2012 held surprises and new challenges around every corner for Bucket Of Rock and the local music scene. Maybe this is pretty characteristic of small town dynamics, but it was nonetheless an exciting roller coaster to be a part of. For Bucket Of Rock, hosting local shows was the new frontier. Meshing great regional underground bands together with our top Frederick artists was a beautiful thing. On the music front, we saw start up bands become staples, staples disappear, and new venue’s claiming their piece of the Frederick music scene. Café Nola solidified their position as the nightlife spot that offered music early on in the year, but later migrated toward a more grass roots effort to show case local bands and even host an open mic night on the 4 th Sunday of every month. It was a good change and reminded me why we came to respect Café Nola in the first place. Church St Pub on Church St. (duh) down in the Shab Row district was a new heavy contender, although their popularity has been waning in the later part of the year. Church St. was a refuge for many start up bands and a few more seasoned groups trying to solidify themselves under the radar and it was a great, actually glorious petri dish of activity for most of the year. If you’re a new band looking to get your feet wet, I suggest you give Church St. a call, nothings more inviting than a low lit “living room” that serves cold beer. Guido’s is sometimes the hardest to keep up with, unless you’re a regular. Maybe that’s why it’s possibly my favorite bar in town. Bucket Of Rock hosted several show at Guido’s late in the summer including the big 3 Year Birthday Bash! Guido’s has been hosting show steady without a lot of fuss ever since. Although they don’t discriminate, it’s one of the few places in town that you will see original punk rock, alternative, and rockabilly bands. Café 611 has also been making an impact this year beyond hosting hardcore shows with the help of One Bus One Love Creations . Café 611 is now the frequent go to venue for many jam bands interested in playing in town. That about wraps up 2012 venue highlights, so what about that top ten you ask? Ok, ok, here’s a run down of my top ten favorite music moments as caught on tape by yours truly.
10. Sun Buffalo at Guido’s
Certainly one of their last shows together, if not their last show together. Sun Buffalo, a band that formed circa 2010 was one of the few pure incarnations of pop indie rock in Frederick. You can still check out a bunch of their songs on soundcloud, but here’s a fleeting glimpse of the band live.
9. Holy MTN at Church St
Holy MTN was a band not entirely new, but new to the Frederick scene this year who made the rounds at all the note worthy venues in town with their distinctive new wave indie rock sound. They released an EP entitled Delicate Man Thoughts this past summer and the video below is from the CD Release Party (notice the wall lights dimming as the band plays). Holy MTN is a band that is still changing and molding, keep an eye out for new innovations from this band.
8. Adrienne and The Merrylanders at Church St.
One of those start up’s turned staples, that I mentioned earlier. If you were following along all year, you watched this open mic fusion of bluesy funk rock grow and dominate as a local act. They even released a band demo! This is a video from a recent show of no major significance, but I think it captures the intimacy of the band and their internalized band sound pretty well.
7. JKutchma at Church St
JKutchma is not a Frederick artist, he is in fact a Durham, NC based artist (check out this interview by local Scott Laudati), but it was certainly one of Church St Pub’s shining moments in a year of breaking onto the Frederick scene. It was a week night and the rain was pouring down, JKutchma told a packed room how his windshield wipers had given out on the route 15 bridge between Maryland and Virginia and how him and his band were on tour with many miles ahead of them. Church St was home to many local bands and hosted many traveling bands of which JKutchma was most notable.
6. Cabinet at Café 611
Another not so local band, Cabinet from Scranton, PA played their first show in a series of three this year (the third show is Dec. 31st at Café 611) in Frederick at Café 611. This was the result of the seemingly prosperous and bright future relationship between One Bus One Love Creations and Café 611. I had seen Cabinet at Hempen Hill BBQ in Hagerstown earlier in the spring for free and between that time and the Frederick show in September the band was touring full time and on the verge of an album release. Cabinet had gained an insane amount of street cred on the Americana jam band circuit and a whole lot of popularity. Tickets at the Café 611 show were $15 dollars.
5. Heavy Lights at Guido’s (BORO 3YR Party)
Two Frederick staples Old Liners and The Forest Wall dissolved and reformed into something fresh, known as Heavy Lights. Still, my favorite quote from lead singer, Ryan Nicholson is “I just wanted to pay my guitar louder”. Heavy Lights bring a steady and smooth pop rock sound to a sometimes chaotic Frederick music scene. I was excited to have them play at my 3 year blog anniversary party.
4. Old Indian at Church St
First off, this video is by far not from the best Old Indian show I’ve seen this year. I think the most recent Café Nola show a few weeks ago and even their set at Guido’s for my 3 year blog anniversary party were among the best all year. This video is simply one of the few that I was able to capture of the elusive Old Indian with decent lighting and audio. Old Indian is a consistent crowd pleasure around town and they are constantly getting tighter and more aggressive as a band. I vote Old Indian most likely to bring some cult like rock and roll street cred to Frederick.
3. The Demon Beat at The Record Exchange
Call them local, call them not local, either way Shepherdstown is just across the river and these raucous garage rock monsters are too good not to include. This show was also particularly epic because The Record Exchange went all out to host a proper rock show in store. Old Indian and The Demon Beat played this gig and let’s just say amps were on 11. The Demon Beat released a new full length this year, entitled Less is Less.
2. The Static Trees at The Record Exchange
This was an awesome show because The Static Trees are awesome live! What makes this show extra special is that The Static Trees were currently working on their new album, Dirty Lungs and hadn’t yet moved to Nashville, where they reside now. At The Record Exchange First Saturday show we caught a sneak peak at one of their new songs to be recorded on the upcoming album.
1. Silent Old Mountains at Church St
It was a banner year for Frederick’s folk indie rock band Silent Old Mountains. They released their first full length album entitled Velvet Raccoon that was professionally packaged and produced, bought a tour “bus” on a kickstarter campaign, toured regionally, opened for J Roddy Walston and the Flow Bots, and still had time to become a staple in Frederick. Silent Old Mountains is also a band that puts energy into the local music scene to make it better and to make it more cohesive. For these reasons they get the number one spot, the video below is the final song from their CD Release Party.
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