Aug 30, 2005

The I'm-Too-Old-for-This File

God bless the open mikes. I've played quite a few in my day, and I decided to try out NYC's purported finest, Monday night at the Sidewalk Cafe in the East Village. It wasn't just my late placement that had me beating a path to the door with my guitar before I had my turn (by my estimate, I would have gone on after 1 a.m., and I haven't had great luck with subways back to Brooklyn late at night). No, what hastened my retreat was the spectacle of exceptionally self-confident but minimally skilled amateurs happily stinking up the stage. My memory of the Highland Grounds "Open Mind" Wednesday nights in L.A. is of the reverse impression: mostly polished musicians with a loose, occasionally insecure edge.

I did hear one great Stephen Foster song, "No One To Love," that I'm going to look up. I also heard the worst cover of "Folsom Prison Blues" imaginable. The rest of the fare was, of course, original (in the literal if not descriptive sense), and I couldn't resist noting a few of the choice lyrics:

A gay hip-hop artist who confessed in song that "I'm still kinda grossed out by the dick."

An intense young man from Atlanta who shouted rather than sang his lyric about "the broken VCR of time/You can't fast-forward or rewind."

Another unspeakably intense young man who sneered through his teeth the lyric "This land was built on your guilt money."

That's entertainment! Maybe I'll have better luck next week.

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