Oh man. What a fun night! Since it was my first time there, I got to go up first. Ugh. I was nervous. Alone, no band. That’s how I did it for years, but it still makes me nervous. Don’t get me wrong, I get nervous with the band too, but we have each other.
When I was traveling and playing solo a lot, there were always open mics on the schedule between shows. I love them. They are their own beast. Less pressure in some ways, you don’t have to carry the whole night. And more pressure because you usually get 2 or 3 songs at most. No time to warm up, just get up, do your thing and get off.
There are a lot of bad open mics out there, but if you set your radar right, you get to find ones like The Towne Crier in Pawling, NY. A well run evening with a gracious host, staff that is friendly and a good room with the right gear and someone to run it properly. The Towne Crier even has a ‘green room’ for the players, that is above and beyond. It’s actually the main room of the venue, but you can tune up, store your gear and even do a little practicing beforehand. The Towne Crier is moving to Beacon, NY and is set to open this spring. They are going to be a welcome addition.
There are other gems out there and they have been in the game a long time. Solid venues that have open mic nights aren’t doing it just to fill a night of the week. They usually attract good talent. In the Atlanta area, Eddie’s Attic was the place. (Eddie Owens has moved to a new room but the song remains the same.) I remember one night, a guy gets up there, didn’t recognize the name, and it was none other than Ellis Paul under a fake name. That’s the kind of nights that can happen. You never know who you might get to hear or talk to.
I think I just might do an open mic tour…
played: Who U R (extended version), Overlap (ani difranco)