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January 15, 2008

Open Mic @ The Spice Of Life Pub (Soho)

Last night I went to my first Monday night open mic at the Spice of Life pub in Soho... not to perform, as a spectator. I've been along to their Tuesday night gigs before, which are either a blues jam (mediocre ego fest) or a 'groove' jam (really good).

The format of the evening is that you turn up early, put your name on the list and then wait to play. Each artist gets to showcase two songs per session. It seemed like you were supposed to play acoustic guitar or piano, though there were also harmonicas and a cello in the mix.

The first thing to say is that overall I was really impressed with the quality of the performances, particularly in terms of the vocals. Most of the acts could really sing. There were a couple of stand outs for me, a girl called Amanda whose voice was just amazingly evocative: a hippie-chick with a rootsy folksy style. The other one was a couple of guys on guitar and cello. I think they were Karimi & Moore. Moore's cello work was fantastic, but Karimi's incredible voice was killer. A true talent.

My plan had been to go along and chat with some of the people, make contacts. You know: network. Not much happened this time around, unless you count that I was hit on by a drunk straight woman, but I plan on going back. What was neat about the open mic was the variety of songs and styles showcased. Their groove jam was similar in some ways, but not as structured. The blues jam, which I had possibly unrealistically high expectations of, was a free-for-all ego trip, with each musician competing with the others on stage for their 15 minutes of fame.

Although I didn't network as I'd hoped this time round, I did feel inspired listening to all that original music. I came out of the pub with a few song ideas of my own:

One Last Trick (Before I Settle Down)
The Only One (I Couldn't Get)
If You're Gonna Do It, Do It (Don't Waste My Time)

Okay, so there are no stellar ideas there, but at least my creative juices were flowing.

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