Any local artist will know that getting paid for open mic gigs can be a real struggle – yet the Liverpool audiences want to be the first to discover the next big star. It’s an age old problem that duo Andrew Powell and Elijah James of Moose Jaw Media are determined to fix.
Andrew explained: “Our ethos is all about giving back to musicians and developing the local community. With the Moose Jaw Open Mic, we are finally providing Liverpool artists with a tangible reward for their performance.
“We film, edit and mix audio of one song for every performer in exchange for their talents. Obviously, most grass roots acts don’t have the money to invest in quality video creation, yet digital content is absolutely paramount in today’s musical landscape. It’s the next best thing that can be offered in terms of payment.”
Moose Jaw Open Mic takes place at Aether Bar, Liverpool ONE every Thursday at 8pm and is already proving to be popular with artists and audiences alike. Andrew added: “People sometimes think there is some kind of catch or ulterior motive & respond to me with that quizzical look saying ‘so…it’s free?’, which I have to strongly distance myself from, because to me our payment is the artist’s performance.
“It’s not ‘free’. Let me be clear; there is no financial cost for these videos, and there never will be. Maybe I’m insane, who knows, but it’s a lot of fun, so what the heck!”
Alice and the team at Aether have been fantastic with supporting the Moose Jaw Open Mic vision. They share the ethos for fostering a genuine local music community, and Andrew and James couldn’t think of a better venue to have on board. Artists of any level are welcome to perform. Whether it’s your first time playing or you’ve just sold out an arena tour (the door is always open for you, Lewis Capaldi!).
Andrew explains how it works: “As a performer you will be welcomed to our lovely little raised stage area of the venue (which has this really cool Jazz bar vibe to it) with access to a house guitar, piano, cajon, a couple of microphones, stage lighting and even a monitor! Ah, monitors, they really are glorious – if you know, you know.
“Of course you can bring your own instrument down too. Once you’ve shown off your skills, we’ll handle the rest and the content will be delivered on our channels within a few days.”
Thanks to the in house surround sound system, the audience can get the best audio mix sat anywhere throughout the venue and even outside, so artists are never missing out on the action. Not to mention the amazing cocktails Aether whips up.
There’s no formal application process, but the evening runs on a first come, first served policy to keep it fair. Andrew and Elijah recommend getting to the venue as close as possible to kick off to get your name down: “Just come and find myself or Elijah who will put you on the list. Also feel free to get in touch beforehand on either our Facebook page or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to iron out any details or answer queries.”
Moose Jaw Open Mic is hopeful that a renewed interest in local music and new talent nights is just around the corner. Andrew said: “Those superstars you hear on the radio and see headlining festivals? I guarantee they all cut their teeth on the local Open Mic circuits and at independent venues, usually for a long, long time.
“Bruce Springsteen played jam nights at The Stone Pony for years before anyone saw anything more than a scruffy Jersey kid. I’ve heard he’s doing alright. Local musicians have been crying out for positive investment in the local community and I strongly believe Aether have given us the platform for something special.
“In order to be sustainable and keep this night going, we need you fine folks to come and show your support. Who knows, Glastonbury 2021 could be filled with Moose Jaw alumni!”
You can find out more about Moose Jaw Open Mic at Aether Bar on the official Facebook page here.
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