Worf101 offers up his 8 reasons to not go to open mic night at your local watering hole. Come along for a great ride.
Much like hangovers, food poisoning and other avoidable maladies, Open Mic Night is an experience one actively tries to forget. But like many self inflicted wounds, time has a way of dulling its sting. So eventually one day you wind up back in a place you swore you’d never return to doing something you promised God and your loved one you’d never do again. Open mic night is such a thing for me.
Now a little background. I play for pay. I sing lead and play bass in an RnB band. We do a fair amount of covers but we’ve also an album of originals and have two new albums coming out this Spring (one live one studio cuts). Between playing and listening to music since I was 8 I guess I’m a bit “jaded”. I not only know when something’s being played well I also know when it ain’t. Bad or poorly played music is an anathema to me. Worse than chalk on blackboard, more painful than a Celine Dion Barry Manilow double bill, more tortured than the look on Cher’s children’s faces everytime their mother decides to go on tour with her ass hangin’ out. Bad music hurts.
And unlike most other musician’s I’ve no natural filters to protect me from this sonic kryptonite in that I don’t drink or do drugs. I’ve nothing to dull the pain other than the dozen or so monitors blaring ESPN in the background. Like many ill phenomena in this world the denizen’s of Open Mic Night fall into several categories:
1. “The Hapless Hosts” – These are the poor slobs who for some inexplicable reason have agreed to hosts this weekly mish mosh of sonic cyanide. These are the folks I truly feel for, for they are stuck doing this week in and week out until attendance drops to the point where the exercise is euhtanized. In addition to providing some decent music through the night these poor souls have to emcee the show, manage “the list” (more on this later), backup the tone deaf and the rhythmless and then allow their own gear to be beat on by mindless cretins. Trust me, there’s not enough money in all Christendom to get me to do this job. I’d rather stick needles in my eyes.
2. “The Born Again Bluesmen” – These guys are usually some of the more pathetic wretches on OMN. Back in the 80′s they were gods walking the earth. Spandex wearin’ big hairdo flufflin’ local rock gods who knew they were too good for this town and too good for you. Mere minutes and inches from “makin’ it big”. Fast forward 10 to 15 years and all of a sudden Mr. “next big thing” is now Mr. “Failure to Launch”. He know’s he’s too old to “rock”, the tight jeans and open to the navel shirts just illicit laughter from his kids so one day he has a revelation… Since he can’t rock, god must have meant for him to sing the blues.
Doning his grand father’s beat down fedora and Wait’s like warble “Tommy Love” morphs into “Blind Lemon Pledge”. He groans and moans his way though tunes about lost love, bad liquor and crooked dice with all the sincerity of a man still livin’ in his mom’s basement. To aunthenticate his personae he finally stops dyeing his hair and wearing a girdle. He takes off his hat to wipe his forehead now unashamed of his pony tail and bald spot. Two songs by this guy is about all I can stand.
3. “The Chanteuse” – Diva’s, drama and dramamine, take your pick. Rarely if ever is she “who she is”. She’s either a wannabe Aretha, wannabe Madonna, wannabe Janis, wannabe this one or wanna be that one. She’s been singin’ in the living room all her adult life. The worst of her lot shows up with no band, no charts, no clue as to what key she sings in. Like the Princess she is she expects you to read her mind and know the semi-obscure drivel playing in her head. “Oh come’on, you guys can figure it out!” Err no babe, we can’t.
4. “The Tortured Soul” – Two days out of therapy and still in his mom’s basement, this guy uses his beat up Martin as a brush to paint potraits of personal dispare and misery. Songs of gut wrenching pain and loss so dark as to make Van Gogh seem cheery. All the stage presence of a wood knot, two takes from this guy and you’re lookin’ for shot of rot gut with a prozac chaser.
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Sgt. At Arms
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Troy, New York
leading image from: www.huntingtonpark.org – thanks