Graz, a Beautiful Old Town, but not Exactly Full of Music
Graz, Austria, is the second biggest city in Austria, with a population of 300,000. But my first and only visit so far reaped for me only a single venue for open mics. Furthermore, I found no other live music joints during that weekend visit. I heard about other places, but I will have to return again to find more, and perhaps have the help of locals who might suggest something for the future.
Having said that, the open mic that I DID find, was fabulous – with the true spirit of the open mic in its openness, warmth, and willingness to make noise all night long….
Worldwide Open Mic Guide Philosophy
The only guide I am really in a good position to update regularly is that of Paris, since I live there. But I decided to do guides to all the other more than 20 cities on my worldwide open mic tour in order to give the knowledge I have personally of each city’s open mics. The guide has links to sites I know of local guides that may be more up-to-date, but I have chosen to list the open mics or jam sessions that I have played in myself. There may be others that I know of, but if I have not played there, I will not include it on the list. That way, the user learns a little of my own impressions. But I cannot be as certain that the guide is up-to-date – so check before you go.
GRAZ, Austria – Here’s all I knew about Graz before last night: It is the second biggest city in Austria, but has only 300,000 population and feels small, and it has one of the best preserved old town city centres. Now I can add that it also has a great open mic in the center of the old town in a bar called The Spot.
Owned and run by a Canadian from Vancouver, the Spot feels more like a pub in the midlands of England. The open mic is a much more cosmopolitain affair, though, with last night some Canadians, Germans, Americans, mix-breeds, and others. Well, all right, that doesn’t say much very clearly, so I’ll jump to the details.
It’s got the qualities of many of the best open mic venues: A very small amount of room so that everyone is shoulder to shoulder and you cannot avoid the music. A great MC, in Chris, and the owner/manager Emlyn, who obviously loves to hold the open mic. These ingredients ensure that the spot gets it spot on.
It normally runs on Thursday nights, but this week thanks to the world cup soccer and some other consideration I think I missed, the open mic was canceled on Thursday, but run on Friday night. It also, unfortunately for those who read these words today, was the last open mic of the summer. It’ll start again in the fall.
Oh, another thing I know about Graz, is that it is a massive university town, with some 40,000 university students and a school of jazz. Can you ask for anything better for an open mic city? Well, last night the pub was full of professors and English teachers, and some students. It was a shorter open mic than usual, between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., and then a duet that calls itself something like the Jackson Twins played rockin’ rollin’ drinkin’ movin’ pub music, with a wickedly fast guitar player and crisp clear bellowing singer who set the party mood through the second half of the night.
Definitely a musical center of Graz, not to be missed if you’re in the area.