Wednesday, February 8, 2012

AcoustiCafe: Pittsburgh's Treasure

There's a weekly gem in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is called AcoustiCafe.  It is really nothing more than an open mic...
Morgan on the cover of the City Paper playing at AcoustiCafe

I know, I know: most artists hear "open mic" and immediately tune out--myself included.  You think of lousy crowds of self-centered, competitive musicians, a shallow talent pool, and an overall lame time.  Or, at best, a good time with a few other musicians, but with nobody else really listening.

But ask any touring artist who happens to be passing through Pittsburgh on a Monday night, and they'll tell you: AcoustiCafe is unlike the rest.  The consistent level of talent we see on a weekly basis from locals and touring acts is remarkable. But what makes it truly special are all the non-performers who come every week just to listen.  Without them, I have no doubt AcoustiCafe would deteriorate into another low-rent talent show.  The crowd has a musical sense that I find is uncommon in the music club scene: they know when to sing and when to shout, but they also know when to shut up.  When Morgan and I have a good set, there can be nearly a hundred people in the room and you can hear a pin drop, yet if it's a sing-a-long, every voice joins in.

And the mainstays that make up the community of artists-- Mark Dignam, Brad Yoder, Judith Avers, Joy Ike, Paul Luc, Bear Cub, Pete Bush and the Hoi Palloi, Joel Lindsey, Jimbo Jackson, Clinton Clegg, Ben Shannon, Tim Ruff-- I could keep going, but I'll inevitably leave great acts out.  There are dozens.  These are brilliant artists and these are great friends.   Not only do we listen to each other, we play and sing with each other.  Eric George (the resident "drum slut") and Nathan Zoob (the guitar man) have been known to play on more acts than not on a given evening, making it decidedly difficult for them to get drunk (I feel for you, dudes).  Morgan and I are often invited up to sing songs we've never even heard before.  I'm incredibly grateful for this communal atmosphere.  We really owe Broken Fences itself to AcoustiCafe.  It was the common denominator that led to this band forming last year.

We're hosting this Monday, Feb. 13, so come out and play, listen, drink, and have a good time.  The theme is relationship songs that are NOT love songs.  See you there from 7-11.


1 comment:

  1. I would not miss this for anything! Mama Casey