Sunday, January 3, 2010

Open Mic at the Peint O Gwrw

I finally played at 'The People's Open Mic' in Chatham, NY. I have checked it out, signed up, brought my guitar and for one reason or another not played several times before. But last night I played....and had a great time!!

Perhaps many times we carry our perceptions and that colors our experiences in ways that we can not know. I think that my past experiences at this open mike were that way....I had always felt a sort of ire coming from the audience towards folks on that stage that were not professional level....and that scared me!!! I play for fun and joy, not perfection....and when I sense that the spirit in a venue is not supportive and encouraging of efforts, I fear that I will surely fail....

Last night was different. First of all, I felt 'included' because I called the leader of the OM and got on the list (sign-up at the venue and you won't get on until waaaaay after 11pm). Then I called my best buddy Todd who is soooo cool and supportive (the kind of guy that says just the right thing at just the right time), and he said, yeah, let's go!!! (I also called a few other folks who didn't show....too bad!)

When we got there, there was a table near to the fire, but situated away from the flow of people and we grabbed that and our beers. I did check to see if I were on the list, but did not know who, out of the mass of folks milling about instruments and amps and bar and tables, was the host of the proceedings. My spot was fourth from the beginning.

I saw and greeted Roberta, a frequent face at open mics who sings mostly blues and needs instrumental back up....the band did her well. As we sat and talked, I noticed Steve, another old friend that I played with quite a bit in the Berkshires, and he joined us at the table. I started to feel like I had quite a few friends in the crowd and started to relax....

My turn. I take the time to be sure that my mic was placed at the right angle for my comfort and technique. I had my words with me. They plugged in my guitar and I knew it worked because I tested it at home with my new Christmas gift from Nan....a battery tester that you plug into the guitar!!! Great idea!!! I was actually prepared!

I said something about HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!, reminded the crowd of who I was, and started to play a song I wrote with Karen Barry, 'Candy'.

Almost immediately, a string (DARN ELIXERS!!!!) popped, but I kept playing on, because....

The crowd was hopping, bopping, and looking like they were surely enjoying themselves. Most people were talking and laughing, but as I played, I could see that many stopped and paid a bit of attention before returning to their chatting.....and that just fueled me. My next song was 'Dancing Tonight'.  I introduced the song, and asked people how they felt as someone came up and changed my cable (which made the guitar fade in and out) and started to play....

This time I noticed that some of the women in front were listening and smiling (and hopping, swaying and during the next pause, I said that I had written those two songs and, as a matter of fact, this one too, and played 'What is It'. The women started to really dance, just at the end of the song....

But, my time was up, I stopped and left the stage. Errors? Plenty!!! Forgotten lyrics?? SURE!!! Loads of fun??? YOU BET!!!!

We stayed for a bit after that.....several great bands played rock, classic rock and blues. It was a really fine evening....I will CERTAINLY do that again!!!


  1. Alright Marilyn - nice to hear about this; sounds like a good night. paul

  2. Congrats Marilyn! Gotta stay off FB today... on the job

    Rick A

  3. Hey Marilyn...

    We played at the Peoples Open Mic at Peint O Gwrw on June 4, 2011. Great time. We loved it. Great people there too. Glad yours went well... I bet you've done it several times since!

  4. yep, Tom, I have, but never enough, it seems!!! Last time was last month, and I had an even BETTER time.....SO much fun....sorry I didn't meet you this past Saturday!!


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