Open Mic Night at Jam'n Java
Local musicians showcase their talents at the Mass Ave coffee shop.
It's usually the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee and freshly baked pastries that beckons customers into Jam'n Java But this Monday night, it was the sounds of blues, folk and jazz in the air that lured patrons inside the Mass Ave coffee shop.
This week Jam'n Java hosted its monthly open mic night, an event that's been growing steadily since its inception two years ago.
Stephanie Marlin-Curiel approached owner Creig Muscato about hosting a night for the area's musicians to showcase their work every other month at Jam'n Java. Muscato and store manage Erica Walker were thrilled to meet an unfilled need for Arlington's undiscovered talent.
"I don't think anywhere else in Arlington does this," Walker said. "People can show off their talents as well. It's a good community event, it brings the community together."
As the event's popularity grew, local guitarist Mark Sandman volunteered his help and open mic night became a monthly affair.
"The turn outs seem to get better and better," he said. "We are drawing more performers, both experienced and new. It's everything for people who are looking to express themselves or those who are experienced and are looking for venues to try out new songs."
Over three dozen people attended Monday night's show. Ten performers of all ages turned out to perform, hailing from Arlington, Somerville, Waltham, and New York. Each act relished its six-minute slot and brought something different to the stage.
Seven-year-old Eli Baggish graced the stage with his father, Steve, to open the show. Steve played guitar while Eli beat the bongos to America's Horse With No Name, and Calendar Girl by Neil Sedaka.
Chris Gerstner followed playing keyboard and singing. Tim Leahy performed his original songs Flip a Coin and Aborigine Song of Freedom on acoustic guitar. Ben Blum improvised with his ocarina.
Children's songwriter Liz Buchanan played her guitar with Rich Elbert on maracas. Elbert also played his original songs On Halloween and The Uncivil War. New Yorker Enrique Oliveras, better known on stage as "Que Unlimited," presented "Thunder and Lighting" from his album Ain't No Wonder and unreleased track "Love They Can't See" on his acoustic guitar.
Sixteen-year-old Annie O'Brien of Somerville awed the audience with her rendition of "When the Stars Go Blue" from One Tree Hill and an original song entitled "The Fall." Matt O., Sky S., and Graham O. covered Ice Monster's "Minus the Bear" and Scott Samenfield closed out the show.
Event organizer Sandman was the featured act of Monday's Open Mic. He played acoustic guitar and sang eight songs—a mix of early blues, classics and originals.
"I have been involved with a number of open-mics and coffeehouses. The one thing that is particularly nice about this one is that people not just come as a place to play, but also to listen," Sandman said after the event. "It brings music to the people for the community and by the community in Arlington."
Jam'n Java hosts open mic night on the first Monday of every month from 6:30p.m. to 9p.m. Those interested in performing or joining the mailing list should contact Stephanie Marlin-Curiel at Arl.email@example.com. Jam'n Java also hosts a Poetry Night and a Jazz night. Check out Jam'n Java for the event info.