So a couple of Monday nights ago, May the 28th to be precise, we decided we would go downtown and play this place called the Tranzac Club. The drummer said it looked great and that we could exercise our sound to a downtown audience. Ok, I’m in, but wait… it’s an open mic? Well shit. Yeah Shit! Why? Well for a few reasons here. I’m not opposed to the Open Mic concept of playing, hell I got my start at an Open Mic in Pickering at Open Studio Art Café. It was the catalyst for me to get my new sound out there and I played there about ten times and as a band we played there once in a very scaled down setting. But I find that Open Mics tend to have the same people in them every week and they’ve all become comfortable with each other and they all pretty much play acoustic guitars.
This is great for people who don’t want a huge audience and like the small intimate atmosphere of the same people every week showing up and often playing the same songs every week as well. They are a tight knit community of musicians and for that good on them I say. But for us, we’re not an Open Mic band really and we can’t really play these places because, well, our music is too long for the standard 15min time allotment for artists to wield their craft before the audience. Thus was our dilemma Monday night, we got two songs in and well we had to truncate one of our own to not be told that our time was up. It’s not that we’re not welcome at these things but we’re electric and full of effects and clicks and wheezes and everyone else gets up with an acoustic and has at it. I kinda feel like Bob Dylan when he played the Newport Folk Festival in ’65 and went all electric just minus the Boos and jeers. We’re Maggie’s Farm when we invade the ambiance of an acoustic open mic night!
Also, it’s that feeling of you’re not welcome here without anyone saying it really. Not even that one person who has no filter doesn’t say it, and there are some people who enjoy it when we go to these things because it’s a nice change up and throws a bit of a mix in to the normal routine. I usually find the MC or Host of these functions to be the main one who doesn’t like being there because they have to adjust the board accordingly or because we disrupt the flow of traffic basically and take time to set up or take our gear down. We’re a bit of a pain in the ass I guess. But people are creatures of habit and like things the way they like them and when someone comes in a just fucks up their shtick they get all clustered and it disrupts the evening. Several times when I was playing the Open Studio in Pickering I caught that vibe really well. Wasn’t that people didn’t like me but they didn’t know how to handle my music and actually at one of the performances (see video below) I debuted a song called, ” Darn Ocelots Stole Conrad” to which I had to inform the audience that the song was over! And I got the pity fuck clap afterwards. I would have preferred no applause if that were the case known beforehand!
The problem with these Open Mic places is just that, they don’t, no, they DON’T understand the music of OddsFiche because it goes beyond that 2:50min folk song style. That’s not saying that the people who come to them can’t or don’t listen to our kind of music but when they come to these open jams their minds are geared in to that format and not mind expansion in the sense of what we play! We stretch the boundaries of sound, incorporate several different styles fused in to our own brand of Psychedelic Prog and play forth with the confidence that we’re here to be heard. I have nothing against folk music of folk musicians, let’s make that very clear but what I am saying is that we (OddsFiche) and these folky based artists are not anywhere in each other’s leagues as far as music and sound goes. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just not our scene and Open Mics are designed for artists who prefer small settings and atmospheres. That said, I too prefer a smaller more intimate audience but in an environment where our music can be played unbroken and continual where we can engage our audience through our sound and soon to be sight as well. Speaking of that, our music has an accompanying light design to it that we are working on and these Open Mic Nights do not have the space or time for us to set up a huge spectacle ordeal to use for just two songs. Again, just not the right environment for it.
A lot of great bands that later went on to play 2hr plus spectacle shows like The Pink Floyd got their North American start on the tour with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Move etc and they only got 15min to strut their stuff but that was an actual tour so times would probably vary now and then and they weren’t really that well known outside of the London Underground scene at the time they went on tour with the likes of Jimi Hendrix etc! Sure, we’re not THAT well known either but thank you to this thing called the internet our music has reached many people around the world which has been absolutely brilliant for us and a great joy to me. But I digress, Open Mic Nights are geared towards the: Folk Artists, Hobbyists, Beat and Slam Poets, Comedians, Thespians and all those the likes of and NOT a Psychedelic Prog band trying to squeeze in 2/3 songs that clock in at 7min+ of their own or a cover tune to relate what we do to give you a sense of what we are like etc.
But all in all we played the Tranzac Club so it’s done and I don’t think we’ll be back any time soon. Not because it was bad but 15min is just not enough time for us to get our sound out there, we’re just warming up after 15min! So it was a pleasure to play there and perhaps if we end up doing a handful of our songs acoustically we will go back or perhaps play another room where we can go on and on doing that OddsFiche thing we do! ~Cheers