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Midnight Sun
Wesley Case covers the city's after-hours scene
'Electric Pharaoh' brings Baltimore Rock Opera Society back to the future

Chugging guitars, pounding drums and the Baltimore Rock Opera Society are all inherently linked, but the origins of the do-it-yourself theater group's latest production begin with the French house-music duo Daft Punk.

A few years ago, BROS member Chuck Green wanted to design a new helmet for an Artscape performance. He combined his initial inspiration — the sleek, dark headgear worn by Daft Punk — with King Tut, and his imagination quickly roamed beyond the task at hand. Before long, Green had dreamt of an entire world based in a futuristic city, where electricity was currency, classes were divided and an unlikely hero must save mankind from an evil pharaoh.

“I was going to try to make it a graphic novel,” Green said recently in a Station North rehearsal space, “but I can't draw.”

With a team of BROS writers, Green completed “The Electric Pharaoh,” the company's sixth original, full-length rock opera since its founding in 2007. More than two years after Green's initial idea, the play...

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Pen & Quill satisfies with quirky sophistication

As fall's cold air settles in, weekend nights tend to require more planning. Some stick to buttoned-up bar-hopping, while others scroll through Netflix at home in sweatpants. Both work depending on the whim.

For those looking to the split the difference, I recommend the classic combination of a trip to the movies followed by drinks. More specifically, follow a visit to Station North's Charles Theatre (still wonderful after all these years) with a trip to Pen & Quill, which opened in mid-August.

On a recent weekday, this restaurant from the Karzai family — whose previous eateries include The Helmand and Tapas Teatro — seemed like a fantastic spot to end a satisfyingly quiet night. Even on a dreary night, Pen & Quill attracted a decent crowd of approximately 20 for dinner and drinks. No one seemed in a hurry to leave.

It does not take long to settle in. The attractive and spacious Pen & Quill has a modern sophistication to it, without ever feeling too serious. The lighthearted touches...

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Abdu Ali on new 'Already' EP and the importance of Baltimore Club

In 2014, the beauty of Baltimore Club music – the city’s beloved, high-beats-per-minute breakbeat dance music – is how it has splintered in unpredictable ways.

92Q’s DJ AngelBaby is incorporating Jersey and Philly Club producers in her “Get Pumped” mix series. Rising star Matic808 uses popular mainstream rap songs by Kanye West and Drake as jumping off points to create something fascinating and undoubtedly Baltimore Club. Mighty Mark and Tt the Artist seem determined to breakthrough, while legends like Rod Lee and Blaqstarr continue to bring the kinetic sound well beyond city limits. And this is all barely scratching the surface. 

Two of the genre’s most exciting artists are currently Abdu Ali and Adam Schwarz. Baltimore-native Ali moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., in late July but still closely identifies with the city and its dance music. KAHLON, his semi-regular party series at The Crown in Station North, is a positive force that unites likeminded-but-musically-different artists. In August,...

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No. 1 song 'All About That Bass' written by Baltimore native

The country's No. 1 song, Meghan Trainor's celebration of curves known as "All About That Bass," was co-written and produced by Baltimore-native Kevin Kadish.  

Released in early June, the song — which Kadish wrote with Trainor — entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 84 on July 26. It climbed to the top in mid-September, and has held the No. 1 spot since. Check out the video (The song has explicit language.)

Earlier this month, Kadish told the Hollywood Journal he "had the title for a few years." The University of Maryland, College Park graduate spent years on the road as a struggling singer-songwriter, but broke into the songwriting industry with Warner Chappell Music in 2000. Since then, he's worked with national artists (Jason Mraz, Miley Cyrus) and bands with local connections (O.A.R., Charm City Devils). 

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NPR puts spotlight on Baltimore music

Some of Baltimore’s frontline musical talent graced national airwaves during Wednesday's NPR show, "World Café: Sense of Place," a show that highlights essential and emerging artists. 

In two segments of “The Sounds of Baltimore,” NPR consulted hosts from Towson University radio station WTMD. Erik Deatherage, host of WTMD’s "Morning Show" first shared a history of Baltimore’s music scene. His first choice — Divine's "Born to be Cheap" — was inspired by director John Waters.

“I think you have to start with weird and embrace that,” Deatherage said while referencing the filmmaker and author.

He also played The Mamas and the Papas' cover of “Dream a Little Dream of Me” and “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle” by The Royalettes.

Sam Sessa, host of "Baltimore Hit Parade" on WTMD and former entertainment editor at the Baltimore Sun, then showcased five of his favorite songs. He began with rock quintet The Herd of Main Street, and also played music from Super City, Sun Club, George Cessna and...

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Bar Liquorice a bold cocktail lounge in Riverside

The conversion of a modest rowhouse into a bar inherits a problem with no obvious solution: What to do with such a limited space?

These types of bars often rely on cosmetic tweaks like fresh paintjobs or new light fixtures to convey change. The results are usually improvements — recent examples include Shotti's Point in Riverside, Canton's Silks and Cockey's in Upper Fells Point — but rarely do these new businesses feel like drastic transformations.

Bar Liquorice is a recent exception. In July, the team of Tom Looney, Jeff Cahill and Ed Scherer opened this cocktail lounge in the former Dirty Oars Tavern, a poorly named bar that offered a standard, low-stakes experience for less than six months last year. On a recent Saturday night, it was immediately apparent Bar Liquorice had grander ambitions.

The guiding light here seemed to be old-fashioned sophistication. The ambiance — muted and relaxed — came from a color scheme of mostly black, sienna and dark moss. A row of mini chandeliers...

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