Music, Open Mic/Music, songwriter

The Glorious Unexpected – Open Mic Challenge Day 6

Dr. Lou’s Place.

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Very few venues have an open mic on a Friday. Dr. Lou’s Place has what he calls an “open stage”. When I called to make sure they had the open mic (the lesson learned after the Tierney’s debacle), the lady who answered the phone said,  “The stage is always open, there is no sign up sheet – just come and play”.  I was confused…this is not how things have run in any of the open mics so far…and as you read yesterday I am a little bit of a control freak.  As happens when I need to learn something difficult for me,  the universe gives another opportunity… “just go with it”.

On paper, Roebling NJ is an hour from my house, but as NJ people know once the Turnpike is involved all bets are off.  I was glad there was no signup sheet pressure  because it took 90 minutes to get there.

It was soooo worth it.  I pulled up just as Dr. Lou himself was getting there. Yes, there is an actual Dr. Lou. 

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Dr. Lou and his son Louie performing last night.

He has had this place for 5 years.  He has a band called The Privileged Few Band who played later on in the night and were kick ass. His place reminded me of a venue in Memphis…off the beaten track, tons of interesting stuff on the walls and a very cool vibe. The food was great and Dr. Lou was a completely generous host, but in the end, it was all about the music.

Here is how things balance out in the universe.  Thursday night I did not get to play (feel free to read yesterday’s blog for the details).  Last night I played for 1:45 minutes.  I was the first person there.  There were 4 bands booked for later on, but no one waiting to play.  Dr. Lou told me to go ahead for as long as I wanted until other people wanted to play.  I played for 1:15 minutes.  The audience was appreciative and engaged – it was a great time.  Then a standup comedian- Neil- came up. 

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James Neil Woods

He was funny and smart.  I ordered a burger.  Dr. Lou came back and asked me if I wanted to play some more while the band set up so I played for another half hour to a great crowd.  He gave us an order of wings on the house.

This is what my bill looked like:

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I love music people!

The whole night was unexpected and it was glorious. Dr. Lou is a fine and generous person with a super cool room, great sound and the love of music that makes you want to go back and play again. 

My last stop on the 7 Day Open Mic Challenge will be tonight at Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar in NYC.  Open Mic runs from 6-9 – hope to see you there!

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Music, Open Mic/Music, songwriter

Flexibility, Persistance and a Love Letter to Lafayette

What tour would be complete without at least one big frustration?

Those who know me would have no doubt that I am persistent…but flexible is not always my strongest quality.  I am a planner.  Actually I can be a little compulsive in this area – I think it comes out of the need to think I am in control of things all the time.  This, of course, is not the most stress free way to be, and I have always envied those people who just roll with things.

Last night I got my chance to practice rolling.   I planned on the Open Mic at Tierney’s in Montclair to change things up a little and try to connect with performers from northern NJ.   Tierney’s website calendar clearly showed “Thursday 8/15 Acoustic Showcase – Open Mic”.   I got there at 7 – an hour before it would start.  I felt like I was in good shape to get a good slot and thanked my planning mind for the wisdom to get there early.  When I walked in I did not see any equipment or other people with guitars.  I asked the bartender who bluntly said “We do it every other week now”  But your website shows tonight.  No response…nice. So I took a deep breath, decided this was just a bump in the road of my adventure and looked up other open mics on my phone. I could roll with it.

Cafe Z in Union had one that started at 8.  It was now 7:10 – I could make it.  I got back on the parkway, navigated the traffic and got to the venue at 7:45.  I thought even if the list is full, surely they will let me do one song to fulfill my quest of 7 open mics in a row.  Even if they didn’t I would still stay and write about the performers.  I walked in – no equipment – no performers.  The waitress kindly said they had to cancel it last minute and she was sorry.  At least she was nice.

It was  too late to get anywhere else, so I went home for an unexpected night off. Could my mind just roll with the fact that there would be no open mic on day 5 of the challenge?  Yes..the challenge would go forward with today’s experience teaching me two very important lessons:  never trust a website – always call the venue, and  being flexible is all about what you tell yourself in your head…how you decide to look at things.  Like the title of my 2nd CD says “It’s All In How You See Things”.

I decided, with my persistent nature, that the evening would not be a loss at all if I did some songwriting.  This is where the last part of today’s title comes in…I wrote a love song. For those of you that watch “True Blood”, you will know of what I speak. I am in love with Lafayette.  I know he is gay, wears make up much more artfully than I do and dresses a little flashy, but I don’t care…there is something about him.  When he calls a woman “hooker” you know it’s out of a deep affection for her…he’s the only one that could call me that and it would be ok.  So I wrote a song..cause that is what I do.

On to Dr. Lou’s Place in Roebling NJ…and yes I called and the open mic is on!!!

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