Spring and summer in greater Baltimore, like much of the world, should be a time of awakening and increased activity. People would be showing out in black and orange to Orioles games, bringing blankets to parks for movie screenings or festivals and finding open-air spaces to eat and drink. They also would be taking advantage of the warmer weathers and going out more — to bars, restaurants and, importantly, concert venues.
This is supposed to be a boom time for live music. For some venues, like the MECU Pavillion and Merriweather Post Pavillion, these warmer months are among the only times to catch concerts.
Of course, spring and likely summer concerts are cancelled. You already know why: the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made all concert-sized gatherings all but impossible (I mean, you could gather, but unless you want to disobey the governor’s orders, then you shouldn’t). This meant that a lot of shows at venues across the area were either postponed or outright cancelled, as were big national gigs for local artists.
But that doesn’t mean all music lovers should despair. Time spent stuck inside is perfect for catching up on those artists who might’ve otherwise escaped your show calendar or playlists. Here are 10 such artists, from local standouts to national headliners. Hopefully they reschedule their local gigs for the fall and winter.
Acclaimed indie pop act Lower Dens had a homecoming show at the Ottobar in Charles Village on March 21. Since that gig is currently postponed, check out their latest album, 2019′s “The Competition." Get hip to what you would’ve missed by watching their set from Seattle public radio station KEXP on YouTube.
This traveling revue of ’90s and ’00s rap and R&B stars was postponed to 2021. Consider revisiting Ashanti’s 2002 cut “Foolish,” proceed to Omarion’s “Ice Box” then go down the rabbit hole with Bow Wow, Pretty Ricky and the other touring stars.
Baltimore melodic punk heroes Have Mercy have a May 23 show planned on their farewell tour. With May concerts becoming increasingly unlikely, now’s a great time to feel their live prowess. See what they’re made of with their 2012 set on Audiotree Live, which you can access on YouTube.
The legendary Staten Island hip hop crew’s May 8 gig at Maryland Live! Casino and Hotel was moved to October 22. That gives you ample time to consider the group and individual members’ extensive catalog, starting with their 1993 debut, “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)."
Girl in Red
Norwegian indie pop musician Girl in Red currently has a gig at Rams Head Live! on the books for May 19. In advance of probable postponement or cancellation, check out this rising star’s latest single, “Midnight Love,” from her upcoming debut album, “World in Red.”
This Baltimore quintet planned to take their brand of danceable rock music to the Ottobar stage in April. With that gig postponed until June 26 for now, check out their music, starting with the 2018 album “Sanctuary.”
Powerhouse Baltimore rapper Deetranada had a major gig planned for the spring, at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. With that cancelled, now’s a great opportunity to check out her music. Start with her Bars on I-95 freestyle, available on YouTube.
Lor Choc, like Deetranada, had an opportunity to put Baltimore on the map at South by Southwest. Peep the singer’s talent for songwriting on tracks like “Vibe,” the music video for which is on YouTube.
West Baltimore-bred rapper Butch Dawson said he had several gigs cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While you wait for him to perform again, dig into his extensive catalog, starting with new songs “Calivigny” and “Served and Sold Separately."
Harlem MC and Nas acolyte Dave East was supposed to lead the line-up of Charm City Smokefest this April. In absence of that high-ly anticipated set, check out his prolific output, starting with the full-length album “Survival.”