The evolution of open mics
The ever-growing popularity of open mic nights emerged onto Calgary’s scene as a not-so-typical night out. While the more familiar open mic shows consist of heart throbbing, guitar strumming cover songs, the latest breed of open mics have broken away from these expectations.
New shows highlight more than just acoustic guitar, with a wide range of open mic shows including performances such as jazz, hip-hop, vocals and more.
This week, The Weal got the lowdown on the best local venues for the best live music open-mics.
10 at 10
Calgary isn’t known for its hip-hop community; however, it is emerging from the underground to one of the hottest new lounges in town. Hosted on the first Thursday night of every month, this free show at the trendy downtown UBU Lounge (608 – 1 St SW) is becoming very popular. Starting at 10 p.m., 10 hip hop or R&B artists perform for 10 minutes each. The show features MCs, DJs, soul singers, and producers.
Event coordinator Rocky Mejia describes the performers as, “An untracked community of local urban and hip hop artists.”
The intimate setting at UBU Lounge allows the audience to connect with the artists.
This show is for those who have a love for hip-hop as well as for those who are trying to get their music some exposure in this ever-growing urban community.
Jazz n’ More
Hosted every Thursday night at the cozy inner-city Café Koi (1011 – 1 St S.W.), this open mic is primarily centred on jazz music.
Jazz n’ More showcases local talents of part-time instrumentalists who are passionate about their art.
This show is one of the only jazz-based open mic shows in Calgary, setting it apart.
“The beautiful thing about the Open Mic is how organic it is,” says Matley.
“People are bringing their charts, unrehearsed, and letting the magic happen on the stage. The support and trust is huge as egos are checked at the door.”
The ambiance at Café Koi is very inviting. With dim lighting and a calm setting, it is a great place to enjoy good food and experience authentic music. This free show starts at 8 p.m.
This open mic is very intimate in the sense that it focuses strictly on the words behind the voice. This accapella show is hosted at the Auburn Saloon (115 – 9 Ave SE) on the last Sunday of each month. It features hip-hop artists, spoken-word writers, as well as singers.
“Self Spoken is a platform for people to project their deepest emotions to a crowd,” says founder Delcio Manuel.
The performances take place in front of three judges and an attentive audience that clings on to the performer’s every word.
With three rounds of performances and a cash prize to be won, this open mic is far from ordinary.
“One of the best things about the show is being able to feel what that performer is saying, just as if you were there in that point in time,” says Manuel.
For those amateurs and first time performers, this is a great open mic to get exposure and receive honest and open feedback while gaining some inspiration. For those looking to be entertained by touching performances, this is a show to experience.
Admission to this show is $10 and it starts at 6 p.m.