Live '80s music is a hot commodity in Baltimore.
Every time the Legwarmers play Rams Head Live in Power Plant Live, the show sells out.
So it wasn't surprising to see a decent crowd come to the Lodge Bar in Power Plant Live a few Fridays back for its monthly '80s Explosion party.
There was no cover charge when my roommate Patchen and I showed up about 8 p.m. last month. The Lodge Bar looks just like you'd expect: tons of wood and deer heads everywhere. Though plenty of patrons (most in their 20s, 30s and 40s) stood by the long bar on the right side of the place, the bartenders were quick to take and fill our drink orders. We got two Miller Lite bottles (when in Power Plant Live, drink as the partyers drink), which cost $4 each.
The Lodge Bar's layout was better when the stage was to the rear of the room. That way, the band played to the whole bar. But recently, they moved the stage to the middle of the room. It looks bigger, which gives the band more space. But it also splits the audience in half. Plus, there's less of a dance floor and more tables in front of the stage with this arrangement. The old stage area is now home to a giant projection-screen TV.
The '80s cover band Voodoo Economics started its set about 9:15 p.m. with tight renditions of tunes from groups such as Huey Lewis and the News. They had the chops, but the sound guy did a poor job of mixing their instruments. You could barely hear the guitarist for the first couple songs.
We stood by one of two beer pong tables in the back of the bar. If you're not familiar with the drinking game, here is how it works. Two teams stand at opposing ends of the table. Each team gets six cups, which they fill about a third of the way up with beer. Then the teams position their cups in triangles at each table end so the triangles point at each other.
The object is to throw pingpong balls into the other team's cups. Each time you sink a ball into one of the other players' cups, one of them takes it off the table and drinks the beer inside. The same goes for when they hit your cups. Whoever lands all six cups first wins.
I wrote about beer pong tournaments at the Greene Turtle a couple years ago. While those kind of tournaments are fun, just playing beer pong in a busy room like the Lodge Bar can be a pain - both for players and bystanders. Pingpong balls roll everywhere - sometimes under a high-top table halfway across the bar. So players are constantly chasing them down.
Bar beer pong has its times and places: tournaments where the whole place is focused on beer pong, or when it's nearly empty and you're not bugging anyone. Otherwise, those tables need to be folded up and put away.
The last thing anybody dancing to '80s jams needs is a pingpong ball underfoot, followed by an accidental stumble and maybe even an unceremonious face-plant on the floor. Splat!
Fortunately, that didn't happen when we were there. Instead, a bunch of post-college and middle-aged bar-goers boogied on the dance floor. We got what we came for: a fun night.
The next '80s Explosion is tomorrow at the Lodge Bar, 10 Market Place in Power Plant Live. The live music starts about 9 p.m. Information: Call 443-524-2010 or go to thelodgebarbaltimore.com.