To put it plainly: I really can't recommend open mics enough. To both a seasoned musician and a kid who just started playing out open mics are one of the best tools available. Perhaps the best aspect of the open mic is the fact that there are absolutely no expectations. This means there is absolutely no pressure to perform. To the crowd you are just another douchbag with a guitar. It really is a low risk high reward atmosphere (just like $25 scratch off lottery tickets).
That being said, it really is a mixed bag. Some nights you are playingn to the most respectful, attentive crowd you could imagine. Other nights you are playing to a bunch of rowdy isatiable drunks. Still, even the bad nights give you experience and a way to hone your skills. I was going to give examples of the best and worst nights I've had on the open mic circuit, but for the sake of comedy I'll just list the worst/most unusual experiences I've had at open mics
#5-Exactly 2/3rds of the way through the 2nd song of the set a drunk woman walks up behind me to pick up some random item (don't know what it was nor do I care). Instead of going around the way she came (the way that didn't include getting in the way) she walks out right in front of me and trips over the microphone stand/chord. This wouldn't be too unusual if she didn't stop and then stand 2 feet from my face staring intently at me for the next 5 miutes while I played... and I mean INTENTLY. I ask her what the hell she's doing and she makes a fishy face at me before returning to her seat. I had never been more attracted to ayone
#4-The only open mic I ever hosted was a resounding failure. The entire night could be summed up with this little story. The bass pedal for the drum kit went missing. The drummer was then asked if he could just kick the bass drum from a audience member. During the set the crowd was incredibly disrespectful (as they were all night) and just after I asked them to speak more quietly and be more attentive (which they actually paid attetion to) the drummer of the bad (who was no more than 115 lbs) went on a 15 minute tirade where he just cursed out EVERYONE. I half hoped he would end the rant with "I'm a man, I'm 40" but alas, he did not.
#3-After my first song a man who, suprisingly was not drunk, feels the need to tell everyone just what he thought of music. Just before I start my second song the man rushes on stage pushes me out of the way and let everyone know exactly what he thought of it. To top it all off his rumblings and grumblings were so incoherent I still don't know whether or not he enjoyed my music.
#2-Short but sweet. I announce that the next song is a cover and a woman who was a little off her rocker comes up and hugs me to say it's OK and to be honest, in that moment, I knew it would be
#1 When I step on stage the man asks me if I know any fleetwood mac covers (he asks for a particular song, the title of which escapes me). I tell him I do not. This cycle repeats before and after EVERY SINGLE SONG. I assure him that I know no fleetwood mac nor have I ever listened to him. He calls me a "fucking asshole" and a liar. After the set he said I was great and invited me out to drinks. I wanted to accompany him but was too bruised by his insults.
Here are your awful lyrics for this entry courtesy of LFO... pretty much the entire song is incoherent nonsense which could be likened to drunken hobo ramblings but for brevity sake I''ll just post the third verse. So here it is, the third verse of "Summer Girls" taken directly from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lfo/summergirls.html
Bugaloo shrimp and pogo sticks
My mind takes me back there oh so quick
Let you off the hook like my man Mr. Limpet
Thinka bout that summer and I bug cause I miss it
Like the color purple, macaronni and cheese
Ruby red slippers ad a bunch of trees
Call you up but what's the use
I like Kevin Bacon, but I hate Footloose
Came in the door I said it before
I think I'm over you but I'm really not sure
When I met you I said my name was Rich
You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch
10 months ago