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SteinbergerHack

Thoughts on "Open Mic" nights...?

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I have seen a trend locally over the past couple of years that has me concerned. Several of the local bars have abandoned booking bands, and are holding "open mic nights" instead. These bars aren't my normal clientele anyway (they never did pay enough for my groups), but it got my attention when a couple of friends asked if I would come join them and play a few tunes. These guys don't play actual paying gigs, so they just see it as a fun time with buddies drinking beer and don't give it a second thought.

 

From my perspective, it is a matter of the bar trying to get free "entertainment", knowing that the 10 guys who all show up to hack their way through a half-dozen covers each bring a couple of friends and buy a few beers. I get it, and can see why the bar would do it as long as they can put people on stools with glasses in hand.

 

That said, it rubbed me wrong when a singer friend asked if I would come sit in "to help raise the bar on stage and put on a good show". From my perspective, why would I go "put on a good show" for nothing when I am already booked with paying gigs for the next 8-9 months? If the owner wants to "raise the bar", I am perfectly willing to accept a paying gig there - and I'd host the first set as open mic if they would like me to....but not as a freebie. I'm pretty certain that my buddy honestly just wants to have me help him sound better on his stuff, and probably never considered it from my perspective, but I still feel that we shouldn't be supporting a "give-away" to a bar that isn't booking acts and paying them.

 

If the bar did open mic nights mid-week, then booked bands on the weekend, I would probably feel differently....but they don't.

 

Am I being unreasonable in viewing it this way? Any thoughts on how to deal with this sort of request without coming across like a jerk?

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It's just another type 'Carrie Oakey'.

 

I've done them, mostly as a means to 'ply my wares' but the unresounding results (coupled with smoking bans and stiffer penalties for OVI) forced me to disabuse myself of the practice.

 

And in all fact, 'practice' is all it ever was.

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You're not wrong. There are a few clubs here that have gone to Open Mics during the week. One that I know specifically, uses the Open Mic to book weekend dates. I have no problem with that. Three songs should be enough to pass or fail an audition.

 

But Open Mics on Friday or Saturday night, nope.

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You are 100% reasonable in this instance, and I agree with your assessment completely.

 

Dont get used to me saying this. 😉

 

I would say say that it’s one thing to support a friend and help him sound his best and another to provide a free service and it’s up to you to decide where, for you, that line is.

 

 

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Stein, if you have paying gigs booked 9 months out then you have nothing to worry about.

Open mics, in my estimation, are for amateurs who are looking to get some public playing experience and up their game to the level of true working musicians.

Not every bar can afford the expenditure. But there’s no shortage of bars out there.

 

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They do it around here. Its usually on a week night so no band would be booked anyway. If you get 10-12 people to come play and they all bring a friend the bar will have a bigger crowd than for some bands on Friday or Saturday night.

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Around here open mics came around well after bars quit hiring bands. There was like a 10 year gap.

 

It's definitely a way to draw in a crowd for free (or really cheap). Some offer cash prizes ($50 - $100). I don't think I'm going to see much of a resurgence of live music in the bars. It's like that ship has sailed. The places that hire bands don't do open mics, at none that I've seen.

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I don't mind watching them if it's a popular one and good players show up, and the host keeps things moving.

 

I haven't played one in probably 20 years. All the hassles of live performance, with none of the rewards...

:freak:

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They do it around here. Its usually on a week night so no band would be booked anyway. If you get 10-12 people to come play and they all bring a friend the bar will have a bigger crowd than for some bands on Friday or Saturday night.

 

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.

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Stein' date=' if you have paying gigs booked 9 months out then you have nothing to worry about.[/quote']

 

Certainly true - and I have as many shows booked as I want to play, which is a nice place to be.

 

Open mics, in my estimation, are for amateurs who are looking to get some public playing experience and up their game to the level of true working musicians.

 

Very true, and that's as it should be. Interestingly, several of the singers I know who seem to always want to do these things are theater types. I guess that since they generally don't get paid when they do a show with a community theater, they may not see the issue with doing a club gig for free.

 

...of course, they don't ever bring any of their own gear, either.....

 

 

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I have seen a trend locally over the past couple of years that has me concerned. Several of the local bars have abandoned booking bands, and are holding "open mic nights" instead. These bars aren't my normal clientele anyway (they never did pay enough for my groups), but it got my attention when a couple of friends asked if I would come join them and play a few tunes. These guys don't play actual paying gigs, so they just see it as a fun time with buddies drinking beer and don't give it a second thought.

 

From my perspective, it is a matter of the bar trying to get free "entertainment", knowing that the 10 guys who all show up to hack their way through a half-dozen covers each bring a couple of friends and buy a few beers. I get it, and can see why the bar would do it as long as they can put people on stools with glasses in hand.

 

That said, it rubbed me wrong when a singer friend asked if I would come sit in "to help raise the bar on stage and put on a good show". From my perspective, why would I go "put on a good show" for nothing when I am already booked with paying gigs for the next 8-9 months? If the owner wants to "raise the bar", I am perfectly willing to accept a paying gig there - and I'd host the first set as open mic if they would like me to....but not as a freebie. I'm pretty certain that my buddy honestly just wants to have me help him sound better on his stuff, and probably never considered it from my perspective, but I still feel that we shouldn't be supporting a "give-away" to a bar that isn't booking acts and paying them.

 

If the bar did open mic nights mid-week, then booked bands on the weekend, I would probably feel differently....but they don't.

 

Am I being unreasonable in viewing it this way? Any thoughts on how to deal with this sort of request without coming across like a jerk?

 

I didn't realize you are a capitalist. Good for you!

Edited by Chuck Nuggets

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Drummers never seem to buy a round either, but at least you know they brought a bunch of stuff other than their charming personality, charisma and good looks.

Edited by Grumpy_Polecat

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I agree with you 100% and see it the same way.

 

In my city theres an open mic at various places 5 nights a week. I used to go once in a while.

The bars used to give you a free drink if you played 3 songs, so I would go, play my 3 songs and have my drink while I watched the other players.

 

Then they did away with the free drink, apparently it was costing them too much!

 

I'm thinking to myself "I'm carting my $3,000 Kurzweil 88 key controller down there with a stand, setting up, playing 3 songs and you fkers cant even give me a beer to say thanks? FU!!

 

Now one of the places puts everyone name into a hat who plays and at the end of the night they draw a name and he gets a free pizza.

 

I'll still play at the occasional one but only if im there and only if someone else brought their keyboard. I don't lug my stuff down there anymore.

….and not to be a dk, but around here, 95% of the people who play at these things suck so bad, its painful to have to listen to them as the entire time you're wishing you had a gun so you could shoot yourself.

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Oh I forgot to mention one thing Stein....if the above wasn't bad enough. There's a café in town and they have an open mic every second Tuesday from 7-10. It's a nice coffee house vibe and they have a piano there already so it was convenient. I would go down, bring my honey, her kids, and all their friends would come. Just for me playing, I would typically bring anywhere from 6 to 8 extra people.....people who would order lattes and food etc. So the last time I went in October, the organizer calls me aside and says "Oh Alex, we really appreciate you coming to play at the coffee house, but starting next month we are asking all performers to pay $10 each to pay towards the advertising and expenses of running this event."....you want to talk about rubbing me the wrong way?? FO!!!! I come down to your event, bring a bunch of people who spend money and now you want me to pay $10 for the privilege? See ya! I haven't been back. Like I said, most people at these things are terrible and they are happy to pay $10 just to play, but that goes against everything I believe in.

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I think drinks should be a lot cheaper at open mic nights.

 

If I have to sit through a bunch of amateurs playing bad classic rock covers, I want cheap beer in return.

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I think drinks should be a lot cheaper at open mic nights.

 

If I have to sit through a bunch of amateurs playing bad classic rock covers, I want cheap beer in return.

 

Here! Here! I totally agree. I know I sound better when you have been drinking. :eatdrink004:

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Foo, that's the ugly story called 'pay to play'.

It rarely works in the proprietor's favor, in the long run.

Edited by Grumpy_Polecat

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Freebird is a GREAT song no matter what.(!!!) You should be happy to hear it despite any horrible rendition.

Edited by Grumpy_Polecat

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I didn't realize you are a capitalist. Good for you!

 

LOL. Steinberger is one of the most principled, and smartest, conservatives this forum has ever seen.

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I go to two fairly regularly, one on Sunday evening, one on Saturday afternoon, but these are almost like family and friends get togethers, except nobody has to clean up afterwards. They each have a core group of people who are all pretty talented, most of whom play in working bands or as solo performers. I usually get to play with a couple of others, which is great practice - playing songs I don't usually, or ever, play and honing my accompanist chops. Sometimes it's really happening. I even play actual gigs in a couple of groups with people that I met at these. And while there is a core group, new folks who show up are welcomed and supported and usually end up coming back. On the other hand, I don't play at the standard Open Mics where Bubba and Jenny come in to sing Bro Country or Jewel covers. I may go to watch some friends who are working at getting gigs and starting a career to have a beer and show support, but I don't play. But, to SH's point, it does seem like a number of places are doing open mics in lieu of actually hiring professional musicians.

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I have seen a trend locally over the past couple of years that has me concerned. Several of the local bars have abandoned booking bands, and are holding "open mic nights" instead. These bars aren't my normal clientele anyway (they never did pay enough for my groups), but it got my attention when a couple of friends asked if I would come join them and play a few tunes. These guys don't play actual paying gigs, so they just see it as a fun time with buddies drinking beer and don't give it a second thought.

 

From my perspective, it is a matter of the bar trying to get free "entertainment", knowing that the 10 guys who all show up to hack their way through a half-dozen covers each bring a couple of friends and buy a few beers. I get it, and can see why the bar would do it as long as they can put people on stools with glasses in hand.

 

That said, it rubbed me wrong when a singer friend asked if I would come sit in "to help raise the bar on stage and put on a good show". From my perspective, why would I go "put on a good show" for nothing when I am already booked with paying gigs for the next 8-9 months? If the owner wants to "raise the bar", I am perfectly willing to accept a paying gig there - and I'd host the first set as open mic if they would like me to....but not as a freebie. I'm pretty certain that my buddy honestly just wants to have me help him sound better on his stuff, and probably never considered it from my perspective, but I still feel that we shouldn't be supporting a "give-away" to a bar that isn't booking acts and paying them.

 

If the bar did open mic nights mid-week, then booked bands on the weekend, I would probably feel differently....but they don't.

 

Am I being unreasonable in viewing it this way? Any thoughts on how to deal with this sort of request without coming across like a jerk?

 

I've never been to one, either as a participant or spectator. There is very little that instantly makes me want to leave more than the sight of a guy or girl with an acoustic guitar.

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I have seen a trend locally over the past couple of years that has me concerned. Several of the local bars have abandoned booking bands, and are holding "open mic nights" instead. These bars aren't my normal clientele anyway (they never did pay enough for my groups), but it got my attention when a couple of friends asked if I would come join them and play a few tunes. These guys don't play actual paying gigs, so they just see it as a fun time with buddies drinking beer and don't give it a second thought.

 

From my perspective, it is a matter of the bar trying to get free "entertainment", knowing that the 10 guys who all show up to hack their way through a half-dozen covers each bring a couple of friends and buy a few beers. I get it, and can see why the bar would do it as long as they can put people on stools with glasses in hand.

 

That said, it rubbed me wrong when a singer friend asked if I would come sit in "to help raise the bar on stage and put on a good show". From my perspective, why would I go "put on a good show" for nothing when I am already booked with paying gigs for the next 8-9 months? If the owner wants to "raise the bar", I am perfectly willing to accept a paying gig there - and I'd host the first set as open mic if they would like me to....but not as a freebie. I'm pretty certain that my buddy honestly just wants to have me help him sound better on his stuff, and probably never considered it from my perspective, but I still feel that we shouldn't be supporting a "give-away" to a bar that isn't booking acts and paying them.

 

If the bar did open mic nights mid-week, then booked bands on the weekend, I would probably feel differently....but they don't.

 

Am I being unreasonable in viewing it this way? Any thoughts on how to deal with this sort of request without coming across like a jerk?

 

Only one comment here:

 

You say it was a singer friend who asked you to come and "raise the bar" and then complained about the owner wanting to "raise the bar" for no pay.

 

Are you sure the owner even cares about 'raising the bar"?

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