Article by Matt Dippel | Owl Staff
What makes a concert venue worthy? Is it sheer size, aesthetic value, sophistication of the sound system, or something else entirely? The answer will vary from person to person, but if you ask me, the answer is intimacy, which is why the Charm City Art Space (CCAS) holds a special place in my heart.
CCAS, located on Maryland Avenue down the street from MICA in Baltimore, is little more than a dingy, dirty, hot, small basement; and that’s what makes it great.
In May, I attended the show, La Dispute and Defeater, at CCAS, and my experience that night is something I won’t soon forget. Roughly, a hundred people were gathered into a room smaller than the Mac Lab here at HCC, and they were all there for one reason: their love of and passion for hardcore music.
After the opening acts, La Disputemtook the stage, if you could even call it that; it was merely a small rectangle raised a foot or so from the ground.
What ensued was pure magic. Every single person in attendance screamed along to every lyric. There was moshing, pushing, pulling, crowd surfing, and every type of activity you could possibly engage in at a hardcore show, with one major difference: we were all best friends.
Complete strangers came together for an hour or so to go all out and have fun. No one aimed to injure anyone, which has seemed to occur at most heavier music shows I have been to at other venues. If someone went down, a net of arms and hands would have them off the floor and out of danger in seconds.
I clapped hands with a complete stranger, and we jumped to the music. Simple glances between people said, “This is amazing!” We screamed into the mic that the vocalist was more than willing to share with the crowd. The intimacy was like nothing I had ever been a part of, and I cannot wait to go back.
Some people might be turned off by the fact that yes, CCAS is a dirty little hole in the wall with no air conditioning where it gets so hot that sweat drips from the rafters, but for me and a handful of other music loving people, it was heaven for a night.