The Bottom Floor Gets off the Ground

Hamilton has become a haven for musicians to showcase original music and poetry.

By Amelia Wood

It's getting colder, so Baltimore is moving indoors and hunkering down for months of sedentary solitude and couch potato marathons—or is it? No, Baltimoreans are heading out in droves to theaters, museums, and music venues to enjoy the wealth of visual and performance art we have here in Charm City! One new music series that is exciting original music lovers is The Bottom Floor Concert Series, held at St. John's United Methodist Church in Hamilton. The monthly series is growing, and its variety of music is expanding as well.

The first show of the series' sophomore season was a huge success, with Joanne Juskus and her band, Near Oblivion, shining brightly with their unique brand of "new folk," along with Baltimore siren Sahffi wowing the audience with her brilliant songwriting and emotive singing style. The Brian McQuade Trio, fresh from a new CD release, made their first appearance at St. John's to mucho applause.

The Bottom Floor Concert Series is a benefit project that donates a portion of its proceeds to a variety of charities. The first concert raised cash and awareness for the Penn North Neighborhood Center, helping those suffering from substance abuse through alternative treatments such as acupuncture.

Coming up on Saturday, October 19, The Bottom Floor hosts Baltimore rock icons, the mayfields. Says Dan Mollen of the Chesapeake Music Guide and gr8noise.com, “Baltimore would be well served with the Mayfields as their poster boys for the city’s live rock scene—straight-ahead, working man’s rock and roll replete with tight harmonies, groovy jams, and hooks as big as the Inner Harbor...The Mayfields deliver the funk the way a rock band should."

Brad Allen and Jase Schwartz will open the show, which begins at 8 pm. Doors open at 7:30. Tickets are $7 ($5 for students). A portion of the proceeds for this show will benefit the homeless, by request of the mayfields. The show lasts until around 10:30 pm and, as are all Bottom Floor concerts, is an alcohol- and smoke-free event.

On Saturday, October 26, host Mary Knott will present her first show, featuring Chris Toll (spoken word), Die Cheerleader Die (riot girl), The Tommy Tucker Band (rockabilly) and The Motor Morons (industrial garage).

Upcoming on Saturday, November 9, Joanne Juskus will host an "Ubervox Night"—the new travelling women's music concert series—featuring vocal powerhouse Verlette Simon, Alician Deeny, and Baltimore's own Sarah Bowman.

Hamilton has become a haven for musicians to showcase original music and poetry. Come hear what all the buzz is about! Call St. John's in Hamilton at 410-426-8177 for details and directions.

The Bottom Floor Concert Series is held at St. John’s United Methodist Church of Hamilton, 5315 Harford Road. Rev. Howard Nash is pastor.

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This story was published on October 2, 2002.