Announcement
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Thoughts on "Open Mic" nights...?

Collapse
X
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #31
    Around here, at least, live music venues are like unicorns. Everyone has heard of them but fewer have claimed to actually see one. Open mics had nothing to do with this. The places doing open mics, if made to pay for the talent (musicians) they would simply quit.

    In 1990, in the city where I live (pop. 65,000-ish) had 11 bars doing live music. Now, none. There are two bars doing open mics (both started about 3 years ago). In that same city, there was 3 concert type venues (couple hundred seats). Today we have one. In general, I believe, live music isn't what it used to be and drawing crowds large enough, just aren't there.

    As much as this pains me to say, music (it self) is becoming a rather irrelevant factor in challenging for entertainment dollars. The trend is towards the characters in the music industry, the music is secondary, imo. I keep seeing hope in young musicians, but without anywhere to play (and make a buck or two) the dead end drives them out of the industry.

    Now for the question at hand, how has karaoke/open mics affect this situation? Not one little bit. Look at it from someone at the beginning of their "careers". The places that pay, only hire top tier players for crap pay (lots of supply, very little demand). This only leaves things like open mics for them to play for people. The other value add to open mics is that it gives aging players an opportunity to relive their glory days. This keeps Uncle Bob from getting drunk and playing Fug songs at Christmas dinner. He now has a designated place to get drunk and irritate people.

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by SteinbergerHack View Post

      Yes, my problem is with the bars that ONLY do open mic nights and don't hire bands. If the open mic is a way to "audition" or just a mid-week throwaway, no problem. If it's the only thing they do and they are advertising it as "live music" (which this place is doing), then IMO it's not something I want to support.
      What's wrong with promoting Open Mic as "live music" if that's what it is?
      !

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by arf-boy View Post

        What's wrong with promoting Open Mic as "live music" if that's what it is?
        Thank you, arf, I share this view.

        Yes, it's no good for working musicians. But it IS home-grown music.

        If bar owners make a profit off it, so what? They have a right to do what they need to do to keep the lights on.
        I not only resent the allegation, I resent the alligator!

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by arf-boy View Post

          What's wrong with promoting Open Mic as "live music" if that's what it is?
          Much of what shows up at open mic nights bears little resemblance to music....and therein lies the point of the OP. If you want that sort of living room jam session in a bar, that's fine, but asking a paid player to come in for free is just rude, IMO.

          If you have a friend who is a plumber, do you ask him to spend his weekend re-plumbing your bathroom for free? How would you expect him to feel about that? Do you expect your lawyer buddy to handle your traffic ticket at no charge "just for fun"?
          Last edited by SteinbergerHack; 01-10-2019, 07:42 AM.
          Lease this space!

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by SteinbergerHack View Post

            Much of what shows up at open mic nights bears little resemblance to music.
            Which of my performances did you see?

            I not only resent the allegation, I resent the alligator!

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by arf-boy View Post

              What's wrong with promoting Open Mic as "live music" if that's what it is?
              To clarify, the problem is that open mics are generally a disorganized mess, and not a serious, polished performance We have a generatiom of kids who have never seen a really good serious band in a bar or at a dance club - and they now think that a half-assed jam session or unrehearsed blues trio in the corner is the definitive "live music"
              Lease this space!

              Comment


              • #37
                This winter, I'm guest-host of a long-running Open Mic in the town next door. The regular host of 25-plus years is away for the winter. Open mic on Thursday is the only music at this bar-restaurant, besides occasional jazz at Sunday brunch.

                It's a fun gig for me: Set up a small PA, introduce the acts, stage-manage to keep on schedule and play the unfilled slots. I get decent pay, plus free food and drink. Performers get a discount on meals. Acts are mostly solo but some duos or trios come by -- and occasionally larger groups. I have played in bands for 20 years but never full-time; I call myself a performing amateur musician.

                The regular host has done some smart things. Emceeing the show, for one; that way, the audience knows who everyone is -- even the shoe-gazers. Anyone who wants to join a performer must have that performer's permission (no harmonica guy leaping on stage with his pocket menace). Sign-up can be done all week by calling the venue, where the list is on a clipboard next to the phone. We keep to the schedule, so everybody gets 20 minutes and there's no favoritism for the host's buddies. That eliminates most of the complaints performers have about poorly-run events. (There's one near me where the host apparently insists on sitting in with everyone; I've toyed with the idea of going there with a set of very-hard-to-follow songs.)

                This event is an established part of the town's musical culture. Over time, other open mics have come and gone. The town has a small brewery that does regular acoustic pub jams and occaisional electric bands, a large restaurant-brewery that does electric music on Thursdays and on the deck Sundays when the weather is good. There's a converted church that's a regular weekend-night music venue and an 500-seat theater that has shows occasionally.

                Yes, occasionally an act is excruciating. But the level of musicianship is usually pretty good, some of the regulars are willing to combine forces for imprompu gems and there's a nice vibe. When I'm not guest host, I stop in once a month or so to put myself in front of an audience, try some new material or play a different instrument -- bouzouki, for instance.

                (Edit: regularly playing at this open mic has made me a better player. Guest-hosting it has made me a better entertainer.)
                Last edited by arf-boy; 01-10-2019, 08:43 AM.
                !

                Comment


                • #38
                  After retiring, I had thought about writing a book about "the people's music": jams, open mics, festival campfire jams and karaoke. I was planning to do some road trips around the country, possibly meeting some of the folks from this place. Then 2008 happened and my plans changed.

                  I have a friend whose band hosts a weekly jam, and it's helped keep him afloat for quite some time. Of course, that's not an open mic, which is organized around time slots or number of songs. As far as open mics, I don't mind listening to some occasionally awful performances if there's a kind of youthful sincerity involved. My grandkids' grade school bands are another story. I don't know how the teachers handle hearing it on a daily basis.

                  As far as the decline in live music, for me that happened in the seventies with the rise of disco. That coincided with the demise of our band and my first marriage. I played some solo gigs in the next couple of years, but then a bone spur (!!!!) in my left thumb stopped my stringed instrument playing for nearly a decade. I went back to my original instrument, the piano, but just couldn't get the gears to mesh.

                  Now I get together with three other guys for "band practice", which is more of what I call the big boys club. After our drummer died, it hasn't been the same. He was much more than a drummer, as he was also a good lead and harmony singer, and just a great dude to have around.

                  That bone spur has never gone away, though the discomfort is mostly over. If I happen to strike it on something, I cringe a bit with pauin, but I can play stringed instruments without discomfort. Gotta wonder why Donald can't even remember which foot was the problem, as the spurs don't dissolve on their own.
                  "Truth is what stands the test of experience."

                  ...Albert Einstein

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by SteinbergerHack View Post

                    To clarify, the problem is that open mics are generally a disorganized mess, and not a serious, polished performance We have a generatiom of kids who have never seen a really good serious band in a bar or at a dance club - and they now think that a half-assed jam session or unrehearsed blues trio in the corner is the definitive "live music"
                    Agreed about the low standard. See above.

                    This generation has also never had to pay for music, thanks to the net and streaming.
                    Last edited by arf-boy; 01-10-2019, 08:07 AM.
                    !

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by thankyou View Post
                      After retiring, I had thought about writing a book about "the people's music": jams, open mics, festival campfire jams and karaoke. I was planning to do some road trips around the country, possibly meeting some of the folks from this place. Then 2008 happened and my plans changed.
                      I am planning on writing a book after retiring. It'll be called "Dream Catcher". It's the story of my favorite tube sock from when I was a teenager.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by arf-boy View Post
                        This winter, I'm guest-host of a long-running Open Mic in the town next door. The regular host of 25-plus years is away for the winter. Open mic on Thursday is the only music at this bar-restaurant, besides occasional jazz at Sunday brunch.

                        It's a fun gig for me: Set up a small PA, introduce the acts, stage-manage to keep on schedule and play the unfilled slots. I get decent pay, plus free food and drink. Performers get a discount on meals. Acts are mostly solo but some duos or trios come by -- and occasionally larger groups. I have played in bands for 20 years but never full-time; I call myself a performing amateur musician.

                        The regular host has done some smart things. Emceeing the show, for one; that way, the audience knows who everyone is -- even the shoe-gazers. Anyone who wants to join a performer must have that performer's permission (no harmonica guy leaping on stage with his pocket menace). Sign-up can be done all week by calling the venue, where the list is on a clipboard next to the phone. We keep to the schedule, so everybody gets 20 minutes and there's no favoritism for the host's buddies. That eliminates most of the complaints performers have about poorly-run events. (There's one near me where the host apparently insists on sitting in with everyone; I've toyed with the idea of going there with a set of very-hard-to-follow songs.)

                        This event is an established part of the town's musical culture. Over time, other open mics have come and gone. The town has a small brewery that does regular acoustic pub jams and occaisional electric bands, a large restaurant-brewery that does electric music on Thursdays and on the deck Sundays when the weather is good. There's a converted church that's a regular weekend-night music venue and an 500-seat theater that has shows occasionally.

                        Yes, occasionally an act is excruciating. But the level of musicianship is usually pretty good, some of the regulars are willing to combine forces for imprompu gems and there's a nice vibe. When I'm not guest host, I stop in once a month or so to put myself in front of an audience, try some new material or play a different instrument -- bouzouki, for instance.
                        Lots of good ideas there. I almost spewed coffee with the "pocket menace" description. I've played harmonica since I was a kid, and can play both "straight" and "blues", though I don't do it much anymore. Once, at a jam, this drunk kept trying to get me to lend him a harp so he could show off his mad skillz. Yeech. How do people even think of stuff like that? He didn't say he was the greatest harmonicaister in the universe, so I guess at least it wasn't Donald Trump.

                        I took a harmonica workshop at Kerrville. It was led by three teachers, all good players. The first day, during introductions, one of the teachers told us he was from LA and did session work. He said that, in fact, if we were to hear a harmonica during a TV commercial, it was probably his work because he was the only harp player in the area who could read charts.
                        "Truth is what stands the test of experience."

                        ...Albert Einstein

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by oldsoapbars View Post

                          I am planning on writing a book after retiring. It'll be called "Dream Catcher". It's the story of my favorite tube sock from when I was a teenager.
                          I commend you on your effort to save the planet from tissue waste, even if Bounty is the "quicker picker upper".
                          "Truth is what stands the test of experience."

                          ...Albert Einstein

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Danocoustic View Post

                            Thank you, arf, I share this view.

                            Yes, it's no good for working musicians. But it IS home-grown music.

                            If bar owners make a profit off it, so what? They have a right to do what they need to do to keep the lights on.
                            Well, it's good for the working musician who gets paid to host it.

                            My buddy also made it work this way: He played drums in a bar band that rehearsed on open mic nights. He would book a late slot for them and they would come to the bar after rehearsal to play stripped-down versions of songs they had learned that night. The drummer-host brought a snare drum.

                            The band had both a rehearsal and a performance; the open mic gained a solid group performance that gave nice contrast to the solo and duo acts.
                            Last edited by arf-boy; 01-10-2019, 08:44 AM.
                            !

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by guido61 View Post
                              I blame this, at least in part, on the quality of live performance becoming so degraded over the last couple of decades that there's often little difference between a supposedly professional band and Bubba and Jenny. And if Jenny's your friend, or it's more fun to see Bubba get too drunk and make a fool out of himself? All the better. I blame a lot of this on the "dad band/weekend warrior" thing that began in the 90s when all those boomers decided they had enough money to buy guitars and finally learn to play just like their heroes of 20-30 years ago. They didn't care how they looked, not much more for how they sounded, and didn't care about getting paid. Used to be a bar was a place to see young hungry kids trying to hone their craft. Now it's a place to see old guys with pot bellies and 'boutique" gear all see who can f' up "Crossfire" the least.
                              Good points.
                              Lease this space!

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by thankyou View Post

                                He didn't say he was the greatest harmonicaister in the universe, so I guess at least it wasn't Donald Trump...
                                LMAO!

                                That's an inherent trait amongst Gemini people. My sister recently broke-up with a guy she had been dating for three years. After describing to me the issues involved, I asked; When was this guy born? His proclivities sound like that of a Gemini. She replied; "No, he's an Aries. Born on May 30th..." I replied; No, he's a Gemini.

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X