Photo by Shirley Kennedy
What’s 17 years old and is so well known that the mere mention makes people sit up and take notice? The Open Mic at Eddie’s Attic (http://www.eddiesattic.com). Live music can be a hard sell, depending on the market, the band, and the cost of admission. Eddie’s Attic, however, manages to sell out the room on any given Monday night. The evening typically runs close to midnight, with work looming the day after. Yet, people of all ages come out in droves. Why? The room and the venue have an ultra-cool vibe and musicians from across the country and other countries come to showcase their talents and skills every Monday night. In a word, Open Mic at Eddie’s Attic is fun—not only for the listening audience but also for the artists.
Eddie’s Attic is what those in the industry call a “listening room.” It exists so that artists can showcase their skills in an environment in which they don't have to try to sing over people who prefer to talk. Indeed, people who want to talk are invited to enjoy Eddie’s patio, where visitors may get as loud and rowdy as they like. In fact, a sign posted inside the listening room says just that, and guests are greeted by a sign on the door, instructing patrons to turn off cells phones before entering the listening room. Musicians appreciate the courtesy, and people who come to actually hear music appreciate it as well.
Because Eddie’s Attic is primarily an acoustic room, during open mic players must use acoustic instruments. The venue has specific rules for open mic night, including three players maximum on the stage; no loops, pedals, or special effects; and no full drum kits. In other words, attendees get to hear these artists in their raw forms and “vote” on their performances with their applause. Eddie’s Attic’s open mic is a long-standing tradition in the Decatur community, and people come out to enjoy original, live music consistent with that tradition. The open mic is hosted by Eddie Owen, the founder and former owner of Eddie’s Attic. Life is good for Eddie: He still enjoys being around the music and environment he loves without the headaches of ownership. Open mic would not be the same without Eddie, and he serves as one of the judges for the evening.
At the conclusion of the evening, usually around 10:30 or so, Eddie calls three of the players or groups back up to the stage to compete for the evening’s prize: $60 and the opportunity to participate in the Bi-annual Shootout. The winner of the shootout receives $1,000, the opportunity to play for A&R execs, and the chance to become famous a la John Mayer, who won the shootout many years ago. His first platinum record hangs in Eddie’s Attic as a testament to the influence and power held by one little venue in Decatur, Georgia.
Beginning in November, Eddie’s Attic will be trying something new: “Eddie’s Attic Night Cap.” A departure from the regular fare hosted at Eddie’s, the Night Cap will feature a variety of styles, with shows beginning at midnight and the room becoming 21+. The series kicks off on November 7 with Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo (http://www.myspace.com/aaronwilliamsandthehoodoo), a blues/rock power trio from Madison, Wisconsin, who will no doubt shake the rafters at Eddie’s. “Aaron and his crew know what it means to rock the blues, no doubt about that. With tasty guitar licks and deep grooves those guys can make a dead man move.” Przemek Draheim, Blues.pl/ Radio Sfera, Ciechocinek, Poland.
Whether hosting Open Mic, the Night Cap, or a well-known singer/songwriter, Eddie’s Attic will always be one of the premier music rooms in the metro Atlanta area. Indeed, trying new things and maintaining its strong reputation will keep Eddie’s on the music map and high on the list of “must experience” adventures.
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