On Sunday, I was in the mood for something different, so I headed to Magnolia Motor Lounge for open-mike night. I've always had a sick fascination for open-mike shows; you can hear great performers, and you can hear train wrecks. Even more entertaining is watching the crowd pretend they like the really bad ones. It's like a college poetry reading set to music.
Magnolia Motor Lounge is an automotive/hot-rodder-themed joint, with lots of windows, a large patio and a decent-size stage. It's located just off University Drive, next to Capital Bar. While waiting for the first act to fire up, we ordered the breaded, deep-fried bacon. It's as good as it sounds. And the one-pound hamburger (not the biggest on the menu) was the best I ever tasted.
Josh Ingram hosts the show, so he got things started by doing a few of his own numbers. Since he plays music full-time with his band, he uses this venue as a way to connect with other creative minds and try out new things. Ingram is a first-rate musical storyteller. He started with a song about Boquillas, a border town that withered away after its informal crossing area was shut down. He also did a song about a drunken night in New Orleans and a ghost tale about Waxahachie.
Magnolia's open-mike night is in its infancy, and with SXSW going on in Austin, attendance was a little weak. No matter though, as there was good music to be had. We only had to sit through one rendition of Wagon Wheel (which is to open mikes what Proud Mary is to bad cover bands), and a couple of guys who just didn't have the vocal ability to perform solo.
For every bad performance, however, there was a great one. Glitter Rose showed up and did a few of her songs. This lady has rockin' sound and a forceful stage presence, but I do wish she'd back off on the countrified thing a bit. She has a voice God intended for rock.
The open mike at Magnolia is run better than most around Funkytown. Josh provides a sign-in sheet for performers to pick a time slot; that way they can let their friends know what time they go on. Anyone who wants to play can, and Magnolia will even record your set and provide you with a CD.
Magnolia Motor Lounge looks to be a great venue, and the dedication it shows to the Fort Worth music scene deserves our support.
For more information, visit www.joshuaingram.com.