Monday, June 26, 2006

Goodbye to the Bay

Jane and I are packing our bags and leaving the San Francisco Bay Area for Portland, Oregon at the end of July.

The Bay Area has been an exciting musical adventure - there are so many people involved with music making, at every level, that I've really had to get my game together in order to make any kind of steady cash at all.

But I've played lots of shows, hundreds in the years that we've been here, bars and clubs and store openings, block parties, farmers markets and street corners.

My performance style has evolved and I've made some great friendships and started some professional relationships that I hope to continue.

By far, my favorite watering hole in the East Bay has been Dago Jack's Connolly's at 48th and Telegraph in Oakland - an island of East Coast attitude, with New York, Jersey, and Philly well represented among the staff and clientel. Every Sunday evening, Doggie Jomo hosts an unplugged jam session at the house piano, and they throw parties with good food pretty regularly. A friendly, welcoming spot with some great people on both sides of the bar. And Jane says to check out the delightful wallpaper in the women's room.

I'd also like to bring your attention to some nice writing about a rather different experience of busking posted by a regular on the "Big Road Blues" forum;

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Starry Plough Open Mic

One of my regular stops these past 7 years has been the Tuesday Night Open Mic at the Starry Plough in Berkeley.

Hosted by Joan Pez, with an assist from the infamous Girl George, it's the best all around open Mic I've ever been to. I've been an occasional guest host, and a featured act on several occasions.

The Plough has great food, a good stage and a good house sound system.

Joan is brilliant and witty in her role as MC, and a savvy engineer - much of the material for my upcoming CD, "Streetwise" is coming out of her studio.

Last night, the joint was jam packed - and with good reason. There was very little musical slack in the line, with performances by "The Picken Trix", "Electric Nomad", with "Little Boy Blue" in the Featured spot.

Julie Larson and Ed Critchlow shot video of the performances last night, and Tom O'Connell (one of the organisers of the Meadow Muffin) celebrated his birthday. It was an excellent evening.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A sweet night at the Miz

Paul Pot from the Happy Clams has been hosting the Wednesday Night Open Mic here for a while. A hip little bar, "Berkeley's most elegant Dive bar" in fact. I've done a slew of Friday and Saturday nights here, as well, and "Please And Thank You" is on the Jukebox.

A lot of the "Muffin" crowd are regulars here, and the scene is smooth - it's a likeable bunch, and a welcoming one.

Like Open Mics in general, the performances cover the gamut - from bare beginners who need (and recieve) encouragement to crusty vets like yours truly.

At 11, the man from the local pizzaria shows up selling off pies at half price. An ancient German Shepherd nearly takes my hand along when I pass him a chunk of cheese.