Sacramento’s Open Mic Circle of Life

You might say it’s kind of a “Circle of Life” thing, but for open mic venues.  Earlier this week the Oak Park Brewing Company announced that its last day of business will be on July 29, ending a run of several good years after becoming hopelessly impaled on sharply-declining revenues that followed a bad health inspection.  The Oak Park Brewing Co., as a brewpub and restaurant featuring both open mic and featured music nights, will be missed by many.  This one had enjoyed special recognition and great press notices.  It was in fact one of the last that might have been anticipated to ever be in danger of going under.  But it did, and we hope that the corner of Oak Park it occupied may eventually rise again with something that will once again bring back not only regular crowds but local musicians.

Stone Vintage Music Boutique

And as Oak Park Brewing prepared to bow out, a new venue has been rising on the horizon, this one on 3rd St. in West Sacramento, just across the river from Old Sacramento.  As described on its website, the Stone Vintage Music Boutique, owned and operated by proprietor Brendan Stone, has targeted a specialized niche, as the “Sacramento region’s premier independent music gear, effect pedal & accessory shop.”  Those interested in learning to play an instrument will also find that music lessons  are offered for those not yet qualified to play a vintage guitar.  It is a music shop with a cozy vibe, one that gets even better with the addition of live music. Better still when Brendan secures a license to sell beer, the next major step in his personal business plan.

Brendan Stone

Those performers who regularly rotate through our local open mic venues in  the Sacramento region will agree that the Stone Vintage Music Boutique’s Thursday night open mic completes the creation of a perfect weekly Monday-Friday open mic schedule that is unmatched in all but a few other California cities. The sign-up list is made available around 6:30 pm, and the first performer begins at 7 pm.  Depending on the number of people signed up, Brendan may keep the doors open  beyond his normal 9 pm closing time.  He does take advance sign-ups, though, so if you can’t make it in time for the 6:30 pm sign-up but would like your name to be added to the sign-up list you can text him at (916) 382-9435, or email him to ask him to include you.

Speaking now to those of you who have occasionally felt frustration with dual internal sound systems — the monitor-based sound that the performer hears vs. the main speakers-based sound that the audience hears — you’ll want to drop by Stone Vintage Music to experience Brendan’s primo PA arrangement.  Two mains are mounted up high in the corners of the room and controlled by one of those wireless mixer apps that allow the host to control sound quality as he walks throughout the room.  Add a vintage 50s-era Shure microphone that outputs beautiful sound quality, and this is a system you’ve got to experience to appreciate.  And did I mention monitors?  Forget about it.  Brendan’s PA system has a feedback-cancelling feature that allows the performer to be in front of the mains rather behind them, and without causing feedback.  So you hear exactly what the audience hears.

Marty Taters and I both dropped in this night — July 26 — and were joined by one other performer, Kevin Peterson.  We each played a set for a number of non-musician audience members who found comfortable seats throughout the various corners of the music boutique.  Unlike most open mics which are attended primarily by musicians, those coming to Stone Vintage Music’s Thursday night open mic nights have so far consisted of a mix of performers and locals who come just to enjoy the music in a casual and intimate setting.  The shop is sandwiched between an ice cream parlor and a new pizza bar that is just about to open its doors.  So the addition of beer sales at Stone Vintage Music will blend well into this strip of 3rd St. businesses just north of D St.  Oh, yeah — and don’t worry about parking.  There is plenty of free on-street parking in the area.  That’s right — free parking and no meters.  Just across the river from the car-unfriendly Sacramento downtown.  I know I’ll be back soon.  Once the word gets around about this jewel of an open mic venue, I think the days of a three-performer lineup are going to fade out quickly.  Check it out.

Marty Taters
Kevin Peterson

Kurt Michaels

Kurt Michaels [email:] is a resident of downtown Sacramento and enjoys spending most Tuesday nights hanging with the regulars at Kupro's open mic music scene, co-hosted by Marty Taters and Lare Crawley.

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