Thursday, July 24, 2008

Homecoming Kings: The Bridge Returns to Baltimore

Thank you to Brian for submitting this recap of the first night of The Bridge's annual summer residency at Baltimore's 8x10 Club.

The Bridge has certainly come a long way in its quest to spread its music ideology and show fans that they're in no way slowing down. If you look at the history of this young band, it is quite amazing too see how far they progressed in such a short period of time. I myself am fortunate to have known 3 of the band members for a long time. I first met Cris Jacobs (guitar/vocals) at the age of four; we later graduated high school together. For a guy who didn’t start playing guitar until the 11th grade, it’s incredible to see how amazing he is as a musician. I also went to high school with Kenny Liner (mandolin/beatbox) and we have spent much time hanging out and jamming together on several occasions. Dave Markowitz (bass/vocals) and I played together in the band Black-Eyed Susan before he made the switch to bass and served as BES’s rhythm guitarist (yours truly played the bass). So, I guess I'm somewhat lucky to have had more of an insider's perspective in the development of The Bridge. I can remember the first jam sessions involving Cris and Kenny at friends’ apartments in college where we would sit up until 4am just pickin’ on the acoustics. After months of these late night jams, they finally decided to plug in and fill in the bass and drums and perform at local spots in Baltimore and surrounding areas. That was really the birth of the band. The rest is history.

Last night, The Bridge was back in Charm City (Baltimore for those in the dark), at their favorite home-field venue, The 8X10. This was the first of their six-week Wednesday night residency that the band has booked every July and August for the last few summers. Anyone that lives on the east coast knows that last night we got pounded by mother nature with dumping rain that forced me to sit in my car for 20 minutes before getting out and walking to the venue. Well, the rain did not prevent anyone from showing up. When I arrived at the club in Baltimore’s trendy Federal Hill neighborhood, there was a sign on the door that read, “The show is sold out, we have no more tickets. No, not even just one.” I was glad I purchased my ticket over the phone just 6 hours prior.

I strolled into the venue at around 9:30pm expecting to see lots of familiar faces as I usually do at Bridge shows. Their fan base started as close friends within our circle as most bands’ fan bases usually do. As I made my way around, I found something somewhat odd. I didn’t really recognize anyone. I was thinking to myself, “who are these people”? Occasionally I would catch a familiar face or run into a friend, but the majority of the crowd was new to me. I began to realize something about The Bridge. Their fans are no longer just old friends and family that have supported the band over the last few years. Rather, The Bridge has established themselves as one of the hottest Mid-Atlantic bands to hit the "jamband" music scene. Coming off their solid performance at All Good with guest Mike Gordon, The Bridge is attracting folks from all over. The age range of their fans is just as diverse. There were kids fresh out of senior week and older folks who are probably retired. I think this is a sign that the band has exploded and has nothing but great things ahead. Today, they are heading to Switzerland to play a music festival before heading back to the States for a tour that runs through mid-October. Throw in the 6 shows where they will open for Mike Gordon, it's safe to say their future looks bright.

The show itself last night was tight and groovin’. This band has so much energy and the connection between the six guys on stage molds together better than most bands do today. You would think that they have been playing together for 20 years. The crowd welcomed the band with a heartfelt cheer which almost felt years in the making. A sit-in performance by Mookie Siegel of the David Nelson Band on the keys, made the night that much more memorable.

For anyone who has not seen this band, definitely make it a priority to hit up one of their shows when they are in your area. I guarantee you will walk away having experienced a great performance full of solid playing, catchy tunes and leave you begging for more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great read! Be sure to check out The Permilla Project opening the show this week as they will be joined by Patrick for their entire set as well as Cris and Kenny on a few jams. Should be epic!