Open Mics - Like & Dislikes!

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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 6396
    p90fool said:
    The best part was that the host used to grab two performers from the first batch who'd never met before and lock them in the pub kitchen for half an hour to write a song. That was a real ice-breaker, and it didn't matter if it was a bit crap as the entire audience was onside. 
    That's a thoroughly excellent idea! About 10 years ago we went on a late night radio station in Birmingham, the other guests were some burlesque dancers. We were told to write a song to play to a burrito stall on Broad Street to convince them to give us free Burritos. It was a lot of fun.
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  • BenSirAmosBenSirAmos Frets: 289
    I prefer getting a set number of minutes to set up and play. I tend to do short songs - but some people will get the same number of songs but add several verses of widdling (not interesting enough to call soloing) or will spend ten minutes sound checking their gear before starting a song. 

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  • ShrewsShrews Frets: 826
    Some people will take along music and lyrics and obviously need a stand for it.  Any lighting that's behind the performer may shine on to the said music and the glare may make it unreadable. From memory, I had some chords written in red ink and when the red lights flashed the chords disappeared.

    It was a bit like Les Dawson playing the piano.
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  • SnagsSnags Frets: 3043
    edited June 28
    Most of the things that make for good ones around my way (for both audience and participants) have largely been covered, but basically:
    • as the host, sheep dog the performers
    • start on time
    • clear playing order, even if it's a bit flexible as the evening develops (flexibility normally by getting regulars/people you know to shuffle about the order if it's going to help the flow)
    • give the next performer the nod before the current one starts their last song, so they can get ready (guitar out, tune up, etc.)
    • clear guidelines on either amount of time or number of songs (with a bit of flexibility - if it's a three-song rule but someone does really short ones, throw them another one; if they do a couple of epic ones, or try to cram in a stand-up routine around them, cut the buggers short)
    • introduce each person and lead the applause afterwards
    • be clear up front as to how much player gear is acceptable - yay/nay to bring your own amp/pedal board etc.
      (edit: perhaps not "up front", but be clear in your own mind what you're going to accept and what you aren't, so you're ready when some hero turns up with the control surface for the Starship Enterprise)
    • have someone to actively run the sound, at least for the start of each performer's set
    • only piss off out the back for a fag if it's someone you know and trust on stage

    A lot of them around here develop a fairly regular set of attenders, plus the odd "walk-in" or "occasional", and lots of people are known to lots of others. That tends to lead to an environment where some people will just wander up and start sitting in on percussion, or harmonica or whatever. I quite like that, but not everyone does*. One of them the organiser always offers to sit in on cajon if you want etc.

    The ones that are more painful are the ones that advertise a start time, but are never ready, and the host is running around in a tiz, they start about an hour late, no-one quite knows whats going on, mates get preferential treatment etc. etc.

    *I should say that the people who do that only do it to other people they know, and are also competent. It's less good if you get someone with no sense of timing thumping the bongos or whatever
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 7144
    I’ve been to some where there is time limit rather than a number-of-songs limit on performers. Stops people playing three songs that are each the length of PF’s Echoes.

    I actually went to something on Sunday where the microphone shields were changed after every performer - presumably to be covid compliant. 
    I play guitar because I enjoy it rather than because I’m any good at it
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 6134
    Shrews said:
    Some people taking it far too seriously. It's just a bit of fun and the rubbish players should be applauded just as much as the good. At one I went to it nearly kicked off because there was a couple chatting (not loud) and he stopped what he was doing and started pointing the figure at them spouting off about how much time he'd spent getting it right , blah, blah.

    You're not doing a concert mate and nobody's paid to get in. In fact most people aren't even listening. Just get the fck on with it and get off. Miserable cnt.

    So maybe a reminder to all the performers that they're not at the Royal Albert Hall.
    What im taking away from this is make sure you go to one where the organiser at least has halfstacks.
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 6134
    p90fool said:
    I used to go to one where everyone booked in and was given a 15 minute or three song slot, and then at midnight it became less formal with more jamming. 

    The best part was that the host used to grab two performers from the first batch who'd never met before and lock them in the pub kitchen for half an hour to write a song. That was a real ice-breaker, and it didn't matter if it was a bit crap as the entire audience was onside. 
    Thats awesome. I love that kinda thing. 
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  • DazzaDazza Frets: 25
    p90fool said:
    I used to go to one where everyone booked in and was given a 15 minute or three song slot, and then at midnight it became less formal with more jamming. 

    The best part was that the host used to grab two performers from the first batch who'd never met before and lock them in the pub kitchen for half an hour to write a song. That was a real ice-breaker, and it didn't matter if it was a bit crap as the entire audience was onside. 
    Loving the sound of that, once established I would defiantly give that a go! the three song limit is the way we are going to go and if time allows, a couple more.
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  • DazzaDazza Frets: 25
    edited July 7

    @BenSirAmos Good point, the setting up element we are looking to help and keep slick as we can with a bit of chat about what they might need prior to the night cracking on.
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  • DazzaDazza Frets: 25
    Snags said:
    Most of the things that make for good ones around my way (for both audience and participants) have largely been covered, but basically:
    • as the host, sheep dog the performers
    • start on time
    • clear playing order, even if it's a bit flexible as the evening develops (flexibility normally by getting regulars/people you know to shuffle about the order if it's going to help the flow)
    • give the next performer the nod before the current one starts their last song, so they can get ready (guitar out, tune up, etc.)
    • clear guidelines on either amount of time or number of songs (with a bit of flexibility - if it's a three-song rule but someone does really short ones, throw them another one; if they do a couple of epic ones, or try to cram in a stand-up routine around them, cut the buggers short)
    • introduce each person and lead the applause afterwards
    • be clear up front as to how much player gear is acceptable - yay/nay to bring your own amp/pedal board etc.
      (edit: perhaps not "up front", but be clear in your own mind what you're going to accept and what you aren't, so you're ready when some hero turns up with the control surface for the Starship Enterprise)
    • have someone to actively run the sound, at least for the start of each performer's set
    • only piss off out the back for a fag if it's someone you know and trust on stage

    A lot of them around here develop a fairly regular set of attenders, plus the odd "walk-in" or "occasional", and lots of people are known to lots of others. That tends to lead to an environment where some people will just wander up and start sitting in on percussion, or harmonica or whatever. I quite like that, but not everyone does*. One of them the organiser always offers to sit in on cajon if you want etc.

    The ones that are more painful are the ones that advertise a start time, but are never ready, and the host is running around in a tiz, they start about an hour late, no-one quite knows whats going on, mates get preferential treatment etc. etc.

    *I should say that the people who do that only do it to other people they know, and are also competent. It's less good if you get someone with no sense of timing thumping the bongos or whatever
    What can I say, a perfect summation, thanks man! Thats the way we want to tackle it, how would we want one to be ran. The start time etc. is key as you say combined with good comms.
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  • DazzaDazza Frets: 25
    HAL9000 said:
    I’ve been to some where there is time limit rather than a number-of-songs limit on performers. Stops people playing three songs that are each the length of PF’s Echoes.

    I actually went to something on Sunday where the microphone shields were changed after every performer - presumably to be covid compliant. 
    Totally! Time limit also the other option if it creeps beyond the lengthy 3 song limit, need a time out sign! The shields we have covered but glad you picked up on it, nice to know others are doing it too.
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  • braincagebraincage Frets: 1
    are there any open jam sessions in london, I'm a guitarist and haven't tried to jam live spontaneosuly before, would be agood experience I think, let me know if you guys know of good ones thnaks
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