Dust off the old guitar and step on stage
Denver offers an array of open mic nights
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 14:01
Is there anyone who can honestly say they’ve never daydreamed of performing on stage? Open stages are the perfect place to have that wish fulfilled, even if you suck, and there are some excellent ones here in Denver to kick back and have some fun.
Paris on the Platte. 1553 Platte Street. Mondays, 8:00 P.M.
Paris on the Platte is as hip as it gets, with its highland location full of well dressed 20-somethings and an impressive coffee and wine menu. As such, it has an equally hip weekly open mic with some great talent.
The music space is over by the bar, which will provide a range of interested and, well, enthusiastic listeners. Host Paul Ewald is not only a great sound guy but a fantastic guitarist. Invite him to jam with you; he can follow just about anything.
Paris has a comfortable environment with talented musicians, even if it can come off as pretentious at times. Bring a Radiohead cover and you’re sure to make some friends.
Mercury Cafe. 2199 California Street. Wednesdays, 7:30 P.M.
Mercury Cafe is a slice of Sergeant-Pepper-Mother-Earth, Boulderite culture, found right in the heart of Five Points.
Along with swing dancing classes, tarot card readings, and the pricey—but very tasty—vegan friendly menu, the Merc offers an entertainingly eclectic stage, open to everyone.
This is where you’re most likely to see some non-musical acts, like poets, comedians, dancers, and magicians. The café also has a piano, but it’s cramped against the edge of the stage—just another caution-to-the-wind facet of the laidback atmosphere.
An MC and control of sound quality are virtually nonexistent, but you’re guaranteed to see some cool, down-to-earth acts.
Swallow Hill Music Association. 71 E Yale Ave. Fourth Thursday of the month, 7 P.M.
Swallow Hill has been a mainstay of the Denver folk scene since local legend and all-around nice guy Harry Tuft founded it in 1971.
Its open mic, which is in the basement of the cafe, has large time slots, great talent, and can be a gateway into getting a gig, but it’s the old fashioned Hootenanny, which happens on the first Friday of each month, that’s a real treat.
The audience is invited to sing and play along, so bring a song that most people would know (or be prepared to teach everyone the chorus). It’s a fantastic way to hear some incredible folk songs, especially if Tuft himself is hootmaster, and you learn to play them at the same time.
Tips before you step on stage:
•Buy a cup of coffee, especially if you’re hoping to get a full-fledged gig. They put these things on for a reason.
•Set up quick. No one likes the guy that takes forever.
•Trust the person running sound. They know their venue and their equipment.
•Interact with the audience. Try getting their attention, maybe even take requests or start a sing along.