Thursday, 8 July 2010

Ever do open mikes?

Very occasionally.

Went to one last night in the Carpenter's Arms at Coed y Paen with Rachel and Sam. And do you know, I drove them all the way up there and Rachel didn't even buy me a drink.

There were quite a few people taking part. It was nice to see the couple who run Newport Folk Club again. They used to come up to the Star in Llansoy when Huw Chidgey and Catherine Handley were running the folk night. Those were good times. They did a version of "Cousin Jack" by Steve Knightley. A good open mike song.

In fact, it's quite a tease knowing what to sing at these events. We were discussing that in the car on the way home. It's got to be well known but not too well known.

The first song I did last night is probably the ideal song. You start, "Here I go, out to sea again . . ." People think, "Heard this before somewhere . . ." "Look at me standing, here on my own again . . . " Singer-songwriter pose. And then the dramatic A minor chord and the chorus, "No need to run and hide, it's a WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL LIFE." And people can join in.

Another song like that? "Look around you, how it will astound you . . ." "What is this song? It's driving me mad!" And the chorus comes in "Everybody's got to learn sometime . . . " "Oh yes, I remember that. I'm so much wiser now etc. etc." And that sets up another nagging quest in the audience to try to remember who sang it.

Rachel and Sam did "I bet that you look good on the dance floor." A little too populist perhaps? I countered with "Big Yellow Taxi". Is this kind of thing really playing the open mike game?

Best song of the evening? "Don't think twice, it's all right." By far the best song. I'm not talking about performances but material.

So, the search is on for something familiar but not too faamiliar. Upbeat but not mindless. How about "Baby, I don't care" by Transvision Vamp?

A closing thought: "Live at Sine" by Jeff Buckley is the ultimate demonstration of how to choose open mike songs. Every one a winner; every one transformed.

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