Bands come and go all of the time, but they are not all created equal. We were reminded of this not once, not twice, but three times in recent months, when three of Baltimore's most celebrated and seasoned acts announced their breakups.
The Bridge, a bluesy staple of Federal Hill's 8x10 that eventually made it to the Bonnaroo and All Good music festivals, called it quits first via a letter on its website, placing the blame on the economy.
"We were losing money, burning ourselves out and it wasn't translating into more people at the shows," singer Cris Jacobs says later. "We didn't get a break, but I'm still proud of the music. I think we're a damn good band."
The Bridge will go out in style. Billed as a "10th anniversary and farewell celebration," the band's Nov. 23 final show at Rams Head Live will feature special guests and three different sets from the group.
Double Dagger came next. The drum-and-bass punks announced on their website that, after nine years, the time had come to shut it down. Drummer Denny Bowen says the band plans to record "the last ideas we had," but that each member agreed the time had come to quit.
"The way we approach things is with urgency," Bowen says. "If that sense isn't really there, and that's what we're all about, we wouldn't do it justice doing it half-heartedly."
The final shoe dropped last week when spazzy art-rockers Ponytail said goodbye for good, citing the band members, now living in different parts of the country, were unable to get together and tour. Perhaps the end should have been expected: Ponytail went on hiatus last year to pursue other endeavors and came back in April to release "Do Whatever You Want to Do," only to end it for good now.
There are no plans for a final Ponytail show, and that band will miss out on the type of fun the Bridge and Double Dagger have planned. Their final shows come with a celebratory tone, and even promises of surprise guests. It's a perk of leaving on your own terms.
After declining to reveal any secrets surrounding the last gig, Bowen laughed.
"I'll just say this: It's going to be a big show."