The venue may be doomed to entertain thirsty locals more interested in taking shots than sitting in a low-key music venue to check out some covers.
Tin Roof (Lindsay Vanasdalan / June 25, 2014)
32 Market Place, (443) 873-8137, tinroofbars.com
Brightly colored chairs populate the interior of Tin Roof, the new music venue in Power Plant Live. Depending on where we were standing, we couldn't tell if we were inside of a bar for beachcombers or a throwback '50s diner. Either one appropriately conveys the laid-back communal vibe Tin Roof hopes to approximate. The stage itself can't be more than a foot off the floor, blurring the line between the dudes on stage covering, say, Counting Crows, and the bros in the crowd cheering them on.
Last Friday, a Nashville, Tennessee rock group called Ocean Street played covers of '90s alt-rock, which is the comfort-food feel-good music for most millennials, especially those who populate the Inner Harbor; even "Dark Side," one of their originals, recalled Hootie & the Blowfish. They seemed like the kind of guys you could easily grab a beer with, and this is exactly the kind of crowd and artist Tin Roof hopes to facilitate.
Jason and Elizabeth Sheer opened the first Tin Roof near Nashville's Music Row in 2002 and now have 13 locations, including the Baltimore one, which opened in May. The Sheers' goal for their chain, according to their website, is to create a place for musicians to hang out on and off the stage. But Baltimore's insular and Harbor-avoidant music scene ending up at the Tin Roof rather than Club Charles or The Crown seems unlikely. And Ocean Street's performance over the weekend, along with a glimpse of the other groups on the schedule ('80s tribute band Rubix Cube and a band called No Green JellyBeenz, described on Tin Roof's website as "4 dudes who wanna make you shake your dancin' pants!"), makes us think they want a more crowd-pleasing than difficult sort of musician milling about.
The venue may be doomed to entertain thirsty locals more interested in taking shots than sitting in a low-key music venue to check out some covers. And it's too bad that the kitchen closed at 11 on the night we were there (apparently, it usually closes at 1), because the "TennMex menu" would hit the spot later in the night. Still, despite being confined to foodless drinking, the crowd that did show up seemed to have a good time, treating the venue like any other bar: About 10 girls were dancing and those aforementioned bros (around three of them) were even standing on the tables, whooping and asking for an Ocean Street encore. If Tin Roof can convince the weekend warriors to down their shots here, persuade the music aficionados to look past the Power Plant stigma, and book more engaging (and at least some Baltimore-centric) bands, this place might just work.