Are you in a local band and trying to take your music from the basement to a venue stage?
An important step for developing young local bands is the open mic night. Open mic nights give local bands the chance to get the experience of playing on an actual stage and to get some of their music out there to people that have never seen or heard about your band before.
When my band, Vespertine Movement, first started practicing to learn cover songs and write some original material, we were trying to get the exposure of playing on a stage but not in front of a lot of people, so we could get comfortable on stage musically.
VM played a open mic night at the 8×10, and the owner asked us to come back for a bigger show, and from there we started playing a bunch of shows in the local area building up our repertoire and fan base in the process.
Depending on the venue, open mic nights usually last about 15-20 minutes, just enough time for you to play the two or three songs that you feel the most comfortable with. Some local venues, such as the 8×10, have open mic competitions, and if your band is the best of the night, you can advance on to the next round to possibly win some helpful prizes like recording time.
Many local bands have taken the open mic step to get some exposure. Matt Lowe, bass player and vocalist for Towson’s The Three Tree Experience, thinks highly of open mics for bands that are just starting out.
“Open mic nights are awesome. They’re the easiest way to get on stage and perform. That can be pretty tough to do when you first start out. There’s no worrying about selling enough tickets to keep the club happy, and if you don’t have a lot of material to perform it’s no big deal since the only time constraint is that you can’t play for too long,” Lowe said. “I know a bunch of successful bands that got their start playing open mic nights. It gave them the opportunity to build their fanbase to what it is today.”
Baltimore offers a variety of venues/clubs/bars that host open mic nights every night of the week. For bands that are just starting out, all you have to do is a little research on the different venues in the area, and head down to the place and just play your music with no worries. There’s not as much pressure for bands on an open mic night, which can be a huge sigh of relief.
So what are you waiting for young local bands? Get out there and let your music be heard.