Less than 10 minutes away from the neon and kitsch of Niagara Falls tourist section you’ll find a place full of music and authentic folks. Last Friday I visited the Friday night open mic at the News Café. Vince made me feel welcome right away as I settled in with a hot bowl of soup and waited for the music to start. I don’t know what it is like from week to week, but once the music was in full swing the place was full.

There was a great mix of styles and experience levels in attendance that night so no shortage of entertainment and yet no need to feel intimidated. The sign up board is propped up at the front door and since there is no MC to run the show performers are expected to keep track of who is on next – I have to say this is a little more challenging when you are not a local and don’t know people’s names (so you don’t know who you follow). But I managed to figure it out by counting down the list and counting the number of musicians before me.

One advantage of this being an “all ages” venue (no alcohol served) was being able to hear musicians like Kikki and Gabbi – youth with talent! I really enjoyed their original songs and blended vocals. (here’s a youtube recording of an early morning, lakeside song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC8hw2ivyEs)

(Thanks to Jacobus for the CD – great to listen to on my long drive home.)

[News Café, 3463 Portage Road, Niagara Falls ON, Friday nights 7 – 10 pm]