Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 18, 2024

Here in the Arts & Entertainment Section, we like to pride ourselves on being connected to the pulse of Baltimore's music scene (though how apt our pride is, is up for debate).

Going out and about to concerts in downtown Baltimore City is one of the easiest ways to see urban nightlife, meet new people and get acquainted with the particular brand of experimental and exciting music the city has to offer.

Baltimore's eclectic music scene is one of the best parts of being a student at Johns Hopkins.

Whether you're a freshman or already a senior, there are always new venues and fresh bands on the scene.

We've compiled a list of some of Baltimore's most well known institutions: favorite concert venues from Mt. Vernon to Inner Harbor (and one in Washington, D.C. for good measure) in the hopes that you'll be inspired to head out into the night for a few hours of rapturous auditory experience.

Floristree

Undisclosed Location

Baltimore, Md.

Originally a warehouse that has since been converted into a concert venue with what City Paper calls "quasi-legal status," Floristree retains that gritty, underground feel that music-lovers adore.

Typically, Baltimore bands often play here (read: Double Dagger, Future Islands, Weekends, etc.); be wary of dirty hipsters, pocket flasks, cigarette burns and stubbed toes.

Consider Floristree the treasure chest at the end of your winding Baltimore treasure map — finding the address to this venue requires extensive Google searching or a friend in the know.

The Ottobar

2549 N. Howard Rd.

Baltimore, Md.

This down and dirty club is the closest of Baltimore's concert venues to Homewood.

The scene here is mostly local, hipster and punk friendly and just a five-minute Blue Jay Shuttle ride away from the womb of Hopkins dorms.

The bands that play here are mostly local, though occasionally indie Brooklyn bands find their way to the door.

Unlike the bigger venues (see Merriweather Post Pavilion) and small underground venues (see Floristree), The Ottobar likes to embarrass underage concert-goers with huge Sharpie X's.

Recher Theatre

512 York Rd.

Towson, Md.

Found in the college town of Towson, near the Towson Town Mall (a Collegetown Shuttle ride away), Recher Theatre is less a concert venue and more an abandoned theater, like its name suggests.

Recher Theater has no real floor, except for imitation corkboard, and no furnishings, except for an idiosyncratic fish tank and a lone bar, but a respectable stream of bands flow through here. It also hosts local bands — think your high school's greatest rock band — on some nights.

Considered a step up from The Ottobar (in terms of band renown) but below Rams Head Live! in terms of popularity, Recher occupies that confusing middle place between dive venue and respectability.

Rams Head Live!

20 Market Place

Baltimore, Md.

Rams Head is perhaps the nicest venue in terms of space, size and set-up, though the bands that filter through this Power Plant associate tend to be radio-friendly pop bands. Tickets are pricier and can run as much as $70 a pop.

However, if you are over the age of 21, Rams Head provides a nice drunken atmosphere for partying.

Rams Head is a quick bus ride downtown, making it easy to reach for weekday or weeknight concerts.

Merriweather Post Pavilion

10475 Little Patuxent Parkway

Columbia, Md.

Best for summer concerts, Merriweather Post Pavilion plays host to a plethora of bigger, touring bands.

The stage huddles under a pavilion with arena seats, and a sloped lawn looks down at where the musicians rock out.

Roughly 45 minutes from the blossoming metropolis of Baltimore, Merriweather has a laid back, easy-going vibe despite the large crowds it draws.

Bring a picnic blanket or lawn chairs and relax with an overpriced bottle of Bud Light or heavily salted carton of cheese fries.

9:30 Club

815 V Street Northwest

Washington D.C.

If you're looking to venture out of the city limits, consider going to the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C.

Split into two stories, the standing-room-only club has a bar downstairs by the stage for those of you who are 21 and up.

The classic venue is big enough to project a great concert atmosphere, while, at the same time, it is small enough for intimate nights with the artists.

There are a great variety of newer names coming through, but big bands like The Beastie Boys, Radiohead and Jimmy Eat World have also hit the 9:30 Club stage.

Lots of big acts that miss the Baltimore circuit will have a concert in DC, so don't forget to keep this option open.

DC is easily accessible by the MARC train on the weekdays, and by Amtrak on the weekends.


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