October 28, 2011 by Tommy Link
As in “Pittsburgh, aka The Steel City, at first glance”. That’s the title joke. I thought it was a bit of a stretch. Anyway…
I’ve been in Pittsburgh since Sunday evening. As a city, I hold my qualms with it, same as any big city. I’ve been getting wonderfully lost and figuring routes from here to there and being all proud and spiteful against GPSes and buses. Let’s here it for driving slow with a poor sense of direction! I’m sure the local drivers love me already.
On a musical (and therefore more relevant) note, I enjoy this town very much thus far. The open mics I’ve attended have been well run and in nice venues. Particularly, the two that have jumped out at me would be the Club Cafe and Cannon Coffee open mics. Based on location and venue, there are severe differences in the atmosphere (age difference, level of professionalism, etc.), but the uniting factor between the two is something I’ve not seen the likes of in Erie: people are there to listen.
Now that’s not to say in all the open mic and singer-songwriter shows I’ve been to in Erie, none of them have people there listening. The difference is that as a bar and coffee shop, these venues become listening venues once the music starts. It’s a new and exciting experience to be listening to other people play and realize the majority of the crowd is doing the same thing! I was actually thrown, playing. I haven’t played for a silent audience in so long.
As for getting shows otherwise, bar shows will most likely be difficult to get (as expected). It seems standard procedure is for an out of town act team up with popular local acts in order to help the turnout for the show. So I need to find me some local acts. Cannon Coffee however has been kind enough to give a Saturday afternoon show, so a very big thank you to them.
Other than that, the adventure continues on. More places to check out, and some enjoyable open mics I intend to frequent as often as possible. Oh, and a very special thank you to Joy Ike, who I met at the Club Cafe open mic. I told her my story and she’s thrown so much information my way already as to places to check out and open mics to hit, I really can’t thank her enough. And, she’s a phenomenal singer-songwriter as well. Click her name. Check it out.
Keep an eye out for more updates.