June 7, 2014
Baltimore, Mean Jeans, murder, punk, The Golden West Cafe, the shirks
Golden West Cafe – Baltimore, MD
June 8th, 2012
I came to this show for two reasons, first, The Firecrackers. And second, to check out some of the bands playing Insub Fest that I hadn’t seen before. It turned out to be a great night. With a whole lot of new great bands.
The Shirks – I like The Shirks and I’ve seen them a few times, they’ve been great every time but tonight they were just off. They weren’t bad, they sounded fun but they just didn’t seem to have that energy they normally do.
Murder – The band was admittedly a little drunk, but that’s ok because that appears to just be party fuel for this band. They always bring it live and this might have been the best Murder set I’ve seen.
Hollywood – I missed the Hollywood set.
Mean Jeans – Second time I’ve seen Mean Jeans and they totally destroyed it. It was fun as hell, I thought the floor was going to break through there were so many people jumping around. There was a few minutes of down time with a broken guitar but that didn’t stop the fun. Pretty early in the set I was covered in beer and sweat and it stayed that way the rest of the night. It was one of the most fun times I’ve had in a while.
June 1, 2014
Baltimore, Blank, murder, Office of Future Plans, punk, The Ottobar
The Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
Saturday, April 28, 2012
BLANK – 20th Anniversary Show!!!
Baltimore has a lot of great bands going today, but for me the foundation that Baltimore had great bands started with Cross My Heart, and Blank, two great bands featuring Ryan Shelkett. These were the first bands that really opened my eyes to the fact that Baltimore has great local talent. Many bands quickly followed but I think things would be very different for me if I hadn’t started listening to stuff like this when I did. I never got to see Blank, they were a little before my show going time so I was really excited at this second chance on the band’s 20th anniversary.
Office of Future Plans - I started to get worried when I saw the band setting up with a cello, and honestly I wasn’t really into the first song. But it didn’t take long for this band to win me over; the second song was great along with almost all of the rest of their set. I hope to be seeing more of these guys.
Murder – I’ve seen Murder a couple times now, they’re locals with a real hard edge and they pull it off really well. This band has so much power when they play you don’t have a choice except to enjoy it.
Blank - My first, and I assume only time seeing Blank was pretty great. I don’t know how much they practiced leading up to this but they sounded phenomenal. I couldn’t have asked for a better set, they had lots of energy, they were pretty tight and it was a great set list. They played for a pretty good amount of time but I could have stayed and watched that set all night. Unfortunately I can’t recommend seeing them because you won’t get a chance to, but if you like melodic poppy punk do yourself a giant favor and check out Blank. They still hold up many years later.
May 31, 2014
Baltimore, Clownpunch, Cobra Skulls, pop punk, punk, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Ottobar, the quarantines
Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
October 21st 2009
Teenage Bottlerocket – I’d seen Teenage Bottlerocket a few times at this point but not enough yet that I was bored of seeing them. They played a ton of great songs (but at this point that was pretty much all they had, great songs) and the set was hella fun. This is still a band that if you haven’t seen it should be on your to do list.
Cobra Skulls – I’d never heard Cobra Skulls but had heard tons of things from people saying that they were either the greatest band in a while or one of the worst bands ever. I can see how there’d be two very extreme ways of thought about the band. When I saw them play they were great. My buddy that was with me thought they were great, their set was A+. Sadly once we went and listened to the Cobra Skulls albums it was not even close to the same. Live the band was something completely different from what they were recorded. You could tell it was the same band but on the albums they were just bad…like really bad.
Clownpunch – Despite their terrible name they were really good this night, the weird thing is that doesn’t seem to stick. I’ve seen them a couple times since and it was pretty much the complete opposite of what happened here. I guess they were really on their game the first time I saw them.
The Quarantines – I forget if this was the first time I’d seen the Quarantines or not, but they left an impression for sure. They cranked out a great set and I made sure to keep tabs on them from there because the band is still coming out with great pop punk about robots and zombies and other cool shit.
May 25, 2014
Hard-ons, Paper Dragons, punk, queers, Show Reviews, Toys That Kill
Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
October 4th, 2006
Paper Dragons – One of the great locals at the time, they had a killer set, this band is so great and they showed every reason why that is true that night.
Toys That Kill – I’d never seen Toys That Kill before; I’d always been a big F.Y.P. fan but hadn’t had a chance to check out TTK yet. They were pretty fucking great, it was one of the best new bands that I’d seen in a long time, immediately purchased an album after the set.
Hard-Ons – I have two regrets from this night, one was just not being quite as into the hard-ons as I am now. I liked them at the time but not as much as I do now. And two was not buying a Hard-Ons shirt, that’s a life regret. As far as the set, you’d think being on a pop punk show they’d come up and play a bunch of pop punk songs. Nope, they came up, took their shirts off and rammed through a set consisting of almost entirely thrash songs. It was pretty incredible; most of the crowd had no idea what to even make of what they were seeing on stage. The only thing that was a bit much was the twelve minute version of ‘Suck n Swallow’ that went on for too long. Besides that it was simply incredible.
Queers – This is still maybe the best time I’ve ever seen The Queers. They brought it like nothing else. The set was super amazingly fun; they even played their MTX cover. It was Todd’s (from Toys That Kill) birthday, they had him come up and sing Kicked Out of the Webelos and gave him cake.
May 3, 2014
Chthonic, Korpiklaani, Paganfest, Paganfest 2014, Turisas, Varg, Winterhymn
The Ottobar –Baltimore, MD
Saturday, April 26th 2014
If you read this even on a semi-regular basis you may have (correctly) guessed that I mostly go to punk/pop punk shows and a large percentage of my music intake is pop punk. Don’t be mistaken though, metal is and always will be my first love. Folk and Viking metal really seem to have blown up the past ten years or so and there are a lot of great bands doing that stuff, so with that in mind I ventured to Paganfest. For various reasons I missed the first three bands but showed up before Winterhymn went on.
Korpiklaani – The band I was most interested in seeing was Korpiklaani. I’ve liked them for years but have never seen them. And looking at them on stage it seems like a really odd collection of musicians. They look like less of a band and more of a random collection of dudes that happen to be playing the same song. None of that really matters though because if you like Folk metal and having fun listening to it then Korpiklaani is for sure the band for you. They lived up to their headliner status by showing up everyone else and just killing it the whole time. It boggles my mind to think that people left after Turisas.
Turisas – The band that it seemed like everyone was there to see, which was also oddly probably the weakest band there. They weren’t bad at all but after the trio of intensity that came before them they just couldn’t keep up. A good set but the first one I wasn’t impressed by. About a third to half the crowd left after their set.
Chthonic – They’re a metal band from Taiwan, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and even if someone tried to explain beforehand it wouldn’t have quite prepared me. When the band came out I wasn’t sure if the lead singer was in a metal band or a wrestler. They wasted no time in showing everyone why they were there though. In a continuing streak of great bands Chthonic also completely owned their timeslot; they were almost as good as Varg (and after that set that’s a big accomplishment).
Varg – I’d heard Varg was good but I’d never gotten a chance to check them out. What a mistake that was on my part. They completely destroyed with their set. It didn’t take long to realize that they had just set the bar incredibly high for everyone else.
Winterhymn – They kicked Paganfest off (for me) and they did a great job. About half way through their set it was decided that I would be giving them some of my money for their metal goods.