Open mic nights in ILM

By Brian Tucker

There are venues in Wilmington offering open mic nights at both large and small locations. These events foster environments for people to stop by and display musical talent. Often fertile ground for a solo players to exercise ideas and gain confidence, they form a community of players which make for impromptu jams sessions or possibly lead to a new local band. At Grinders Caffe’ on Wrightsville Avenue they offer a little more.

They host an open mic on Thursdays from 6-9 p.m. each week which can vary in format and creativity. Open mics have been going on for over a year there and since October of last year Sadie Goulete has served as host for them.

grinders caffe

“It’s a really fun, good time,” Goulete said. She and her boyfriend will often start out the evening with the first song or two which helps encourage audience participation. “There are all types of performers. There’s poetry, some sing a capella, one woman is working on a novel and she reads a chapter every week. There’s going to be bell dancing this week, I hear.”

Downtown, The Calico Room at 107 South Front Street has been hosting their open mic nights for some time as well, inviting singers and musicians of all stripes to sit in and create. Hosted by Evan Baker, singer-guitarist of Deep Ecology, isn’t afraid to jump in and get the evening rolling (as evidenced last Friday night at The Color Exchange show when he performed after a band was unable to make the show).

“We offer an in-house drum set and grand piano for anyone interested,” Baker said. “Full bands are welcome as well as solo musicians of all kinds.”

He says the open mic night there is a “regular crowd of people” each Tuesday at 9 p.m. The evening isn’t just open to musicians, Baker added, but also poets, spoken word performers and comedians.

Goat & Compass on North 4th Street holds open mic nights each Tuesday night starting at 8 pm, hosted by Eric Miller and Dennis Brinson. Brinson describes the evening as busy, a means for musicians to hone their craft, get back to performing, work new material, or just scratch a musical itch.

“Open mic’s are a stepping stone to becoming your own performer,” Brinson said. “(We want to) create a sense of community and friendship so they support each other and are possibly open to collaboration, learn from each other. I’ve seen several open mic regulars go on to perform around town. Some are completely new to playing outside of their living room. I am an example of that.”

Starting next Thursday Brinson and CB Johnson will be hosting another open mic night on Thursdays at Tavern 14 at 6320 Market Street.

The Juggling Gypsy has been hosting a Show Up and Sing event that runs through March 2nd. Every Monday at 6:30 pm people are invited drop by and learn a pop song to be unveiled later as part of a flash mob.

And if you’re feeling the itch to try your comedic skills then keep Dead Crow Comedy Club in mind. The comedy venue hosts a comedy open mic night every Thursday.



About avenuewilmington (314 Articles)
A website hosting articles about Wilmington music history (its bands and bands visiting the area), articles from my ILM based base publications Avenue and Bootleg magazine (2005- 2009) and articles from other publications (Star News, Performer, The Tonic)
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