Open Mic Nights – Worth the Effort ?

There’s a brand new open mic night happening tomorrow and it made me think “Is it worth the time and effort to attend ?”. After all, there are more than enough opportunities to attend an open mic nearly every night. I can think of some reasons – excuses, really – to say no. Let’s focus, instead, on the reasons to say yes. An open mic night can be beneficial in many ways. If you are a musician who is just starting out, a seasoned veteran or somewhere in between, there’s something to be said for showing off your skills in front of a group of your peers. It’s also another way to show support for live, local music. Let’s explore some of the reasons to make the effort to attend an open mic night and the benefits for you, the host and – yes – the venue.

Support – Let’s face it, the underlying reason for any venue to host live music is to attract more business. This is often a paid gig for the host and their job is is bring people in to provide entertainment for the night. If there’s no support, eventually there’s no reason to continue and, no reason for the venue to pay the host. In many cases, this is a part of how they make their living. You are supporting that host as much as you are the venue. You are also supporting the other musicians who come out to play.

Networking – This is a perfect place to meet others who do what you do. It can open up a world of opportunities that may not have been there otherwise. They can provide you with connections to help you find gigs, find a recording studio that would fit your needs, introduce you to other musicians who are looking to form a band or give you feedback on your music. Having friends in the business can be very important, especially if you are just starting out.

Opportunities – There are several venues that book their entertainment based on what they hear at the open mic night. In many cases, the host either books the entertainment or has a lot of influence on the one who does. If you are looking to book yourself at a particular venue, that may be the perfect place for you go play a few songs. Sometimes the events coordinator is an employee of the venue who is in attendance scouting the talent. There are even a few who attend open mic nights at other venues for that purpose.

Experience – Yes, I know, experience and/or exposure won’t pay the bills but, you have to start somewhere. Do you really want to try to overcome your “stage fright” with a paid gig that you’re not ready for ? If you haven’t performed in front of an audience, this is the perfect opportunity to “get your feet wet” and shake off the jitters. The more you expose yourself to a live audience, the more comfortable you become. Developing a stage presence and a level of confidence can go a long way when you decide it’s time to try your hand in the live music business. If you’re a songwriter, it’s a great way to try a new song before you add it to your set list on a regular basis or decide to record it. So, where and when is this new open mic ?

Tomorrow evening, One Center Square in Easton will be the site for the area’s newest open mic night. Hosted by Jon Doyle (Doyle and the Dudes), this one provides a unique opportunity to perform at a venue that provides a truly professional experience. From a full back line to a professional sound and lighting system to a stage and room designed for live music, you’ll have an opportunity to perform, regardless of your level of experience. Perform solo, bring your whole band or take advantage of the opportunity to perform with professionals on the biggest stage. This is an all-ages event and any genre is welcome. Doors and sign-ups are at 6:30pm.

Other open mics of note in the area: Monday – Funhouse Southside (Bethlehem), Jon Doyle and Shaun Lally, 10pm. Tuesday – Sunset Bar & Grill (Saylorsburg), 6:30pm, hosted by Feel Good, every other Tuesday (2/11 is the next one). Colonial Pizza (Easton), 8pm, Lorenzo Bubba, and The Shanty on 19th (Allentown), John Cannavo. Wednesday – Leather Corner Post (Orefield), Chelsea Meyer, 7pm. Three Mugs Pub (Easton), Lorenzo Bubba, 7pm. Black & Blue (Easton), Helsie Duster, 7pm. Original Pocono Pub (Bartonsville), Christian Porter, 7:30pm. Bell Hall (Allentown), Tim Harakal, 8:30pm. Sarah Street Grill (Stroudsburg), Shane Reimer and Ricky Dum Dum Delgado, 9:30pm. Porter’s Pub (Easton – 1st and 3rd Weds), Scott Harrington, 9:30pm. Thursday – Cave Brewing Company (Allentown, 2nd & 4th Thur), Ralph Pagano/Nick Lindsay, 5:30pm. ShawneeCraft Brewing (Stroudsburg), Jeremiah Williams, 6:30pm. Wooden Match (Bethlehem), John Cannavo, 8pm. Pearly Baker’s Ale House (Easton – 1st Thur), Carter Lansing, 9pm. Sunday – Godfrey Daniels (Bethlehem – 1st & 3rd Sun), rotating hosts. I’m sure there are plenty more but, this is a start. All open mics are every week unless otherwise noted.

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