Saturday, September 20, 2014


Sound Circuit

Not the same old song and dance

9/3/2014

Josh Davis hosts the Gas Lamp open mic on Thursdays. Photo by Eli Hamann

Josh Davis hosts the Gas Lamp open mic on Thursdays. Photo by Eli Hamann

Often times the casual observer will hear “open mic” and conjure image of amateurs and beginning musicians lining up at some bar or coffee shop for the chance at getting their music heard by anyone outside of their immediate family. But for most musicians — and for most music scenes — the open mic is kind of a modern-day descendant of the drum circle.

“Its (inception is) probably a little less brilliant and exciting than it may seem,” said Josh Davis, who runs the Thursday night open mic at Gas Lamp. “I just wanted to have a night of my friends hanging out and playing songs. Preferably their own.”

Davis, a brilliant songwriter who has fronted both The Josh Davis Band and Bright Giant in recent years, has been handling the booking for Gas Lamp most of this year. Toward the end of the spring, when Gas Lamp owner Frankie Farrell mentioned wanting to find something to take over the Thursday night spot previously held by the Blues Jamp, Davis floated the idea of a more generalized open mic.

“There’s nothing wrong with blues music, of course,” Davis said. “And blues musicians are more than welcome at the open mic. This is just a little more open.”

Davis enlisted the help of fellow musicians Jerry Lorenson and Dylan Boyle, and the three of them take turns with the hosting duties each week. Turnout for the weekly event has gotten stronger and more diverse with time.

“Originally we came in with the mindset of, ‘Well, we’ll do it for a couple of weeks and see how it goes,’ ” Davis explained. “It just kept getting progressively better. So we kept on doing it.”

Davis is currently working on a solo project that he describes as more in the vein of the Josh Davis Band. Local producers/musicians Brandon Darner and Jon Locker have both been involved, and Davis is excited about the prospect of getting new music out in front of people. And while the open mic might not be a direct creative muse for him, Davis is energized by the prospect of being surrounded by friends — or a room of musicians he’s never met before — each week.

“It’s always inspiring seeing people do what they love,” he said. “It keeps me motivated to keep getting better. That’s my goal in music. I don’t have any lofty dreams; I just want to write a better song than last time.” CV

Body Sense