Open Mic Night: Before and After
Performing in front of people can either be the most enjoyable or terrifying thing you will experience in your life. If you stand up on stage and aren't confident with what you're doing, the whole evening becomes an eternity of stress and nerves. If you think about it too much, you conjure a self-fulfilling prophecy of mistakes and slip-ups. Earlier this week, I was looking forward to performing at some open mic nights, seeing it as an opportunity to start performing again after a long break. What follows is a play-by-play of my mindset before and after the performances:
Ugghhh. This is so stupid. How many times have I spontaneously got up in front of a mic and a bunch of strangers and sung? How many times have I sung in front of people, full stop? Why do I feel nervous now? I’ve been practicing all day, so it should be fine. The evening’s only a bit of fun. There’s no stakes, no competition, no drawbacks. I love singing, which is probably why I’m slightly nervous. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt nervous about something. Anxiety doesn’t count, that’s different. This is just a feeling in my stomach of ‘you’re going to sing, and you’ve prepared just enough that you could let yourself down if you don’t do well.’ I feel itchy. I can’t sit still. Writing this is focusing my mind, but it doesn’t distract from the butterflies. It’s all a matter of perspective. If I think about it differently, I won’t feel like this. I know! It’s a little show for mum. I’m playing a few songs for her because it’d be a nice thing to do.
I hate waiting. Waiting is always the worst part of performing. First nights are the worst for nerves, second nights are the worst performance. Oh god there are professionals there. I’ve gotta slot myself in between professionals on closing night. First performance is for a packed house. Fuuuuck. Going now. Wish me luck!
Sooo the open mic night wasn’t actually an open mic night after all. I was working myself up over nothing at all, in the end. Now I feel like a goof. As a silver lining though, there’s one at the Railway Arms tomorrow instead. Looks like this article is gonna take at least one more day to write. In the meantime, I’m gonna enjoy my last night of pretending that I’m a musician.
I feel more confident today. I think sleeping on it has let it all set in, and now I’m ready for tonight. I’ve never been to the Railway Arms before, but I hear it’s quite nice.
Two nights in a row now. Twice in as many days I’ve got myself all worked up over singing again, only to walk in and find it’s not happening. This time, nobody was there at all. I was a whole week late, as it turns out. Sod’s Law, I suppose. Now that all the tension is released from the evening again, I feel a bit annoyed about the whole thing. I feel kind of cheated, so now I’m going to make sure that the next one is definitely, ACTUALLY happening.
Instead of performing at the pub, I sat at the bottom of the stairs and sang my set to mum instead whilst she was making dinner. She liked all the songs but made me sing the first one again because there was an awkward note during ‘Lemon Boy’. She felt a lot of the songs I sung were quite melancholy (go figure). Still, next time for sure, and if not, then I’m going to take it to the streets, so people have no choice but to listen. You hear that world?! I’m coming for you!!
As you can see, the main thing to take away is that word of mouth is not a reliable source of information. Another thing you can take away is that we don't have many chairs, so the stairs were the next best thing. The final moral is that no matter what bumps in the road there are, try again the next night, and then consider doing some research before leaving the house.