I personally am not a big open mic performer; I’ve done so a couple times, and may do so again… But I love to attend them, to hear what musicians are coming up with. You really just have no idea who’s going to show up, or what you’re gonna get.
Linneman’s Riverwest Inn (Milwaukee) has such a well-established, well-run open mic. Linneman’s as a venue is just a staple in our Milwaukee area music community… If you haven’t been there for a show, do yourself the favor. They support live music of many genres, including entry-level musicians. But their Wednesday night open mics are where so many Wisconsin musicians have gotten their start.
Last night I was in Riverwest for another one. While they never fail to disappoint, yesterday’s was particularly eclectic and exciting. Many of the regulars were on the lineup, including a lot of emerging artists – a variety of ages and genders, places within their music careers. The featured musician, Charles Freeman, was incredible. Quirky humor between songs, lots of energy and engagement in his songwriting. Very strong artist.
There was a blues musician up visiting his ol’ pal Jim Linneman from the Chicago area… This guy had lived in the neighborhood, once upon a time. What a treat he gave us. There was also a local sports journalist who dabbles in music, on the side, who made his way to the stage. You could tell he has fun doing what he’s doing. We had fun listening!
There usually aren’t a lot of cover songs done at these, but last night there were seven or eight performed from stage. Even the covers were eclectic: Wallflowers to Bonnie Raitt to Lionel Richie and more. I had a few friends performing – Dusty Pockets, Jaqui JaFelle, Mie – I’m always so pleased to hear their progress much less their new music.
Linneman’s is an institution. I personally have been going to shows there since 2005, and have enjoyed myself every single time. Keep up the great work – to all who make that place the success that it is.