The following photographic essay is a visual documentation of musical times. I invite you to contemplate the value of expression through music and imagery. For when people join in song, there is something special about it, I am sure of it.
Self-serve audio or best friends that accompany the tunes vary each set. On a dive bar stage such as this, the community shares their emotions and thoughts. Some play the same songs every week, others use their stage time to rehearse for bigger shows. But everyone pays to play as they drink and sing the night away.
I hear not just the chorus of voices but the supporting tambourines, maracas, and drums in the audience as well. The song quiets and then swells, as it does in a good version of American Pie, and before long the audience changes the tune to the repetitive sound of clapping.
Communication happens between two entities; performers need an audience.
Kevin, drummer for The Bad Influences, is lining up his drum set casually at one of the tables, giving the appearance of some sort of drum caravan arriving just in time for a beer. While Kevin took a break from packing up his drum set, he took a drink of his beer, looked at me, laughed and said, “My mom told me I should have been a piccolo player, it would be a lot easier to put away”.
Open mic is a place to vent, explore and share. While a musician’s career is overwhelmingly uncertain most of the time, a community that encourages expression is what every artist needs.
Performing music in front of an audience is exhilarating because it gives those who dare to do so a chance to give others a deeper meaning of themselves, a more musical and abstract form of communicating expression.
In these small, dark, and casual bars, musicians talk of balancing commerce and creativity. Everyone is an artist. Though some excel because of dedication and motivation, all appreciate expression in its purest form.
For ordering information of Four Bars of Open Mic the book contact Megan Lendman