The open mic is back in gear every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Kaffee Meister
I’m sitting at the Kaffee Meister while I write my newsletter, and Jack Johnson and Ben Owens are here too. It’s good to see local musicians supporting the new venue during the week and not just on Thursday nights. It is a really pleasant place to sit and do a little work.
Last Thursday, our first at the Kaffee Meister, was crazy; I was in a bit of a panic mode while we were trying to get everyone situated. At one point I counted fifty people, including the KM staff, and it was cozy to say the least. The sign over the door reads “max capacity 97”— and we said we weren’t allowing comedians at the open mic.
We pirated all the tables and chairs from the outside, and a couple of people brought chairs with them. I think bringing a folding chair and a tray table in your car would be a wise idea for our future open mic. It would be nice if we could leave the tables and chairs outside; that’s pleasant area to gather and run through a song or two before your set. Because space was at a premium I was encouraging people to leave their instruments, or at least their cases, in their cars until it was time for them to perform.
We are having to adapt to our new environment, and it may take us a while to figure it out. We have been a bit spoiled by the generous sizes of our past couple of venues. Unfortunately large space equals large overhead; that’s probably why those venues are no longer around.
Kaffee Meister has a well thought out business model that shouldn’t let them fall into that trap!
On with the show! We had a big crowd and amazingly enough; we had just enough time slots for everyone that was interested in performing.
Wood ‘n’ Lips – As has become our tradition for new venues, I hosted. Greg Gross began the evening by smashing his finger between two heavy pieces of equipment, but miraculously he had recovered in time for our set. Greg, Bari, and I started with a sing-along tune, “You Are My Sunshine”; and added some of our favorites, Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”; Neil Sedaka’s “Breaking Up is Hard to Do”; and The Statler Brothers’ “Counting Flowers on the Wall”.
Steve Wyrill and James Brown– The guys have been collaborating of late, and they gave us their versions of George Strait’s “I Wanna Dance with You”; Marty Robbins’ “Singing the Blues”; John Prine’s “Muhlenberg County”; and the Beatles’ “You Can Drive My Car”.
John Cheney– John brought his keyboard and played a few tunes; he did Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”; Bascom L. Lundsford ‘s “Mountain Dew”; and his own, “Rain”.
Jerry Pena – Jerry’s been home for a short visit; he didn’t seem to have a problem with the heat we’ve been experiencing lately. It seems that in Kuwait, where he has been of late, the recorded high is 152 degrees. As usual Jerry played a cool set of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”; Garth Brooks’ “To Make You Feel My Love”; Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans”; and George Strait’s “The Cowboy Rides Away”.
Bob Wilson – When I introduced Bob, I told the audience that he was probably going to play some ragtime music; sure enough, his first tune was Ida Emerson and Joseph E. Howard’s “Hello My Honey ( Hello My Ragtime Gal)”; he followed that with “Minnie the Mermaid”, a tune Phil Harris covered; John P. Keys’ “Lily of the Valley”; and “Coney Island Washboard” (Music by Hampton Durand and Jerry Adams, Words by Ned Nestor and Aude Shugart – 1926).
Gregory Martin Campbell– We had some really good talents with us for our premier show, as evidenced by Greg who led off his set with the Monkee’s “Papa Gene’s Blues”; and Elvis’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love”; he wasn’t able to resist one-upping Jerry Pena with his version of “Wonderful Tonight”, called “Two-derful Tonight” (you have to hear it yourself); then he did Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel”; and finished with Gerry and the Pacemakers’ “Ferry Across the Mersey”.
Gregory Gross– Greg went a-cappella on us with Eric Bogle’s “The Sound of Singing”; and picked up his guitar for John McCutcheon’s “Calling All the Children Home”; Jim Croce’s “Don’t Mess Around with Jim”; and Weird Al Yankovic’s Starwars adaptation of “Bye, Bye, American Pie”, “The Saga Begins”.
Cliff Niman with John Seever and John Movius—Cliff and the guys did John Mayall’s “Don’t Waste My Time with Your Jive”; Steve Gillette and Tom Campbell’s “Darcy Farrel”; and The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”.
Les, Alton & Ray– The Western trio treated us to a fine set of Eddie McDuff & Orville Couch’s “Hello Trouble”; Ray Price’s “Other Woman”; Brooks & Dunn’s “My Next Broken Heart”; and Merle Haggard’s “It’s Not Love, But It’s Not Bad”.
John Movius and James Brown– John & James brought the Everly Brothers into the mix with “All I Have to Do is Dream”; The Beatles’ “I’ll Cry Instead”; Carl Perkins’ “Honey Don’t”; and “Let’s Go!” (not sure who).
Bob Cool– Bob was a little hoarse so he ponied up with an instrumental set (I know, that was bad; I just couldn’t resist); he played Nat King Cole’s “Misty”; “Pennies From Heaven” (Arthur Johnson & Johnny Burke); Nat King Cole’s “Autumn Leaves”; Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now”; and “Ain’t She Sweet” (once covered by the Beatles); he had Greg Gross join him for “Harvest Home”.
Greg Santogrossi– This was Greg’s first open mic with us; he writes his own tunes. His selection for the evening was “Voo Doo Doll”; “Grande Rio”; “While You’re Still My Best Friend”; and “Thank You, John Deere”.
All in all, it was a great opening for The Wood ‘n’ Lips Open Mic at the Kaffee Meister; I hope we have many more to follow. Come on by, join us, and meet the new people—you’ll like them.
Tim Woods, Greg Gross, and the Wood ‘n’ Lips open mic crew
Photos by Greg Gross, & Tim Woods