Monday, April 8, 2013

Geoff Bartley's Monday Night Open Mic at the Cantab Changing Format

Geoff Bartley's Monday Night Open Mic
at the Cantab Lounge has been in existence for some twenty two years. That is not news. What is news is Geoff is changing its format (see screen capture at end for details of the current format). In a nutshell, Geoff opens at 8pm with a couple of songs, then, using a magic formula only known to him and the observant, some ten are selected for the first half of the evening. A featured performer does a 20-30 minute set, for which the proverbial hat is passed. After the feature's set, those not selected for the early set and latecomers fill the remainder of the night, until last call. Sound duties are very ably handled by P.J. Shapiro.

December 11, 2011

Geoff Bartley and David Massengill

John Gorka and Geoff Bartley

Geoff Bartley and Tom Paxton

Geoff has announced, "The Open Mic is moving into a new phase as I try to make it better serve the singer-songwriter open mic community. Starting in May, the evening will be devoted entirely to open mikers. Your suggestions and comments are welcome."

I can speculate on the reason for the format change but will leave further elaboration (or not) to Geoff.  Whatever the reason, Geoff and the remaining features, who are always top notch, deserve the community's full support.

From the Cantab calendar:
April 8 - Ed White
April 15 -
Special Guest!
April 22 - Paul Geremia
April 29 - Cosy Sheridan

Whether you are a young musician just starting out or a Cantab veteran who has not been back for some time, come down to the open mic to see Geoff and his last remaining features, and continue to give support to the series after the format change.

From the Cantab website, these are the best open mic guidelines I have ever read. I am sure Geoff would not mine others using his model.
Geoff Bartley's Monday Night Open Mic
Thank you for your interest in the open mic at the World-Famous Cantab Lounge in Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. We cordially invite you to visit, at which time you'll be privileged to view Jimmy's Christmas lights (which are up and on year 'round) with your very own eyes. You must be 21.

We hope this page will answer more questions than it raises. Geoff Bartley runs an open mic w/ a feature on Monday nights and bluegrass on Tuesday nights. All the other nights are sewn up until the end of time.

Can we talk you into visiting us and playing a couple? If you're a newcomer and arrive by 7:45 any Monday night Geoff will probably be able to give you one of the fiercely-coveted slots before 10:00 as a way of saying thank you for coming. Plan two songs.

On subsequent visits, throw your name into our hat and take your chances about when you go on... we pull names out at random. Playing later in the night also has advantages. If you come late... like 11:00 or midnight or later... you'll still get a slot and sometimes we can put you right on. We usually run right up to 12:45 AM closing.

This open mic is primarily a place for people to learn stagecraft, try new songs, learn to present a song, learn how to end a song, to develop stage presence, to be inspired, to inspire others, to express themselves, to comment on some aspect of The Modern World. Geoff plays two songs at 8:00 PM to get the thing started. All kinds of music are encouraged... original songs, cover songs, acoustic blues, jazz, pop, soul, unaccompanied singers, instrumentalists... almost anything goes. (Spoken Word poets are encouraged to visit the Cantab downstairs on Wednesday nights when the Boston Poetry Slam meets. )

The only thing that hurts us is overly long set-up and tear-down times. So if you're an electric band, come very stripped down... hand percussion and small amps... or better yet we'll plug your electric instruments into our sound system. This means you don't hafta schlepp the amps! Our soundman PJ Shapiro is an excellent musician and songwriter... he will take care with your house and monitor mixes and will help you sound good. The sound system is pretty good and rarely catches on fire.

The feature set runs from 10 to 10:40. Pay for this is via $5 requested pass-the-hat only, no guarantee. The open mic resumes after the feature set.

Getting Hired as an Open Mic Feature: The process by which Geoff chooses feature acts is so complicated that even he doesn't understand it, but he listens to everyone and does hire some acts after hearing them and meeting them at the open mic.

Your open mic host, Geoff Bartley, is a respected acoustic fingerstyle folk and blues guitar player. He also writes songs, plays the harmonica, and sings.
So come on over to the Cantab Lounge (Psychic Vortex of the Great Northeast) and share your music or grab a brew and just listen . . .


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