Open mic nights have returned to the former Muddy Waters Coffee House space, which is now home to Cricket’s Coffee Company. Part of an effort to keep the Geneseo performing arts scene alive with open mic nights both on and off campus, Cricket’s open mic nights—which started back up on March 4—prove accessible and enjoyable for student musicians.
The general consensus among performers is that Cricket’s open mic nights are much more formal affairs than those at other venues around and off campus. “I feel like the sense of pressure almost helps my performance,” freshman Noah Elias said. “It helps me try and do better.”
It’s possible that house shows could use a little more of this kind of pressure. While some very cool experimentation is allowed, I once saw a performer simply fill out Mad Libs with audience suggestions. Cricket’s provides a space for more serious performances. It seems like this is a sentiment that Steve West, who runs Crickets’ open mics, holds as well.
West has been running open mics in the former Muddy Waters space since it opened almost six years ago. He described Cricket’s as “neater” than Muddy Waters, and he thinks people appreciate the “cleaner, friendlier vibe.” He welcomes musicians of all sorts, along with some poetry—though there may be a separate night for poetry in the future—but comedy isn’t currently allowed at his events. “It usually doesn’t go over well,” he explained. “People aren’t expecting it here.”
The professional atmosphere within Cricket’s doesn’t only exist for the performers, but also for the audience. Though Mics and Mochas provides a space for performers to get up and showcase their talents within the Starbucks at the MacVittie College Union, the audience tends to be far less attentive at these events––people are constantly wandering in and out and chatting with each other. On the other hand, customers at Cricket’s are focused, keeping their chatter to a quiet hum and giving supportive applause.
Though Geneseo’s arts community gathered together after the demise of Muddy Waters to find a new outlet for performance, something still felt missing. It turns out it was the professional atmosphere of Crickets that was needed.
Open mics at Cricket’s will happen every Wednesday and will be hosted by West, except for the last Wednesday of every month when senior Tom Kohn will take over. It’s definitely worth stopping by—and trying one of their blueberry bagels with butter when you do.