Tenacious D once described open mic night thusly: “Learn to Play Guitar in Front of an Audience.” Hey, it can be like that sometimes, but it can also be a tremendous opportunity for musicians of all stripes and skill levels to come together, showcase new tunes, network and generally provide the underpinnings for a “scene.”
Bands can scout for new members, solo players can scout for bands. It can be magical or it can be a hot mess, with the dividing line resting largely on the shoulders of the host. Ryan Oyer hosts the open mic at Honest Pint and he’s one of the best.
Open mic is every Wednesday at the Honest Pint with signups at 7 p.m. and music starting at 8. Performers typically get a 15-minute block, and all styles are welcome, including spoken word and hip-hop. Artists who might not be able to make the 7 p.m. signup time can even go the Facebook page “openmichonestpint” and reserve their spot in line there. On Nov. 26, the open mic night will be partnering with Shawnessey Cargile from the Epilepsy Foundation for an epilepsy awareness night. Shawnessey had this to say:
“Chattanooga has a thriving live music scene! Enjoy the intimate setting of an open mic night and support the fight against epilepsy at the same time! Wear purple to the venue for a drink special. Donations will also be taken up to support our prescription assistance program.”
Oyer himself generally bookends the evening and Chattanooga’s own Mike McDade (a veteran open mic host for as long as I’ve been in Chattanooga…my own band got its fledgling start at McDade’s open mic at the Attic) is a frequent performer as well. The event is always free but performers should note that the Honest Pint is a 21-plus venue—with no exceptions.