Where it all begins
Updated: Aug 5, 2018
It’s easy to forget sometimes – as you pay your money, sit in nice seats, and listen to polished bands – about where it all starts for musicians.
A couple of nights ago I got the pleasure to revisit that experience at an open mike night at the Burren in Somerville. My reason for going was to meet Seattle singer-songwriter Ali Marcus (right), someone who I became acquainted with through my magazine (she wrote a piece for my Internet radio story, Issue 15) and heard her music (reviewed in Issue 16), but never met in person. She and her friend Kristy Cameron (below), another musician (who to my surprise has a strong Josh Ritter connection), are touring the East Coast and were playing their way from Boston to Northampton to New York, picking up open mike gigs spontaneously as they went.
It was a long night of music: There were plenty of musicians who came to showcase their work, and though the crowd was fairly small at first — there was after all a Sox playoff game happening — by the end of the night, there were people dancing (even to Kristy’s pony song!!) in front of the bar. And while some of the acts, especially early, were less-than polished, there were many others that really showed some skill and potential. Among those I can remember were a woman named Elizabeth Perkins, who had a really nice voice, and a dude playing bass in a rockin’ duo, who could really play.
And of course my new friends Ali and Kristy. Ali played this great new tune she said she just wrote about Kurt Cobain. Being from Seattle, she has some history there, but her song was about how she just read his biography and found that he was not a very nice guy. Ali’s got a great stage presence and also plays a mean harmonica! As for Kristy, she’s got the guts to get up in front of people and play the banjo — solo! Go, Kristy.