Open mic-The dark side.

Having lived in this small town for 10 years, I thought it was time to venture out and play locally, for free, just to see what was going on and maybe meet some nice people.A local pub had the obligatory "open mic-all welcome' sign up so I decided to go.Ever cautious, the first week I go as a punter to check out the scene-it was run by a very well known local musician called Ivor Problem (names have been changed to protect the guilty).It all seemed very inclusive,Ivor  seemed well friendly.I introduced myself and said what I did and he said sure come along next week.So I did- as I started up he put the mic up on the pa stupid loud but someone else hurriedly rectified it.I guessed he'd just made a mistake.well I launch into 3 songs-the punters are stopping drinking and standing open mouthed and its cheering all the way.I'm conscious of not stealing the show so when the crowd ask for more I tell them I dont wanna hog the time and ask if I should do one more-Ivor says one more.I do it and having played 4 short numbers thats that. Ivor goes on next and he plays his heart out-dont get me wrong this guy can play-he musta hit every note possible on that Strat.

                           He acts all friendly toward me but the very next week he rings last minute to tell me the open night is cancelled.I think uh oh..alarm I being the following week I turn up but again as a punter.Ivor is rockin out on his strat.I sit down with his crowd but I cant help but feel they seem a little awkward due to my arrival.Well, Ivor finishes playing, comes over to the table, sits down next to me, turns his chair 180, and leaves me looking at the back of his head!! no shit! I look around the table but they avoid my gaze or take sudden interest in their shoes.Sheesh-unbelievable.I drink my Guinness and pretend to not feel as awkward and embarrassed as I do.Well Ivor goes back on, inviting various others to sing/play with him and of course, at last, the penny drops..this particular open mic is only inclusive if you aren't as good as Ivor- this pub is Ivors Kingdom and he'll be damned if any else is gonna excite the crowd more than him.I finish up my pint, bid everyone fairwell and leave.

                      I'd hate for this post to put anyone off open mic-but when you see a sign saying 'open mic-all welcome', remember that sign might contain the unprinted suffix-'unless you're more exciting than the host'.


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  • I will go with what you say about Ivor - I used to go to an open mic - same sort of thing happened.


    These day's I run an open mic in Barnsley south yorkshire at the polish club on a thursday - I dont care who  you are or what you play - as long as you get up on stage and do something - the people that get up have more balls than you think!



  • Two minutes to get your sound right? That's way too long in my book...  you walk up to the mic. plug in your guitar and go, and no excuses.  I always take my own little amp, so I'm not reliant on the sound man, all I need is some vocal thru' the PA..or failing that I'll sing louder. I think my attitude is due to playing at loads of open mic. nights, and watching how other people handle it, then running 3 years of weekly, busy  open mic sessions.


    Two minutes is how long most of my songs are, and if you are on stage for longer than a few seconds before launching into it you've no doubt lost the crowd's attention. If you can't work with the bass player or drummer-  you HAVE to tell them..OK, so it's their gig, but they have to be the hosts and fit in with you as the performer. Unless people who run open mic. nights get told every so often how it's got to be, they will continue to f**k over guest performers. If I want a drummer, I'll call for one, but if he can't play with brushes when I ask for it, he doesn't get to play. You do have to have lot of confidence and balls to do this at someone else's open mic. but do it with degree of quiet humility and leave them asking for more is the way to do it.  

    yep...i can see you peeling the paint off of the walls anywhere...i think the main thing youre hitting on is EGO in general--i have jammed with dudes who wouldnt let me do anything--they just wanted to "blasterbate" all over their fret board to ensure that i knew they were the fuckin man...whatever--i never went back.

    i have been to some really great and some really shitty open one, the host/bass player INSISTED that i needed him to help me and my drummer, even though he had no idea what kind of music or songs i was about to play..---and he FUCKED up every song we did...we sounded like shit. But, "he was THE MAN"- pathetically desperate to maintain his hold on the situation, to make sure we saw his balls hanging out.

    another thing i hate about open mics is the have like two minutes to try and get a good vocal/guitar balance, and a lot of time, it turns out lame.

    keep rippin it up. olds.

    i know your pain, brotha.
  • There are few "open mic" venues in my locality since most of the Pubs have closed, though maybe one or two exist if i look hard enough.

    One i visited was an acoustic-only-no-drums in a tiny bar, mostly absolue beginners with one song but "air time" was fairly distributed.

    Another Pub i visited was Rock and Blues once a week... if there was no Football on the TV..., the same people used to turn up, ridiculously loud and one guy came every week with his Jimi Hendrix sound effects box, the "house" band played the same songs every week, but anyone was allowed to play once they'd chalked their name up!

    Another now- closed Pub had a great open mic scene, regular house band but any one ableto get up and play - once a Saxophonist turned up and joined the regulars in an amazing jam version of "Summertime", the best version i've ever heard!

  • cheers-yeah I've thought about trying elsewhere and I might just do that-I mean its not the only pub in town that does open mic.
    I've not actually played outside for years (apart from an open air festival last summer)-I used to busk in Liverpool and London back in the day but it was a long long time ago.Perhaps I'll give it a shot while the suns shining!
  • I LOVE your music H0ll0wbelly. I wish I was at the pub to watch your show. I encourage you to keep trying open mics, other places, see what works. You might try playing outside in the park, notice what happens. People might stop and listen. Maybe open mic places aren't really necessary for CBG performance.
  • well I wasn't on form that night-it was sweaty under that Darth helmet and my cloak kept catching on the bridge of my cbg.
  • i once played an open mic... everything was going very well, the crowed was receptive to my noise, girls were getting undressed, people kept bringing me drinks. you know the usual. then it happened. the door to the bar swung open and a cold wind blew in from the street. everyone was still. babies began to cry, animals ran for cover, a dark cloud rolled over and then he stepped in...

    darthfuckingvader, wow.

    we got totaly drunk, smashed up most of the gear in the place and just as it was getting really good...

    he breaks into a hollowbelly medley that was terrible. the bar tender actually vomited and the power went out. then it was dark...

    at least that's how i remember it
  • cheers bro.
  • Hollowbelly,

    If you're not making someone out there at least a little nervous then you're not doing it right.

    Keep rocking, brother.

  • well thanks for the invites! The difference between that host and the person that hosts this website is of course the mark of the man-one a weak,frightened individual, the other open, encouraging and generous.I'm not being creepy-I'm simply telling it like it is..can you imagine the other guy putting a countdown clock to my albums release on the front page of his website? !!!
    Unfortunately I was witness to another shocking display of, as Sleeper so rightly pointed out- pathetic egos again at a venue in town-although this time not directed at me..again names have been changed!- Jerry,a very well known guy who runs the blues scene around these parts-putting on shows and so on-also has his own band-lets call them the Scrapyard Devils.well this night they were playing so I thought I'd go watch, maybe say hi and see what was going down locally.It was in a hotel, seated for about 40 people.The Scrapyard Devils had invited a honkeytonk keyboard player along to share the bill.So Jerry's band played a tune or two (the usual strat/fender amp safe blah blah blues, albeit consumately played) then he'd say 'hey, you wanna do one?' and so the keyboard dude would do one and so it went.All was well until the keyboard guy does this number-boy he really ripped it up and the audience clapped-but uh oh-they clapped LOUDER than they had for the Scrapyard Devils.Guess what (I STILL cant believe he frickin did this to his guest) he jumped up and shouted across the stage "oh God you ALWAYS do that number!" effectively killing the audiences' rapturous applause-can you believe that??!!! I swear to God I was sat there like open mouthed-it was unbelievable-the keyboard guy just said "is something bothering you Jerry?" man he shoulda got up, crossed the stage and decked the c<>£. utterly breathtaking.Needless to say, I didnt bother introducing myself to that horrible jerk at all, nor will I EVER frequent one of his shows again.Apalling or what?! LOL.
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