Live music at Pot Belly off Dobbin Road

Written by Jessie Newburn, Guest writer

PotBellylogoI have a bit of a bias about and against Pot Belly in Columbia: my bias is that it occupies the space of my once-favorite hangout spot in Columbia, a place simply and often called Dobbin Starbucks. Yes, there is still a Dobbin Starbucks; it’s just across the street in a different space and with, as it were, a different vibe.

So, it was with a bit of prejudice that I agreed to meet a friend for lunch at Pot Belly. When I arrived around 1 p.m., the place was packed and I counted myself lucky to get not just a spot, but a great place with bright afternoon sun shining in. Even better, the table was very close to an acoustic guitar player/singer (Ryan Etherton). I didn’t know Pot Belly had live music; that was a surprise.

For me, everything about this young man and his singing was perfect and perfect to the space. I think that often bands and musicians don’t understand how to modulate their performance into the space (physical structure, energetic vibe and so on), yet listening to this particular musician was a Goldilocks-like experience for me.

Apparently, Pot Belly has live music most every day around lunch. The singers and their schedules vary, e.g. you might find one playing 11:30 am – 1:30 pm one day and another playing from 1:00 – 3:00 pm the next. Though I think you can count on a lunchtime “concert” most weekdays.

While Pot Belly in Columbia will never be Dobbin Starbucks with its amazing mix of technologists, unofficial coworkers, and business and community leaders, the vibe, the music and the not-bad sandwich served all won me over and my pre-judices are now put aside and replaced with a good experience.

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Core Scores at Nottingham’s

Core, NottinghamsWhen critics like things you get two thumbs up. But when it comes to liking local rock bands, my standard issue is two fingers, pinky and index, accompanied by a silent scream.

I recently got out to Nottingham’s to see what all the hubbub over CORE was about. I found a megamix of it-goes-to-eleven punch with adept vocals and believable renditions of popular modern covers with some classic tunes mixed all up in there. High energy is on the docket when you get through the door to see Core.

So you’re going to hear the likes of Chevelle, Tool, Godsmack, Alice in Chains, Billy Idol and some Seven Nation Army thrown in like a bone for all us M&T Bank goers. My guess was that their influences also include Metallica and Slipknot. And I’m right; their FB Page confirms. Throw ‘em a like. Like please. Thanks.

Nottingham’s (a “distinctive tavern”) is a great place for live music. They are one of the larger live music venues in Howard County and yet you gotta look hard to find them off a parking lot behind those buildings on Stanford Rd in Columbia.

Core’s next big gig is at House of Rock on Jan 26.

Core is:
Steve Shaffer: Guitar and Vocals
Dominic Cappelletti: Guitar and Vocals
Jeff Caudle: Bass and Vocals
Chris Lembach: Drums

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Meridian One: Rock With A Smile

Meridian One Greene Turtle ColumbiaFun pop rock was on the menu at the Greene Turtle in Columbia this past Friday night. Baltimore-based Meridian One cooked up a dish and delivered it with a smile. Covering songs by popular bands like the Beatles, U2, Nickelback, Pearl Jam, and Live, Meridian One tweeks out their tunes with a winsome touch and the crowd clearly digs ‘em. Good job, boys.

Meridian One Black and WhiteMeridian One is:
Robb Wise – Vocals & Guitar
Jeff Daro – Guitar
Ant Barrett – Bass Guitar
Kevin Brady – Drums

Find out more at their website. Like their FB PageKeep live music alive in Howard County by spending money at venues that host it. Pretty basic. Find the Greene Turtle here.

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Organic Acoustic at Great Sage in Clarksville

Great Sage Organic Green Cuisine, Live Local Music in Clarksville, Howard CountyI love causes. Especially if supporting my conscientious scruples means getting tasty cuisine and great live local hometown tunes. I know my green will support green when I spend it at Great Sage in Clarksville. I’ll be supporting live local music in Howard County and the emerging art of organic green cuisine.

But let’s not send an earthy-only vibe here. With a Zagat score of 24 and their “ever evolving” menu, you may get just a small glimpse of something bigger. Sage is both mint and wisdom in this mashup of menu and music.

Every Thursday night, Great Sage makes a great stage for live local music. Booking mostly original solo/acoustic singer/songwriters, Great Sage offers a unique forum to showcase artists who find it difficult to get gigs playing their originals in this mostly-covers-only live music town.

This Thursday, I enjoyed Noah Gittel. I’d coin his life-out-loud lyrics “abductive.” They have that snatch-you-and-take-you-there quality. I’d say Noah’s songs are contemplative, romantic, escapist (in a positive way), and delivered up with organic and homey spruce-top acoustic tones. Lyrics like “let us live together on mars” cause thoughts of love, escape, and bag-packing fantasy. We all need to get away once in awhile. Even if it’s only in our heads.

Looking forward, the Great Sage stage lineup is:

  • December 13th Zack Lowe — Folk/Acoustic
  • December 20th DA DUO — Acoustic/Guitar/Original/Covers
  • December 27th Harris Amster and Friends — Americana/Folk/Rock

Like the Great Sage page! And keep on liking the new HOCOLive FB page too.

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Hump Night Mayhem Starts at 8:30 Tonight is all about strengthening the live music community ’round here. So we’ve partnered with Second Chance Saloon in Columbia and we’re hosting open mic every Wednesday night (8:30-close). It’s a warm room and the vibe is great.

Be a part of it! We’re saturating social media channels and getting intentional about music community. Make Wednesday night at Second Chance the place to be. Get exposure. Be the next story on Please take a few moments to Like HOCOLive and Second Chance Saloon on Facebook. See you there. And bring your crazy friends.

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Live Tones at T-Bonz

T-Bonz Grille & TaphouseBe careful, you could miss it. Tucked in the back where Montgomery (Rt 103) and Waterloo Road meet is T-Bonz Grille & Taphouse. Boasting great steaks, seafood, and craft beers (40 beers on tap), T-Bonz also books live music. We got out to see the three-piece band I’m Just Sayin’ Saturday night (sorry, we can’t find a website). They had a decidedly 70s classic blues-rock vibe that could be summed up in three words: Lay Down Sally. A tight rhythm section held down the fort complemented by good vocal harmonies and solid guitar.

T-bonz is a backside-of-a-storefront gem that I plan on getting to know better. They offer live entertainment Friday and Saturday nights and there are things going on all week long. Take a peek at their calendar. Be sure to like them on Facebook. And as always, like HOCOLive too.    

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Funk and Fuse the Free World with FUJANk

I recently found a mega-eclectic mix of jazz, funk, fusion, reggae, blues and R&B. FUJANk brings it — a blend of originals, covers and standards that fuse, funk, and rock the free world. Here’s some raw video footage of FUJANk at Second Chance Saloon in Columbia.

FUJANk is: Kevin “Fun-K” Anderson – guitar/vocals, Carl “Tuna” Pfanstiehl – bass/vocals, and Dan “genius” Woodard – drums/vocals.

 Love Live Music in Howard County? Please like HOCOLive on Facebook.

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The Golden Guns Smoke Sonomas

Always good to see live music drawing good numbers on a Saturday night at Sonoma’s in Columbia. The Golden Guns are smoking guns. Hometown youngins from Ellicott City made the night at Sonomas with tight drums, guitar slinging, solid keys and sleek vocal talent that seems to exceed their years. Here’s a little raw video.

The Golden Guns band profile can be found here. They accurately describe their influences as Soul, Blues, Funk, R&B, Jam, Electronic, Reggae, Ska, Jazz, Classical etc. They manage to wrangle that eclectic variety into a masterful mashup. Must see.

The Guns are:
Vocals: Vincent Owens
Drums/Guitar: Bobby Jones
Guitar/Bass: Mike Chappell
Keys/Percussion: Shawn Sokoloski

Remember: “Liking” is loving the live music scene in Howard County! And sharing is most definitely caring. Please like HOCOLive on Facebook.

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Greene Turtle on Black Friday

They’re so new that they’re still without a website. But Honey Extractor does have a spankin’ new FB page and you can be among the first to like it. They’ve been together about a month now and towed a decent following along to the Greene Turtle in Columbia Friday night.

Some of the highlights of the night included Tracy Chapman’s classic ‘97 release, Give Me One Reason, and I especially liked their version of Kris Kristofferson’s Me and Bobby McGee which was hyper-popularized by Janis Joplin’s chart-topping rendition in 1970.

Honey Extractor did relatively newer songs too like Lenny Kravitz’ Fly Away. But if you ask me the band glistens best when doing roots-rock of the bluesy sort. And the whole thing especially gets underway when the instruments trim back and allow front girl Alexis Holzer’s vocals slide to the front of the mix.

I think we’ll be seeing more of them around in the coming months. So like ‘em, but more importantly, get out and support them and the rest of the HOCO live music scene on a regular basis, ‘kay?

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Thanksgiving Eve with The Boozehounds

Thanksgiving Eve is one of the biggest nights of the year for clubs and pubs. It was on my schedule to see the Boozehounds so it was off to Bare Bones for some pre-thanksgiving hoconightscenery.

Nothing sentimental or heavy. No sappy songs. The Boozehounds are about three words: party rock covers. They bring back that feel of those nostalgic days when the sentiment was “sure, we love music, but let‘s not obscure this thing — we’re here for the party.”

If you ask what their influences are you can almost see the mist in their eyes when they say, “Captain Morgan, Vodka, Redbull, Budweiser, hot chicks and really good hot wings.”

A “boozehound” is a person who drinks alcohol regularly and heavily. Or if you prefer the urban dictionary: “a person known for their uncommonly large alcohol consumption and the ability to function thereafter.” I’d probably still be that guy if I didn’t finally get tired of doing the aftermath.

The average age that came to see the Boozehounds from my subjective and non-scientific observation was 40-50. There were obvious exceptions.

Boozehounds covers include an eclectic rock mix of Billy Joel, Metallica, Tom Petty, Alice in Chains and Journey. If you like raw party rock and classic rock favorites then an evening with The Boozehounds is for you. You can like their Facebook page here.

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