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Monday, September 15, 2014

An open letter to Sarah and Guy Werner of Metro Gallery

This friday we are playing at Metro Gallery for our single release show. I, Craig, just wanted to take a moment to say a few words about it.

This might be our 15th show at Metro Gallery--I've lost count and Google Calendar won't let me search that far back. I think I have the flyers on a hard drive around here somewhere, but it would take far too long to comb through them to get a silly number that doesn't mean anything. There are things that are more important than quantification.

The first time we played there was one of our first shows back in 2008 (I think?). There was no stage, only a few carpets, a couple monitors & PA speakers, and several mic stands. Sarah Werner, the owner, was selling a few types of beer from behind a curtain in the back and I think Guy (Werner) was running sound. We played with some bands that I don't even remember the names of who have long since evaporated from the Baltimore scene.

We probably played okay. It probably sounded fine--the other bands sounded good through the PA so I can only assume we did. One of my friends said we sounded like Jimmie's Chicken Shack, which I took as a compliment. And most importantly, Sarah and Guy really liked us. They liked my stage banter and our music. Sarah paid all the bands fairly and without any hassle. There were no looks that said, "I'm paying you but I really wish you'd brought more people out."

We've never gotten that from her, even when I personally thought we deserved it.

The venue held dozens of shows between the first time we played there and when we asked to have our first CD release show there. I can't remember how many times we played there in that period, but I think we played at least once. In that time a stage was built and a full bar was put up. When we asked to play our CD release show, Sarah immediately said yes.

Guy graciously offered to record the show and make a video for us. My good friend Scott Siskind (Vinny Vegas) made a flyer for the show. One of my favorite local bands, Deleted Scenes, agreed to play it. We had one of the biggest turn outs we've ever had, and at the time, it was the biggest grossing night for the bar (we drank all the Patron in the place). My mom even came out.

It was a huge success, and it was a no-brainer that we should have our 2nd release show there a couple years later. And our 3rd, a couple years after that. Not to mention all the shows in between. They have asked us to support national acts (Spacehog, The Whigs) which means so much to us. Even if a show isn't as successful as some of our other shows, they still want to have us back.

Though sometimes I question whether having all our Baltimore release shows at the same venue is a good idea or not, one thing always gives me my answer. Sarah is personally our favorite venue owner in the city, and there is nothing better than someone who has built, from the ground up, the absolute best venue in Baltimore (for all genres, national and local). I think there are more implications of the amazing things that Sarah, Guy, and Metro Gallery have done for the music scene in Baltimore, but I'm not feeling loquacious enough to write them out. (And that's not to mention the dozens of amazing visual artists she has had through the years). Anyway, I think it's pretty self explanatory.

We are excited, eternally grateful, and very proud to be having our latest release show at the Best Music Venue in Baltimore and want to thank Sarah and Guy Werner (and Adam Savage, who now books many of the shows there and is an all-around awesome dude) for everything they've done for us.

Now, in 2014, the Metro Gallery is still growing. Thankfully, I am not. There is a brand new stage that is a few feet taller than the old one, and an awesome new paint job--if I was any taller I'd probably hit my head on one of the ceiling beams.

I can't wait to loom over people and make jokes on Friday. Oh, and I guess sing a few songs.