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Open Mic Start ups


fingertalkin

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Anybody ever start one of these? What is the key....is it knowing like thousands of songs or being able to play by ear? Mucho theory knowledge?

 

I have a pub locally that has karaoke on Fri. and live bands on Sat. Thursdays around here are always packed at the bars and I figured I would pitch it to the owners.

 

I wanted to get everyones advice first as I am sure it is not easy to do. I think they would go for it. I got my old band the gigs there and they love(d) us.

How do you sign a computer screen?

 

 

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What is the key....is it knowing like thousands of songs or being able to play by ear? Mucho theory knowledge?

 

Yes.

 

Knowing lots of songs allows you to play stuff with random people that's not 12 bar blues for 3 hours.

 

Having a good ear allows you to quickly learn songs on the fly and/or just play a song that you've heard but have never actually tried to play before.

 

Knowing lots of theory can help with that second bit tremendously because you'll be developing your ear when learning theory plus knowing the "rules" allows you to predict what's coming next easier - in a lot of cases anyway.

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If you want to run an open mic and let singers come up and sing with your band, you should create a large set list, say 100 songs or so and hand out the list to the singers, "You can sing one of these songs."

 

You should have the lyrics because people will say (and this drives me nuts), "yes, I know that song, do you have the lyrics?"

 

That's like me saying, "I know that song, do you have the bass line written out for me?"

 

Back on subject.

 

You'll need players who can play everything in your book and more and can play the songs in different keys from your charts.

 

I'm willing to bet that singers will be willing to pay for the privilege of getting up and singing one song with the band, so this could be a moneymaker for you as well as the club, which will get all these singers and their friends who buy drinks. You'll also get a lot of shy singers who come a bunch of times to watch before they get their nerve up to put their names on the list.

 

For you and your band mates, it will be a great education in learning many, many songs and playing them no rehearsal, dealing with on-the-spot arrangement changes, transposition, understanding the psychology of these singers and how to treat them, etc.

 

Are you up for it?

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Are you up for it?

 

Probably not. Maybe in a little bit. I think it could be fun though. It would definitely help with the learning curve. I may go to few in the area to see how they are doing things. They keep popping up and going away. I think some people are using them to build bands and then leaving. We'll see..........

How do you sign a computer screen?

 

 

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They keep popping up and going away. I think some people are using them to build bands and then leaving. We'll see..........

 

Yeah, we had one here too, but there was no backing band. People just turned up and did their stuff accompanying themselves on guitar or whatever. Sometimes smaller, coffee-house type bands used it as a "dry run" for "real" gigs.

 

And just when I was starting to get interested in putting my name on the list, I found that it had closed a few weeks before. Apparently, all the people that were trying to find members for a band among the open mic participants DID and left, and the rest weren't drawing a crowd after about a year of weekly open mics, so the whole thing folded.

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There is a "live karaoke" band in Seattle that does this and has been for several years now. They aren't bad and have a pretty huge song list. It should be noted that they play very "dumbed down" versions of a lot of the material - it gets the point across to Johnny Q Public but any musician who is familiar with the song can hear that the parts aren't accurate.

 

I personally have thought about doing this because I think it might be fun. Ive always given up on the idea though because Im guessing finding other musicians that would be as anal-retentive as I was about learning/playing every song 100% accurately would be near impossible.

 

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I personally have thought about doing this because I think it might be fun. Ive always given up on the idea though because Im guessing finding other musicians that would be as anal-retentive as I was about learning/playing every song 100% accurately would be near impossible.

 

Would there be any point to being 100% accurate, in that sort of situation?

 

I mean, you're getting people that often don't even know all the words, that perhaps have never sung with a band, or who may not even be able to carry a tune. People that might ignore the fancy bridge, sing out of time, or forget a verse. I'd say that a "karaoke band" would have to be VERY flexible, depending on how good the open mic singer is, and they're an unknown quantity.

 

At that point, you might as well just learn the bare bones of each song and be ready for anything.

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It sounds like you're talking about a "live karaoke" type of thing when you say "open mic". Or maybe you're allowing for other instruments to sit in? "Live Band-aoke"?

 

Bump's first post intimated at one other popular format - the blues jam. I've been at many of these where a "house band" does a set, and people sign up on a list. The person running the jam assembles "bands" using the people that signed up, the house band (if an instrument is under-represented), or players who like to play together. It can be fun, it can be boring. It doesn't usually require the house band to know every song.

 

I've also seen "open mics" where it's more acoustic, mostly single artists (usually guitar/vocals). They do their own thing completely, and the opening act (usually a semi-acoustic small group) just warms things up.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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There are several different scenarios being discussed here.

 

In one, there is an open mike. Anyone can walk up to the mike and perform. These things used to be for singer-songwriters and as far as I know, they still exist that way in Nashville. I got up at folk clubs with my acoustic guitar back in the late 60's and early 70's and sang my sensitive songs. (I also met some really cute female singer/songwriters in the process) If the club liked you, they asked you to come back and you actually got paid to do a set on another night.

 

As far as I can tell, nowadays entire bands show up to play the two or three songs that they let you do.

 

In other situations, there is a house band and people come up and join in. Usually they are singers or soloists so the house band stays up there and backs them up. If a bass player or drummer shows up, they take the place of the house band guy. Blues jams and jazz jams are more common than free-for-all open jams because there is a standard repertoire that everyone knows or is expected to know.

 

A "live karaoke" situation would probably be a popular event and as I said before, you could charge singers to sing with the band. You might even find a good singer for your band in the process.

 

This kind of situation would be challenging for the band members, but you would learn tons of music and how to fake anything in the process.

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I personally have thought about doing this because I think it might be fun. Ive always given up on the idea though because Im guessing finding other musicians that would be as anal-retentive as I was about learning/playing every song 100% accurately would be near impossible.

 

Would there be any point to being 100% accurate, in that sort of situation?

 

I mean, you're getting people that often don't even know all the words, that perhaps have never sung with a band, or who may not even be able to carry a tune. People that might ignore the fancy bridge, sing out of time, or forget a verse. I'd say that a "karaoke band" would have to be VERY flexible, depending on how good the open mic singer is, and they're an unknown quantity.

 

At that point, you might as well just learn the bare bones of each song and be ready for anything.

 

There wouldn't be much point in it, no. But if I was going to do something like that I'd want the added challenge of being 100% accurate. To me that would be fun. Sadistic? Maybe. But fun.

 

If I did a live karaoke band I'd put together a ~100 song book of "stuff we know" for people to pick from to sing. All those we'd know like the back of our hand - 100% accurate. Then anything else anyone wanted to do that wasn't on the list we'd wing if enough of us had heard the song before.

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Sorry, I'm not much help; I've only gone to the acoustic open mikes. The singer/songwriter host starts things off while everyone signs up. Most are singer/guitarists, either originals or covers. Sometimes an ensemble will arrive as a group. Other times someone like me might bring a bass and ask to sit in with someone else. (I've played a bit of solo bass, too.) If it's a slow night the host fills out the time.

 

I'd think if you could put together a cover band with a 100 song play list you'd do better off just playing regular gigs instead of hosting an open mike. If you're shy a member or two how are you going to fill out the time on a slow night?

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We have arrived at the secret.

 

Yes, if you have a 100 song list, you have a cover band.

You host your "sing with a band night" on a Monday night.

You are creating a gig for yourself. A club doesn't have to hire you, you're playing the gig for the admission price.

 

Meanwhile, your band gets tighter and tighter and you will be able to be able to handle those great weekend gigs which you hope to get. Monday will be a lot more fun than rehearsing in someone's garage for months while looking for a weekend gig.

 

On a slow night, you'll play instrumentals all night long, or maybe even your regular singer or singers will sing. If you don't have a regular singer, you'll soon find one on the open mike nights. If you can play lots of songs and fake your way through things, you should be able to fill up a night easily.

 

Just play Mr. Magic for 20 minutes, followed by Crossroads, followed by Little Sunflower. You just played an hour set.

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That would be cool. A sing with a band karaoke. I don't know if I could find other band mates that would be into it. I may pursue this further. Thanks!

 

Actually, there's a bar I visited in downtown Toronto recently that does just this...Jeff Healey's Roadhouse. They got mostly singers, but took instrumentalists too.

 

I've been to a few open jams here in my own city, but I've never gotten an opportunity to play. I don't know about elsewhere, but here these open jams are very clique-ish...you have to go and get to know everyone involved before you truly get an opportunity to play. I'd imagine a karaoke band would probably fair better than an instrumental type switcheroo though.

 

Sounds like a great idea to me...go for it!

 

Dave

 

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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