Mr Boogie Man’s Open Mic – The Backstory

About a month ago I was seeing a friend’s band (Mass Rejection) play a show at the Mr Boogie Man Bar on Hoddle street. It was a Saturday evening and I had never been to this joint before. I instantly fell in love with the bar’s décor and its set up, as well as the lovely and down-to-Earth owner, David.

I was speaking with a fellow Heartstrings Melbourne-ite at the bar about how well this venue would suit an Open Mic Night – already having a killer sound system installed along with a funky and inviting stage. Draped with Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and other rock memorabilia, this venue was perfect. Especially with the unfortunate closure of the Acoustic Café, the area needed a platform for local talents.

We managed to speak to the owner about this prospect and, while he was very keen, he wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it as he had never held an Open Mic Night before.

Being a seasoned Open Mic performer both in Melbourne and overseas, I’ve been meeting with the venue owner over the past couple weeks to help him establish his very own and very first Open Mic Night.

We are all excited to announce that the first one will be held on this Wednesday 7th May. Musicians can book anytime from now ’til the night itself by calling David on 0406 797 644.

Hosted by yours truly, both David and myself hope to see you all there!

Darius Pranckunas

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Open Mic Night @ The Great Britain Hotel
 

“I do it [music] as a serious hobby… but if anyone wants to pay me, they’re very welcome to do so!”

Full of energy, charisma and puns (and an impressively large repertoire of songs to suit all occasions), Darius is your piano man & he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke.

With an upbringing of primarily classical music – generously seasoned with the golden pop/rock tunes – Darius has been playing piano for 19 years and has attained his Certificate of Performance.

He has a Bachelor of Commerce degree under his belt and is currently working towards getting his CPA whilst job hunting.

“I do it [music] as a serious hobby; I feel I have got other talents I can make my money out of… but if anyone wants to pay me, they’re very welcome to do so!”

Having played Open Mics on and off for a couple of years now, Darius feels that they’re a great opportunity to express himself in a very understanding and inviting atmosphere where everyone’s in the same boat.

“Get on down to the Open Mics and the venues will be encouraged to keep them going! You get to have a good night out with friends, beer and free live music. “

He recalls one particular embarrassing experience when he performed at an interstate talent show and he had a complete mental blank on a jazz piece he had only just begun to play. He stopped, turned to the audience and said “I’ll start that again”. Thankfully the second time through he aced it!

“Don’t take yourself too seriously, and don’t be afraid to have a go. People are understanding when it comes to our musical abilities.”

You can catch Darius performing red-handed at the Great Britain Hotel or (for the Lithuanians in the audience) at the Melbourne Lithuanian Club. In the meantime, jump on his Facebook group – Daz’s Random Fact/Joke of the Day – guaranteed to have you raising your eyebrows or rolling your eyes.. or both!

Robbie Phillips

0_6Open Mic Night @ The Balaclava Hotel


“I never thought I would ever get to play Spice Girls in a setting like that.”

In the comforts of the Balaclava Hotel, the dim lighting sets the scene amongst the warming audience and an old man dancing in the corner, the room is filled with eager listeners as Robbie Phillips hops up on stage and delivers a gracious performance.

“The whole set up here is just awesome. I reckon it’s one of the best Open Mic dynamics that I’ve played at. This one is so supportive and so natural.”

Originally from Western Australia, Robbie has been a bank relationship manager by day for the past 6 years. He loves his job because he brings colour and life to traditionally tense setting. After two years of playing live in the cosy spots of Melbourne, Robbie admits he’s still figuring things out when it comes to music and identifying the sort of musician he intends to be in the future.

“I like to travel to places that are scenic, just chasing that horizon. I think that’s evident in my songs.”

Robbie is inspired by Leonard Cohen and lyrical artists that represent the truth and storytelling in music. Growing up playing classical music, he became more intrigued by the lyrical aspect of music and how it can be a pursuit of self-discovery.

“My life can be very exhilarating – the stuff I do.”

Playing regularly at gigs just for the experience and for his passion for music, the commercial music scene isn’t high on the aspirations list – although he wouldn’t mind performing on the big stage if the time was right and the opportunities presented themselves.

“Music never fails; sort of spiritual I guess. It’s very therapeutic.”

Entertaining people with his music and capturing the attention of an audience is what encourages Robbie to keep doing what he loves when he’s not at his day job.

“Motivation for me is figuring out my voice and what this is about.”

One of his more memorable experiences playing live was at one of his first gigs at a gallery where he had no idea what to play for an hour and decided to light up the mood and get everyone moving to his version of ‘Stop Right Now’ by the Spice Girls.

“I never thought I would ever get to play Spice Girls in a setting like that.”

His advice to local musicians is to make sure you have stage presence and if music is your virtue then play to entertain.

Robbie performs at Open Mic nights once a month at The Balaclava Hotel and also at the Eugenius Café in Windsor (he’s playing there this Sunday, *hint hint*).

Check out Robbie’s latest music and adventures by heading to his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/robbiephillipsmusic

Sabrina

Sabrina
Open Mic Night @ The Great Britain Hotel

“The variety of acts on show is awesome.”

Everyone in the room was dead silent for this performance. All ears and hearts were captured by this enthusiastic and quirky performer, her electric piano and her sense of style.

Having recently started a degree in music, she hopes to one day go pro with her music. And from the swarm of people I saw buzzing around her after her set it’s no doubt she’ll go far. I was lucky to pull her aside to have a brief chat with her.

She loves the Open Mic/live music scene simply due to the variety of performances that you get.

On giving advice to other musicians on the local scene:

“Be confident – there’s not one type of good music”

On commenting about people who don’t check out live music at the grass roots level:

“You get to watch a bunch of free music, have a fun night out, it’s awesome!”

Sabrina will be playing at the Great Britain Hotel each Wednesday night. Be sure to check her out!