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Open mic nights...something for everyone.

Schultz, Donnie and Shannon at Open Mic Night
Schultz, Donnie and Shannon at Open Mic Night
Photo by Lorri Auer

Just what is an “Open Mic Night”. For those who have never been to one, it’s a chance to see a “variety of live stage acts” performed in one evening. We’re not talking Karaoke here. Most Open Mic Nights are showcases for singer/songwriters, an act consisting of one person, singing and playing a guitar. The songs you hear may be original or cover tunes. You can expect to hear three to four songs from a performer before they give way to the next act. On some (but not all) Open Mic Nights, you may see “Stand-Up Comedy”, “Poetry Readings” or even “Dance Numbers”. Most of the time these acts are limited to about 15 minutes, so that means you will see approximately four acts per hour. An “Open Mic Host” holds this whole show together by introducing the acts and running the sound board. The Hosts are performers themselves and usually get the show started with a couple of tunes. Open Mic Nights are not just for raw acts looking to get polished. Since most Open Mics are held on week nights, people that perform on the weekends are showing up to have a few beers and check out the up and coming talent.  

Now, if you are just starting out and would like to perform on an Open Mic Night, here’s a few tips. First, “Get there early and sign-up”. Most Open Mic Hosts keep a sign-up sheet. Make sure to let them know that you are there and ready to perform. If you don’t get signed up you’re not going to play, it’s that simple. Second, “Be ready to perform on a moments notice”. If you play an instrument, tune it up. If you’re telling jokes, go over them in your head. If you dance, warm up those legs. Most venues have a specific place where you can store your gear, tune up and go over your act before you hit the stage. And finally, “Have Fun”!!! If you’re having a good time the audience will too.

There are many Open Mic Nights in the Boise Area, here are some that you might like to check out.

Pengilly’s  Mondays @ 8:45pm

Terrapin Station  Mondays @ 9pm

Bad Irish     Tuedays@8pm

O’Michael’s Pub     Thursdays from 7 to 10pm

Groove Coffee    Saturdays @ 8pm

Library Coffee House  Mondays 7 to 9 pm