Mr. Troll - Host of Poor David's Pub Open Mic

Mr. Troll – Host of Poor David’s Pub Open Mic

As I mentioned in the last – and other – post(s), at open mics, the opening spot is, as Mr. Troll likes to say, the dreaded opening spot. I’m not sure dreaded is the term. Maybe, avoided like the plague. But there are actually reasons for both why it is a dreaded spot, and why the host opens the show. But one thing at a time.

The most obvious reason for the first slot not being filled is that there are not that many people in the venue at starting time. And there is no time to read the crowd. On the other hand, there are times when someone needs to leave early so they want to play first. As well as those who want to go first while they still have the nerve.

Of course, a lot of people just “don’t want to go first.” I’m sure there’s a chapter in some psychology book on the subject. I sit in the category of “I’d rather not go first.” I don’t mind going first if necessary. But that brings into play the fact that if you do something and do it well, people will want you to do it all the time. Be that as it may, I’m thinking most of us have had an experience growing up when going first simply did not go well.

But the reason the host of an open mic or showcase will open the show is not just because it is the dreaded spot. But it does have a connection to not wanting to go first. If people have not arrived yet, and there’s only a handful of people in the venue, the host can delay the start of the open mic. If there hasn’t been a major influx of people, it would not change the number of songs the performers play.

However, with a showcase, the host’s set would be cut short so that his or her set is the only one affected by the delay of the starting time. As showcase director for the Dallas Songwriters Association, when I plan the showcases that I host, I expect my set to be cut short. There are numerous reasons why a show may be delayed. And there only needs to be one.

So those are my thoughts on the “dreaded opening spot.” I’d be interested to hear your thoughts if you would leave them in the comments.

Peace be with you.