‘I don’t care what you play’ | SteamboatToday.com

‘I don’t care what you play’

Open mic nights give local performers free rein for three songs

Margaret Hair

— On Monday night at Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill, sound guy Justin Glaza is pushing things off from a slow start with a pretty lengthy set of solo covers.

It’s not so atypical for things to start off this way – give local performers charge of a stage for three songs or 15 minutes, and they’re bound to show up late.

But 30 minutes after the 9 p.m. start-time, things are starting to pick up. Musicians and their friends start to filter in, and by 9:30 p.m., the rhythm section from local favorite Holden Young Trio are jamming on bongos and bass.

By 11 p.m., there’s a makeshift five-piece laughing its way through a Phishy, hilarious rendition of “Gin & Juice.” It’s surprisingly good, and at least one of the guys knows all the lyrics. Glaza said that’s the kind of surprise you like to see at open mics.

“We like anything,” he said.

While all the performers in the first few hours of this night are musicians, the weekly event has seen spoken word, poetry and juggling.

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“We would like any sort of entertainment – magic, even. I don’t care. You could do magic,” Glaza said.

“If you want to do comedy, if you want to read poetry – right now we only get musicians, but anything is welcome all the time.”

He backs this up inadvertently with comments to performers throughout the night, most of them along the lines of what he tells HY3’s Billy Franklin (bass, guitar) and Eric Rolls (drums): “I don’t care what you play.”

Aside from giving anyone who wants it the opportunity to jump in with people they might not ever play with otherwise, the open mic night lets local performing artists get up on stage and express themselves, said Mahogany manager Jake Owens.

“It’s really much more than an open mic. Whatever you want to do, you can get up onstage and do it,” Owens said.

Performers also get one free draft beer. The open mic is all ages (the beer isn’t), and has its fair share of regulars (who Glaza guessed might be watching the Rockies sweep Arizona during this particular performance).

Sign-up goes from 8 to 9 p.m. Performances start at 9 p.m.