Links to useful open mic guides to Japan:
– It’s not just Nagoya, but here’s a Live House for the whole country of Japan!
Brad Spurgeon’s findings on Open Mics in Nagoya:
The first thing to keep in mind when coming to Japan and looking for places to play music, is that while there are such things called open mics, there is another phenomenon that you must know about, and that is the ubiquitous “Live House.” Live Houses come in various forms, but generally what they are are bars with live music, or music venues that people can rent out by the time clock for a fee and then invite people to come and hear…and pay back the rental fee in their spendings. But Live Houses can also be places that hold open mics and open jams of the kind I focus on with my list. So aside from my limited list, the place to start looking for places to play in Japan is a Live House. Just find one, then see how they operate. They may have an open mic or an open jam – or you may want to rent the room for your half hour or so slot. Like many places on my worldwide tour, in Japan I have played at some places that are not on this list, but I cannot confirm still exist, or that I know have ceased to exist. Here in any case are the ones I have attended and that are still in existence, and I will soon add a list of ones that I have heard of or had recommended, under a different category from those I have attended myself:
Thursday – R&B Melrose, in Nagoya, 但し、イベント、ライブ、練習スタジオ(リハスタ)は, 日曜・祝日も営業致します, 名古屋市中区錦2丁目12番8号, 御幸本町ビル地下1階, TEL:052-202-6788, email@example.com A small live house run by a friendly Japanese couple who love music, and provide an open stage with drums, full back line, choice of electric and acoustic guitars, in a warm, friendly room underground. Although they book bands and have other events, the Thursday night is a classic open mic night. Every time I have gone here I have been the only non-Japanese performer – but the music is mostly rock, pop, folk and blues.
Saturday – Nanbanya, Nagoya, a classic live house with an open jam session on Saturdays, 地下鉄：今池駅１番出口を出てスグ左「南蛮家」看板を地下１Ｆへ。TEL: 052-733-7275. It has been around since 1980, a year earlier than the above mentioned Bauhaus in Tokyo, but this live house, in addition to being a booking space for bands, has a real open jam session. The backline is superb, and the atmosphere is even better. It is another cellar space, with low ceiling, a long room where you can eat at tables or the long bar counter, and meet people. Lots of blues, but any style accepted. If you have trouble reading the addresses above, go to the relevant web site and there’s a map will get you there. This particular live house is right beside the Imaike metro, and is therefore, located in Imaike. I enjoyed my evening jam at Nanbanya immensely and you can read more about it for a taste of it.
Sunday – Plastic Factory, Nagoya, 32-13 Kanda-cho, Chikusa-ku, (5 minute walk from Imaike Subway Sta. Exit 2 or 3), 090-9894-9242 (English), 090-3937-5672 (Japanese): classic open mic, (possibly once a month, so best to check), in this music and party and art venue owned and run by a German-speaking Swiss (who speaks English too), it is a great venue for expats as well as locals, and has special theme nights of music and other things, and also an art gallery. A big, 80s-like loft space with a huge sound system and nice stage, and a lots of space for splitting up into groups to talk sitting on couches, or to chat around the bar. The stage is lots of fun to play on. Can take a full band, but bring your equipment.