30/30 Night Twenty Six Recap | Night Twenty Seven Deets

Published On May 24, 2011 | By Kymbo Slice | 30 Days/30 Nights

“If people were wondering where the music scene is in Pittsburgh, welcome.” – Mark Dignam, last night’s host of Club Cafe’s weekly open mic night, Acousticafe. This shit isn’t for amateurs, so leave your noob ass at home. This open mic is groomed for the best of the Burgh’s singer-songwriters, cultivating a close-knit community of musicians who inspire, challenge and support one another. The sentiment last night was passionate and supportive, as we “came on a good night.” Boothmate and veteran Acousticafe performer Timothy Vaks claims, “There are roughly 100 open stages in Pittsburgh and we have the best one.” No doubt!

The evening’s repertoire was a bit more polished than your average open mic, a primary reason for its longevity and bustling community of supporters. Amidst the dreadlocks, harmonicas, cigarette butts and guitars lies a lot of established and undiscovered talent, and serves as a true indication of the state of Pittsburgh’s folk/alt scene. Support is healthy, and it doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon. If you want your shot at taking the stage, you have to fit a certain criteria. The event’s curators look for artists who have been performing regularly in the area for at least a year. They don’t claim to pick the artists who perform, but lean towards artists who get consistent gigs and favorable reviews. Sorry Charlie, but your pot and pan drum setup in your parent’s basement just won’t do the trick.

The mix of both young and old fosters a continued desire for learning, which was manifested in almost every performer. Timothy Vaks’ humble performance of Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale” was a perfect display of the exchange of creativity that occurs at this open stage. He sat next to me the entire night, guitar between us, and claimed he wasn’t nervous until he recruited an accordion player and the “best guitar player in the house” – Nathan Zoob. I noticed right away that Zoob was extraordinarily talented on guitar, plucking away at an acoustic to make it sound better than any electric I’ve heard. I don’t know much about playing guitar, but I know that’s hella difficult to do.

Tonight we’re heading into uncharted territory. 222 Ormsby – here we come!

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