Friday, January 22, 2010

Open Mic - A Thursday Evening Delight - 1/22/2010

Last night I attended “Open Mic” at the Fresh Brewed Coffee House in Myrtle Beach. It is a weekly event held on Thursday evenings at 7:30 PM. This was my first visit to this establishment and I immediately felt at home and comfortable. The laid back atmosphere carried through to the ‘Open Mic”. Everyone is encouraged to perform In this totally nonthreatening environment. You can sing, tell jokes, juggle, read poetry, whittle, whistle, whatever. I am happy to report there was no juggling in last night’s presentation. I was the oldest person in the room by more years than most of them had been alive, but the ambiance took me back in time. I half expected the audience to snap their fingers in lieu of applause. The only things missing from the coffee houses of my youth was the woody aroma of patchouli and the smokey haze, neither of which I am nostalgic for.

I had friended Brian Roessler, who honchos the affair, on Facebook, and last night we met for real. He is the type of person that one instantly likes. Engaging and genuine, he opened the show by singing a few of his own fantastic compositions. He has a very smooth style that has obviously been honed through years of performing and fusing his many musical influences into one that is uniquely his own. He even sung a song he wrote about his love affair with Little Debbie, which I could identify with. He then acted as emcee and brought up a parade of other performers.

The singer/songwriters, which made up the lion’s share of the performers, represented a wide range of musical styles and influences. Justin Newman was unmistakably bringing us a blending of Lou Reed, the Beastie Boys, and Bob Dylan. The small stage definitely did not allow him the freedom of movement that his body craved to fully convey his music. He is a very animated and physical performer.
James Dunovan (obviously of Polish extraction) brought a quiet angst to his very original sound. His vocals were heartfelt and genuine. James and I worked together at Frito Lay a couple of years back until I realized that stocking grocery stores was one of the many things I am ill-equipped to do. That realization came on day 2 of my employment.

A young man named Tripp Cappelman channeled the vocal stylings of Gregg Allman and Ronnie Van Zant while his partner Seth Kellum wowed us on the guitar and mandolin. These two were my personal favorites, as I love southern rock and they did it justice. Seth is from Missoula, Montana, not far from where I grew up and Tripp is an Air Force brat from Sumter, SC. One verse into their first song and I knew Tripp was not from Pawtucket, Rhode Island. This boy is southern born and southern bred. You could practically smell the grits on his breath. I did not get their last names. Maybe someone can help me out with that. I didn’t want to ask too many questions lest I be labeled a stalker. There is a fine line between getting enough info to write a piece and being creepy.

This was not simply a sausage fest as next came a beautiful young lady named Renee, who read some of her original poetry and the piece of prose that inspired her to become a poet in the first place. One of the poems she read was crafted that evening as she waited for her turn at the microphone. The emotion that she invested in her poems was felt by every heart the room as we experienced them with her. She ended her performance by including audience participation for a future piece she is working on. She queried “if you could only have one decadent dessert before you died, what would it be?” That was so easy for me, “crème brulee is to die for.”

What these young people share is a passion for their art. The beauty of this showcase is that it gives them an opportunity to share their talent with an intimate and supportive audience without fear of judgment or rejection. There is no Simon Cowell to appraise their performance. It didn’t happen, but I am certain that if someone took the stage with absolutely no skills at all, a hearty applause would reward their effort. With that in mind, I am considering reading my crappy poetry next Thursday night. If only I could juggle or whistle.
I left a little after ten and I know there were several more entertainers yet to come, but I had a beagle at home that was impatiently waiting for a nightcap walk. I hope to observe those that I missed in the future.

I am not a coffee drinker, but when in Columbia……. I drank three cups of a robust Jamaican coffee which I think was blended with methamphetamine. The combination of it and the phentermine I am taking as part of a weight reduction plan caused me to experience an enjoyable rush in spite of the minor stroke I experienced. Vision in both eyes is highly overrated. The music I enjoyed on the drive home was incredible until I realized the radio was not on and it was a combination of tinnitus and the thundering of my own heartbeat. At 3AM, I was simultaneously applying the Dewey Decimal System to my bookcase, sweeping the floor, and attempting, unsuccessfully, to coax Skooter into fetching things. I think I better understand the popularity of coffee now.


orionsbow said...

This is, actually, one of the best pieces you have penned of late. I love your skill with descriptive terms and your love of exaggeration. You have now made me LONG for a visit to this place as desirously as I might wish to accompany a pretty, partially clothed young lady to a steaming hot tub. Well, maybe not THAT much but I'm certainly feeling a hankering. Let's try to do this next Thursday.

myrtle beached whale said...

Me, exaggerate? NFW. Count me in for Thursday.

Regina said...

Nice piece. Glad to have you back.
It makes me wish I had the money or the energy to go out at night. And I can't drink coffee due to high blood pressure.

Anonymous said...

That was fricken hilarious Mr. Ramblings. I was sitting in my office, with the door open and I am certain that my co-workers must have thought I had lost my mind. I couldn't help from laughing out loud and I am sure this was rather disconcerting considering it was the end of a somber day full of board meetings and budget balancing. I can just imagine Skooter watching you having his own WTF moment, thinking "Christ I hope he finds some other dog to annoy..."

Enjoyed the read...keep up the good work. clo

Barbara said...

Just came across your post on facebook. I enjoyed your post and we are great fans of Brian's Open Mic at Fresh Brewed. He has also started Open Mic at the Crafty rooster in Conway on Tuesday.