By Joel Furches
As a city, Baltimore is the unsung hero of emerging musical talent. With countless startup artists and talent stages upon which to build one’s musical career, Baltimore is a perfect place for local artists to start, grow and thrive in their pursuit of the craft. This is also a benefit for local music lovers, as there are endless opportunities to catch and follow the rise of local artists, and to hear the latest thing before anyone else does. Whether you are a musician or a music lover, there are a number of local venues that support and expand the local music scene. Consider the following to feed your love of music.
2549 N. Howard St.
Baltimore, MD 21218
An Indie Rock Club which has hosted some of the most well known indie bands of the past two decades, including the White Stripes, Death Cab for Cutie and Jimmie Eat World among dozens of others. Additionally, Ottobar regularly hosts local performers with the right sound to merit such a venerable stage.
Ottobar is an exclusive setting with an intimate feel, and the smaller stage gets guests right up-close to the music. Come throw back a few drinks and hear the freshest indy sounds in Charm City while mingling with music fans who share the same tastes as you.
743 Fredrick Road
Catonsville, MD 21228
This Catonsville music shop has become a legend in the area. Musicians of any stripe or level come here to shop some of the best quality instruments around. The service is very flexible and includes trades, rentals and repairs. More than this, Bill’s offers music lessons and classes for interested folks who are trying to begin their career or ramp up their skills. And just to be extra instrumental in the rise of beginner musicians and bands, Bill’s has its own band practice room where local artists or hopefuls can bring their crew and improve their sound. If you have any musical talent or aspirations, shop at Bill’s and you are definitely contributing to the local music scene.
Pier Six Concert Pavilion
731 Eastern Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21202
This open air venue in the Inner Harbor area has hosted notables in almost every genre of music, from jazz to rock. As an Inner Harbor establishment with open air, the scenery is beautiful right on the bay as you listen to the top quality tunes it imports from all over.
But the Pier Six Concert Pavilion hosts more than just Nationally known performers – it is also a regular platform for Baltimore local artists. Regardless of their level of fame, Pier Six only brings out the best performers to enhance the Inner Harbor experience, so you can hardly go wrong getting tickets and enjoying the show.
M3 Rock Festival
Merriweather Post Pavilion
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21044
Hosted at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, the M3 Rock Festival circles around every year and hosts a bang up event featuring hard core Metal and Hair bands which hail back to the glory days of rock and roll. Booking tickets here is more than just reliving the glory days of rock – although that is certainly reason enough – it is also supporting one of the few perennial rock concerts which have stuck it out in the Baltimore region for decades on end. In a day when music is dying due to live streaming and file sharing, support local concerts by occasionally attending them.
The Sound Garden
1616 Thames St.
Baltimore, MD 21231
The Sound Garden is a music store so legendary, that it has managed to survive and thrive even in an age when people are getting most of their music completely free in digital format. Not only can you still purchase or trade Cds and LPs, but you can also buy some primo audio equipment, including various players and headphones. But the fun at Sound Garden doesn’t stop there. Hang out here for regular appearances – and sometimes even performances – by local and national artists. Sound Garden is everything you remember about quality music stores, with some modern improvements thrown in.