London's best open mic nights
We asked ICMP London graduate Francesca Confortini to give us the low down on the best open mic nights in the capital...
Whether you're a guitarist or vocalist, attending an open mic event is a great way of meeting potential collaborators and like-minded musicians as well as letting you advance your career as a performer and songwriter.
ICMP's Francesca Confortini is well placed to offer us her advice. After graduating from the Performing Arts Academy of Milan, Italy (SDM - la Scuola del Musical) and touring around Italy with her band 7s8 and the musical theatre shows 'Fame! The Musical' and 'A Chorus Line', she moved to London, achieving a bachelor degree in Popular Music Performance at ICMP. Since then, she's busied herself organising jam and open mic nights in central London for the past five years focusing on different genres, encouraging emerging musicians to come together and showcase their work.
Here, Francesca gives us the low down on the best open mic nights in the capital as well as how to make the most of these opportunities...
There's always a lot of jams/open mics in the capital but a lot are very temporary. But there's always something happening, which is partly why living in London is so good.
In general, the most famous jam sessions are at Troy Bar in Hoxton (different according to the night, you can check their website for details), and going there is a great chance to meet incredible musicians! Same as the upstairs at Ronnie Scott's (it's called Ruby Sings) and the legendary Sunday Blues Jam at the Blues Kitchen in Camden.
The only issue with big jams like these are that it's hard to get on stage if you don't know the organiser in person so a good tip would be to go for a few times in a row and don't give up if you don't manage to play or sing on your first attempt."
In terms of tips, I would say relax and try to communicate as much as you can with the other musicians.
If you're showcasing your own song it might be the occasion to experiment with new ideas by involving someone else in it, or just by testing the audience reaction."
If you're jamming something with a full band I reckon the best tip is to have a vast repertoire of classic jam tunes and to go to the night for a couple of times to get into the right "vibe" and suggest something interesting and fun to play with the other musicians.
Regarding organisation, from my point of view, organising an open mic is quite easy, the hardest part is to keep it going! I've been in the house band of at least 6 different small open mic/jam nights and none of them lasted for more than a few months, apart from the NW2, promotion is the essential bit and you always have to find a way to keep it interesting...
Check out these open mic nights and venues:
- Troy Bar, Hoxton
- Ruby Sings, Ronnie Scott’s
- Sunday Blues Jam, Blues Kitchen
- NW2 Open Mic night
- The Spice of Life, Soho
- New Cross Inn
- Spiritual Bar, Camden
- The Castle Inn, Ealing
- London Unplugged, Hammersmith
Are there any others we should be aware of? Let us the best open mics in london via firstname.lastname@example.org
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