Before “American Idol,” bars had “Open Mic Night.”
“American Idol” is now history—”Open Mic Night” marches on. Chalk one up for cultural Darwinism…
Jaime DeJesus proudly hosts The People’s Open Mic every Wednesday night from 8-11 p.m. at Northern Soul (557 First Street). Solo musicians, duets, bands, comedians, spoken-word, and even magicians have an opportunity to get up on stage to perform.
“It’s comfortable and casual there, and the crowd is supportive of any and all ideas,” says DeJesus. “Some are doing it for the first time, some are regulars that do it every week or so, who are honing their craft. It’s really something special to watch them evolve and improve as musicians and performers.”
The idea of an Open Mic may seem a bit daunting, but the scene at Northern Soul is likely as easy as it can get. The stage is set—microphones, plus a bass and even a set of conga drums, for anyone looking for a little back up. Just plug in and take it from there.
Week after week, neophytes and salty veterans all take full advantage of the space and built-in audience.
“I think an open mic is a great opportunity for experienced and gigging artists to work out new ideas that you would not be able to experiment with in a concert,” says DeJesus. “For newcomers, the Open Mic is to practice being in front of an audience and to experience and explore the nakedness of being onstage.”
Fact is, you gotta start somewhere—which is something DeJesus can tell you himself.
“I started my music career at the open mic at a place called Bernie’s Hillside [Chester, NJ]. That place is near and dear to my heart because I hit that spot every Wednesday and began to hone my craft there. It’s a life process to do so, but I began to develop a stage presence and a way to perform effectively right there,” says DeJesus. “After establishing a following and a refined setlist, I started to gig there regularly—as do the open mic-ers at Northern Soul.”
Stop by the People’s Open Mic tonight at Northern Soul—if not as a participant, then as an audience member. Take it in and see if it’s right for you.
“For anyone hesitant—just do it,” says DeJesus. “You’ll never regret it.”