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Open Mic Crazies and Nutbars

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by 4-stringB, Jun 3, 2018.


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  1. Reasonable Expectations for a Jam Night

    30 vote(s)
    65.2%
  2. You're a Flaming Jerk

    1 vote(s)
    2.2%
  3. Worse Than a Jerk

    2 vote(s)
    4.3%
  4. Carrots

    13 vote(s)
    28.3%
  1. 4-stringB

    4-stringB

    Jun 10, 2010
    Tallahassee
    How many of us go to these Open Mics, and just like the Star Wars cabaret scene, all sorts of weird lifeforms? First, I'm not Gods' gift to music, and I don't want to be mean, but some of these folks leave me scratching my head. Like the djembe player who plays the whole night, and acts like he's the whole show? And the drummer who thumps a pair of congas like it was Latin Night in Ybor City, even on the female singer
    ballads...And then there's the spoons lady. She's over by the djembe player, and they're banging and clacking away. But at least she'll get tired and quit. What about the guy that can't play a guitar, can't tune a guitar, can't sing, plays the same song every time, has his face buried in his songbook and spends the whole time apologizing for his performance. And is it just my city that has middle aged women suddenly decide they want to be in a band, take up the flute, and want to join a rock band?? Now, to be fair, we welcome and encourage the noobs, and enjoy watching their progress. And this particular jam has been around a long time and has sort of a house band made up of all the players there for the night. The soloists can ask anyone to sit in with them, and so forth. I'd like to hear your take on the matter. And feel free to add your stories.
     
    Bobro, Jimmy4string, Mili and 3 others like this.
  2. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    I was a little intimated at first but after listening to others play I got a good idea of where I stood in the pack.. Those that were not as good as myself, I gave encouragement as I had received from others better than me. I nice friendly experience, we're all in the same boat at one time or another.
     
    Bobro, kesslari, Wanker_Joe and 4 others like this.
  3. Open mic’s are....well...open, so there’s no permit required, or test they have to take prior to being allowed onstage. They just have to show up and want to. So you will see everything from experts to rank amateurs.

    To be fair, some of the vetting should fall on the hosts. A 3 song max is commonplace. And, frankly, if the hosts allow song-ruining hacks to live on stage the entire time, then this jam will die a lonely, abandoned death.
     
    2saddleslab, Bobro, PillO and 6 others like this.
  4. jchrisk1

    jchrisk1

    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    Yeah, that's why it's called open mic. It's purpose is to allow people a chance to perform. Whether or not they are up to your standards is not up to you, and you do not have to attend them if you don't like how they work.
    I've been co-hosting an open mic for years, and you never know how the night will turn out. Sometimes you get unbelievable musicians, sometimes it's amateur night. It doesn't matter which, as long as everyone gets their chance to play.
    The first thing we tell people on this forum, that are looking to get out and play, is to find an open mic night. We know they are just starting out, and open mic is a great place to start. Why you would expect professionalism at an open mic is beyond me.
     
    JGbassman, JRA, aaronious and 4 others like this.
  5. soulman969

    soulman969 Inactive

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    In my experience there are two variations on this, a true open mic and an open jam. The way each is conducted is usually different and so are the expectations.

    An open mic is just that. All are welcome even if your bit is doing heavy metal shredding on a kazoo. More often than not these will attract solo performers or duos as opposed to full bands. While you'd like to think most performers would have at least a reasonable level of skill as players or singers that's often not the case. It's usually come one come all and you never know who'll show up asking to do what but they're entitled to perform.

    An open jam on the other hand usually has a host band and is organized around a specific genre; blues, rock, jazz, etc. Ordinarily players come up singularly or in pairs or trios to "sit in" with the host band. The expectation is that someone wishing to play has at least a reasonable amount of skill playing their instrument and if a vocalist knows the words and can carry a tune. I realize that's not always the case but those are the typical expectations.

    I've played at both but the only times I've ever seen anyone turned down or asked to step down due to lack of skills is at an open jam and even then someone would have to be completely lost for even that to happen. The whole idea is to allow less experienced players to play in ensemble so they understand how it differs from jamming by themselves in their den or bedroom and to encourage, nurture, and instruct them if asked.

    IMHO anyone who hosts one or attends one and expects all comers to be competent musicians and performers is setting themselves up for a major disappointment.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
    JRA, aaronious, ELynx and 7 others like this.
  6. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Around here there are many more variations too. Some are like "showcases" and have a high proportion of gigging players networking on a day off. I actually prefer full anarchy mode, or at least the format where the house band plays a short set and only plays at the others' request for the rest of the night.
     
    MuffledBoomy, 4-stringB, JRA and 3 others like this.
  7. soulman969

    soulman969 Inactive

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    That's pretty typical of how jams operate in Denver. The host band opens up then brings up players from a sign up sheet or sit ins they've invited. Some have much higher caliber players than others but "open jams" all tend to work off that format.

    Open mics are far more of a loosely structured free for all.
     
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Keep safe my TB brethren!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    Maybe letting some players play the whole night means that no else signed up for their instrument.

    Otherwise, a three song max, IMO, is a good idea so everyone can get on stage.
     
    4-stringB and JRA like this.
  9. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    Indianapolis
    Open mics are like talent garage sales. You might find something amazing, then again, most of it is someone else’s old crap that should have been thrown out. You never know.
     
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    In my world, the less the host band plays, the better the event often is. I've hosted many many different permutations, and on some of the very best nights I didn't ever play a note. Or_wink.gif

    But as always, it just depends. There used to be a popular blues jam across the river from here where the lead guitar player in the house band played with everyone, and called nearly all the tunes. There were plenty of good aspects to that, especially from the club owners' perspective. But if I wanted to bring in a horn section and do jazz blues standards from charts, homie didn't read and couldn't really hang. No big deal though, I'm all for anything that actually works these days.
     
    JRA and Stumbo like this.
  11. hondo4life

    hondo4life

    Feb 29, 2016
    SC
    I'd like to do an open mic sometime, but how lame would a lone bass player performance be?
     
    Wanker_Joe and ELynx like this.
  12. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Can you sing? IMO and IME that makes a huge difference in how it'll go over.
     
  13. hondo4life

    hondo4life

    Feb 29, 2016
    SC
    Sing and play the bass? Not at the same time. I will have to record backing tracks.
     
    saabfender likes this.
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Keep safe my TB brethren!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    What's a "nutbar"?
     
  15. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    People doing NAMM demos do that all the time. Yel_wink.gif
     
  16. hondo4life

    hondo4life

    Feb 29, 2016
    SC
    It's like a Payday
     
    Jimmy4string, saabfender, ahc and 2 others like this.
  17. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Keep safe my TB brethren!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    How are they relevant to open mic nights?
     
  18. hondo4life

    hondo4life

    Feb 29, 2016
    SC
    Something to do with Star Wars, I think.
     
  19. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Keep safe my TB brethren!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    I saw Solo last night, so I get it. :)
     
  20. hondo4life

    hondo4life

    Feb 29, 2016
    SC
    Oh no. Mods plz lock the thread. I don't want any spoilers!
     

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