Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday Acoustic Open Mike Night at Firefly's

As promised, here's another review of one of The Ham's live music venues. This time, we're visiting Firefly's, the self-proclaimed "Bodacious Bar-B-Que" at the Stop and Shop plaza on Old Connecticut Path.

Wednesday nights from 8-11 p.m., regional blues legend Bruce Marshall hosts an acoustic open mike sure to get your toes a' tappin'. Bruce opens with a 45-minute set of his own, and then opens the mike up to anyone brave enough to scrawl their name on the sign-up sheet resting on a clipboard next to the small stage area in the restaurant's bar. After about a year and a half, the open mike has built up a steady following, and the sign-up list often has fifteen or more names waiting for their time in the spotlight.

Ostensibly begun as an acoustic blues open mike, in reality a number of other music styles are frequently represented, including folk, rock, and jazz. There's a heavy presence of singer-songwriters playing acoustic guitar, but if you just want to sing or play another instrument, Bruce is ready and willing to support you with his guitar, as well as lead or backing vocals. With over thirty years as a professional musician, the man is a walking jukebox, and if he doesn't know the song you want, he can probably wing the guitar part pretty well if you tell him the general style and key.

And there's no cover, so feel free to stay for just a song or two or the entire evening. Many people come for dinner and then linger over a few drinks enjoying the music, supporting musician friends, or maybe belting out a few tunes of their own. The talent ranges from pros dropping in to practice new material, to amateur musicians eager to get some experience playing before a live audience. A two-song maximum per person keeps things moving nicely, from perhaps a Delta blues to a Bruce Springsteen cover, to an original folk song.

And of course there's also an occasional surprise guest who sits in for Bruce's set, and maybe with some of the open mikers as well. A recent standing-room only crowd cheered and clapped wildly when reknowned blues harmonica player and singer James Montgomery played an hour-long set with Bruce Marshall, then graciously played harmonica for a few of the open mike participants that followed.

So if you think Wednesday is just another boring middle of the week night, come on down to Firefly's for some barbeque and equally hot local music!

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