As a professional musician, I travel the country a lot and try to play music every opportunity I can get, and Gudang lagu is the best platform that I would recommend to all my fellow musicians. There is nothing worse than playing a bad show, and while it’s still up to you to play a good gig, this checklist should give you the best shot at finding the right Open Mic Night crowd.
- HOW TO FIND AN OPEN MIC BAR.
The internet is a pretty good place and has lots of resources, but gives you no real-life impression of what to expect. Personally, I prefer word-of-mouth when it comes to finding the right Open Mic Night. Look in the windows for events calendars at bars you like. Ask a bartender, waitress, or musician friend where to find an Open Mic and how the scene is. You have the potential to play anywhere you want if you just try and act professional about it.
- LISTEN TO OTHER PEOPLE’S SETS DURING THE SHOW.
This seems like a given, but some people are too excited or nervous about playing their own songs to watch others. Open Mic Nights are about developing community; possibly even meeting your future band amongst your fellow musicians. Besides, too many times have I seen multiple people cover the same Beatles song at the same Open Mic Night because nobody listened to each other. That’s a sure-fire way to make enemies or lose future performance opportunities.
- IS THERE A SOUND TECHNICIAN?
This is always an important question. Find whoever’s working the sound that evening and pick their brain. Ask them a few questions and figure out what their idea of a perfect stage sound is. Don’t get too pushy though, remember, the technician is not only running the show’s sound but monitoring everyone’s set as they play. He or she is a busy person.
- DON’T TUNE ON STAGE.
It’s everyone’s least favorite part of the show. Tune your guitar or instrument BEFORE going on stage, even do it outside the bar if the music’s too loud inside.
- YOUR VOICE IS NOT A SOLO INSTRUMENT.
With few exceptions, everyone is accompanied by at least a guitar or piano. If you cannot play these instruments, find someone who can perform with you. This might require going to an Open Mic Night a week before you wish to play and looking for local talent.
- FIND OUT WHO THE BAR’S BOOKING AGENT IS.
Most Open Mic acts that are well-received go on to play headlining or featured shows at the same bar. If your set goes well, talk to the MC or bartenders about booking future shows. This may require a demo recording, but not necessarily if you play well enough or often enough at that same bar’s Open Mic.
- CHEER LOUD.
Doesn’t matter WHAT you think of the person on stage. Everyone needs support and Open Mic Night isn’t a Battle of the Bands. Make as much noise as possible and encourage it amongst the crowd.
- MAKE YOUR SET MEMORABLE.
You don’t need to jump around the stage or flail your limbs, but engage the crowd; you’re there to entertain them. Smile at them, dedicate songs to people, make stage banter, or whatever you feel comfortable doing to bring the crowd into your music.
- DON’T EXCEED SET TIME.
There are plenty of times in life to say “no way, I’m just going to keep rocking.” An Open Mic Night isn’t that time, you’ll get banned from coming back. It’s okay to ask the MC for one more song and it’s okay to get the crowd riled enough to demand that you play one more song, but you can’t just play until forcefully removed. That’s a horrible way to introduce yourself to a musical community.
- THERE IS NO PRESSURE.
An Open Mic Night is not your high school flute recital, nobody cares if you slip on a few notes or start singing the wrong verse, it’s really all about your energy. If you’re having fun and it shows, the crowd will pick up on this. If you’re too stressed to make everything perfect, this will also show. Nobody likes to see that.
Most of all though, be respectful when going to a new Open Mic Night. These meetings of musicians are their own, tight-knit communities of friends interacting creatively over drinks. If you follow my advice you will certainly make friends and be heard by those with a real ear for music. Remember, an Open Mic Night is a networking show for musicians by musicians.
In the spirit of that, here’s the two best Open Mic Nights I’ve seen in the country. Go get connected: