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Not everyone can be in a band.
Seriously, even if they wanted to, there's not that many drummers in the world. Luckily, some people would rather forgo the torturous experience of getting gigs, anyway. For them, there's open mic night — that bar-room staple and audience crap shoot, where anyone can sign up and play. Along with its cousin the open jam, these events are important to the musical landscape in any town.
Here, Famous gives a quick guide to some of Fresno's best.
Note: Don't take this as a comprehensive list. If we missed something, feel free to add it on the site.
Open Blues mic night with Baby Bee and Take 3
8 p.m., $3, Mondays
Crossroads, 3315 N. Cedar Ave., www.crossroadsfresno.net
If the Crossroads is gonna host an open mic, of course it's going to be the blues. And even if you're no Robert Johnson, or Howling Wolf (or even Sam Jackson in “Black Snake Moan”), you can still get them demons out in 12-bar style.
Vince Warner's uplugged open mic
9:30 p.m., Mondays
Starline, 831 E. Fern Ave., www.starline1.com
Starline is always good for an open mic. This claims to be the longest continuously running one in town (five years and counting). It's on the acoustic side of things, so leave the amps and drums at home. If you have got to have it loud (and some of us do) Thomas Delgado hosts an electric open jam on Wednesdays. Performance spots are limited.
Acoustic open mic and Rock Band contest
8 p.m. to 1 a.m., Tuesdays
Audie's Olympic, 1426 N Van Ness Ave.
The night starts out with a Rock Band contest, which we're totally against on principal (though we won't deny it could be fun to watch). The actual musicians playing actual instruments start at 10:30 p.m. The whole thing is hosted by Living Legend Aesop Fable and songstress Kara Harris.
Open mic with Malcolm Sosa
9 p.m., $2, Wednesdays
Tokyo Garden, 1711 Fulton St.
You could be playing to packed house, or a group of four, semi-slumped over at the bar. At Tokyo, you just never know. Each musician gets 15 minutes, with a featured artist playing a longer set around 11 p.m. or so. Hosted by Rademacher front-man and indie wunderkind Malcolm Sosa, this is listed as an April-only thing on MySpace, so, you've got one more week to take part.
Inner Ear Poetry
7:30 p.m., third Thursdays
Full Circle Brewing Co., 620 F St.
Inner Ear turns six years in May (which blows Starline's assertion out of the water). The monthly event, from creator and co-host Bryan Medina is mostly a poetry thing (though it does have music) and always features special guest artists — in May it's Lorna Dee Cervantes, Chicago, Feather De'wyz, Diego Monterrubio, The Argyle Pimps, Tranjora Tribal Belly Dancers and the Hump Band. But don't worry, you can play too.
Speak Your Heart
8 p.m., second Fridays
Cafe Corazon, 1145 Fulton Mall
Part open mic, part poetry reading, part salon, this monthly event is kind of a free-for-all good time. Bring your guitar or poetry or just show up and speak your mind. Did we mention the food is wonderful, the coffee is better and the whole thing happens down on the Fulton Mall? The past few have been standing room only, so get there early.
2:30 to 4:30 p.m., second Sunday
Outside La Boulangerie in Fig Garden Shopping
7 to 9 p.m., first and third Tuesdays
Sequoia Brewing Co, Tower District
7 to 9 p.m., second and forth Tuesdays
The Public House, at Granite Park
As is tradition, these Irish jams take place down at the pub (or Fresno's version of such). All you have to do is show up, sit around the circle and play. Maybe you'll know the songs. Maybe not. Hopefully you'll learn a few. It's like a lo-fi Lime Wire.
6 p.m., first and third Sundays
Tokyo Garden, 1171 Fulton St.
7 p.m., second and fourth Sundays
Tower Mosaic, 1040 N. Fulton
It's pretty much the story of jazz, right? Playing a pick-up gig with some awesome band down at a some smoky club? OK, this is California, so the smoke part is just effect, but you can totally have the rest. Local pianist and jazz educator Craig Von Berg hosts a jam session with his trio — John Lauffenburger and Brian Hamada — the first Sunday of each month at Tokyo Garden. Guitarist Mike Dana hosts another session, with his band on the third Sunday.
Musicians of all levels are encouraged to participate, and should bring lead sheets (3) for the rhythm section.
It's the same story down at Tower Mosaic, where drummer Gary Newmark hosts a session with his group — David Aus and Roy Carlson — on the second Sunday of each month. Andre Bush leads jams on the fourth Sunday.