Monday, March 15, 2010

Last Night's Open Mic at WWII

Last night I hosted the third World War II Club open mic in Northampton, MA.  The WWII is not known for being a music venue.  It has a few pool tables, an inexpensive bar, a collection of older regulars and a very casual and no frills decor.  On Thursdays, the WWII has the excellent trivia night by Chris Bigelow, which I frequent.  On Fridays and Saturdays, Chris hosts his famous karaoke nights.  Those nights were part of my reintroduction to the Pioneer Valley.  The place holds a lot of memories for me.  It's not set up to be a music venue, but with a few well placed candles and some table re-arranging, it has great potential for nights like last night.

The open mic is on Sunday nights.  Sign-up starts at 8:00.  The host or featured artist plays at 9:00 for about half an hour and then people can sign up for fifteen minute sets.  There is a very nice PA and it has been sounding excellent.

Last night, the sign up sheet and tables were a bit light.  Maybe people weren't coming out because of the depressing weather or the sleep deprivation time change this weekend.  Things move in waves.  We did have people perform, though.

Abby Connolly was the featured performer and she kicked off the night.  She was followed by Dave who played a few covers and an original.  He was followed by Jim on electric ukulele and then Paul on the left-handed version of my guitar, the red Guild.  After Paul's great little poppy ditties, was Sir Cecil, a first time WWII open mic artist.  I hope he comes back, I particularly liked his original song.  Also, he used a phrase that stuck with me for some reason, "I'm gonna play a few covers, since it's raining."

After Cecil, I played a couple of songs while A Nice Try brought in some equipment.  The WWII Open Mic is meant to be an acoustic or at least quiet event.  The original phrase told to me was "no drums".  Part of the deal with the club, I believe, was that it was too be a somewhat mellow night in that the half of the room with the music wouldn't effect the part of the room without and vice versa  But last night was so dead, we decided to give the amps and snare drum a slot.  A Nice Try managed to keep the volume at a pretty good level and swaggered into a few Velvet Underground songs.  I always like hearing VU.  I caught their first two songs but then it was time for me to head out.  I'm usually only there until 11:00 or so, though the night can continue on if there are people signed up or hanging out.

I'll be back again next week.  You should come out and see what it's like, it's a very non-pressure environment.  It's not judgemental, it's not cynical, it's just people hanging around, listening to and playing music

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