Links to useful open mic guides to Singapore:
Marcel Lee Pereira, singer-songwriter’s open mic list to Singapore is an excellent list in the spirit of my own Thumbnail guides. Unfortunately, I have not so far been able to try any of the open mics he has listed because I’ve never been in Singapore at the same time as any of them have happened – or I had to sign up too far in advance and did not get a chance. But it’s a great list.
Brad Spurgeon’s findings on Open Mics in Singapore:
My guess is that most people, when they think of Singapore, would not suspect that this city is an absolute mecca for nightlife and live music – unless you have already been here before. That was the way I thought of this city state in Asia known internationally for its banking and commerce, but also, unfortunately, for some bad publicity around the world linked to the strict government control that apparently outlaws chewing gum – for fear of messy sidewalks – and serves the death sentence on drug traffickers. So it comes as a surprise to discover a city that just bursts with live music and a nightlife that goes on throughout the night, or in the case of live music, often until 2 or 3 AM. Jamming at sidewalk food hawkers at 2 AM is also tolerated, as I have learned. But one of the massively amazing upsides to the strict government control of crime, is that you also feel hugely safe walking the streets at any time of the night. So attending open mics and jam sessions late through the night is a huge pleasure, and once it is all done, you can go and eat in the fabulous food hawker sidewalk dining areas. Oh, gee, and yes, it has a number of good open mics and open jams, and I have learned also that many bars are very, very open to allowing live music any time someone wants to pull out a guitar and start playing and singing – well, not on the busy Friday and Saturday nights, perhaps, when they have live bands…. Like many places on my worldwide tour, in Singapore I have played at some places that are not on this list, but I cannot confirm still exist. Also, as the Formula One race that I cover in Singapore is a night race, some of my open mic visits are limited due to the hours I have to work, late into the night. And while there are a lot of other open mics that exist, I have not been able to attend many that fall outside my period of time in the city – ie, some happen only once or twice a month. Here in any case are the ones I have attended and that are still in existence, followed by a list of those recommended to me by someone else, but which I have not attended myself:
Thursday – The Beast bar and restaurant, 17 Jalan Klapa, Singapore 199329 Phone +65 6295 0017 firstname.lastname@example.org This open mic starts at 7:30 PM. Run by MB Spinks (Mike), this is a classic, laid-back open mic with a decent sound system, keyboards, two mics, good food, beer, and the feel of a Southern U.S.-planted-in-Asia pub. Mike is a great MC, casual, doesn’t make a list, but keeps the open mic going from beginning to end – it ends at midnight usually – with multiple slots for everyone if there is enough time for it. Three, four, five songs depending on the number of performers. The first night I played, people popped in as late as around 11:30 P.M. and got to play. The second time it was bursting with performers and spectators and had a fabulous celebratory atmosphere and people played until 1 AM, I think, but it was such a Beast of an open mic, that I’m not sure….
Saturday – Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, 56 Circular Rd, Singapore 049411, +65 6536 2029. Great crazy classic open mic in a fabulous Irish pub with low ceiling, long bar, separate rooms, and a crowd hot for music. The open mic is pretty much anything goes, solo or group, or get up and play with the organizers who will join in on your playing with keyboards and guitar. There’s a drum set, and possibility of connecting lots of different instruments. Depending on how many people are waiting to play, it seems, you can play lots of songs. That’s the way it all struck me, in any case, when I played Molly Malone’s open mic in Singapore. If you perform you get a free beer. It starts at 9 PM.
Sunday – Crazy Elephant, blues jam session, Clarke Quay, 3E River, Valley Road, #01-03/04, Singapore 179024, Telephone (+65) 6337 7859, email@example.com Located in the heart of the entertainment and nightlife district of Clarke Quay, this is a classic, loud, touristy pub. But it is a pub with a heart, a jam with a heart, and the room is large, so talkers can stay back near the entrance, and listeners move up. The front of the pub opens up to the quay and you can see the passersby as you play, and loo out into the Singapore night. A real pleasure, but pretty much limited to blues. There’s a decent backline (including drums), the sound system is good, and the musicians usually quite competent.
Open mics that have caught Brad’s eye, been recommended, or generally appear to be worth attending, but that Brad has not been able to attend for one reason or another:
Sunday – Prince of Wales pub, 101 Dunlop St, Singapore, Singapore 209420, Little India +65 62990130 holds an open mic on Sundays, starting around 4 p.m. and going to around 7 p.m. Free beer to the jammers. I have now actually played in this bar, although not during the open mic. The bar is fabulous as it opens up to the river, and you play facing the “boardwalk” and the river, with clients both inside and out on the terrace. A really nice ambience.
– Hard Rock Cafe , 50 Cuscaden Road #05-01, HPL House Singapore 249724, has an open mic night on Sunday from 7-10pm. They give a $50 voucher for the performers. This is more of a showcase night than an open mic, as you have to arrange a slot well in advance. The basic time slot is 15 minutes, but it can go beyond that, depending on circumstances.