Thursday, March 3, 2011

Live at the 318 Cafe

A coworker came to work last month excited to tell me about this great place that sits in downtown Excelsior called the 318 Cafe. He had been there the night before for their monthly open mic night and got up and played. I had told him about my trip to Cy's back in December and it inspired him to go ahead and give it a try. We made a pact that we would hit the 318 in March together.

Well, March has come and yesterday (March 2nd) was the date we had been waiting for. I showed up at about 7pm to sign in, but my buddy was nowhere to be found. For a bit I thought he had ditched me even though he confirmed he would be there early that day. Thankfully, he showed up at about 7:18pm which was three minutes past the cut off time to sign up. The host was nice enough to put him at the end of the list anyway, so we sat down for a night of free entertainment.

I didn't see the order of performances before the night began, so I had no clue when I would be going onstage. Turns out I was third to last in the order, so I just stayed the whole night. It was fun to see the wide range of talents that graced the small stage that night. From blues players, to rockers, to alternative music lovers... every one seemed to be represented. I was in awe watching many of these guys and gals play their guitars. These were talented players who can sing as they played. I felt a bit out of place as I consider myself a songwriter more than a great guitar player, but I was there to perform.

I got onstage around 9:50pm and only planned to do two songs, Rejection and a cover of the Beatles classic Norwegian Wood. I started with Rejection, and aside from some vocal issues on the chorus it went pretty well. I got a decent reception from the audience after I finished. I then went right into Norwegian Wood which got some of the audience's attention. The Beatles are well liked and in the video you can hear some of the crowd singing along (very cool!!). After I completed Norwegian Wood, I decided to go ahead and close out with Brother. After screwing up the intro four times, I just went with it and played the song. The rest of it went smooth enough, and after it was over I was pleased with my performance.

I stuck around to watch my buddy, Abasa, do his set and he blew the lid off the place. Abasa is very humble, but the dude can play and sing amazingly. He finished his second song and the crowd wouldn't let him leave until he did a third (each artist is allowed three songs). It was a cool thing to see.

After the show was done I was able to talk to a few of the other acts. They were all very humble and nice, and you could tell many of them were just like me. Play music in our bedroom, but don't really go out and play for others. I talked for a bit with one of the performers, a gentleman named Mikel Arson who goes by Super Villain Slim. He drove all the way from Coon Rapids and was overwhelmed by the response he got from the audience. He let me have a copy of his homemade CD which I gladly played on the ride home that night.

Overall, this was a great experience. I enjoyed the music, the atmosphere was welcoming, and the people were awesome. If you ever get a chance to check out open mic night at the 318 Cafe, either as a listener or a player, I recommend it. Here are videos from my performances on March 2nd at the 318 Cafe.

Song 1: Rejection - Brian Bartholow Original

Song 2: Norwegian Wood - The Beatles

Song 3: Brother - Brian Bartholow Original

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