Smile Tiger Coffee is not your typical train station coffee shop. But there it is, just steps from the Kitchener VIA Rail pouring lattes and americanos, or craft brews if you prefer. And the first Friday each month there is a delightful open mic.
This event seems very well attended considering neither the venue (Smile Tiger Coffee) nor the sponsor (Brickhouse Guitars) promote it on their websites. I just happened to see a post from a friend to know it was happening.
Hosted by the friendly and talented Corey Heuvel, The Smile Tiger open mic attracts a high calibre of musician. The place was full and everyone had something great to offer. Solos, ensembles, covers and originals – lots of genres represented. And early enough to kick-start your Friday night.
Definitely worth a visit – bring your best.
[Smile Tiger Coffee 100 Ahrens Street West, Kitchener; first Friday of the month 7-9 pm, no cover, licensed]
As of this month a brand new open mic has joined the Guelph music parade of offerings. Another afternoon event (is my early bedtime preference starting to show in the venues I have visited?), this one is open to music, comedy, poetry or any other creative endeavours you would like to share with a group.
The hosts, Eric & André, keep a low profile as MCs but start the afternoon off themselves and then join anyone wanting some guitar back-up.
[Tavern on the Grange, 259 Grange Rd in the Grange & Victoria Plaza; “most Sundays” 3:30-7:00; no cover, licensed]
In addition to cafés and bars, Royal Canadian Legion branches are common places to find people gathering for music (read about the weekly bluegrass jam at the Galt Legion) and this week I dropped in on a monthly jam at the Drayton Legion.
Hosted by Art for the past 5 or 6 years, this jam is structured like an open mic, with a sign-up list and each performer getting two songs. If the song you are playing is relatively easy to follow you will also have the pleasure of some back-up musicians: bass, guitar, mandolin and maybe even a banjo. While there is no hard rule about the type of music to be played the genre here definitely leans towards country.
There is a PA system set up for the singer and the musicians are generous in lending you a cord to plug in an instrument. But if you don’t want to make one person unplug to allow you to play you might want to bring along your own small amp and patch cord.
Although this jam only happens once a month, nearby branches have some other weekends covered. The Fergus Legion hosts a jam on the first Sunday of the month from 1-5 pm ($15 cover/$5 for musicians includes a roast beef dinner); Harriston hosts the third Sunday (also with dinner) and Guelph on the fourth Saturday (2-5).
The folks are very friendly and welcoming. There is no cover but refreshments are available by donation which helps cover the cost of the event.
[Royal Canadian Legion, 15 Elm Street, Drayton; third Saturday 2-5 pm; no cover, refreshments by donation]
Silence has been a hub of creativity for performance, improvisation and bringing together music and visual arts. One of the regular offerings at Silence is an open mic, twice a month where you are welcome to share your talent: artists, poets, musicians, magicians – and more!
The venue is licensed, but this is definitely a listening room – no competing background noise – and it is an early night (6:30 sign-up for a 7:00 start). There is a rotating host who also provides a feature set. This particular night, hosting/featuring duties fell to songwriter Paul Cammaert. It was a quiet evening, which meant each person had a bit more time to share.
All are welcome!
[Silence, 46 Essex Street, Guelph; 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 7-9 pm; $5/pwyc cover; licensed]
Some of you may remember my previous posts on the Corktown Uke Jam. This Toronto ukulele institution went through a big change in the fall. The Wednesday night uke jam in the east end had its final gathering at the Paintbox Bistro on September 6, 2017 and the Annex version of the uke jam took over as THE weekly jam. This happens every Monday at the TRANZAC (8-11pm), complete with workshop, group jam and open mic.
(More info at the Toronto Ukes website)
Kitchener has benefited from the energy of the Toronto uke scene. After moving to Kitchener, Corktown jam stalwarts Sue & Bob Cutler brought some of that ukenthusiasm and started WUPS: Waterloo Regions Ukulele Performance Stage.
The event is relaxed. You can choose to perform, lead the group in a song, or just play along from your seat.
The next open mic is coming up: February 9th (7:30 pm start) at Bulls Eye Bar & Grill. There is no cover charge but the venue appreciates everyone ordering a drink or dinner item. There is often a group there that meets early for dinner before the music starts.
[Bulls Eye Bar & Grill, 446 Highland Rd W, Kitchener; 7:30 start – but come anytime after 6:00 for supper; watch the FB page for dates]