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L.A. Beat

Poor attendence plagues Lethbridge shows and kills off open mics

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 It seems like everybody and their dog is a musician in Lethbridge. But a common complaint among all of them is there is no place to play. This is most definitely not the case. Open mics abound at numerous locations around the city, but pretty much all of them are plagued by a common malady at Lethbridge gigs — poor attendance. Ben Brown playing at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Photo by Richard Amery Poor attendance is the death of a many a music scene. It would be a shame to see it happen here.

Granted it is summer and the students are gone for another couple weeks and a lot of people are on vacation or drinking on their balconies on the odd evening we have sunshine, but still open mics are a fantastic forum for up and coming as well as experienced musicians to strut their stuff, road test new material or just meet other musicians.

I’ve even been known to play at some of them though I haven’t for a while due to other commitments. That and I still have trouble remembering my own lyrics, not to mention still trying to stave off stage fright.

Fortunately audiences at most open mics in the city are pretty forgiving, unfortunately not many people are showing up to them which has resulted in the cancelation of several of them.

 Thursday used to be open mic night in Lethbridge, but unfortunately this is no longer the case, at least until September.
Beaches Grill and Pub shut down their popular Thursday open mic back in July due to poor attendance during the summer.

This past week, Coyote Joes shut down their Thursday live karaoke/ open mic until Sept. 9 upon which it will return better organized and just in time for the students to return.

Also the popular Owl Acoustic Lounge open jam has been moved from Thursdays to Wednesdays. L.A. Beat is the official sponsor of  the Owl’s Wednesday jam.

The first Wednesday  open mic at Owl suffered from— you guessed it— poor attendance. They still have a really popular open mic on Monday nights, though, which is great as  the 1010 Pub shut down their Monday open mic  due to several reasons, not the least of which was poor attendance.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to the other Wednesday open mic at the Bar One Lounge in the Sandman Inn. Host Ben Brown injured his arm so is unable to play but has been getting guest hosts and they have a pretty steady turnout which is great. And where one open mic closes, another seems to sprout up. Cudos Lounge on Mayor Magrath just started an open mic on Sundays beginning at 6 p.m.


 Late start times are something that tend to keep people from cool shows, especially on “school” (weekday nights. Luckily , the Owl is adamant about starting their open stages earlier as well as their Friday and Saturday shows, usually around 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., ditto for Bar One, as long as people sign up. And Cudos starts at 6 p.m. which helps stem those bleary eyed late night work day blues at the source.

The Slice’s Tuesday open jams are always a pleasure because of these magical musical moment where musicians who may only be vaguely familiar with each other get up on stage and play with each other, though mostly it is the same familiar faces. This summer the Slice has been bringing in bigger shows on Tuesdays like Fred Eaglesmith and Said The Whale, but it is usually accepted knowledge there will be a Tuesday jam when no bands are booked though the host is usually announced at the last minute. A lot of really cool bands form at these open mics including a new one, the Flying Penguins) which has a couple gigs this week. Touque and Beards will be hosting tonight’s jam at the Slice.

Even the Folk Club’s open mic in the Wolf’s Den on the second and fourth Friday of each month have been plagued by poor turnouts this summer, though this past Friday had a good crowd, some new faces as well as familiar faces like Leon Barr and Bill Letouzel performing.

 After all, open mics are great way to see a bevy of local entertainers while enjoying a bevy or two while hearing new music, popular cover and  sometimes moments of musical magic, especially at . And even better— they are free to attend.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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