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February 9, 2009

Metro Gallery packed for El Rancho Grande benefit

caleb stine, jenn wasner, andy stack, etc.

Sorry I haven't posted any earlier today, gang. For the past few days, I've had a bad cold, and have felt like my head has been shot full of foam insulation. But I was able to make it to the Metro Gallery's benefit concert for El Rancho Grande this past Saturday night.

Have you been to the Metro Gallery? If not, you definitely need to check it out -- especially now that they have regular bar hours. Owner Sarah M. Williams has done some pretty cool stuff with the space.

The show featured an all-star cast of Baltimore musicians, including Wye Oak, Caleb Stine and the Brakemen, Junestar, Young Sir Jim and many more ...

Each musician would perform one -- maybe two -- songs and then turn it over to the next musician. In the collaborative spirit of El Rancho Grande, all of the musicians hung out on sofas and chairs near the stage, and often performed with each other. In the free spirit of El Rancho Grande, there was no cover charge, but donations were accepted.

The music sounded great, and I'll bet the night raised a pretty penny to help pay El Rancho Grande's bills.

I was able to snag a seat at the new(ish) U-shaped bar, where I sat and watched the show while drinking a bottle of Duvel ($8). I stayed until about 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m., at which point my cold got the best of me and I headed home. But I was glad I went, because it was a great night of music for a good cause.

(Photo by Courtney Block)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:45 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music


Thanks for coming out everyone! Sorry I didn't recognize you Sam (I think I served you the beer) My brain was a bit full of cold medicine as well. Good to see Courtney and Patchen out as well. Take care guys and hope to see you all soon!!

Sorry if I missed this in an earlier post, but why was there a benefit for El Rancho Grande?


Are you alright? Is the lack of a post yesterday due to your head cold morphing into a full blown body meltdown?

I'm sending speedy recovery vibes (and virtual chicken soup) through the 'net. We need you!!!

Last Saturday evening, 206 of El Rancho Grande's compadres gathered at Metro Gallery to celebrate the little coffee house's first birthday and help pay bills.

As I write this, I realize that 14 years ago almost to the night, I got off a train at Pennsylvania Station, just down the street from the gallery, then was dry cleaner, walked outside, and felt the same feeling I had as a kid arriving in a big city for the first time: This was the place to be.

Baltimore is the finest place I've lived. Often passed through on the way to somewhere else, Baltimore abides and makes its own fun. Its artists learn here, practice here, and stay to make their art here, whether the art is for the eye or the ear. Unlike other cities much larger, Baltimore sustains its own and, so sustained and loved, its own remain instead of stepping on Baltimore in a climb to a supposed better place.

The Ranch opened its doors here. Musicians, writers, artists, and those who enjoy their work have made El Rancho their own.

Saturday night the performances were inspired and the collaboration from all fronts a power of example. Wye Oak, Ellen Cherry, Caleb Stine, Andrew Grimm, Timothy Bracken, Stephen Strohmeier, Kathy Fahey, MacGregor Burns & the VCR, Katie Feild, and Young Sir Jim, raffler Ellyn Stokes, door wrangler Alice Nixon, and baker extraordinaire Julia Oat-Judge raised the collective experience to new levels of care and participation. Three buskers set up outside the Charles steered passersby toward the event and brought over the $20 they collected from their playing their songs.

Sarah Williams of Metro is a gem and an asset to us all.

Thanks to everyone there in person and there in spirit.

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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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