Baltimore Venue Highlight: The 8×10

February 25, 2010

The 8×10 has been a cornerstone for Baltimore music for over thirty years.  The venue has been through three different names and different owners, but the 8×10 is here to stay.  It needs to stay .

The 8×10, located in bustling Federal Hill, Md., hosts live music six to seven nights a week.  The 8×10 brings in an eclectic mix of national and regional acts, including Galactic, The Bridge, Tea Leaf Green and much more.

Brian Shupe and Abigail Janssens have owned the 8×10 for almost  five years.  Shupe and Janssens are able to use their knowledge of music and their experience in the music industry to keep their venue going, and to bring people into their club night after night. Shupe lives for the music and has been living the dream ever since he and his wife bought the venue.

“Owning the 8×10 is the most challenging thing I have ever done, but I enjoy it immensely and I love waking up every day to go to work and dealing with new bands,” Shupe said.  “It catches up to you after awhile, but when you come down and see the crowd pumping and the lights flashing and the music happening, it’s just a reminder of what you’re in it for.  Those are the moments that carry you through.”

The 8×10 is not the biggest club in Baltimore, but its intimacy and friendly vibes from the employees make up for it, and that shows day in and day out.  The 8×10 also has the best sounding room in Baltimore, and when people come to their club, it is for the music, and Shupe likes it that way.

“I would like to think that the 8×10 has an extremely attentive and knowledgeable audience,” Shupe said.  “When people come to the 8×10, they’re not coming here to get drunk or because it’s the close walk from their dorm room.  They’re coming here for the music.  99 percent of the people that come here aren’t talking and socializing, but they are dancing to the music.”

The 8×10 brings in many national acts, but they also play a major role in helping the local music scene.  Many local bands and musicians have gotten their start from playing at the 8×10.

The 8×10 offers open mic nights once a week and they also sponsor a unique program, “5 Bands for 5 Bucks” every Tuesday night.  Depending on how the bands do, Shupe and Janssens work to get the bands better shows on better nights, and the bands work their way up the ladder so hopefully in the future, they can be headlining their club.

The 8×10 plays an important role in Baltimore by bringing in acts that people want to see, and by developing young local bands by giving them a stage to play on.  The 8×10 is an essential part of the Baltimore music scene, and the impacts the venue has had on music are immense.