its inaugural year, the Light City Baltimore festival made a splash musically, featuring performances by local party-starters like Dan Deacon and TT the Artist, along with national names including Robert DeLong and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Besides booking recognizable acts, festival organizers looked to offer a wide palette of genres and moods, from hip-hop and electronic dance music to funk-rock and classical. This year’s festival — beginning Friday and running through April 8 throughout the Inner Harbor — aims to do the same.
With more than 30 scheduled artists spread across nine nights, it’ll be tough to see them all. With that in mind, here are our picks of acts not to miss.
Started by Towson University alums Dan Ryan and Greg Wellham in 2013, this Baltimore indie-rock quintet has continued to refine and polish its danceable, guitar-driven pop tracks through touring and a 2015 album, “Again Weekend.” Along the way, they’ve added some choreographed dance moves to their live show. But it’s the tightly constructed writing — heard most recently on the December single “Artificial Sin” — that shines most.
Dirty Dozen Brass Band (9:30-11 p.m. Friday, Light Up the Night Concert & Performance Stage, Pratt and Light streets)
This year marks the 40th anniversary of this New Orleans funk institution, but this seven-piece band still brings a fresh, brimming energy brought to the stage each night. Recently seen and heard on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series, the group’s celebratory combination of saxophones, trumpet, guitar, drums and a sousaphone (think a tuba directing its sound forward) sounds as joyous as ever. One of the best functions of a festival is the coming together of people, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band provides an ideal soundtrack for that.