This month many planets are in alignment. I'm pretty sure I was following Jupiter southeast as I made my way to West Chester and Boxcar Brewing Company. Down route 10 to Honey Brook, then 322 through Doylestown and onto my destination. A fairly long drive. This may be the farthest I've gone for an open mic so far.
West Chester streets were choked with snow. Parking was scarce. The sidewalks were icy mazes twisting their paths around snow piles.
I crossed Market street and a women was standing in the entry way of a somewhat dark storefront. She may have been waiting for a bus. She noticed the guitar case and asked if I was going the play next door. I said yes. 'Do you play jazz?', she asked. 'No, but I can fake it', I joked. She wanted no part of it. 'You can't fake it! You gotta BE it!'. She told me I looked like David Bowie. I told her I'm doing a Bowie song tonight. Wrapping up the conversation, I stepped inside the Boxcar.
Boxcar has been open for about a year now. It has a nice atmosphere of exposed brick. Its a deep building with a long bar, a small area of maybe 6 to 8 tables, then the floor drops down a bit into a lounge area that could also serve as a dance floor, and a raised stage in the back.
I've been performing at quite a few open mics now. There's a confidence building. What I mean is there is less thinking about hitting the right chord and remembering the next line to sing, and more of just feeling the song but also more awareness of the audience. This was a loud room. The sound system was louder than most and this made people talk louder. One person came down from the bar area to really listen whereas others would turn their heads briefly. Maybe they heard a phrase or an inflection in singing. My head was up and I was making eye contact with audience members, trying to keep them with me. This is an aspect of performing I need to spend more time on: engaging the audience.
I was the last of six performers on the list but there was a 'featured artist' duo that finished the night. Knowing they have a feature spot, I'll stop in again, in hopes of being a future feature.
Life on Mars - David Bowie
My Glass Head
She Could Outrun Lightning