What do you guys play at Open Mic nights?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by meteor685, May 4, 2017.

  1. meteor685

    meteor685 SS.org Regular

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    Figured i'd ask here given this community is filled with people who play progressive metal, shredding, jazz, etc...and all that.

    I don't play guitar professionally -____- , but I am still interested in "performing" when I can do that.

    It can be discouraging when you play an Allan HOldsworth song(Its in the link), and no one says anything...then something comes along and plays something easy by comparison and impresses everyone. I don't really mind, but I do want to go and play so others can enjoy.

    YEah basically what songs do you guys learn for open mic nights and these types of situations...


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J2FWsf3pjU
     
  2. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    I used to subcontract music stores that held open mic-nights; and would go up just to support the store (As in, I'd be asked to go up first and play a song just to break the ice, or I'd be asked to close the night with something competent if things were starting to fizzle out).

    I never did find that balance between songs I enjoyed playing and songs the audience would prefer I play. One time, I started the night off with a really basic, slow, ii-V-I improv just so people knew to sit down, and this old country guy made a disgusted noise and said "he's just showing off." Later, he went up and played "I'm my own grandpa."
     
  3. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    Even Allan Holdsworth couldn't get people interested in Allan Holdsworth songs so I wouldn't worry about that.
     
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  4. youngthrasher9

    youngthrasher9 SS.org Regular

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    I think you just earned some bad karma, not sure.
     
  5. youngthrasher9

    youngthrasher9 SS.org Regular

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    Honestly my dude, there's a hard truth just beneath the surface of your post.

    The truth is: musical technicality will seldom get you any ass or appreciation in local circles. Shred no longer drops panties, or drums up fans easily. People at open mic nights usually want to be entertained not impressed, or impressed by how entertaining you can be.
     
  6. domsch1988

    domsch1988 SS.org Regular

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    Depends on your goal for the night.
    Wanna have a good time a have some fun? Play what ever you like and don't care for the crowd.

    Want to please the crowd? Now it gets complicated. No general answers apply. Depending on location, age structure... I think most "classic Rock" Songs are a safe bet. Can't go wrong with some beetles or queen. AC/DC surely works too.

    The hard truth we, as metal heads and prog musicians, need to face: Our music is inaccessible to most of the population. Not in a Hip Hop way. Some people don't like hip hop but don't mind it playing. But, by my dad for example, most metal music is classified as "noise". So, putting anything on that's beyond black sabbath is distracting and mentally stressful for most people.
    If technical or Progressive music is your thing, you need to choose your audience wisely. It's just not something you, as a listener, can ignore if you don't like it. It's music that's meant to grab your attention.
     
  7. JustMac

    JustMac ss not-so-regular

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    Well, I love the guy, but I would concede much of that is that weird conflation many musicians have with "appreciating music" for "appreciating technique". I only started liking things like technical metal when I started playing guitar. I would be willing to wager at least 85% of his fans play an instrument. A musican's musician, I guess. Even then, I can't listen to a full album of his without getting a bit restless, even though I can easily do so with a Foo Fighters (a band I can think of that I liked the first time I heard the -- before I got into playing) album.

    Do you like music that is considered "popular" in any realm? I generally only try and learn stuff I can't instantly play, but I actually found I gained a lot of insight by learning some songs by the Rolling Stones, Cream, the Who, the Beatles, Elvis (actually, some of the Scotty Moore riffs are pretty tricky)... and because of what I'm used to, most of it was a doddle.
     
  8. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    I intended no criticism of Mr Holdsworth, but I don't think it's particularly controversial to note that he didn't get the recognition or level of success that he deserved.
     
  9. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Kinda seems like this is a simple question of managing expectations. People don't go to open mic nights to witness technical prowess. They go there to be entertained.

    I'm sure Holdsworth is "good", but I listened to the tune at that link (I don't know his music otherwise), and realistically, it's boring. It's well played, it's well constructed, it's "technically good", but it's boring. I would enjoy watching this in the context of paying for a ticket to a show where there was an existing expectation that it was going to be a noodly/technical/whatever kind of a show. Open mic nights don't come with that expectation. What I do expect is relative beginners to bang out the three chords they know so their friends can cheer at them, some people who think they "deserve" a better audience to play to basically nobody who cares, maybe the occasional drunk guy, and maybe someone who just bangs out some generic classic rock tunes because they know that's an easy way to get strangers to pay attention.
     
  10. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I'll put this a little more nicely, but he's right - most music listeners aren't interested in jazz fusion (heck, I feel like that's the punchline to a joke as I write this, because it's kind of a musical cliche) and don't know enough about guitar to realize that they're seeing someone do something pretty technically impressive. You'll get more of an audience reaction playing Jimi Hendrix than you will Alan Holdsworth to "normal" listeners, ten times out of ten.

    I used to play pretty regularly at a Thursday night open mic in a dive bar near where I grew up, summers when I was home for college (sober, underage, and then with a couple drinks after I turned 21). I knew the guy who ran it, and he'd always open it with a band he'd put together (and, the guy could sing his ass off and was a solid guitarist himself), so I always had a lot of fun going down and jamming with these guys. It was fun for me because it was a good group of people and they'd let me do my own thing for solos, it was fun for the audience because we were playing a mix of covers they knew and what objectively were pretty good roots-rock-y sort of originals, and I definitely picked up a couple girls there over the years.

    I'd recommend doing something similar. Realistically, only guitarists give a .... about guitar solos. If you can sing, do some chord-y stuff like Wind Cries Mary or Little Wing or whatever, or maybe some John Mayer tunes, or something where you can show off a bit on the playing but still do it in the contest of a song. Heck, play To Be With You, which everyone knows as a catchy pop song but we all know as the work of a staggeringly talented supergroup who just decided to have fun writing pop songs.

    If you can't or won't sing, find someone else to play with, either duets or in a "band" and play songs that are first and foremost "songs" but that you can take solos in.

    Otherwise, just accept that you're doing it for you, for the practice, and for the chance to get on stage, and that the douchebag singing "Your Body is a Wonderland" is the one the crowd is going to love, but whatever, you're having fun.
     
  11. extendedsolo

    extendedsolo SS.org Regular

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    On the bandwagon of people are there to be entertained. Learn some popular tunes and just put yourself out there. People LOVE cover bands because listening to new music is work and not everyone has the same relationship with music that people on this board do.

    If there's one thing I learned from being around non-musicians, it's that people LOVE lyrics and singers. Lay persons tend to gravitate towards music with a human voice so learn how to sing. If you are looking to join a band learning how to sing is probably the best thing to do.

    One thing I wish would've been impressed on me earlier is that MUSIC IS NOT A MERITOCRACY. Watch the Adam Neely or Glen Fricker youtube videos about it. We can still love jazz fusion and prog, but lets realize to get people to listen to us that they want something that's easy and nice to listen to. Yes even if it sounds like it's one step above a nursery rhyme like some pop songs. Remember that people like songs that they feel like they know already, which is why all pop songs sound similar. (not hating on pop music since i like some of it, but much of it doesn't do it for me).
     
  12. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Just to emphasize what others have said above: after Holdsworth's recent passing, I played some of his music for my fiance because she didn't know who he was. She's a huge music geek and a classically trained pianist that likes most every kind of music except screaming/guttural vocals, so I thought she may like it. After listening for a bit she said "that sounds like Yanni playing a guitar" and refused to listen to any more.

    I think the takeaway there is that Holdsworth music is not for non guitar players, and even with guitarists, you've got a 50/50 shot at best that they'll like it.
     
  13. meteor685

    meteor685 SS.org Regular

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    I just play silent man by dream theater...I love that song, and people like it.

    I can't sing though lol!!....

    I disagree with liking technical music when you don't play.

    I loved metal way before starting guitar at the late age of 19
     
  14. meteor685

    meteor685 SS.org Regular

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    LOLLLL...

    I'll just leave these clips of spongebob here lol

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx5U_nFvvbU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfrEMgJbu14

    To be fair the second clip has wonderful music
     
  15. meteor685

    meteor685 SS.org Regular

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    Hendrix is trickier than HOldsworth songs lol
     
  16. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire baritone6/8 string hoarder

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    keep it simple. play some van halen, ac/dc, john mayer (neon is always fun), Ratt, Autograph, Hendrix, George Thoroughgood. Unless people play guitar they don't care about how hard you can shred.
     
  17. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Hendrix? Not even close to trickier than Holdsworth. But, your average music listener thinks Jimi was some sort of cosmic god made flesh who happened to pick up the guitar, while they have no idea who Holdsworth is. A lot of Jimi's music isn't all that hard, but the songs themselves hold up really well, which makes it excellent open mic material.

    But, take that approach - find something people will recognize and enjoy, but that you can also still have some fun with on the guitar, and play that.
     
  18. meteor685

    meteor685 SS.org Regular

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    Yeah Hendrix was an awesome player!!

    I'm a very gullible person

    Idk I think people largly speak based on their perceptions, and not so much the actual "truth"....I really don't know

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5hOZOLvjIE Idk, but this solo is cool to my ears.


    Idk Man what are some good Hendrix to learn. I have learned Little wing and all along the watchtower when I started guitar.
     
  19. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Angel, Little Wing, The Wind Cries Mary, Castles Made of Sand, All Along the Watchtower, or Hey Joe should go over well at an open mic, even on an acoustic guitar.
     
  20. downburst82

    downburst82 SS.org Regular

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    I will be doing one in a few weeks, I used to play alot of open mics but its been awhile. I will probably play 3-6 songs by myself and then me and my brother ususally do a few.

    These are some of the ones ive been working on.

    Elbow - Fugitive Motel
    Radiohead - Nice dream
    Little Tybee - Abby (for my daughter Abby)
    Further Seems Forever- On Legendary or New years project
    Circa Survive - Act Appalled
    Eels - Manchild
    Ben Folds Five - Air
    Thrice - Silhouette

    And then im trying to come up with something currently popular to cover....but havent figured anything out yet.
     

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