On Friday evening, I went to the Haven café in Cork to be a part of their weekly open mic night.
I remember when I woke up that morning, I was so excited and I just couldn’t wait for it! But waiting was all I would get to do on this fateful day. I mean, it was on at 8, so basically, ten hours after my breakfast, but there was more to it than I had bargained for. Once more, my patience & resolution were put to the test.
So, at around 7PM, this bright, hopeful cookie was at the door, with my host mom’s acoustic guitar (right-handed 😥 !), heading to the bus stop. I got there and was fifteen minutes early for my bus, so feeling pretty confident about making it on time (my intention to get there at least fifteen minutes early so I could cool down from the walking). That was all until I got caught up in a crowd of teenagers. I swear there were at least 40 of them. There were too many for me to be comfortable. And I was convinced there would be no room for me in the bus. Also, they were rude & pretty stupid. They were making fun of me, little did they know that I speak French and can sometimes understand some Spanish. *frowny face*
This eventually lead me to give up on my bus and walk down to Douglas to catch another bus. The buses down there get to the city much faster anyways, so I figured I’d be fine even though it was already quarter to by the time I got down there.
I had some time before the bus so I went to the bathroom. I was already so sweaty and tired. And I’m not gonna lie, this had already killed my spirit a little bit, but I had to keep going! So I got on the bus, and there, lovely surprise, the card machine was broken, therefore I didn’t have to pay for the bus! I sat down, quite satisfied of this small victory, and tried my best to breathe, calm down. In five minutes I would be in the city now. Except, no..
The bus had to make a little detour to the bus house thingy where all the buses go to sleep after their shift. What for? Well, to get a new card machine… That took us at least three minutes and I swear at this point, I was losing it. And when we eventually left, we had to stop again as the bus was making this high-pitched noise. Two more minutes. I was dying. Then, finally, we made it to the city.
Once again, I was walking so fast as if my life depended on it. I was three to four minutes away from the café, which was all the way to the other side of the quay. Now, you have to remember that there was no rush, I had decided that there should be one. You know how it is once I set my mind on an idea… I really wanted to be there early, and since I wasn’t, my brain was on the “I’m late” mode. It was 8:03… Drama queen, I know!
Anyways, so I got there, really glad to see my friend Kart again! And Pete, a fellow singer-songwriter. (He is really good at playing the guitar, and plays the harmonica at the same time!) So, at last, amongst familiar faces, I could sit and enjoy the rest of the host’s performance. Kart then introduced me to everyone and then the magical night could begin…
The venue was a very cosy one. The stage was literally the back of the room, which made you level with everyone, which I guess contributed to the whole atmosphere. Everyone was friendly and supportive! It was definitely one of the best choices for a first time!!
I was third to perform! Which could I’ve freaked me out, but it didn’t! I remember that morning I kept having flashbacks to my theater performances from high school and university. I’ve actually always been quite fine with talking publicly and usually, being on a stage enhances my abilities! I remember when we used to rehearse our scenes in the classroom, I was “okay”, but every end of the year, when we would perform them on the stag, I would magically blow everyone away. But, guess I was a bit rusty…. It’s been more than three years since I’ve hit the stage after all…
Talking was fine. Although I did say “Hi!” AND “Hello!”. Like, what? These were exactly the two words I had forbidden myself to say as I was rehearsing that morning because I can never say them properly. I know it sounds stupid, but I can’t ever say a simple hi or hello, it always has to be weird. But it was okay nonetheless. I introduced myself and the song, and after that, I’m not sure what happened.
My voice was a little shaky but I tried as well as I could to keep it somewhat on track. Thing is, I was exhausted from all the running I did before, and my throat was as well, as I pushed a little too much during rehearsal that morning. So, I wasn’t breathing, projecting or even putting any emotion in it. It’s almost as if I wasn’t there. I was doing it, barely trying. I definitely did not give it all I had.
There was barely any energy. Breathing almost non existent. Therefore my vocals weren’t on point. Yet, somehow, it wasn’t so bad. And you know what? I picked two songs I know really well, which I would therefore not mess up too much, if at all, right? And, I forgot some of the lyrics in the Brandi song?? And then almost messed up a word in my own song???!!
What I am proud of though is that I kept going after the mess ups! Which is exactly what you should do, right?! Don’t let them know, show must go on! So, I guess that even though my vocals weren’t exactly my best and didn’t display a nice percentage of my abilities, I still handled the situation okayly. Considering the nerves and exhaustion!
But that it just my side of the story!
Everyone else actually enjoyed it. Which, I guess is what should matter in this situation! I mean, the point of a performance is to share, right? So, as much as you should enjoy it; what truly matters is if the audience enjoys it!
I got some nice clapping, which was quite confusing because I did not consider myself that good. So I figured they were just being polite.. But then, at the end of the night, when we were all packing to go home, I had many of the musicians come to me and tell me they really enjoyed my original song. And I was really surprised! Sadly, I was definitely getting sleepy by then and wasn’t exactly the most social being, all I could say was “thanks, thanks, haha, sure, yeah”.
I also had a little chat with the sound guy(??i think??), he was telling me how it was a nice song, and how it’s great to be able to tell a story. AND, he told me about a recording session thingy that they do in the café every Thursday evenings and that I should definitely drop by one time, to maybe record one of my songs. So, I’ll probably check it out this week and you will definitely hear about it if I do(which I will)!
So, that was it for my first ever musical performance, guys! It wasn’t as magical as I had imagined, it was in fact, pretty normal. But I enjoyed every bit of it!
I loved the supportive atmosphere and the diversity of the performances! Watching others play was both, entertaining, and educating. There is loads to learn from just watching people with more experience! Which reminds me of this quote from Frank Iero: “The best way to become a better player is to play with someone better than you“.
Everyone was so talented! And watching them share their personal songs like this was just, wow! And I remember the last one especially, he blew me away with his guitar skills. My eyes were struggling to keep open, but I swear I didn’t dream it! I don’t really remember people’s name, but I will learn them eventually! I’m definitely going back next Friday anyway, so I’ll probably see all of them again!
The venue was really nice and definitely the best for a first time! I’m so glad that Kart recommended it to me! She is such a good person! So nice to me and always introducing me to everyone and taking pictures! Bless her soul!!
Sadly, we didn’t get any videos of the night. Which at first I thought was a bummer, but then, on the bus back home, I realized it wasn’t so much of a bad thing not to have a physical trace of this first time. It wasn’t so bad, but I’d rather not have physical proof of it, you know what I mean? I’ll always have a nice memory of it and that is more than enough!! He he
So, what I gathered from this first performance is that I need to work thrice as hard and twice as fast! I was definitely not satisfied with my performance so you can be sure that this hardworking cookie is going to get even more serious about things from now on!
Next time, I will actually give it my best and maybe get a video! 😉 And, I will get better, and better, and better, and better, and better, and better!
Here’s to more performances!!
I will be going to a different open mic on Monday night! And then once again to that one on Friday! Then the same one next Monday. And then probably going to
fancy Gallagher’s on the Wednesday after that! And hopefully, that will keep going for the rest of the summer holidays?
We’ll see how it goes, and of course, I will keep updates on my journey as regular as they come on my precious, precious little blog!