It is an important acoustic and folk venue, and it is an historic Open Mic: the longest-continually running one in the East Bay.
Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse on some alternate Tuesday nights is the host to the Open Mic.
Open Mics are part of how I got my start and developed my chops in Fort Collins: Avo’s, Lucky Joe’s, The Canyon Open Mic in Masonville and more.
Signing up to play a new tune, or test one’s stage presence as a performing artist, to get known in a new area, to meet other song-singers and song-writers are some of the reasons that men and women add their name to the list.
As a listener/observer, Open Mics are always hit-or-miss in:
the talent department,
or the ready-for-prime-time department,
or the stage-presence polish-department,
or trying-out-the-new-material department,
but that’s exactly the point.
On a recent Tuesday, I threw my hat into the ring, bought the ticket to get in, hitched up my baritone mountain dulcimer and traveled the BART across the bay. Important learning: Arriving 20 minutes before door opened almost didn’t get me a spot to play. There were several other hopefuls behind me in the line who DIDN’T get a slot to play that night.
Before I went, I thought I’d check in my with colleague, Kerry Patrick Clark, about which song to sing for my “Freight” debut.
I have a large repertoire, I play many instruments and when faced with a “one-song-set” am sometimes stymied by which one to choose.
“It’s a no-brainer,” he said, when I finally reached him on the telephone.
Then he named the perfect song, but it was one I had completely overlooked when trying to balance: instrument, style of song, goal of song in giving my debut performance on this stage.
“We need to move the audience to laugh, or to cry, to move them toward community,” he noted. “It’s the stories that have the power.”
Of course he was right, and I played the one he suggested.
I drew #26 out of a line-up of 28 performers and even though I waited for nearly 3 hours through all the preceding performers [and found myself really being moved by a third of them!] I had a blast!
And my sweethearts: (my spouse and my daughter) both came to smile and support me….
….and they said,
“you did good.”