Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Memories of a Muddy Cup Open Mic

It didn't dawn on me the first time I went to an open mic at Muddy Cup that the event was in its infancy. I was new myself and felt like an outsider looking in through gigantic windows while old friends strummed guitars, sat on couches, and sipped mocha lattes like they must have been doing there for centuries.

It didn't dawn on me that attending that Open Mic would change the course of my life's events forever, for I stumbled upon the Muddy Cup Open Mic somewhat by accident -or perhaps it was the forces of musical fate that were having their way that day. Either way, the Muddy Cup lured us into it's grasp, and hasn't let go.

Having grown up in Albany, yet only having just returned after a long hiatus, Eric and I forced ourselves to the streets, looking for something to do one August evening back in good ol' 2006. Eric decided to surprise me by taking me out to see a film about farmers playing at the Madison Theatre. But, as often occurs when Eric surprises me by trying to take me out to an event, we realized upon arrival that we had arrived on the wrong day...it's kind of a cute quirk of his, his dyslexia. Silly numbers.

But instead of taking our newly purchased champagne colored Honda Station wagon (which at the time had only 187,000 miles on it instead of the 194,000 it does now.... they grow up so quickly!) all the way back to Altamont so we could sit beside the energy of the unfamiliar ghosts we had just moved in with, we decided to grab a cup of joe at the coffee shop next door.
Before we even made it inside a giant poster on the window caught our attention.

"Can we go Jenny? Can we?"

I was hesitant about making a mental note of the date and the time, it was rare that I had a positive experience at the various open mics I'd ever been to. I almost wanted to leave it up to Eric to remember the details, and hope his dyslexia would rear it's ugly (but, on occasions like this, helpful) head. I couldn't help the painful images entering into my brain. Memories of open mics rushed back in a flood of crooning, self depricating, and off time strumming musicians that shattered my calm, sprinkled on top were crass bathroom comedians and dark eyed "the-world-is-at-its-nearest-end-at-this-very-moment" poets. I shuddered.

But surely, this open mic would be different.

"Excuse me, sorry to bother you, but we need to set up here." I looked up to find myself engrossed in my book, sitting at the table on the Open Mic stage. How dreadfully embarrassing. I had "freshman" written all over my face. I was so busy feeling akward I didn't notice how akward everyone else looked. It's like the first day of class when you're so busy feeling stupid about studying your class schedule that you don't notice that's what every one else is doing too.

I spent the rest of the night in a haze of dark roast aromas, the drone of tuning guitars, the energy of caffeine-high-wracked-nerves, and attempted to read the same paragraph of my book over and over and over again.
Had we gotten in over our heads?

Suddenly Eric was on stage singing...and dancing?
"I can't believe that it's August, I can't believe we can fly. I can't believe I can't believe, and I have no good reason why. I feel like I am enlightened and I'm in over my head."

And the next thing I knew, from the corner of my eye I spotted these crazy hobos, who by the third verse were singing along...

"Whoo hoo, Whoo hoo. Yeah we're in over our heads. Whoo hoo, whoo hoo...
Yeah, we're in over our heads."

Muddy Cup Open Mic celebrates its one year anniversary...sometime around now.
The weekly event is more popular than ever, having just been voted 2nd best open mic in Albany, with an average of over 25 acts signing up each Monday.
Sometimes it feels good to be in over our heads.

Kudos to you Josh & Tom.

1 comment:

For the Win said...


Every once in awhile I stumble upon this blog post when Googling the open mic and each time I pass it, it makes me smile. We definitely miss you guys as well as Sgt Dunbar so if you get some free time it would be sweet if you all came in. I hope all is well.

Muddy Cup Open Mic


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