Coffeehouse Kid

I’m going to take a moment this week to talk more about local venues. I only really talked about them in the first entry of this blog, and I thought perhaps more coverage was needed. So this week I’m going to feature some places local artists frequent sometimes on a weekly basis, specifically open-mic nights. The two premier places in the St. Charles area for open-mic are the St. Charles Coffee Cafe or something (formerly known as the St. Charles Coffee House) on McClay and Picasso’s on South Main Street. There are some similarities between the two, as open-mics at coffee shops don’t have a lot of room to break from the norm, but there are pros and cons of each.

I’ve been going to the Coffee House (or the C House as my friends and I have donned it) since my sophomore year. My friend, alumnus Damon Stark asked me to come up and play some Green Day covers with him. He had just started learning to play guitar in our music appreciation class but didn’t own one, hence my role. Since then I’ve gone up, on average, about every other week or so. The C House has open-mic every Tuesday and Thursday night from about 7-10 pm. Thom Duggan hosts and plays on Tuesdays and Justin Church hosts and plays on Thursdays. There is a three dollar cover charge but for three hours of (usually) somewhat enjoyable entertainment, it ends up being worth it.

My friends Damon and senior Nick Jones have been going every Tuesday as of late and I still go up whenever I don’t have work. There are a few other regulars as well, but every now and then some new talent comes in and rocks the house — the C House. Recently there has been an unusual yet refreshing variety up at the C House. Nick, Damon, and I always lend our punk roots blended with our prevalent indie and folk tastes playing both originals and covers; a young man who goes by the name of ESFM frequently raps, and is actually very good at it, especially for it being a coffee shop setting. Thom offers his own acoustic originals with a healthy mixture of oldies and ballads. There are also poets who come up periodically as well as other more “cliche” coffee shop artists. All said, The C House is a respectable local venue with their open mic nights, and as Thom reminds us every Tuesday, it is one of the last great local acoustic venues in the St. Charles area.

Although I’m not as familiar with Picasso’s, I’ve been there a few times. They only have open mic on Thursday nights and the cover charge is five dollars as opposed to the C House’s three. The building itself is also much smaller and it has been know to get cramped in there. However, the talent pool at Picasso’s is much larger. Many regulars there claim that the major underlying difference between the two coffee shops in regards to open-mic is that the performers at Picasso’s are talented. While this statement is harsh, it seems to be consensus. I don’t care though. I’ll be a Coffee House kid for life. Well, at least until I move away. The C House has become somewhat of a third home in a weird way (my second home being Nick’s house). As far as other open-mic venues go I’m not aware of any. However, if you are, then email me at [email protected] or get at me on the Twitter @ryanthesilver