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The Bridge Rock the Park

Aug 10, 2011 03:42PM ● By Anonymous
Since announcing their ultimate ending as a group on this year’s upcoming Thanksgiving eve (culminating with what promises to be an emotional gig at Rams Head Live), the group has been playing their hearts out for appreciative fans all over the Baltimore area and beyond.

This particular show was the latest installment of Towson University’s 89.7 WTMD Radio First Thursday Concert in the Park events, and by far their most attended. With affordable beers for sale from Brewer’s Art and excellent Greek food accompanying the free music, onlookers packed the park’s inner area, surrounding streets, and front stoop covered sidewalks.

The crowd’s interesting blend of people- from families, to young professionals- or those who just happened to be walking by and notice the event, gave it a very open and inviting atmosphere. This friendly balance would prove a great environment for each of the evening’s acts, most notably The Bridge. Defining the group’s music is not an easy task. Many of their songs have an accessible quality, sometimes blending genres frequently.

Though ominous clouds loomed threateningly for much of the evening, the rain held off and a refreshing breeze gave the packed park a sense of relief.

Kicking off the evening, New Jersey/New York acoustic songstress Nicole Atkins and her band gave the already burgeoning crowd some great after work relaxation music. Mixing charisma as a singer/songwriter and the ability to blend fairly seamlessly with a talented backing group, Atkins’ set proved to be a great low key warm up for what was to follow. Gritty Nashville rockers The Dirty Guv’nahs would follow Atkins with a much more spirited, loud set. Though the group makes use of classic rock influence (their set included a stellar, high energy cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Loving Cup”), there is a freshness to their dynamic that is not dissimilar to the garage revival bands that gained popularity in the early 2000’s (The White Stripes, The Strokes).

The Guv’nah’s sound; cutting edge, yet derivative of roots rock and roll, is in some ways indicative of the lively rock scene in Nashville today. Though overshadowed by the town’s long time love affair with the country genre, Nashville’s streets and bars are packed with amazing young rock and roll bands looking to make a name for themselves. On this particular evening, one of these young groups seemed to make a thoroughly positive impression on many Baltimorean music fans.

As it became apparent that the rain clouds would not spoil the evening’s fun, The Bridge took the stage with a fury. The set’s highlights were mostly off of their most recent and aptly titled album National Bohemian, and included the lilting, playful “Geraldine” and house rocking “Rosie”. Vocalist and guitarist Cris Jacobs has a way of bending and ripping out solos from his Fender Telecaster that is both unique and highly spirited. Always firing on all cylinders and always feeding off of the energy of the crowd, The Bridge are, and for ten years have been Baltimore’s little band that could.

When word came down from the group recently that they’d be packing it in, citing financial reasons, the city’s music scene was dealt an incredible blow. For legions of fans who appreciated the band’s decade of playing countless gigs and always displaying a firm commitment to the Baltimore area, their demise represented a deficiency in the town’s music scene. For a group of talented, dedicated musicians to release several albums worth of quality material, following up with both national tours (often filled with appearances at large festivals) and dozens of hometown shows, only to run into the ground, something appears to be wrong.

Regardless of the cause, the impending departure of the band has instilled in them a renewed fervor and a genuine wish to give back to those who have supported them for the last ten years. Their set in the park had a special feel to it. Not quite the feel of a final goodbye or a plea to stay; instead more of a calm before the emotional storm of their finale.