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Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

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Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby MarkOne » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:29 am

I know not the first thing about open mic nights but I was talking to my sister the other night and she tells me that her local has started monthly open mic nights. And she says 'you should come along and play some of your songs'

And I say: 'I'm a keyboard player sis. I'm not sure that is going to work'

So this got me thinking...

Are keys welcome at open mic nights? Or is it really the realm of the six-string warrior?

If they are, what are the logistics? What rig would you recommend? Click track or just keep it 'Acoustic' How would you set up. Expect to ID into the PA, have an amp on hand?

I'd be interested in your thoughts.
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby The Elf » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:44 am

MarkOne wrote:Are keys welcome at open mic nights? Or is it really the realm of the six-string warrior?
As long as you're quick about it I doubt anyone would object.

Las year a few 'open mic for synthesists' were organised, and and I intended to turn up for one, but when I was told it was 10 minutes to set up and perform I decided the 200-mile trip was probably not worth it!

Do I sense an SOS-forumites 'open synth' event may be of interest?...
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby The Bunk » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:47 am

The Elf wrote:
Do I sense an SOS-forumites 'open synth' event may be of interest?...

I feel a job for Sir Edward of Deeganshire coming on....
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby MarkPAman » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:56 am

In my experience, no two open mic nights are the same.

One particularly large one that I used to be involved with provided full PA with monitors, drums, keys, bass & guitar amps, and could run to about 6 vocal mics if needed. Another just down the road usually had one mic & a line into a single PA cab.

I'd suggest you go along one week for a look & a chat.
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby CS70 » Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:21 pm

Here most open mics have a keyboard set up already
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:25 pm

You need at least a Moog 3C Reissue, about 30 u of Eurorack, and some sort of trendy looking alternative controller, that way you won’t even have to play, people will be so gobsmacked by the gear. You could spend ten minutes patching and call that the performance.
But on a more serious note, if the venue has a piano, you could always use that, failing that some sort of lightweight electronic job. And take an amp too, relying on the PA is always a dodge, IMO.
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby BJG145 » Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:47 pm

I'd usually expect to be able to turn up with a keyboard and plug it into a PA with no objections, but as said, each one is different.
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby MarkyC » Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:38 pm

Yep, I was looking at open mics and found them to be spectacularly different. Best advice is to go check it out.

I tend to play the EMOM nights (Electronic Music Open Mic) thanks to a post Elf made ages ago where there is always a PA but you bring your own gear. However even these are vastly different ranging from the bad back room of a pub with a tiny PA to a full Jazz club with PA, foldback, HOF engineer (supposedly). Hence I'd only play certain ones and would never go without checking it first.

I've found when I go first I introduce myself and show support then everyone seems to be that bit more helpful when I do play - like all things in life I guess....
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:17 pm

The Bunk wrote:
The Elf wrote:
Do I sense an SOS-forumites 'open synth' event may be of interest?...

I feel a job for Sir Edward of Deeganshire coming on....

I'd definitely love to participate in one, but organising it... :lolno:

Actually, not so much that I wouldn't like to in principle, but realistically finding the time would be virtually impossible and there are many others way more qualified than I am in the live knowledge department!
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:19 pm

There are a couple of open mic organisers in my bit of South West Manchester who take a piano, none of the others would object if you brought your own. My preference would be for a totally live performance. Many of the performers at some our local open mics are singers using backing tracks and no instruments which I really dislike but I would be happy with keys plus some sequencing or looping (which I myself do).
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby The Elf » Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:41 pm

I’ve done a series of ‘One Man and his Mellotron’ that seems to go down well. Just me, a ‘tron and a looper.

Some of the scariest, and most fun, time I’ve had behind a keyboard.
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:13 pm

Most of the open mics round my way are expecting some combo of one or two guitars and one or two vocals. Most of them will handle a keyboard being plugged into the PA, but don't expect any monitoring. One of them has a real piano with a fairly nice mic rigged in it, funnily enough the person who runs that one is a pianist...
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby AlecSp » Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:00 pm

As with the others, I've seen open mic nights on the full spectrum from 100% acoustic to full PA rig, and everything in between.

While it would be safest to go and observe before making plans, why not turn up with a keyboard and a suitable amp/active speaker. If they have full PA, then just deploy the keyboard. If they're not set up to take keyboards, then you can make it work self-sufficient.

Of course, as with any show, the best way is to advance with the organiser so you/they know what's to expect. But that's often easier said than done at many open mics.
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby MarkOne » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:24 am

Thanks for all the responses... Really useful.

I think I'll go and check it out as recommended and see what the setup is there.

Also, I think my Brother-in-law is quite friendly with the landlord, who has been organising these, so I may have a chat with them too.
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Re: Keyboards, and Open Mic nights?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:36 pm

I enjoy playing at open mics, they are usually no pressure sessions and lots of musos to chat to.
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