What a treat it was to be at the Boathouse Monday night open mic. So much great creativity and spontaneous collaboration!
Two highlights of the night were – unfortunately for us – from performers that are leaving Ontario this month: Jeremy Stuart (off to Alberta) and Lydia Mainville (heading home to New Brunswick). It’s hard not to love Jeremy’s heartfelt songwriting, sweet voice and general authenticity. Cello/Voice/Loop/Magic is how one poster describes Lydia’s music. It is magical indeed, combining the traditional with original composition, layering sound that casts a spell.
Fortunately – Lydia is hosting the open mic for the next two weeks and both are doing a whirlwind of gigs before leaving so check out their FB pages for dates (Jeremy, Lydia).
And thank you to Midnight Run for the rousing Doobie Brothers cover : )
[Boathouse Open Mic, 57 Jubilee Drive, Kitchener; Mondays 8 pm; admission by donation; licensed]
Wanting to carry on the energy from the Imbibe open mic, songwriter Jeremy Stuart now hosts a weekly event at Gastropub No.29. Callisto (the trio of friends who also sing together) decided to take in some music, share some tunes of our own, and find out what happened to the first 28 gastropubs! As it turns out, it is not the 29th franchise or last in a long line of defunct pubs. The number 29 is Chef Liam’s hockey number (a Palmateer fan).
Local craft beers are served, as are a selection of burgers, sandwiches and snacks.
Host Jeremy has an amp set up but we found the venue was small enough that we could perform acoustically (also there are 3 of us and we aren’t practiced at sharing a mic). The advantage of a relatively new open mic is that there is more time to play (and less waiting). All music styles welcome as well as spoken word & poetry.
[Gastropub No.29, 120 Ottawa St N, Kitchener, every Wednesday 9 pm until close; no cover]
Throughout the week there is plenty of live music at Imbibe, the restaurant/bar attached to the Museum in downtown Kitchener. Sunday night is open mic night. A musical guest plays a feature set at 8 pm. At 9 pm, host and songwriter Jeremy Stuart kicks off the open mic with a couple of songs and then opens it up to the list – cleverly posted on the blackboard along with the list of brews available so there’s no missing it. The room is warm & appreciative and host Jeremy works at getting sound just right.
Our trio, Callisto, was honoured to play the feature set recently. When we finished our set it turned out that there were many wonderfully talented musicians in the room who shared some gems during the open mic. I loved to see the collaboration happening – some rehearsed, some spontaneous. Definitely a venue worth revisiting.
[Imbibe Acoustic Jam Night, 10 King Street West, Kitchener; Sundays 8 pm, no cover]
Fans of the Boathouse in Kitchener will know that it closed rather abruptly in September of 2013. After a bidding competition to operate the venue and several lengthy delays, the Boathouse is open for business – and music. I only realized it had re-opened its doors this month when I went to see Kate & Rich cast their Klezmer-infused accordion and clarinet spell on a packed house on January 28th. While enjoying the show I learned that the Boathouse offers a weekly open mic as well as a regular roster of live performances.
The staff is friendly, the food is good (drink menu is full of music-themed concoctions), and there is plenty of talent at the Thursday night open mic. There is a rotation of musicians that take on hosting duties. This week it was Jeremy Stuart. Doors open at 8pm, sign-up starts at 9 pm. This week, the music started sometime after 9 and it was characterized by its diversity, including hip hop performer aNaTomy , bluesy/country singer & guitar play Joshua David and the sweet saxophone sounds of Samson Grey.
Sitting at the table with my trio comrades, we weren’t sure our style was going to fit with the loud ambient sound of the busy venue and plugged in performances of the other musicians. But we received a heartwarming response to our combo of three part harmony, guitar, uke & washboard. We definitely want to go back for some possible musical collaboration.
A couple of open mic suggestions from this fun-packed evening: Imbibe on Sunday evenings and Maxwell’s (in its new location). One adventure leads to another…
[The Boathouse, 57 Jubillee Drive, Kitchener; every Thursday 9ish – 1am; $2 cover; licensed]
On November 8th, Tessa Jennison launched Potum et Musica, a weekly event at Kitchener’s Marisol Restaurante, designed to showcase music, art and food. The talented Tessa starts off the open mic around 9:00 pm and then performers are invited to sign up for 15-minute spots (time permitting) from 9:30 to 2:00 am.
Tessa had been hosting an open mic at the Boat House before its closure in September and it looked as though many from that music scene are migrating to Marisol. This venue attracts a range of musical styles but almost all original compositions. Tessa’s band The Short Films took the stage part way through the evening for a quick set before resuming the open mic. The sign up list wasn’t full last night but I expect that will change quickly.
A unique element of this open mic is the focus on visual arts. Each week will feature an artist whose work will be displayed and who will be present to interact with performers & patrons. Meghan Weber was the featured artist for the inaugural event. After performing (she is also a singer-songwriter), Meghan circulated through the room with paper and pencils and engaged people in an impromptu sketching exercise.
Marisol’s Chef Jeff Ward offers a small menu of $4-6 tapas to go along with your wine or craft beer. The options are pretty limited for vegetarians but the risotto balls and fritas (seasoned fries) I tried were delicious.
Note: This event is no longer happening at Marisol; check out Imbibe (10 King St W, Kitchener) for more creative fusion of food, art & music, Thursday 8-11 pm.
[Potum et Musica at Marisol Restaurante, 30 Ontario St S, Kitchener, every Thursday 9 pm – 2 am; sliding cover $2-5]