Monday, November 22, 2010

open mic nights

I've been on the hunt for some local open mic gigs. I love to hear and watch live music and in particular, small intimate venues like clubs and pubs where you can hear ordinary folks knocking out their stuff. It's a bit rough around the edges but that's what makes it real and exciting, unlike the formularised, glossy crap we get on X-Factor. I have another motive too. As a purely 'play-at-home' musician, I'd love to be able to get up at one of these sessions and show the folks some cigar box guitar playing. So I'm looking for a CBG-friendly gig. So far I've been to two sessions in my home town. Last Sunday was an acoustic night. Consisted mostly of middle aged people playing a mix of folky stuff, some good, some not so good. The atmosphere was friendly and everyone listened attentively to the performers but it lacked a bit of energy. Not exactly my cup of tea musically but there were a few outstanding numbers. A Glaswegian guy who did a reggae version of Ian Drury's 'Clever Trevor' and sounded more like Alex Harvey was great. A guy from Bradford did two hilarious songs he'd written himself. One about goths and the other about road gritting in Britain. A silver haired guy did a nice version of Leonard Cohen's 'Sisters of Mercy' accompanying himself on keyboard. These acts alone made it worth turning out on a cold November night

Last night was open mic in another local pub. A complete contrast to the last gig. It was full of young folks and very nosiy and lively. Everyone I saw played guitar and sang. I enjoyed the night but was disappointed that so many people were stood around chatting and laughing loudly whilst the performers were doing their thing. Obviously, for them it was just a place to go for a drink and a chat and have some light entertainment. They were not particularly interested in it though. I was impressed by the confidence these young performers had. Wish I had half as much. The highlight of the night was a hippy-looking guy who did some of his own songs about illegal substances and vegetables. The chorus to one song was 'I can get by with a chai and a chillum, a chillum and a chai will get me by'. He went down a storm and had everyone applauding for more.

So far, if I could mix the two gigs together in a pot and tip them out again, we might have a good balance. So the search continues. Hoping to find something a little more bluesy perhaps. I'll keep you posted but in the meantime, get out and find some of these small gigs in your own area. Might not be completely to your taste but almost guaranteed to turn up a few good acts and it beats sitting in front of the tv watching X-Factor or I'm a Celebrity.

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