Article by Matt Dippel | Photography by Jennifer Lewis | Owl Staff
The Ottobar, along with The Charm City Art Space, is another venue that holds a place in my heart. The handful of shows I have attended at The Ottobar have been notable experiences, each varying greatly.
The venue itself, much like the Art Space, is a dingy and dirty little place, albeit much larger. The area is divided in half, one part bar and one part floor/stage, with Christmas lights hanging above the floor along the rafters. As far as major venues in Baltimore go, The Ottobar is one of the smallest, boasting a genuine, intimate concert experience that larger venues simply cannot replicate.
At the end of September, I attended a show there (Frank Turner with Andrew Jackson Jihad,) and much like every other show I’ve been to at The Ottobar, it was a memorable experience. The sound system is basic but effective, providing sound that is loud and clear, if at times a bit treble heavy, which can lead to headaches come the end of the performance. The stage itself has no barrier between the crowd and the band, allowing for a more intimate interaction between performer and audience.
The acoustics of the place were something I had never taken into account before seeing Frank Turner. As a folksinger who specializes in sing-along anthems, the sheer volume of the crowd singing along and how encompassing the sound was added a whole new dimension of solidarity and involvement that is seriously lacking from some of the shows at larger venues to which I have been.
The Ottobar is a great venue for some lesser-known acts that pass through Baltimore but exhibits enough unique charm and highend technology to give the sound and feel of a full price show. With the price of the tickets that I have bought maxing out at about $15, don’t hesitate to attend a show if a band you enjoy comes through Maryland and books a show here. Just get your tickets as soon as possible, since the venue tends to sell out due to its small size.