Max's to end its booking of live music acts


Things will be a little quieter on the local club scene come January, when Max's on Broadway puts an end to its live music policy.

Max's, located at 735 S. Broadway in Fells Point, is one of the few clubs in the city that regularly books nationally known recording acts.

Since opening in 1986, the club has presented an astonishing array of talent, including Arrested Development, Digable Planets, Robyn Hitchcock, Soul Asylum, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Warren Zevon.

According to owner Ron Furman, the change in policy is more a personal decision than a business one.

He concedes that there's less margin for error in the concert business these days.

"Financially, it's gotten a lot tougher, and it takes real hustle," he says.

"We don't see the amount of tours going out that we want to get.

"It is not going down the tubes, but it's not what it once was."

Still, Furman says the bottom line in his decision was burnout. "It's seven nights a week, sometimes three bands a night," he says.

"It's all day. All day, all night. I'm just totally fried."

Furman won't be leaving music, though; in fact, one of the reasons he's getting out of the club business is so he can devote more time to managing the Greenberry Woods, whose debut album will be released by Sire Records in February.

But what Furman most hopes to catch up on is home life.

"I want my daughter, Brina, and my wife to be able to know who I am, instead of thinking of me as the guy with the phone in his ear that's always out."

Max's will have its last night of live music on Jan. 1, when the Average Joes play a New Year's show.

After that, the club will close for renovations.

Also in January, Hammerjacks will close its bar for two weeks of clean-up and repair.

"It's just got six years of neglect on it," says owner Lou Principio.

"We're going to do a major commercial refurbishing."

Why so long a wait? Largely because the club sits on land that would have been used for a football stadium had Baltimore landed an NFL franchise.

"I have been under condemnation for seven years, and I've been holding off making major capital improvements to wait and see whether we were given a franchise," he says.

"So that kept Hammerjacks in neutral."

Principio stresses that only the bar end of Hammerjacks is closing.

"The concert hall is going to remain in full effect," he says.

"We'll be doing our concerts as usual."

At the moment, the shows announced for the club are a Dec. 30 performance by the Connells, a Dec. 31 performance by Kix, a Jan. 21 concert by 38 Special and a Jan. 29 performance by Child's Play.

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