Bald Guy hosts Thursday open mic nights for musicians

Casey Suglia

Steven Finch, owner of Bald Guy Brew on King Street, established an open mic night for musicians every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the coffee shop.

Finch created this weekly event because he felt the Boone music scene was lacking an informal venue for artists to share music.

“This town has only got a few places to really hang out, and a lot of those establishments are restaurants and bars where there is a pressure to make money off of their business at night,” Finch said.

“There is not just that middle ground place for musicians to be, and I really wanted to open the doors to that.”

Though the poetry open mic nights on Wednesdays held at Bald Guy have been successful, the opportunity for musicians to have their voice heard was rare.

“I see this as an opportunity for musicians who normally wouldn’t have the chance to meet to have a place to come hang out, play music, and the next thing you know, they’re in a band,” Finch said. “Bald Guy is now a hub for that kind of thing.”

Senior music performance major Alex Travers is used to playing to formal audiences as part of his requirements at the Hayes School of Music. For him, the opportunity to play in a casual setting is appealing.

“I want a chill, pressure-free environment where I can perform my music without having to worry,” Travers said. “As a classical musician, there is a third wall between the musician and the audience, and I like seeing that broken at events like this.”

Much like the poetry night, the music open mic has few rules. There is a sign-up sheet at the door for musicians and artists who are encouraged to play whatever they would like. Drums, amps and microphones are available for anyone to use.

The first open mic Feb. 6 featured eight performers with an impromptu jam session at the end for anyone who wanted to come up and play with one another.

This spirit of spontaneous collaboration is also a part of Bald Guy’s poetry nights, where poets and rappers trade rhymes in a group cipher.

“When you have a craft that you do, the last thing you want to do is stay sitting on a couch every night, playing a song or two,” Finch said. “It is thrilling to be able to perform for other people in the community like that. [Open mic night is] an opportunity to have that location, and then hopefully everyone will catch on.”

Photo: Rachel Kruaza, Staff Photographer