No one starts at the top. Every superstar was first a dimly shining light in the darkness, perfecting their craft on stages and in watering holes across the country. It’s a challenging life, performing in front of a crowd, and everyone has to start somewhere, with one of those places being that all-important “amateur night.” Whether it’s at a pub, hall or coffee shop, artists from across the board often stake their claim on these nights, pouring their heart out in front of five or 50 people at any given time. Here are five spots on the South Shore and Cape Cod to catch some of Massachusetts’ biggest and brightest before they hit the big time.
1237 Hancock St.
Quincy, MA 02169
Although the idea of amateur night within the confines of an Indian restaurant may seem a bit odd at first, Sher-a-Punjab in Quincy offers open mic nights which are made available to poets, singers and spoken word artists of all types who are seeking both a stage and a built-in audience. Granted, the audience here at Sher-a-Punjab may seem a bit too busy devouring their tandoori chicken to even notice the average singer or speaker, yet if one is able to tear the clientele here away from their grub, then consider that open mic night to be a success.
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The Improper Bostonian
626 Main St.
Dennis Port, MA 02639
The Improper Bostonian may close down a bit earlier than some other bars in the area, but this local favorite does more than right by its dedicated following of boozers, revelers and dancers all throughout the Barnstable County of Cape Cod. In addition to live music and DJ options for entertainment, The Improper Bostonian also hosts an open mic night on the lower level of its dual-floored building which does its best for the joint’s often boisterous clientele by making a stage available for those with something important to say…whether it be via song, poetry or (drunken?) speech.
O’Shea’s Olde Inne
348 Main St.
West Dennis, MA 02670
O’Shea’s Olde Inne is located in West Dennis and is a local Main Street bar and grille that hosts a weekly Monday night open mic for the Cape’s musical and artistic faithful. Luckily for aspiring West Dennis singers and musicians, O’Shea’s clientele generally tends to be pretty open minded and forgiving when it comes to the local talent — or the occasional lack thereof — who try their hand at pleasing the crowd and polishing their creative skills. Of course, the fact that O’Shea’s benefits from a fairly warm, comfortable atmosphere only serves as a plus for the dinner and drink crowd, making this Cape-area pub a recommended stop for amateurs and spectators alike.
House Of Bud’s
3 Bearse Road
Hyannis, MA 02601
This joint, formerly known as Bud’s Country Lounge before a remodel which included the addition of an outdoor deck, celebrates the art of the jam session during its open mic nights held every Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. While the idea of playing a “gig” on a work night appeals to all of those suffering the nine-to-five grind, there is a certain palpable magic that happens when like-minded musicians get together and stir their collective talents into the jam band pot. Of course, the cheap PBR on tap makes the perfect social lubricant for a very successful open mic.
271 Main St.
Falmouth, MA 02540
Every Tuesday night, the Stone L’Oven pizzeria in Falmouth hosts its popular open mic nights, with a PBR price that beats even the House of Bud’s draft price…a whole $1.50 a pint. This sort of cheap booze, in addition to half-price appetizers at the bar, packs in the crowd here at this Falmouth-based eatery, with open mic sign-ups starting promptly at 7 p.m., and music following at 7:30 p.m. Comedy and music join forces here at Stone L’Oven on a weekly basis, with an appreciative audience and warm, inviting atmosphere.
George Pacheco has been writing professionally about arts and entertainment for over a decade. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, George currently resides in a humble New England home with his wife, cat and massive music and film collection. His work can be found at Examiner.com.