mont blanc ballpoint pens price Area open mic nights provide training ground
Nick Byrd rapped he was “perfectly capable of spitting these spats” at an open mic night in Annapolis Wednesday.
Byrd, also known as Master Laos, performed in public for his first time at Metropolitan Kitchen Lounge’s weekly event, although he has written music for about five years.
Pamela Mielnik attended open mic night two weeks ago at Stan and Joe’s Saloon in Annapolis. The city resident remembered her first time singing in front of people at the bar’s open mic night in 2009.
“It was terrible,” she said. “I just didn’t have enough experience to know what I was doing.”
But now she’s in a band, Firekite.
She said open mics are a supportive environment for new and professional musicians to practice and that she owes a lot to the host, Kevin Lebling, known as Hurricane Kevin.
“You can be the crappiest musician in the world and (Kevin)’ll still clap for you,” she said. “Having the courage to get up there is the first step.”
Stan and Joe’s may have the longest running open mic night in the area at over 10 years. It started when the bar was still called Sean Donlan’s, Lebling said.
Mark Hudson, lead singer of Happy Fuzzy, sang some Grateful Dead tunes while strumming his guitar at the West Street location two weeks ago.
“(Open mic)’s a great place to meet people,” he said. “I can name three people who helped me in my music career and Kevin is one of them.”
On Wednesday, the Annapolis resident was at Metropolitan to practice some more.
John Baldwin also made his rounds at open mics during the week playing at Stan and Joe’s and O’ Brien’s Steakhouse. He said he goes out most weeknights to either karaoke or open mic events.
“It’s how I got my footing to go play for money.”
He enjoys karaoke because he doesn’t have to worry about playing an instrument while singing. And open mic night, he said, can be background music at a bar, whereas people who go to karaoke go just for that.
There another difference between karaoke and open mic, said “Brother Bill” Smyth, host of Alibi’s Bar and Grill open mic night.
“I tell people, and no disrespect to karaoke, this is a step above. You have to be able to play an instrument,” he said as Annapolis resident Dave Baldwin performed in the corner of the Pasadena bar.
“When I hear him sing, I hear Rod Stewart and Don Henley,” Smyth said.
Baldwin strummed his guitar and two other people came up to join him.
Pasadena resident Vinny Scardino clapped at the end of each song from the bar, eventually joining in on a second microphone to sing a Beatles song.
Johnny Poulis, who hosts O’Brien’s open mic night, said spontaneous collaborations are one of his favorite parts of the event.
“The thing I like about open mic is you never know,” he said. “I mean I’ve had like big local bands just come up out of the blue like ‘Hey we’ve got a show coming up and we just want to free up the cobwebs.'”
Around midnight at Stan and Joe’s, Dan Kagan shook maracas offstage as Lebling and another musician sang “Just my ‘magination, running away with me”
Kagan hosts one an open mic night at Annapolis Smokehouse and Tavern every second and fourth Sunday but he can be found Mondays at Stan and Joe’s. “I provide an opportunity for all these other players,” he said. “It’s like having all these people over to your house to jam except I don’t have to clean up afterwards.”
After another song, Kagan broke out a guiro from a bag. A song later, he exchanged it for claves. “A friend of mine once told me, never go anywhere without percussion.”
Someone on trumpet joined in. “I think it’s going to get kind of jammy in here in a few minutes,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”.