I am spoiled. I live a short half-hour away from the majestic urban wonderland that is Seattle. I don’t know it well. I see it in bits and pieces. Concert venues, restaurants, tourist traps. I’m out there a few times a month at most to attend events or visit friends. But that’s where the music is at. There’s an endless sea of bands, shows and open mics to get your feet wet. But when it comes to places like Kent, that’s not necessarily the case.
There are a few good spots here in town. A friend and I went to check out some live music over in Maple Valley the other night, at a coffee shop called Ristrettos. There’s also a great little cafe on Auburn way called Zola’s that I’ve played at a couple of times in the past. Seattle isn’t that far, but the selection of musical events out here doesn’t even compare to the fiery epicenter of the Puget Sound region. If you want to be an actor, you flock to Hollywood. If you want to be a musician, well, Seattle just might be the spot for you.
I love you, Seattle. You’re close to my heart. I’ve had so many great musical experiences, from the Conor Byrne Open Mic, to Noah Gundersen’s annual Christmas show at the Fremont Abbey. It’s become my musical home away from home. But home needs some attention too. I feel like there’s gotta be more people like me out here, with big dreams for our six strings. Setting personal ambition aside, there’s the future of our society. The young musicians, who are already so ridiculously talented and full of creative energy that they’re running circles around the rest of us.
Imagine my surprise and elation when I saw a sign for an open mic at the music store just under a mile away from my home. This is exactly what our town needs. A chance for us like-minded music makers, and music lovers to come together. To share the fruits of our crafts. Whether we aspire to pack the Showbox at the Market one day, or just hope to play the Kent Station or Lake Meridian summer concert series… Here, we’re all the same. We’re writers, singers, strummers. We have a song inside us that we need to get out.
I was forged in the fire of Tacoma’s Antique Sandwich Shop open mic seven, eight years ago. I squelched the stage fright and cold feet by sheer force and persistence. There’s a new generation of young musicians right here in Kent and they need an outlet too. They need that opportunity to get in front of a crowd and share what they love to do, network with their peers, and grow their craft. I want to help make that happen by spreading the word and supporting what is already here. Won’t you join me?
SAINT PATRICK’S OPEN MIC @ MUSIC & ARTS IN KENT