Ode to the Ottobar: Punk close to home

October 15, 2015

COURTESY OF MIA CAPOBIANCO Meredith Graves, frontwoman of punk group Perfect Pussy, gave an incredible performance at the Ottobar this past March.

By MIA CAPOBIANCO Your Weekend Editor

If you’re like me (and many others) you got stupidly excited on Oct. 7 when Beach House announced a surprise album, and you got even more excited when they announced a surprise show at Ottobar on Oct. 10.

For those of you unfamiliar with the group, Beach House is an indie rock/dream pop band native to Baltimore. They have released five studio albums (or six, if you include Thank Your Lucky Stars, which will come out on Oct. 16). Their music has been met with critical acclaim, and the group has amassed an immense fan base around the world.

Over 700 people eagerly RSVPed to the Facebook event for the surprise show, hoping to secure the limited tickets that would go on sale Friday morning at 10.

Because Beach House is constantly touring, they play fewer shows in Baltimore than expected. It was clear the show would be a top destination for Baltimoreans on Saturday night, but tickets sold out faster than anyone could have anticipated.

For reference: my roommate attempted to buy us tickets at 10:03 a.m. She was told that she was “in line” and that 387 people were in front of her. Forty-five minutes later, the show was sold out. I know we were not alone in our disappointment; Hardly anyone we knew was able to get tickets.

When I saw how many Hopkins students had RSVPed to the event and wouldn’t be able to attend, I knew that many of them would put the Ottobar out of their minds until the next big named rolled through.

In my opinion, Hopkins students under-use the Ottobar. Only half a mile from the Baltimore Museum of Art, it takes less than 15 minutes to walk there from campus. There are two levels, both with bars, and on any given night there is something going on upstairs and/or downstairs. The drinks are cheap and great for the price, and the bartenders are quick.

They also have many nights open for those under 21. (Most, if not all, of their shows are all ages.) The small space lends itself to closer interactions with performers than most venues can offer; Most artists will stick around after their sets to talk to fans, sell merch or grab a drink. Local artists also frequent the venue; I have spotted Dan Deacon there on more than one occasion.

The Ottobar has many offerings aside from musical performances; It is open until 2 a.m. every day of the week, regardless of the performance schedule. There are drink specials almost every night, including the infamous Twofers (2-for-1 drinks every Tuesday). There are frequent karaoke nights and dance parties as well as trivia every Wednesday. They also have BYOF (bring your own food) events to watch Ravens games. These sorts of events have no cover and are usually attended by younger Hampden and Charles Village residents.

The Ottobar has a classic DIY punk aesthetic: The walls are covered in band paraphernalia and flyers, and tattooed hipsters frequent the venue. The Ottobar usually features punk, metal, rock, garage and indie music, but it attracts artists of all backgrounds.

If things are quiet around campus or you’re just looking for something new to do without straying too far, I highly recommend checking out the Ottobar’s schedule at www.theottobar.com. I particularly suggest checking out Punk group Girlpool and quirky-queer-pop-hip-hop god Shamir when they come through the venue on Nov. 13 and 14, respectively.

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