I finally made it to an Open Mic night. One glance at the Philly Songwriters resource pages tells you that Philly is a hell of an open mic town. There are several options on any given night of the week.
I chose to stay on well-trodden ground (for me) and went to World Café Live, where every Monday is Philly Rising, hosted by the irrepressible Boy Wonder. Sign-up starts at 6:30pm for 15-minute slots (2 songs only), and the fun begins at 7:30pm. (At 11pm or so, there are one-song slots). I took the prime piece of real estate at the very end of the bar, where I had to continually pull my feet in to avoid tripping Abby and Erin, the hard-working waitresses.
There were guitar wailers. There was hip-hop (some lame and some not). There was Keyboard Cathy, who cheerfully, and somewhat defiantly, sang songs about peanut butter and sushi (not together). There was Jack Gleason, a sort of happy hobbit, who coaxed interesting space-like electronica out of his guitar, and (though the magic of several gizmos) made it sound like an ‘invisible Irish choir.’ There was a 19-year-old fellow who, accompanied by his best friend on the piano, belted out some Elton John-esque ballads in a fiercely powerful voice. And on and on.
And if you sit there long enough, enjoying the music for what it is, and for the joy the individuals bring to it, you will eventually get the oyster with the pearl.
Lee Morgan got up and first did some extraordinary things with a harmonica, and then sang some
And a new band, Bojibian, totally rocked the house. They’re all barely legal (just turning 22), and they’ve only been together for six months, and they play like they’ve been together for years. They were totally tight, vocally and instrumentally, all of them could play, and their beat was infectious. I chatted with Steven, the lead vocalist, afterwards, and will be talking to them more. They will be at World Café on July 19, so local folks should check them out.