Wednesday 16 July 2014

Dundas Odd Fellows Music Hall

...well so this is the open mic that feels the most like home to me. The Dundas Odd Fellows Hall Music Club open mic is relaxed, has a familiar cast of characters, and is eclectic and accepting... it's like a songwriting workshop without all the sitting around taking notes (NB I have never actually attended a songwriting workshop, so that's just what I imagine...).

   Hosted by trombonist Jay Burr (who is also an Odd Fellow and does the sound) and singer-songwriter Danny Medakovic (an odd fellow but not an Odd Fellow, far as I know - Hi Dan!), this open mic is held once a month at the Odd Fellows Hall in Dundas (the western edge of Dundas, really) and features a super-attentive and supportive audience comprised mainly of other musicians.

   Genre-wise it's often a weirdo eclectic hodge-podge of musics, from Nirvana covers to east coast traditional music to opera to solo piano stuff (e.g. Fur Elise mashed up with House of the Rising Sun) to  blues to straight-up rock'n'roll. Everyone jumps up and in at any point in any tune, people flounder their way through stuff they only half know (because that's okay here!), and there's lots and lots of people trying out new original material. This is really an open mic for artists, in the broadest sense of the word.

here is a picture of the space:

   The sound system is quite respectable, featuring a proper sound board and sound guy, multiple guitar plugins, various mics, monitoring, a Rhodes, a full drum kit, a few amps, and the requisite woven carpet to play on... Jay is pretty quick to pick up on people jumping up (tonight there was at least violin, sax, trombone, djembe, trumpet, and backing vox) and mixing them in tastefully. There's even a music stand (and I wasn't even the only one using it).

   Beer is $5 a bottle (nothing on tap), and tips all go to the Trillium foundation for disadvantaged kids. In addition to the 8-or-9-beer selection, tonight there was also a smattering of snacky foods strewn along the bar and available for a donation.

   This feels more like a potluck than an open mic. It's warm, it's friendly, it's accepting and supportive, and it tends to push the performers to be more adventurous and courageous than they might otherwise, trying out unusual or even unfinished ideas and music, which is great!

  It also happens to be one of the very few open mics that is all-ages, which makes a BIG difference to people like Hannah (aged 12? 13?) who played this evening. Maybe Democracy is also all-ages (?), but this one even starts at the kid-friendly hour of 7pm.

   This was my third time @ the Odd Fellows and I'm totally gonna go back as often as they're there!

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