I have been going to the Highlander open mic for almost three years now – no! it can’t be! – but last night was the rowdiest, most unruly, loudest, fullest, biggest list of musicians and crowd that I have ever seen or heard. Add to that three strings breaking on Thomas Brun’s guitar with three different musicians, a lot of broken glasses, and … some great music. It was a weird, wonderful and trippy open mic night at the Highlander. I was glad that although I only managed to get up on the stage shortly before 1 AM there was still a large audience left and I managed to get them to sing along to “What’s Up!”!
On the other hand, it was very interesting seeing how the performers coped with the crowd. You want a big crowd, you want a happy crowd. Do you want a noisy crowd? Personally, I see it as a challenge and try to break on through to the other side. I got them with “What’s Up!” but I lost them with “Runaway Train,” I suppose I should have done a Cat Stevens. We learn…. More than one performer was so upset they asked the audience to be quiet for their quiet songs. But personally, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do in an open mic. If it is a paying concert and half the people are there to listen and a small group of people is making riotous noise, then it makes sense to tell them to be quiet. Still, Thomas himself felt it necessary to address the audience on a few occasions, and of that I cannot object; it’s just not up to the performer.
In any case, a noisy crowd is just exactly what a budding performer should be using an open mic to learn to deal with, I think. So all in a night’s fun. Having said all that, a riotous evening like that will never permit anything like the high moment of the night before at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance with KUKU and Ilan and their ad lib jam.