or two walking up the sidewalk to the store...

No, wait, I mean, bicycling up the sidewalk. Or maybe driving one of these up the street.

And every time, I'm like, 'Where do these kids come from?' If they live in Federal Hill, I never see them. Do they come from the county? From Hampden? Charles Village?

And how can they spend enough money to keep the store in business? Rent on Light Street can't be cheap. This is, I think, the question of the century. 

(Sun archive photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:46 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Whatchadothisweekend?

baltimore marathonBefore I started writing this post, I went back and checked the comments from Whatchadointhisweekend?, just to see if anybody planned to run the Baltimore Marathon.

The closest we got was Allan's girlfriend. Rock on, Midnight Sunners. I'm glad to know everyone's in shape ...

Yesterday afternoon I hosted a free live taping of Baltimore Unsigned at The 8x10 with Among Wolves. It was a great session -- one of our most well-attended yet. I'm really looking forward to their new album. Oh, and I watched about 20 minutes of the Ravens getting jackknifed by the Colts before turning it off. Too much for me to bear.

All right. Your turn to share.

(Photo by Kim Hairston/Sun photographer)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:11 AM | | Comments (11)
        

October 11, 2008

Tay Roll

Just like a car wreck on the side of the road, you have to stop and look:
Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:50 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Random stuff
        

October 10, 2008

And the winner is ...

AK! You are correct. Not only does Rafter's (620 E. Fort Ave.) have Formstone on the outside, the inside walls are covered in it. AK, email your real name and address to sam.sessa@baltsun.com and I'll ship you a prize.

Also, I'm trying to work on a post about parking permits today. More to come on that front.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:24 PM | | Comments (3)
        

Pop quiz

I'm in a mood to test your mind. Name me a Baltimore bar with Formstone inside and out.

No Googling. Winner gets a prize from my desk. Go!

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:38 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Pun of the Day

stock market barHeard they're having a bad week.

Zink!

And yes, this bar does exist.

It's on South Hanover Street. 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:52 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

Whatchadointhisweekend?

Good morning sleepyheads!

Got some big plans tonight? It's been a busy week for me, and I'm trying to lay low this weekend. Anybody going to see Girl Talk tomorrow at Sonar? Or Atmosphere tonight at Rams Head Live?

I saw Atmosphere a few years ago at the 9:30 Club. I wore sandals, expecting a pretty laid back hip-hop show. But in the middle of the show, the DJ suddenly started spinning Rage Against the Machine.

Mayhem ensued, and I lost part of a toenail. Bad stuff, man. But that's beside the point. Tell me about your weekend.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:08 AM | | Comments (11)
        

October 9, 2008

The review: Luckie's Tavern

Luckie's TavernHere's a link to my Official Baltimore Sun review of the new Luckie's Tavern (pictured) in Power Plant Live.

It's less cluttered than the Lodge Bar, with tons of bright red and a touch of Las Vegas. I'm glad they decided to keep live music going there. I was worried the stage would be replaced with a DJ booth, but they just moved the stage to the far right corner of the bar.

As previously noted, beer is expensive, but I thought the service was sharp. My advice? If you're in Power Plant, drop by. It's worth a visit.

Also in today's paper is my piece on Girl Talk. Gregg Gillis said some pretty hilarious stuff. Also also -- a short profile of Baltimore Club producer King Tutt.

(Photo by Doug Kapustin/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:51 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

So (un)necessary

beer pong rackMS reader Lisa tipped me off about this site, where you can purchase all kinds of random drinking game doo-dads, such as the Beer Pong Game Rack With Freezable Center (pictured).

With this one-of-a-kind device, you can not only guarantee a perfect rack -- ALL THE TIME -- but you fill it in water and put it in the freezer before playing so it keeps your beer icy cold!

All this for a mere $21.95, plus shipping and handling.

That's right folks, the double awesome, one-of-a-kind Beer Pong Game Rack could be yours for the price of one 30-pack of Bud Ice.

Personally, I'd rather drink the Bud Ice. But hey -- that's just one man's opinion. I'm sure there are plenty of college kids with money to burn on useless beer pong memorabilia much like this here. Otherwise, this site wouldn't be in existence.

I did, however, find one beer pong accessory I liked ...

inflatable floating beer pong tableThe Inflatable Floating Pool Beer Pong Table.

Oh yeah.

Now this, I'm diggin'. But $59.95? That's just out of my range. 

But maybe I'm coming from the wrong perspective. Maybe I should look at it like I'm still in college -- when I had roommates.

See, $59.95 split four ways ain't that bad. That's what, like $15 a person? Yeah, that's more like it. 

But what college house also has a pool? Hmmm ...

Maybe I'm thinking about this a little too hard. Either way, I'm diggin' it.

(Photos from kegworks.com)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:04 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Drink-ology
        

Team Sessa vs. 98 Rock

team sessa!Team Sessa represent!

This weekend, MS commenter Jason Zink takes on the dastardly duo of Mickey and Amelia (my arch nemesis) in fantasy football.

And to mark the occaision, Zink has temporarily adopted this awesome logo.

Victory is certain.

(Image courtesy of Mr. Zink)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:34 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Random stuff
        

October 8, 2008

Midnight Sun strikes back

midnight sun covert opsEnough talk. It's time to act.

All this time, I've been worried about raising the money to get Homer back and when to drop off the money.

Well, we're not paying the ransom money for Homer, my magnetic desk figurine. I'm not willing to pass that burden onto the tax-paying commenters on Midnight Sun. 

Instead, I decided it was time to strike back. So this morning, we dispatched a counter-terrorist strike team (pictured) to root out the evil-doers.

We captured key members of the terrorist organization that kidnapped Homer and are currently holding them for questioning. Want proof we mean business? Here's a photo ...

 

terrorist suspects? As you can see, we have the suspects securely bound and kept in a top-secret  questioning center.

Midnight Sun does not negotiate with terrorists. We will not pay the ransom. We will get Homer back on our own terms.

And the world will be a safer place.

(Top photo by Kenneth K. Lam/Sun photographer. Bottom photo by Midnight Sun)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:50 PM | | Comments (11)
Categories: The Homer Saga
        

The truth about meatheads and me

Got an email this morning from MD reader P.J. about today's meathead post. He writes:

"I understand that you might not like certain groups of people and there is nothing I can say to change your opinions but I would appreciate if you could better characterize those that you choose not to be around.

... While there are muscular people with tight shirts that like to fight in the Federal Hill & Canton bars they are far more the exception to the rule.

I am willing to accept preppy/yuppie/collegiate/immature/douche bag/etc. for people that wear collared shirts, chinos/jeans & baseball caps but don't use a term that does not paint an accurate picture of the bar patrons that bother you."

P.J., I think you raise a really good point here, and I want to address it ... 

For the record, I do not hate meatheads. Or hipsters. Or yuppies. Or natives. Or anybody else for that matter. I don't think I'm better than them. Heck, I have fallen into any one of these categories at a certain point in my life.

I'm a spinach farmer-turned-hippie-turned-hipster-turned-yuppie-turned-God knows what now.

However, I do enjoy poking fun at all of these stereotypes. And yes, there are times when I don't like being around certain crowds. But I'm not anti any of these groups.

And quite frankly, I don't think it's right to generalize or stereotype if you're being mean about it. I try really hard to keep Midnight Sun hate-free. I just enjoy making fun of the stereotypes. 

(AP photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:35 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

My anti-meathead kick

greene turtleFor a while I was on an anti-meathead tirade. Remember the Fab Five Friday Worst Meathead Bars?

Well, it started years before that.  

I plugged the word "meathead" and my name into the Sun's archive and it turns out, I've dropped "meathead" into eight stories. Not bad.

I think this is the best meathead reference in my three years of writing nightlife columns. It's from a review of the Greene Turtle in Columbia ... 

When we left about 11:30 p.m., there still weren't many more people inside than when we got there. I was shocked. Even in Columbia, the Greene Turtle should be a beacon for young drinkers everywhere, I thought. They should line up outside, guzzle inside until they get obnoxious, hit on each other, stumble into each other, accidentally spill drinks on each other and not apologize. And then, when the night is over, spill out onto the street, fire up a Parliament Light and head home.

Then I realized how thankful I should be for a quiet night at any Greene Turtle.

If that night was any indication, the mobs of meatheads who frequent the Greene Turtles in Ocean City and Fells Point haven't found the Columbia branch yet. Maybe they won't. Wouldn't that be nice?

Hee hee.

(Photo by Algerina Perna/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

October 7, 2008

The Sneaky Leaker

Brace yourselves. I have a post prepared that is sure to shock and appall you. In the interests of public discretion, I will give you a chance to stop reading now, if you wish. You can click away and never come back to this post.

Or, you can read on, as I tell you about one of the dirtiest, most devious devices man has ever known ... 

The Sneaky Leaker. I'm not sure if you can still buy one, because the company's Web site, sneakyleaker.com, seems to be down. Maybe that's for the best.

From what I understand, the Sneaky Leaker is a contraption which allows a man to (sneakily) relieve himself without visiting a restroom. I won't get into the details, but it involves a tube which runs down inside the pant leg. Get it? Yeah. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

And no, I've never used it. That is terribly, horribly unacceptable. But I know people who would use it. And I have friends who know people who use it -- namely at Ravens games. That way they can sit in their stadium seats and drink beer all afternoon without getting up. 

I hope this is news to all of you. But something tells me some of you may have heard of it -- maybe even tried it. And, for the same reason people stare at a car accident, I have to know. Well? Have you?

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:41 PM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Drink-ology
        

Two beers at two really different bars

luckie's tavern

A few days ago, I had two beers at two radically different bars, and I wanna tell ya about it.

First I met a couple friends at (hehe) Friends in Fells Point. Some scooters were parked outside, and the usual troupe of punks/indie kids/rockers/skaters/preps were hanging out inside.  

A Yuengling cost $3.50 but the bartender took his time. The food took its sweet time, too.

Then I headed to the new Luckie's Tavern (pictured) in Power Plant Live, where I ordered a Samuel Adams Oktoberfest. It cost $4.75 and came quick. Also in the bar was the usual troupe of young 20- and 30-something professionals.

Both bars annoyed me, but each for different reasons. I wasn't big on the service at Friends or the steep beer prices at Luckie's. It's obvious you're paying for the decor and service at Luckie's. Sometimes, I'm willing to make that trade.

(Photo by Doug Kapustin/Sun Photographer)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:11 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Live in studio: Fiction 20 Down

My guest on tonight's episode of Baltimore Unsigned is Fiction 20 Down. Here, they perform "Gossip and Gunplay."
Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:42 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

Is this true?

crushed beer canMidnight Sun Sheriff Carla forwarded me the following statement:

If you had purchased $1,000 of Delta Air Lines stock one year ago, you would have $49 left. With Enron, you would have had $16.50 left of the original $1,000. With WorldCom, you would have had less than $5 left. But if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all of the beer, then turned in the cans for an aluminum recycling REFUND, you would have $214 cash.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle. It's called the 401-Keg Plan. A recent study found the average American walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found Americans drink, on the average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon.

This sounds too good to be true. But if it is true, I'm sending a memo to Midnight Sun's senior account executive. This could be a huge new revenue stream!

(Sun archive photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

October 6, 2008

Michael Phelps drops by Morton's

michael phelpsLocal aquatic rock star (and pro-fist pumper) Michael Phelps took a break from his day of celebrations to dine at Morton's The Steakhouse, according to Midnight Sun's tippity top secret source there.

After the Fort McHenry fireworks ended (around 8:30ish), Phelps, his momma and the rest of the crew (about 20 people) rolled into a private boardroom at Morton's and chowed down.

Phelps had an iceberg salad, double filet, green beans, mashed potatoes creamed spinach and shared a dessert trio.

OM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM

(AP photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:36 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Celebrity sightings
        

98ROCK vs. Sam Sessa?

Mickey CucchiellaI hear Mickey (pictured) & Amelia of 98ROCK's morning show were talking some serious smack on Joel Madden and me this morning.

I say "I hear" because I listen to a much cooler radio station. There's a station like 98ROCK in every city. There's only one WTMD. And 98ROCK plays Nickelback. Enough said.

Now, I understand 98ROCK helped promote Madden's gig at Angels before he canceled. I'll bet that's why they're peeved.

Anyway, I would have gladly gone on the show and defended myself, but they didn't give me the chance ...

ameliaWhen I got to work, I checked my phone messages and got one from someone who works on the show around 9:05.

He was like, "If you get this in the next five minutes, call me back."

Come on guys -- plan ahead. Or was it just a slow morning?

And Mickey, after all of your gigs I've plugged, you wanna get personal?

This isn't the first time 98ROCK has taken pot shots at me either. 

Back in 2005, 98ROCK sponsored a kegs and eggs event with comedian Stephen Lynch. I arranged an interview with Lynch through his publicist, and met up with Lynch after the event.

In the article, I mentioned how a couple dozen people had shown up at for "an early bird radio performance."
 
The old morning show producer threw a hissy fit because I didn't name-check the station, and they spent all morning giving out my e-mail address and phone number and telling people to call me and let me know what they thought of me.

Of course, no one called or e-mailed. Yaaaaaaaaawn.

So Mickey/Amelia/other dude (Spiegel?), if you want to take the gloves off, bring it. But next time I need more than five minutes' notice.

(Photo of Mickey Cucchiella by Chiaki Kawajiri/Sun photographer and photo of Amelia by Elizabeth Malby/Sun photographer)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:06 PM | | Comments (33)
Categories: Random stuff
        

The Joel Madden saga rages on

beretta janeSorry if you're getting sick of the whole Joel Madden vs. Angels Rock Bar drama at this point. Can't say I blame you.

If you're new to the episode, read this and this and this.

But this little issue just refuses to die. Local rockers Beretta Jane (pictured), who were scheduled to perform at Angels, are backing out of the gig. This press release will go out today:

"We love Baltimore and we love Baltimore's music scene.  In the same token, we will vehemently refuse to support any entity that we feel is a negative influence on it.  We also don't wish to involve ourselves in any further activities related to this incident.  To do so would only put more money in the already padded pockets of an out-of-touch company that could seemingly care less about giving anything to our scene."

(Photo by Kristina DeSantis) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:58 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Local music
        

Whatchadothisweekend?

guinnessGooooooood morning!

How is everyone feeling this glorious Monday morning? Peachy keen?

Well then, let me share with you my weekend exploits. Has anyone been to Fado Irish Pub (808 7th St. NW) in Washington? We stopped by there on Friday night for a couple beers.

Fado has a generic, McIrish pub feel (and it tries really hard), but I couldn't complain about the service.

Washington may be more expensive than Baltimore ($6 for a Guinness) but I'd gladly pay a buck extra for better service.

Anybody go to Fort McHenry's Welcome-Home-Michael Phelps party? Or the Fells Point Fun Festival? I was there for a few hours yesterday volunteering in the beer garden. Like I said, it was tough, but someone had to do it.

(AP photo of someone pouring Guinness. At Fado, they have Guinness on tap. But this was the best photo I could find in a pinch.)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:24 AM | | Comments (8)
        

October 4, 2008

The Oranges Band: 'Ottobar After Hours'

The Oranges Band were recently in for a taping on Baltimore Unsigned. This video is of a song called "Ottobar After Hours" from their new album Eight Dollars.
 
It's not a very exciting vid, because we had to stick front man Roman Kuebler out in the main room (really loud drums and bass were in the next room over). We're still a fairly fly-by-night operation. But it sounds pretty good, I think. Enjoy!

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:58 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

October 3, 2008

Middle Distance Runner kicks out the jams

middle distance runnerI've been listening to this song "Momma" by the Washington-based band Middle Distance Runner a lot lately.

(That link takes you to their MySpace site, where you can listen to the tune.)

I like the big fat bass line that comes in after about a minute.

And I like the little breakdown where the singer says: 

I dream in
fire engine red
and I woke up
to the sound
of a fireman
above my bed 

Good stuff, man. Real good.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:58 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Are ladies nights unfair?

oooo martini martiniThe ladies over at the Consuming Interests blog have a few questions for us, gang.

Don't know if you've heard or not, but a New York judge ruled that bars in that state can run Ladies Night Specials if they want to. Well that's a relief.

Here are the questions Consuming Interests has for us: What do you think? Does anyone out there --- guys or gals --- patronize Ladies Nights? Do these specials serve a purpose, or are they unfair? 

I'll tell ya what I think. And this may come as a surprise to some of you ... 

But I think bars can offer whatever specials they want. And if the men think they're being treated unfairly on Ladies Night, they can go somewhere else. Nobody's tying them to a chair and forcing regular-priced drinks down their throats.

I think it's ludicrous this issue even had to go to court. That in itself scares me. We need a court to tell us this?

Has the whole world gone crazy?* Am I the only one who gives a $#@ about the rules?

(Photo courtesy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram) 

*Careful now -- this hilarious re-enactment of the classic scene has plenty of profanity.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:06 AM | | Comments (26)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Whatchadointhisweekend?

Sunday, I'm volunteering to help run the beer truck at the Fells Point Fun Festival. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.

If you're in the area, stop by and say hi. I always like meeting Midnight Sunners. I actually ran into a couple of them at last night's 1st Thursday concert.

As Sarah Palin would say, whatcha doin' this weekend? And that, my dears, is the first and last time I mention politics on Midnight Sun.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:23 AM | | Comments (7)
        

October 2, 2008

At least they know their audience

 grown folks bar
Saw this awesomely named spot on South Hanover Street in Brooklyn.

Don't know if I'm allowed in. I mean, how grown do you have to be?

And how folksy?

Do they have one of those height-measuring sticks like the ones you see in front of carnival rides?

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:01 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Sons of #$#@ playing Baltimore

Every once in a while, bands with R-rated names ask me to do a story on them. Maybe they're coming through or maybe they've just released a new album.

I'm talking about bands with names like Tiger #$%$#@ or Star-$#@$#@ers or the Devil's own !@$#@!#. Not only does a name like that guarantee they won't ever get a mention in this newspaper, it's just immature. Putting a cuss word in your band name hasn't been cool for at least 20 years.

Editor's note: Was it ever cool? 

But what reminds me of all of this is, a little while back, we wanted to run a blurb about Steve Hefter and Friends and Friends of Friends. I asked Steve for a photo. This is what he emailed me ...

steve hefter and friendsGUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNSGUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNSGUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNSGUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNSGUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNSGUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNSGUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNSGUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNSGUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNSGUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNSGUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNSGUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS GUNS 

Hee hee. I mean, I can't help but chuckle. But there's no way in tarnation this would ever make it into print. I told Steve this, and I think he may have actually cried a little. But hey, I don't make the rules.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:24 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff
        

Bar hopping pre-dawn

I'm not talking about 1 a.m. pre-dawn. I'm talking about 6 a.m. pre-dawn. Last week Jmgiordano and I hit up Hogan's Alley (1501 Covington St.) and the Locust Point Tavern (1515 E. Clement St.) at 6 a.m. I don't think we'll ever do it again. But we did it. And that's what matters.

Here is a link to the story.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:14 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

We have a winner!

chest o' goldLadies and gentlemen, the poster of Midnight Sun's 6,000th comment was Sue Hopper.

Here is the winning comment:

Hi Sam. Did you try taking your computer to Eli The Computer Guy?

I will find his phone number for you and post it.

Congrats, Sue. Email me at sam.sessa@baltsun.com to claim your prize (one of the random tidbits from my desk).

And thanks again for playing, everyone.

(Stock photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Random stuff
        

October 1, 2008

The verdict on Joel Madden & Angels Rock Bar

judge sam's gavelAll right. We've heard from all sides of this strange little story. Now Judge Sam is going to reach a verdict on the issue.

In his email, Joel Madden sounds grounded and sincere, and I believe him when he writes that he would never "just cancel on anyone for no reason."

I think it's great he would agree to DJ at Angels Rock Bar's one-year anniversary party at a fraction of his usual fee.

And as Jake Miller of Power Plant Live states, Madden signed a contract that let him back out of the gig up to 14 days beforehand. Madden abided by the rules of said contract.

Mr. Miller and his associates acted in poor taste when they printed those T-shirts. And as for this being an example of celebrities getting away "every day with awful things the common man would not," Mr. Miller, you signed a contract with a cancellation clause. End of story.

Henceforth, I am imposing a six-month moratorium on the editorial mentioning of Angels Rock Bar on this blog. 

Case dismissed.

(AP photo)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 5:17 PM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Celebrity sightings, Local music
        

Jill Snyder to compete on Bravo's 'Top Chef: New York'

jill snyder's handy workThe rumors are true: Red Maple executive chef Jill Snyder is one of 17 contestants on Bravo's Top Chef: New York.

Now in its fifth season, the show pits chefs in cook-offs and various other culinary competitions. The winner gets a grand prize of $100,000 to help open a restaurant.

Snyder, a 28-year-old native of Latrobe, Penn., went to Baltimore International College and studied under Spike Gjerde (of Woodberry Kitchen renown). According to a bio Bravo provided, Snyder eventually wants to run a small resort and give people rides on her hot air balloon. Yes, a hot air balloon.

I spoke with Snyder a couple years ago for an article about pairing cocktails with swanky snacks. Snyder told me how the tapas at Red Maple perfectly fit the bill.

"You don't want something that you have to cut with a fork and a knife," Snyder said. "Generally, we serve everything with chopsticks so you can just kind of take a bite, maybe leave it for a second and take another bite, and it's done."

(Photo by Monica Lopossay/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:47 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Celebrity sightings
        

Angels Rock Bar weighs in on Joel Madden drama

angels rock bar baltimore

Well, we already read Joel Madden's account of the Angels Rock Bar drama.

Here is Angels Rock Bar's side of the story, as told by Jake Miller, a vice president at Power Plant Live:

Sam,

You sent Reed Cordish an email about tee shirts and Angels Rock Bar. Sorry he didn’t get back to you quickly enough.  

Joel didn't just cancel; he did it on the club’s 1 year anniversary with less than 15 days notice, after the club had committed thousands in advertising and resources. His contract had an “out” up to 14 days before the show. He literally cancelled 3 hours before that period. We were not even given a reason. At that point, we had already promoted his appearance for 5 weeks prior. He did damage that could not be “repaired” in 14 days ...

Employees, who care deeply about the club, were more than upset. I think a more thoughtful article would focus on why celebrities feel they have carte blanche to go back on their word.  They get away every day with awful things that the common man would not. They walk all over people.

I look forward to your response,

Jake

(Photo from Angels Rock Bar's MySpace site

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:02 PM | | Comments (19)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Celebrity sightings, Local music
        

Joel Madden responds

joel maddenGood Charlotte lead singer Joel Madden wants to shed some light on all the drama surrounding his canceled appearance at Angels Rock Bar.

Here is an e-mail he sent me late last night:

Sam,

Very interesting article. I usually take these things with a grain of salt, and would never even get into something like this. Being from Maryland though, I really do care what my hometown thinks of me. No one can dispute my love for this state, and this town. I have an oriole tattooed behind my ear.

Anyways, I had no idea any of this was going on until I read your article, and I was pretty surprised. I booked the gig at Rock bar as a favor for a friend of mine. I agreed to do it at whatever price they could afford, which was only about a fourth of what I get paid for gigs, and I was actually excited to come hang out with all my friends at home, have a home cooked meal at my moms house, and relax. 

As the gig got closer, some unexpected things came up, and some things that I just felt were more important than going home. ...

I had to stay up in New York for meetings I couldn’t miss for a record we are about to put out, I’m working on a new record at the same time as preparing for a trip to Africa with UNICEF in oct, along with just trying to make some time for my family.

I realize its a bummer for a hometown club to feel dissed by me, but I sincerely mean it when I say  I would never just cancel on anyone for no good reason. I have responsibilities as a father, to my family, and to my band. I know im blessed to be able to DJ, it is a very fun way to make a living, but i’m a father first and I’m in Good Charlotte first.

Anyways the story that I’ve heard,  im sure that club had to be joking around. It sounds too silly to be true.

I’ll always love Maryland, its a part of who I am. Just cant always expect Maryland to love me back.
Go O’s.

Joel Madden

(AP photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:04 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Celebrity sightings, Local music
        

Mixed feelings on the Baltimore Music Conference

baltimore music conferenceA lot of good ideas and enthusiasm went into this year's Baltimore Music Conference. Dozens of seminars and shows were scheduled, including all kinds of bands.

And there was plenty of press coverage prior to the conference. But as a participant, I got the feeling it was poorly managed.

I was supposed to speak on a panel at the Hilton, but when I arrived, I was told the seminar was being moved at the last minute to Rash Field due to payment issues. Sounds like not enough people showed up for the organizers to pay the bills.

At least one band had a horrible experience with the conference. Check out these comments left by a member of the Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad. 

BMC founder Lisa Suit was pleased with the four-day conference, which she estimates 5,000 people attended.

"I'm very pleased with much of the event," she wrote in an e-mail. "I do want to concentrate on the seminar attendance more for next year as I think people didn't quite understand the wealth of experience we provided to help them with their careers."

But I'm not the only local journalist with a bad taste in my mouth ...

City Paper music writer Al Shipley was also supposed to participate in the conference attended the conference and witnessed the wasteland that was Rash Field:

"[T]he whole scene was just too depressing to spend much more time surveying. I still have no doubt that there could be a genuinely great annual music conference in Baltimore, and applaud anyone who wants to make one happen, but it's a shame that the only people interested in trying don't seem to know what the hell they're doing."

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Local music
        
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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 erik.maza@baltsun.com. 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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