Open mic experience for students


Laney Hill, Contributing Writer

Most college students tend to have hectic schedules, with classes, due dates, studying, exams and all that being a college student entails.

Any extra time in that hectic schedule is usually spent on the necessities of life, like grocery shopping, sleeping, paying bills or going to work. Although all of these things are necessary, they are not necessarily fun or relaxing. Every person has their own ways of unwinding or having a social life, and one very popular avenue for college students could be attending open mic nights.

There are quite a few venues in Buffalo where local talents can go to perform, and supporters go to admire. Some nights there could be lines out the door, and other nights the performer has one solid person that will clap for them. Open mics can certainly be a hit-or-miss situation, so why should college students attend?

Local guitarist and open mic performer Natalie Hill said that she simply “couldn’t do without it.” As a junior biology major, Hill also said she “needs the time for herself.”

“I love music, and it’s the way I express myself and process the world around me. Even for an introvert, sharing my music is part of that process. Getting to be in a setting where people are excited about hearing new, independent music is really positive,” Hill said. “In the midst of a hectic schedule, it’s especially important to be recharged, and playing music in that kind of setting did that for me.”

When Hill decided to play at an open mic, she always encouraged her fellow students to come along with a piece of poetry or something to share with other people.

“I encourage students to participate because I think it’s important to recharge and do something that’s for you, especially if music is that thing, playing or listening,” she said. “Schoolwork is very important, but you can’t really do it well if you’re not finding things that are recharging you. We all need outlets, and an informal open-mic could be just the thing.”

Local bar and venue Nietzsche’s is Buffalo State senior English major, Heather Chrosniak’s, favorite place to see local talent. Located in Allentown, Nietzsche’s offers a relaxed place for performers and supporters alike to congregate and participate. While Nietzsche’s hosts bigger name bands and well-known artists as well, the bar makes it quite clear that hosting open mics almost every week encourages local talent.

“I think my favorite place is Nietzsche’s, because I feel most relaxed there, which means I go there more often, and I only go to watch,” Chrosniak explained.

Kaitlyn Frederick, junior fine arts major, is also an open mic supporter. She said she attends open-mics because “what better way is there to spend a weeknight, when you just had an awful day at school and work, and you just want to be inspired.”

Frederick said that she attends an open mic every time she is asked, both to support her friends, but to also inspire herself as well.

Buffalo has a lot to offer college students who want to perform or support at open mics. Although schedules may be hectic, there is usually always at least one open-mic night on each day of the week. It’s as easy as a search in Google, and you’re more than likely bound to find a venue.

“We have an open-door policy for the community, anyone who wants to hold an event here is welcome to,” said Mitch Gunther, product manager for Ashker’s Juice Bar & Cafe. “We boast a welcoming and warm atmosphere for whoever wants to come perform and for people who just want to come watch. We are also an alcohol-free cafe, which is unique among open mic venues. We encourage anyone and everyone to just come hang out and enjoy the atmosphere.”

Buffalo State students have a particular advantage, since many of the open mic venues are located on the West Side. From The Gypsy Parlor on Grant Street, to Hardware or Nietzsche’s in Allentown, to Ashker’s Juice Bar & Cafe on Elmwood Avenue and many in between. Open mic nights offer college students a great way to relax, encourage others, inspire themselves and find time to be more than just a college student.