IT'S coming up on six straight years of Open Mic, hosted by Craig Tanner (American Hologram) and Mr. Williams, at Abe’s on Lincoln. A Monday night staple for musicians and music lovers alike, Tanner is taking things to the next level with recording and videography.
“For a lot of people, getting quality demos is difficult,” Tanner explains. “You don’t have gear, you have to pay a lot of money to get a recording done, or have it done in a lo-fi way that doesn’t represent you in the best way possible.”
Instead of using a room mic that picks up bar noise, Tanner runs everything directly off the PA mixer, takes it home, and mixes it in Pro Tools. All he asks for in return from artists is a donation.
September 7th is a special celebration at Abe’s, as Tanner will have launched website for his and Mr. Williams’ treasured event. AbesOpenMic.com will house live recordings and monthly videos of Open Mic performances.
Tanner credits the strong support of Abe’s Mike Petesch for Open Mic’s growth.
“He loves the music and is excited when new people come and play,” Tanner praises.
Between Petesch’s dedication to keeping the focus on the music (TVs are cut off during the performances) and the cozy space itself (“it’s all wood, it’s like being inside a speaker,” says Tanner), Abe’s Open Mic has become a transformative place for seasoned and new performers.
“The regulars playing for the last year and a half are some seriously talented people,” praises Tanner. “Phillip Wise is a great example of someone who doesn’t gig at all, has a fulltime day job, but is hands-down the best songwriter in the city. People who hear him play flip out!”
Perhaps the most notable performer is Tanner’s co-host, Mr. Williams.
“He is a big part of what makes the Abe’s Open Mic unique,” says Tanner. “He is a legendary Savannah entertainer who has been around for a long time—30 years!—playing harp and singing the blues as a busker. The Abe’s Open Mic is the first time he’s played a regular gig in a bar in all those years.”
Williams’ opening setis even a stop on the Creepy Crawl Pub Tour; Open Mic usually doesn’t start until the crawlers are there to hear Mr. Williams play.
Monday’s celebration is a little different: while a couple of spots will be reserved on the signup sheet, Sara Bacon, Matt Eckstine (who previously handled Open Mic night), The Gumps, My Maiden Name, Payne Bridges, Phillip Wise, and more are all scheduled to perform.
Monday, September 7, 7:30 p.m., free