Who said that the Baltimore music community isn't coming up with terrific new ideas to showcase its home-grown talent?
An new alliance called SPARM (Society for the Preservation of American Roots Music) has formed to bring home "the roots of American music," providing live dance shows every second Saturday at St. John's United Methodist Church at 27th and St. Paul streets.
The non-profit group, headed by longtime musicians and music supporters Geoffrey Himes, Sue Trainor and Jim Patton, renamed the church "The Roots Cafe" for these 8 p.m. engagements.
The rules are simple: the shows will start on time and be over by midnight, admission is $5 with drinks less than $2, smoking will only be permitted outside on the building's porch and children are welcome to attend.
This week's headliner is Billy Kemp and The Paradise Rockers, with The Walkie Talkies opening the show. Future shows include: Edge City (Oct. 26), Rhumba Club (Nov. 9), Bill Kirchen (Nov. 23), The Polkats (Dec. 14) and Richard Taylor (Dec. 28). SPARM also has plans to go weekly with the shows after Jan. 1.
You can join SPARM by sending $10 to St. John's Church, 2640 St. Paul St., Baltimore, 21218. Members will receive a monthly newsletter and are entitled to $1 off admission at SPARM events. For more information, call 366-7733 or 235-6627.
The Towson Center will come to life with music once again on Oct. 25 when local promoter Exposure Promotions will present a cystic fibrosis benefit featuring one of the hottest bands on the college circuit, The Smithereens.
It is the first planned show at the venue since last fall's Taylor Dayne financial flop. Last spring three shows were moved there after the Painters Mill fire.
The facility has a poor history with promoters for being an automatic money loser, regardless of the act, but Exposure Promotions president Rich Abrahams said there are several reasons he is ready to tackle the odds.
"We feel that with a college act as strong as The Smithereens, we're giving the students at Towson the music they want to hear," he said. "Also, it's a weekend night and all of the proceeds are going to a good cause."
Tickets, which go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m., are priced at $17.50 and $15.50.
The concert calendar:
Coming to the Capital Centre, Van Halen and Alice In Chains (Oct. 17), George Michael (Oct. 31) and Paula Abdul (Nov. 21).
The 8X10 has Andy Bopp & The New Alliance (tonight), All Mighty Senators (tomorrow), Otis Clay (Saturday) and The Tinsley Ellis Band (Wednesday).
Hammerjacks welcomes Rhythm Corps (Sunday), The Ramones (Oct. 18), The Buzzcocks and Too Much Joy (Oct. 31) and NRBQ (Nov. 2).
Max's On Broadway hosts The Brand New Heavies (Oct. 24), Trip Shakespeare (Oct. 27) and Lowen and Navarro (Nov. 5).