We are now two weeks into the open mic night at Finnegan’s in Ashburn. And I have to say–this week’s open mic was pretty fantastic. We had a great turnout and some real talent. Considering the attendance and the level of musicianship on display for what was only our *second* open mic, I’d hazard to say that we’re off to a solid start. The musicians that came out and their friends and fans had a lot of fun connecting with one another. There was a lot of support amongst everyone gathered there. It was a little crazy. One of our performers even got a gig at the venue out of their performance. The staff took great care of everyone, too. And the host—he’s an all right guy, too.
You see. I have been to quite a few open mics in the area over the last 16 years or so. Back when I lived in Arlington, there were a few (IOTA and Dr. Dremos in particular) that will always hold a special place in my heart. Those nights were about community, about artists coming together and talking shop, people trying new things, going out on a limb in a comfortable environment. People got excited and looked forward to a midweek, low pressure night of making music. There was always a range of participants: from folks that were just getting started out to seasoned performers who have graced some of our areas bigger stages. In the intervening years, I haven’t been able to find anything quite like that. In particular, not in Loudoun County. I know there is a ton of talent out here west of the Beltway and it’s my goal to build something just a little bit special.
I think when people hear the term open mic, at least with respect to music, they think that of scene in Animal House where Belushi is forced to smash some poor saps acoustic guitar just to “make it stop.” Not all acoustic artists out there are whining about their one true love, wearing crowns of flower petals, or covering Wagon Wheel. In two weeks we have had an amazing mix of music. Post-punk, Rock and Roll, Americana. Hell, I played some Tom Waits just this past week. It’s about variety and having the courage to get up there and give it a try.
And I’m not the kind of host that will plug in the performer’s guitar and then just sit in the corner. I’m there to engage with participants, too.
I hope in the coming weeks, even more artists roll in to check it out and help me make this into something great. I will start sharing some of the recordings soon!
Open mics are Tuesday nights at Finnegan’s Grill in Ashburn, VA. Sign-up is at 7 pm. Music from 7 to 10 pm. Bring your guitar, hand percussion, keys if that’s your thing. Sorry–no drum kits, amps, etc…