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 bells..am I being paranoid..so 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'.
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 mics...at 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 sound...you 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.
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!