Feeling annoyed about an open mic night jam

Messages
3,166
I've been playing Didgeridoo between a year and a half and two years now and while I'm not super advanced with it, I'm good enough to get some attention from it for sure (can do circular breathing etc, etc). I'm also doing it alongside guitar in a new band where we are still set building.

Tonight I decided to take it to an open jam night at a venue I really like. This guitarist said he'd jam with me (realized when we got on stage that his Fender was a 4 strong model, built to be more banjo like apparently) and then at the last moment this guy who had opened doing a singer songwriter type thing with his electric asked me if he could do drums.

With that being said, here is what happened: I launched into a sort of ambientish drone with overtones etc, etc only to have the guitarist dude burst into this fast paced bluesy funk sort of playing that I felt completely ruined the vibe. The drummer also just jumped into this fast paced really basic 4/4 beat that I felt didn't fit the feel of what I was doing any more than the guitar did.

Now I know this could all kinda make me sound like a Karen seeing as I'm not the band leader of people at an open mic night and it isn't like something that is so informal matters all that much. Also, I know that someone might ask why the Didge playing should dictate the feel of the whole jam but if you've played or heard one much you might not ask that question, plus they did want to jam with me because of it.

If you've ever jammed with musicians who you felt like just didn't listen to what was going on at all then you probably know some of the frustration. It might be that I'm also just annoyed because the venue owner was really enthused about me playing it and I feel like an opportunity to show him what our band could potentially do might have got spoiled. Then again, maybe it sounded good to the audience.

Flame away if you must...
 
Messages
3,166
The didgeridoo was a pretty random element, in a jam out of the blue it may or may not gel. Just my 2c
True but when I asked if anyone wanted to jam with it they were both really keen about it and the guitarist told me he felt comfortable with the whole thing. It isn't just the instrument, it's that I felt like it was one of those situations where you play with someone who just completely ignores the vibe of what's happening and that kinda transcends instruments. Like you would have thought that the singer-songwriter guy on drums would have at least felt what he was doing wasn't really vibing and tried something else even if he didn't know how to make it work (been in that situation before myself).

Then again, maybe open jam nights just aren't for me. The guys I've been playing with in the new band are both top tier musicians so maybe I've been spoilt a bit and need to be more realistic.
 
Last edited:

Emigre

Member
Messages
3,390
I think it’s pretty cool that they rolled with the didgeridoo and were welcoming of it, in the true spirit of an open mic.

Whether they could make it work on the night is another question...

It might just be a bit too left field and experimental for an open mic. If it was a studio songwriting session, that might have worked better.
 
Messages
3,166
Yeah, I would find jamming with didgeridoo very very odd.

But, like you said, they both asked specifically to play with you.

I'm guessing they probably thought it would be easier to play with the didge than it was.
If you've ever played over an open note type drone then it really doesn't have to be too different to that. The thing is, I'm not even sure if they even realised that what they were doing wasn't complementary to it at all (to my ears anyway and again, maybe this is mostly my fault for making too many assumptions).

Imagine if you were starting off a jam on guitar with an ambient build up of a riff and then the other guitarist come in with upbeat funky type playing and constant pentatonics and then the drummer came in with a beat that just didn't fit at all and that is what happened here. It makes me think that some people just never learn to listen (I'm sure I was guilty of this a couple of times when I was younger but I'd like to think I at least try nowadays).

Another thing. They both played constantly. No attempt to dropout to create variation and dynamics or anything.
 
Messages
3,166
I think it’s pretty cool that they rolled with the didgeridoo and were welcoming of it, in the true spirit of an open mic.

Whether they could make it work on the night is another question...

It might just be a bit too left field and experimental for an open mic. If it was a studio songwriting session, that might have worked better.
I guess that is one way to look at it and I do feel quite mean-spirited for writing this thread honestly, it just ruined my night is all. I think I'll stay away from open jams in the future.
 
Messages
3,166
I’m just trying to wrap my head around the 4 strong/string fender built to be like a banjo. You probably would have had a better time if somebody had shown up with a vuvuzela
It totally buzzed me out when I saw it eh (and was kinda a small red flag to be honest). I can't even find an example of one online to show you. Not sure I'd even believe they existed if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
 

Jayyj

Supporting Member
Messages
6,936
I think unless you'd specifically said 'anyone interested in trying to create an ambient drone piece' it's fair enough for people to see what they could do with it even if it wasn't what you expected. For me it's part of the fun of throwing musicians together, sometimes they all see things on the same page but sometimes someone goes off in a direction totally at odds with what you had in mind - and that can either be a disaster or it can be the thing that brings you onto another level.

It's something my band/collective consciously do: we either write something traditional and then start turning it inside out, or we start with an ambient drone piece and try to find ways to develop a song out of it. The rule is though, we don't start anything with a target in mind and if it looks like it's going in a particular direction early on, it's your job to derail it and go somewhere else. Generally I start off with a little synth and guitar piece and send it off to one of the other members without instructions, and it's fun seeing where it goes.

Obviously in an open mic context there's a further randomiser that the ability level of the players is much less predictable - it's easy for me, I recruit players that blow me away doing their own thing so I know they're up to the job - so whether the players who were interested to try were really up to doing something creative with it is another question - but it's an open mic, so I'm inclined to say be happy they were up for having a go rather than annoyed it didn't work. The way to look at playing with total randoms is to expect nothing, be pleasantly surprised if it comes together.
 
Messages
3,166
I think unless you'd specifically said 'anyone interested in trying to create an ambient drone piece' it's fair enough for people to see what they could do with it even if it wasn't what you expected. For me it's part of the fun of throwing musicians together, sometimes they all see things on the same page but sometimes someone goes off in a direction totally at odds with what you had in mind - and that can either be a disaster or it can be the thing that brings you onto another level.

It's something my band/collective consciously do: we either write something traditional and then start turning it inside out, or we start with an ambient drone piece and try to find ways to develop a song out of it. The rule is though, we don't start anything with a target in mind and if it looks like it's going in a particular direction early on, it's your job to derail it and go somewhere else. Generally I start off with a little synth and guitar piece and send it off to one of the other members without instructions, and it's fun seeing where it goes.

Obviously in an open mic context there's a further randomiser that the ability level of the players is much less predictable - it's easy for me, I recruit players that blow me away doing their own thing so I know they're up to the job - so whether the players who were interested to try were really up to doing something creative with it is another question - but it's an open mic, so I'm inclined to say be happy they were up for having a go rather than annoyed it didn't work. The way to look at playing with total randoms is to expect nothing, be pleasantly surprised if it comes together.
Yeah, I think maybe the format just isn't for me. I don't really want to play Didge at them solo and maybe my expectations are unrealistic. Think I'd rather have creative jams with my bandmates since they seem to have that listening thing going on.
 

NSW

Member
Messages
100
My band starts every rehearsal with a jam. It’s always hit or miss, oftentimes forgettable, occasionally awesome. And we’re all on the same wavelength musically.

Expecting a random collection of musicians to gel around one person’s vision is expecting a lot, especially on the first attempt. I’d say don’t give up on the open mic if people were receptive, it could end up sounding great.
 




Trending Topics

Top