The Short List
Published: October 19, 2011
WEDNESDAY: Fat Wreck punk band Cobra Skulls initiate the Ottobar.
THURSDAY: The Bouncing Souls get high school me pretty damn stoked at the Ottobar with Anti-Flag; it’s sold out, but search the usual spots. Upstairs at the club, punk-plus DJ Night Terminal Love returns with some combination of Little Dana, Tony Pence, Adam Savage, and Simon Phoenix. Weatherbox, “a fifth wave emo band with second wave emo band tendencies,” plays the Talking Head. The Meatmen are still assholes at Sonar. Latter-day Baltimore DJ heavies Benny Stixx, King Tutt, and DJ Pierre guest at Cullen Stalin’s weekly Posh Cavern party at Red Maple. Minneapolis folk-pop ensemble Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps perform at the Metro Gallery with Dead Mellotron. GWAR excretes all over Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club with Every Time I Die and Ghoul. New York saxophone force Vartan Mamigonian performs solo at An die Musik. All Eyes West, a spinoff of Chicago pop-punk band Noise by Numbers, strips out some of the pop at the Sidebar. Montreal out-pop mini-orchestra Bent by Elephants performs at the Windup Space with Strange Fur. Pendulum side project Knife Party makes its first U.S. appearance at Mosaic’s Bassdrop party. Mike Posner, the dude responsible for creepy “Cooler Than Me” hatefuck anthem, performs at Towson’s Recher Theatre with the Brain Trust. King-of-quirk Jonathan Richman is back in your life at the Creative Alliance. Richmond’s Inter Arma brings its blackened Southern-metal wrath to the Golden West Café with Balaclava. Folk traditionalists Steve and Cindy head out to Sykesville’s Baldwin’s Station. Jay-Z discovery and kinda recent upstart MC J Cole takes the mic at Baltimore Soundstage with DJ Dummy and Cheyne. Don’t miss: Early-days alt-country big name the Jayhawks make rainy-day music at Rams Head Live with Rayland Baxter.
FRIDAY: The Metro Gallery hosts a Music 4 Maryland benefit with the Alternate Routes, Justin Jones and the Driving Rain, and Mike Burke. Penntera, a Pantera cover band from Pennsylvania, naturally, plays Rams Head Live. The second annual Lieder Weekend returns to An die Musik for three days and nights of classical romance (full lineups at baltimoreliederweekend.com). Virginia newgrass big names the Hackensaw Boys rattle the floorboards at the 8X10 with Boris Garcia. Hands Like Bricks, “a Los Angeles foursome with an idea that punk rock is about best friends having awesome times together,” have an awesome time together at the Sidebar. Four Hours of Funk takes over the Windup Space once again for sweaty dance-party good times with DJs Exclaime and Fleg. The Red Room at Normal’s Books and Records hosts a night of sound-plus-image experimentation with works from Meg Rorison, Jeff Carey, and Jimmy Joe Roche. The Foxtrots make “dahnk punk/grill ska” at Charm City Art Space with Trifecta, Gates, and Sonorous. Jackson Browne is late for the sky at the Lyric. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra delivers two nights of Mozart and Debussy at the Meyerhoff with guest conductor Louis Langrée and violinist James Ehnes. Philly folk-punker Mike Bell brings his Movies to the Golden West with the Baltimore pop-punk double threat of Sick Sick Birds and Dead Mechanical. Don’t miss: Double Dagger, only the best damn punk band to come out of Baltimore in the past decade, plays its very last show at the Ottobar.
SATURDAY: Latter-day Epitaph band the Menzingers play the Talking Head. Rising alt-pop songwriter Lights plays Sonar with Rubik. Keller Williams does two shows, afternoon and evening, at the 9:30 Club. DIY high priestess Ani DiFranco performs at Rams Head Live with Anais Mitchell. Zounds, the late-’70s U.K. anarcho-punk legend, still boasts one original member, at least, at the Sidebar. Bassdrop moves across the street to Soundstage with Porter Robinson, Lock Danan, Linkmindz, and LaTiGiD. Don’t miss: Zola Jesus brings her near-perfect alloy of soaring pop, dark-side crunch, and synth-wave to the Ottobar with local noise heavy Nautical Almanac, breakcore heavy machinery Xanopticon, and DJ Cullen Stalin.
SUNDAY: True-school screamo band Circle Takes the Square loses a lung at an Ottobar afternoon show with City of Ships, Pala, and Questioner; nighttime finds California punk band Dead to Me peeling the paint with Banner Pilot and Idleminds. Chairlift brings its deep-blue avant-pop to the Talking Head with Matthewdavid. Hull brings its sludgy post-metal/psych to the Golden West with the Fucking Wrath and Elks. New Found Glory, an early entry into the current-if-waning pop-punk wave, is all about the girls at Rams Head Live. French funk-rock two-piece the Inspector Cluzo travels a long way to the Windup Space with the Scotch Bonnetts. New York’s VaVatican makes electro-acoustic oddscapes at the Red Room with Jonah Beram. Baltimore pop-punk outfit Dead Mechanical plays Charm City Art Space with Greece’s Despite Everything and Unfun. Lalah Hathaway, aka the “First Daughter of Soul,” performs at Baltimore Soundstage. Don’t miss: Creative Differences hosts a night of locals-only improv collaborations at 2640 Space with an all-star cast including Susan Alcorn, John Berndt, Dave Ballou, and Lafayette Gilchrist.
MONDAY: Japanese punk legend Shonen Knife brings its 30th-anniversary tour through the Ottobar with the Quarantines, Plurals, and Thee Degenerettes. Odd Future desperately fans the flames at Sonar. Jacuzzi Boys, among the stars of the current garage wave, deliver a free show to the Talking Head with Diarrhea Planet and Barbecutie. Adult-contempo songwriter Mat Kearney plays Rams Head Live with Leagues.
TUESDAY: Hip-hop Halloween bash House of the Dead takes over Sonar with the Scarborough Sideshow, Wyzae, the Fly Tribe, Asire, Focus Ent, the Venonmist, and Bcity Tay. The Out of Your Head collective rounds up another brand-new crew of improvisers at the Windup Space. Future Islands, touring behind their new On the Water LP, make a semi-local pass through D.C.’s Black Cat with Javelin and Ed Schrader’s Music Beat. Landis Expandis and DJ Napspace’s breakdance/funk/boombox party Dig returns to Joe Squared Station North. Young neo-soul songwriter Goapele declares victory at Baltimore Soundstage with Marcell and the Truth. Don’t miss: Joe Preston’s one-man doom weapon Thrones drowns the Golden West with Danava and Slow Bull.
WEDNESDAY: New Jersey rock-rock band the Parlor Mob plays the Ottobar. Just-off indie-poppers the Front Bottoms look like they just woke up at the Metro Gallery with Eureka Birds and Pompeii Graffiti. Lucinda Williams goes ramblin’ at Rams Head Live. The John Mancini Band sounds a bit like an extravagant full-band take on G Love at Joe Squared Station North. Recent Shady Records sign Yelawolf performs at Baltimore Soundstage with DJ Craze, Rittz, and D. I.
IN THE WINGS: Immortal Technique spits some fire at Rams Head Live Oct. 30. (For more information visit ramsheadlive.com or call  244-1131.) Norwegian black-metal titan Mayhem comes to Sonar Nov. 2 with two rooms’ worth of supporting bands. (For more information visit sonarbaltimore.com or call  783-7888.) Texas psych-rockers the Black Angels come to the Ottobar Nov. 1 with Dead Meadow and Spindrift. (For more information visit theottobar.com or call  662-0069.)
> Email Michael Byrne