I have noticed all over the world that the MCs of open mics have a thankless job. They are most often musicians themselves, and they are most often professional musicians who do the open mics as an off-shoot of their regular jobs as musicians. They are very often much better musicians than most of the musicians who take part in their open mics. And they most often receive not only no thanks from the people taking part in their open mics, but they actually receive people complaining about when their slot is to play, and questioning without stop when their slot is, and just generally giving the MCs a hard time.
Most often this is also without intending to bother the MC, but when you get 20 musicians wanting to play and those MCs have to answer the same question several times a night, that can be hard. Perhaps the worst part is that most of the people who come to play at an open mic don’t really treat the MC as a fellow musician, and one who in fact is more often than not, a better musician than the musicians coming to play….
So when James Iansiti, the MC of the Tennessee Bar open mic, mentioned to me that he had this band he was really happy with playing on Friday nights at the Tennessee Bar – where he hosts the open mic on Monday nights – I thought I just HAVE to get there and listen to James and his band. I went last night, and I did not regret it. James has some very cool songs, lots of artistry, and a very, very well-oiled stage presence. Loved the acoustic bass player too, oh, and the drummer, and the guitarist, and James did a very well balanced show, varying styles and songs throughout. Lots of talk in the audience as usual there, of course. The place is just too comfortable not to talk – but it was also clear the audience enjoyed the music….