Author Topic: Open Mic Update  (Read 2292 times)

KenBJammen

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Open Mic Update
« on: March 20, 2014, 01:13:20 PM »
This month's open mic has been continually crazy.

Last time there was a great mix of performers and I didn't play but everyone got a spot.  Last night was totally crazy.  Most open mic's are struggling to keep performers, but we have been fortunate to keep them coming.  We run 8 spots, and last night had 12 + performers show up for those 8 spots.  Standing room only for 2+ hours.  Got a little ego boost as one of the performers asked me to sit in with her on some stuff (two I had never heard before).  Stuff like that keeps me on my toes. 

Still people there after closing time.   

Before you say something, they treat me better than I ask and I am overcompensated for what I feel I am worth.  I cheapened out the equipment and leave my nice equipment for me and have cheap but reasonable stuff for the open mic. 
Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.

RichR

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Re: Open Mic Update
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2014, 01:34:09 PM »
This month's open mic has been continually crazy.

Last time there was a great mix of performers and I didn't play but everyone got a spot.  Last night was totally crazy.  Most open mic's are struggling to keep performers, but we have been fortunate to keep them coming.  We run 8 spots, and last night had 12 + performers show up for those 8 spots.  Standing room only for 2+ hours.  Got a little ego boost as one of the performers asked me to sit in with her on some stuff (two I had never heard before).  Stuff like that keeps me on my toes. 

Still people there after closing time.   

Before you say something, they treat me better than I ask and I am overcompensated for what I feel I am worth.  I cheapened out the equipment and leave my nice equipment for me and have cheap but reasonable stuff for the open mic.

Sound great Ken!

Seems like hosting jams and open mics are 90% of the gigs around here anymore.  The only game in town for weeknight, regular gigs.  And at most of them, way more musicians than 'audience'.   (big exception: the Saturday Knuckleheads jam.  Probably 10-15 audience people for every jammer ratio.  This Saturday, they are celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the jam, with free lunch and drinks for us regulars.)  There are at least 3-4 competing jams every weeknight, except for Monday.  And week after week, the hosts are flooding FB with promotion.  Posting thank yous on the day after, etc.  I like having jams to go to, but I have no desire to host.  There is always some jammer bitching about getting skipped over, accusing the host of playing favorites, or having to play with a clueless person.  Hosting can be  thankless job, so I try to be a good guest.  If I have to get up with that guy who only plays Long Train Running(badly), or Damn Right I've Got The Blues (also badly), I take it in stride.  Sometimes you've got to take one for the team.  (And sometimes you learn, by teaching.)  I know the hosts at the jams I go to will take care of me, and pay me back with a good lineup.

The hosting gigs tend to pay less than regular gigs.  I'm not lugging my PA gear out and back in, to make $50.  And always the possibility that someone will damage your gear.  My bass player keeps wanting to snag a jam host gig.  I tell him to have a blast, and count me out. 

The world we live in.  At least around here.  In the bigger picture, I'm not sure about the future of live music bar gigs.  It has gone so far downhill since the 70s.  People staying home because of smoking laws, zealous DUI enforcement, etc.  And the encroachment of krappy-o-ke and DJs (who will work for a fraction of what a band should be paid.) Not a pretty picture.

DannyDV8

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Re: Open Mic Update
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2014, 03:47:33 PM »
That's pretty much the story everywhere, I used to play 7 nights a week for years on end, that went South long ago.
They call it the Blues, but the shit makes me SMILE!

KenBJammen

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Re: Open Mic Update
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2014, 06:28:48 PM »
One thing I have is clear rules for sign up and who get's to play and what you can play. 

Our open mic spots are 15 minutes from the time you are announced and the time that you need to be done. 

If you bring stuff that takes a long time to set up, that's cool, but it's your 15 minutes of fame.  If you take 10 minutes setting up, then you only get to play for 5.   If you bring your own amp/etc, and play too loud I will turn you down. 

Everything needs to be family friendly, there are kids that come and go, this is not a bar, if you are vulgar you will be done with your time even in the middle of song. 

There are 8 performance spots, people get to sign up to fill up six of them.  Two are left for whoever shows up first come first choice.   When performers are not able to play because there are no spots, they get first choice at the next open mic. 

If you sign up for a spot and no show, message me on what happened by the next day.  If you don't do that you can no longer sign up ahead of time. 

Everyone that perform gets this and we usually have no problems unless we have someone new.  Then I usually go over this when they get there.  Over the last month we have average 5 or so audience for every performer, pretty good for a coffee shop.  We have a few regulars that come over from a bar to listen to the music and then go back to the bar.
Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.

RichR

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Re: Open Mic Update
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2014, 08:06:07 PM »
One thing I have is clear rules for sign up and who get's to play and what you can play. 

Our open mic spots are 15 minutes from the time you are announced and the time that you need to be done. 

If you bring stuff that takes a long time to set up, that's cool, but it's your 15 minutes of fame.  If you take 10 minutes setting up, then you only get to play for 5.   If you bring your own amp/etc, and play too loud I will turn you down. 

Everything needs to be family friendly, there are kids that come and go, this is not a bar, if you are vulgar you will be done with your time even in the middle of song. 

There are 8 performance spots, people get to sign up to fill up six of them.  Two are left for whoever shows up first come first choice.   When performers are not able to play because there are no spots, they get first choice at the next open mic. 

If you sign up for a spot and no show, message me on what happened by the next day.  If you don't do that you can no longer sign up ahead of time. 

Everyone that perform gets this and we usually have no problems unless we have someone new.  Then I usually go over this when they get there.  Over the last month we have average 5 or so audience for every performer, pretty good for a coffee shop.  We have a few regulars that come over from a bar to listen to the music and then go back to the bar.

Sounds super organized.   And thriving too.

I kind of lump open mics and jams together, but I guess a jam has a major difference, in that you combine people on the fly.  An open mic, people go up as solo acts, or prepared duos.  So, you don't have the "making combinations" issue.   Some people expect to go exactly in the order they signed up; and other people expect to be in 'optimized' lineups.  Can't usually do both.  But getting 4 or 5 people up every set, you almost never end up with people unable to play unless they showed up at the last minute.