What do you guys play at Open Mic nights?

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

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    All of these, really, but I think if you're going to try to do one of these songs on a single guitar, then The Wind Cries Mary and Castles Made of Sand hold up particularly well on one guitar, maybe followed next by Hey Joe (where the solo section is iconic enough that you could probably play it unaccompanied without losing anyone).

    It's kind of cheating, because for the most part none of these are that hard, but people ASSUME they are because, hey, Jimi.
     
  2. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Whoah, I thought I posted in this thread, but I don't see my post....oh well...

    Anyway, I was a very avid open mic goer. Now not so much.

    To me, the idea is to go somewhere you can play in front of some people, usually not a lot, and relax. It's all in good fun. Don't take it too seriously, and it'll be its own reward.

    If I'm performing at open mic night, I really don't care about song choice. Nothing too off-putting and certainly nothing offensive or explicit, and that's about it. If I feel like sitting down and ripping through a couple Django Reinhardt songs, I just do it. If nobody gets into it, then, well, oh well, because they aren't paying to see me and I'm not being paid to be there, not to mention that they just have to wait five minutes to see somebody else. Maybe I'll rock out some Megadeth or Iron Maiden, or maybe Buckethead or maybe my own arrangements of Bach and Pachelbel. The point is that I don't rehearse anything specific and just get up there to unwind a little.

    Showing up with a band is different. Sometimes open mic will turn into a jam, which is a lot of fun, and it's totally spontaneous, but other times people show up with their bands. In that case, just be respectful that open mic is for everyone, i.e., don't hog up all of the time. If the guy running the thing says three songs, don't play "Thick as a Brick" and count it as one song. Also, don't push everyone off the stage to set up your drums, then take a twenty minute break after setting up before playing... you know? I've seen people do stuff like this and much worse. It's supposed to be relaxing but also interactive for everyone.

    Personally, I love getting to jam with strangers. If you have the opportunity to jam with some other musicians, I suggest taking it. Keep an open mind, too, you might hate hip hop, but it can be a blast jamming hip hop tunes with someone who really knows what he or she is doing, all the same.

    If you are looking for people to cheer for you and stuff, then playing musician-style music is not really ever going to get you what you want in life. Play a three chord AC/DC song and people will at the very least tap their feet. When I moved to Vermont, I tried to get some people at open mic night to loosen up by playing stuff that was popular where I grew up, like "Word Up" (Cameo), "You Dropped a Bomb on Me" (Gap Band), "Let It Whip" (Dazz), "I Wish" (Stevie Wonder), etc., and no one here had ever heard any of those songs before. I was in disbelief, but that's what happens. Even stuff you might think is popular, isn't popular everywhere.
     
  3. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I feel really bad saying this, but I literally only know Stevie Wonder in that list, and I don't know a single one of those songs. :lol:
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Haha, that's just the difference between the Midwest and New England. In my defense, though, Word Up was #1 on the Billboard R&B chart for something like 16 weeks.
     
  5. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    Sometimes you just have to accept that the crowd isn't going to respond to certain music unless the venue favors it.

    I'd suggest taking those opportunities purely to work on stagecraft and connecting with the crowd, using material which is completely non-technical but *fun.*

    I have friends who have never been prosm but who always go to open mics and karaoke venues. I go because they're my friends, not because I need to get on stage, but occasionally they'll beg me to go up.

    So, I'll sing Huey Lewis or anything else in my vocal range at karaoke. I have lots of engaging songs on call because it's no burden to have the lyrics and chords memorized.

    So, if you want to play in front of people at an open mic, do so.

    If you want them to like it, then play something they'll like. Consider it a challenge to expand your horizons.

    Good luck!
     
  6. watson503

    watson503 Los Cochinos

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    I grew-up with that stuff, too - some great music. Back in the early 90s with the funk resurrection thanks to Dre and everyone sampling of all that stuff, the Gap Band toured and did a show here - they started partying backstage smoking coke and got too geeked-out and refused to play, ended-up sneaking-out the back to their limo leaving a bunch of pissed-off fans.
     

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