Ode to Open Mic Night at The Open Chord

drums lit by purple lights on stage at open chord

I’m a little sluggish today; I was out later than normal last night. (Ok, I was back home by 9:30, but I’m usually on the couch by that time, resting up after the ordeal of getting my little kids to bed.)

I met up with Tim to watch CJ and the rest of Sound Proof (a band made up of far too talented high school freshmen) as they performed for the second time at The Open Chord. To get a feel for the atmosphere, check out our previous video of Open Mic Night, when the band was known as First Generation Idiots.

Randy Holmes, owner and operator of one of Knoxville’s finest small venues, was kind enough to chat with Tim and myself about his upcoming plans for the Chord, and even give us a behind-the-scenes peek at the green room. We’ll come back for an official Yonder interview with Randy.

But what I was truly struck by on this evening of entertainment and fellowship was this: everyone should attend open mic nights, at least a few times a year (or more, if you’re an aspiring musician/supporting an aspiring musician.) Why? Because, my friend, you’ll see–and hear–wonders.

We clapped and “Wooo!-ed” and generally signaled our approval for Sound Proof, who was our original reason for coming out, but then we were pleasantly surprised at what can only be described as an incredible diversity of talent in our fair ville of the Knox. After the teenaged rock vibes of Sound Proof came New Knoxville, a band of musicians ranging from young to VERY young. I don’t know how old their lead guitarist is, but swirling rumors around me informed that he has thousands of Instagram followers, and that elementary school-aged wonder rocked out on the solo for Sweet Melissa.

Following this act was Killing Mercy, an appropriate name for the wailing vocals and chest-vibrating bass of this face-painted, angst-ridden horror punk/heavy metal band. It was too bad my husband pulled kid duty for the night; this was totally his jam back in the day.

young musician tuning ukulele at open chord and resophonic plectrum

On my way back to the restroom, I passed a group of guys picking, one of them wringing sweet notes out of a mandolin. I have to tell you, the utterly stark juxtaposition of that bright mandolin music before me and the distorted soul-withering music behind made me feel satisfied that this is where the seeds of world peace may be sowed. Where metal and angst await their turn at the mic along with teenaged rockers and seasoned mandolin pickers, you can be sure of one thing: music really does bring us together.

And, may I say, “Damn, Knoxville, you talented!”

Go check out The Open Chord’s entertainment schedule, and catch Open Mic Night!

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