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By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | February 9, 2012
If you could care less about this year's Grammys (wouldn't blame you there) or the Allen Stone show at the 8x10 isn't your thing, there's the Umphrey's McGee show at Rams Head Live on Sunday night. I've made the mistake of calling Umphrey's a "jam band" - a label for bands I say I'm allergic to because I never got into Phish. But I have persistent friends (the same friends that drop whatever they're doing whenever Umphrey's McGee is in the area) that told me they weren't Phish-lite.
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Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2014
For years, Steve Whiteman considered his old band, Kix, a forgotten relic of the '80s hair-metal scene. Even when the quintet began playing one-off reunion shows about a decade ago, the Hagerstown native viewed the gigs as cashing in on nostalgia. The “stupid money” offered, he said, did not hurt either. It took a trip to the Midwest in 2008 to unexpectedly change the singer's mind. The band was in the small town of Pryor Creek, Okla., for the multiday rock 'n' roll festival Rocklahoma, and Whiteman arrived unsure of what to expect.
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By Ellie Kahn and Midnight Sun contributor | May 15, 2012
Midnight Sun contributor Ellie Kahn saw the English dubstep DJ Rusko headline Rams Head Live on Monday night. This was her take: It wasn't until nearly midnight when the Hollywood sign-like letters flashed on in the darkness to spell out Rusko. Before then, Sigma performed covers of Waka Flocka Flame's "Hard in Da Paint ," Big Sean's "Dance," Flux Pavillion's "Bass Cannon " and hundreds of midriff-bearing, neon-wearing, 20-somethings and teenagers with unforgiving black X's on their hands tried to figure out why Rusko was so late.
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By Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | August 21, 2014
“You can get your hair wet, just stay in the shallow end, please,” said Dave Johnston to his daughter earlier this week from his Boulder, Colo., home. The banjoist and singer of the bluegrass act Yonder Mountain String Band was on dad duty, “trying to squeeze in some pool days before summer is gone.” Johnston, 40, knows tour season - which includes a headlining gig at Rams Head Live on Friday - is approaching. But this is nothing new for him or his bandmates, Adam Aijala (guitar, vocals)
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By Emma Schkloven, The Baltimore Sun | November 4, 2013
On Friday night, singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson shared his decades-in-the-making theory with a sold-out crowd at Rams Head Live. “Inside every one of us there is a tiny Whitney Houston. Tonight we exorcise our tiny Whitney Houstons out into the air,” Nathanson said, before leading crowd in a rousing, shortened version of “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me).” Nathanson entertained fans for just under two hours, singing 19 songs that ranged from newer tunes (“Heart Starts," “Annie's Always Waiting”)
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By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | October 5, 2012
It's been a long time since Snoop Dogg's career has been defined by his music. The 40-year-old rapper from Long Beach, Calif., exists in a rare pop-culture stratosphere where most of his headlines are garnered for decisions made outside of the recording booth. He's directing porn (thanks, Hustler)! He's a reality TV dad (“Snoop Dogg's Father Hood”)! He's been rechristened as Snoop Lion during a spiritual trip to Jamaica! And, oh yeah, he releases music sometimes, too (most recently the Major Lazer-produced reggae track "La La La")
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By Jeremy 'Jay' Trucker and For The Baltimore Sun | October 29, 2012
Deftones performed to a sold-out Rams Head Live crowd on Friday night, delivering a fast-paced 90-minute set that leaned on classics from 1995 through 2000, much to the delight of the heavily goateed crowd. Midnight Sun contributor Jay Trucker was there. Shortly after 10 p.m., Deftones -- the California five piece alt-metal band -- hit the stage, opening with the title cut from 2010's "Diamond Eyes. " Two more tracks from "Diamond Eyes" followed, the churning "Rocket Skates" and "You've Seen the Butcher.
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By Erik Maza, The Baltimore Sun | January 13, 2012
When Elton John played 1st Mariner Arena last year, his first Baltimore performance in more than a decade, more than 12,000 fans turned out. Sade, opening her first American concert tour in just as many years, drew an audience just as big later in the summer, and it became 1st Mariner's highest-grossing show of 2011. The demand to see pop singer Robyn, who was playing her only regional show at Rams Head Live , was so large that some bus companies set up trips from Washington to Baltimore for the night.
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By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | June 18, 2013
It took Michael Fitzpatrick, the 42-year-old lead singer of Fitz and the Tantrums, many years of toiling as a self-taught studio engineer and aspiring musician in Los Angeles to find the success he craved. When it finally came, courtesy of his sextet's breakthrough 2010 debut album "Pickin' Up the Pieces," Fitzpatrick knew it could be his only shot, so he and his band refused to turn down any opportunity to gain new fans. Whether it was a late-night talk show performance or a festival gig, Fitz and the Tantrums were there, playing its soulful, guitar-less take on indie-pop.
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By Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | February 26, 2014
The first rap record to enthrall Zsuzsanna Ward was "Illmatic" by Nas. Better known as ZZ Ward, the genre-defying singer-songwriter grew up in Oregon, far from the dangerous New York surroundings Nas memorably depicted on his 1994 album. But as all great writing does, it resonated with her. "Even though I was growing up in a completely different place than he was, I still felt this connection to feeling like there was something bigger for you," Ward said on the phone from Los Angeles last week.
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By Alexa Cottman-Robinson and The Baltimore Sun | July 9, 2014
When you think of rock music you probably don't think about "Super Mario Bros. " or "Space Invaders. " But a subculture of video game rock bands? Yes, it's a thing. And now that you know the bands exist, you're likely all too eager to start your own video game rock band. For your sake, we got to chat with John DeCampos a member of [Explosion Sound] (yes it's in brackets), a Baltimore-based video game rock band performing at this year's Bit Gen Gamer Fest, which holds its ninth gathering Saturday at Rams Head Live (for more information, go to bitgen.magfest.org .)
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By Dan Singer and The Baltimore Sun | July 8, 2014
For Tyler Glenn, frontman of the Provo, Utah-based pop-rock quartet Neon Trees, seeing a therapist was a breakthrough in more ways than one. “It was definitely a profound thing,” said Glenn recently on the phone from Minneapolis. “I found that it was OK to have anxiety and it was OK to have some of the feelings that I had about myself.” Glenn used his therapy sessions as a creative muse when he began writing songs for April's “Pop Psychology,” Neon Trees' third album, and the therapy gave him the confidence he needed to publicly come out as gay in “Rolling Stone” earlier this year.
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By Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | February 26, 2014
The first rap record to enthrall Zsuzsanna Ward was "Illmatic" by Nas. Better known as ZZ Ward, the genre-defying singer-songwriter grew up in Oregon, far from the dangerous New York surroundings Nas memorably depicted on his 1994 album. But as all great writing does, it resonated with her. "Even though I was growing up in a completely different place than he was, I still felt this connection to feeling like there was something bigger for you," Ward said on the phone from Los Angeles last week.
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By Anthony Landi, The Baltimore Sun | November 20, 2013
Although he spent the majority of 10 years on the road, Cris Jacobs still feels a strong connection to the stage where it all started. "The 8x10 is my homebase, my backyard. I love it and the people who own it, Abigail [Janssens] and Brian [Shupe]. I think I've played it 150 times or more. Probably more," said the 35-year-old singer-songwriter, who played the venue last Thursday. "Some of my fondest musical memories were made there. " Jacobs made his name in Baltimore as the guitarist and singer in the Bridge, the popular rock band that took its members across the country and Europe.
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By Emma Schkloven, The Baltimore Sun | November 4, 2013
On Friday night, singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson shared his decades-in-the-making theory with a sold-out crowd at Rams Head Live. “Inside every one of us there is a tiny Whitney Houston. Tonight we exorcise our tiny Whitney Houstons out into the air,” Nathanson said, before leading crowd in a rousing, shortened version of “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me).” Nathanson entertained fans for just under two hours, singing 19 songs that ranged from newer tunes (“Heart Starts," “Annie's Always Waiting”)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Emma Schkloven, The Baltimore Sun | October 31, 2013
On his latest album, July's “Last of the Great Pretenders,” singer Matt Nathanson opens with the lyric, “I'd kill anyone who'd treat you as bad as I do.” With it, the 40-year-old artist announces his eighth full-length record is clearly different than the others. With songs that take place chronologically from mid-summer to New Year's Eve, “Pretenders” feels like a page from Nathanson's personal journal. Through complex lyrics, the album engages emotionally and brings to light Nathanson's grittier, deeper side.
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By Dan Singer and The Baltimore Sun | July 8, 2014
For Tyler Glenn, frontman of the Provo, Utah-based pop-rock quartet Neon Trees, seeing a therapist was a breakthrough in more ways than one. “It was definitely a profound thing,” said Glenn recently on the phone from Minneapolis. “I found that it was OK to have anxiety and it was OK to have some of the feelings that I had about myself.” Glenn used his therapy sessions as a creative muse when he began writing songs for April's “Pop Psychology,” Neon Trees' third album, and the therapy gave him the confidence he needed to publicly come out as gay in “Rolling Stone” earlier this year.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | August 21, 2014
“You can get your hair wet, just stay in the shallow end, please,” said Dave Johnston to his daughter earlier this week from his Boulder, Colo., home. The banjoist and singer of the bluegrass act Yonder Mountain String Band was on dad duty, “trying to squeeze in some pool days before summer is gone.” Johnston, 40, knows tour season - which includes a headlining gig at Rams Head Live on Friday - is approaching. But this is nothing new for him or his bandmates, Adam Aijala (guitar, vocals)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | September 11, 2013
Seeing J. Roddy Walston and the Business in concert always guarantees one thing: You'll leave much sweatier than you arrived. Since arriving in Baltimore from Tennessee in 2004, the quartet's workmanlike reputation has been built on its raucous, give-everything-you-have-and-more live show, where perspiration simply comes with the territory. But J. Roddy Walston and the Business were different from the other Baltimore-bred bands of the time. They weren't the lauded experimentalists of Animal Collective or the cloaked-in-mystery duo of Beach House.
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By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | June 18, 2013
It took Michael Fitzpatrick, the 42-year-old lead singer of Fitz and the Tantrums, many years of toiling as a self-taught studio engineer and aspiring musician in Los Angeles to find the success he craved. When it finally came, courtesy of his sextet's breakthrough 2010 debut album "Pickin' Up the Pieces," Fitzpatrick knew it could be his only shot, so he and his band refused to turn down any opportunity to gain new fans. Whether it was a late-night talk show performance or a festival gig, Fitz and the Tantrums were there, playing its soulful, guitar-less take on indie-pop.
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