It was a fun yet bittersweet end of an era in the Baltimore music scene Monday night when 98 Rock on-air personality Matt Davis hosted the final Noise In The Basement show at The Ottobar. Bands and fans came out and packed the place to thank Matt for all he has done to support local music over the years and wish him well. Earlier this week Matt announced he is resigning and moving on to other ventures, Hypnotism to be exact. After the performances he graciously agreed to an interview.
Matt Davis first started working at 98 Rock in 1996, but has been involved in Baltimore’s music community since he was young. From playing in bands and promoting them to writing in music magazines, Davis’ influence has been a constant pressence. When speaking about developing Noise In The Basement shows he said, “I was playing these bands on the radio. It was just a natural step for me to be able to showcase the bands live that I was playing on my radio show.” He went on to say, “According to the GM at 98 Rock, it sounds like at least the radio show will continue once a new host is identified.
98 Rock’s Noise in the Basement has been a cherished outlet for aspiring Baltimore musicians. Over the years the program has been held at Bourbon Street, the Baltimore Sound Stage and eventually found its home at The Ottobar. Held every Monday night, the concerts offer a sampling from a wide variety of music genres from week to week. Participating bands were interviewed and received airplay on Davis’ Sunday night radio show and followed up with a live performance at the club Monday night. Acts from Halestorm to J. Roddy Walston and the Business got their start playing on Noise In The Basement.
When asked about all the Baltimore bands he has worked with over the years Matt said, “This probably sounds like a politician’s answer, but I am very sincere when I tell you that you could come out to any ‘NITB’, or any local show for that matter, and find a band who is talented enough and deserving of commercial success. I wish more people realized how talented our bands are.”
Matt explained how his interest with Hypnotism began when he was a child. While his friends were into sports, he preferred music and reading books about Psychology and the mind. Davis explained the process of hypnotizing someone, “It’s really a process that each person allows to happen within themselves. A Hypnotist is really a guide. If a person is willing, they follow my instructions and they begin to take control of a very powerful part of their own mind that we call the subconscious mind.” He continued, “The subconscious mind is where all of your memories and creativity are found, and it is also completely uncritical. This allows us to give helpful suggestions that might be otherwise intercepted or rejected by the conscious mind as long as the suggestions do not violate the subject’s personal moral code.”
Davis said he studied Hypnotism for many years and has been performing professionally for the past ten. Recently a rare opportunity by a legend in the Hypnosis community was offered to him. Matt was selected for an exclusive mentorship and will be performing shows under his mentor’s talent agency. He will be on the road for the next ten months at engagements for private organizations. Davis plans to return to the Baltimore area sometime in May or June of next year to promote public shows. For more information check out his website here.
As far as Monday night and the last Noise In The Basement goes, it was fantastic. The Ottobar was full of friends and other local bands all coming out to support one another. Sons of the Radio from Laurel, MD, was the first band to take the stage and got the night off to a great start. Their guitar player’s hard rhythmic rocking really anchored the songs. They will be playing at Looney’s in College Park and Coconut Joe’s in Edgewater this August if you’d like to check them out. For more information go to the Sons of the Radio Facebook page here.
Fatally Yours, who have been described as one of the best kept secrets in Baltimore, were on next. Frontman Keith Thompson’s passionate vocals worked perfectly for their dark and edgy songs. Drummer Justin Posner was excellent. For free downloads of their songs “Horror Fashion” and “A Stabbing Friend” visit the Fatally Yours website here.
According to Red Line Tragedy, this Noise In The Basement gig was their first time playing live together, which is pretty remarkable. For some reason it was a bit hard to hear the vocals, but the band rocked hard. Guitar player Jason Fubler’s personality really shines through on stage. If you would like to catch a live performance, the band will be playing at Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge in Annapolis on Aug 20 and back at The Ottobar on September 12.
Violence in Vanity’s guitar player/keyboardist is one of the most animated band members to ever take the stage and very entertaining. This band has a hard, gritty sound and will be playing at The Pinch in Washington, DC, Friday, July 31 if you’d like a chance to see them for yourself. You can listen to their song “Carry On” on the Violence In Vanity Facebook page here.
The big draw of the night was Loving the Lie. The crowd was chanting “L.I.L!” as the band stepped on stage. This one-time-only special reunion performance was the first time the band has played together in two years. One of the first bands to ever play Noise In The Basement, Loving The Lie decided to join together to be part of the last show and to give thanks to Matt Davis for giving them their first big break all those years ago.
Fans were visibly overcome with emotion, some breaking into tears, as Loving the Lie began to play their first song. It is too bad the band is done for now because they sounded real good and were entertaining to watch. The bass player is a trip! Tears began to flow in the audience once again as the guys played their final song “Lost in Transition.” Everyone in The Ottobar was singing along. It was hard to tell who was having a better time, the band or the crowd. According to frontman Kevin Hock, if the people really want another Loving the Lie event in the future, it could happen. For now he and bassist Jim Matusky are working on a project together.
Q Latina was the final band of the night. They have quite the stage presence. Though fun to watch, they don’t need the gimmicky costumes. Sure it is their shtick, but it can distract from the music at times and make it hard to take them seriously. Once you get past the imagery you notice this band can play some really hard, funky songs.