I didn’t realize that ‘open mic’ wasn’t just for music. I’ve now done a couple and both experiences have been completely different. Unlike the crowd that comes to their child’s show and expects to hear lousy music, the open mic is an entirely different animal.
The first open mic I did was really a comedy night (imagine how funny it was to hear me sing…baaa hhaa). However, I had come prepared with a travelling audience so the comedians HAD to be nice, if they wanted any cheers or pleasantries and my friends were just happy to have the free beer I had bribed them with to come, and so my friends obliged the comedians (except for the guy who thought that rape and abuse was a good formula for a comedy act - that was just weird). In all, I would do comedy night again. Plus, there is no competition; it was kinda like playing an intermission or perhaps, the half time show at the Super Bowl…NOT.
My next venture into the open mic was not as rewarding as comedy central, not as rewarding to my ego. My next venue was suggested by a good friend. She told me that REAL musicians owned the bar where the open mic was being held and that it was a Mecca for the ‘true artist’ (I apparently forgot, and she forgot to tell me, that there is a rite of passage to be a ‘true artist’ and, yes… I keep forgetting this. OK, I’m not a musician…I don’t play an instrument. We’ve gone over this before! It’s not like I’m not trying. I do take lessons, ya know. A comment I read recently reminded me of this ‘true artist’ conundrum, ‘In fact, I have a tough time listening to BAD songwriting!’ Hmmm, what is bad songwriting? And how do you know it is bad? I thought to myself, ‘this must be one of those ‘true artists’ talking. I bet Rebecca Black didn’t think her song was so bad and she probably didn’t care after the 60 million downloads of her shitty song. Oh ya, and I see that you (true artist) are running a bar to make a living, guess the public has a tough time listening to your songwriting too.).
Anyway, back to the open mic. When I arrived at the bar the guy who was supposed to help me set up, basically told me I was doing karaoke (is an original song considered Karaoke?) and then accidently on purpose screwed up the simple download of my backing track from email. Ha, but I had come prepared with my trusty mp3 (and he thought he had foiled me…think again SUCKER!). Fortunately, I had also brought my trusty travelling audience with me and, in the end, the ‘true artist’ was very happy to have me sing his version of karaoke while my drunk friends padded his ‘true artist’ pockets. The evening was fun and the atmosphere was charged for all the performers cause they actually HAD an audience for their art. My advice to the ‘true artist’, don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Yes… at the end of the night, ‘the true artist’ invited me back. Will I go back? Hmmmm no, no I don’t think so. Personally, I like playing for the plebeian, like myself. :P