Friday night open mikes are not all that common and so far the only one I’ve been able to find in the immediate area is on 6th Ave. in Tacoma. Beyond the Bridge Café opened last August after moving into town from Sumner. Last Friday night the place was packed with all the tables taken and a good number of people standing in the back by the counter. As their regular open mike host was absent (how is this a pattern in my open mike adventures?) and how Doug Mackey had decided to come out with me to check the place out, Doug quickly offered to help with the PA and soon thereafter was asked to host for the rest of the evening. Music started at 7:00 pm and went until 10:00 pm. Each musician is given 15 minutes to perform.
The whole space has an easy lived-in feel with some couches and stuffed chairs thrown in amongst the tables as well as a decent sized stage that could hold a small combo and an adequate PA. The crowd is attentive and appreciative but not to the point of rapt silence. They are there to listen but also to hang with their friends and have a good time. The owner Ben Rubke, along with his wife Trish, have been hosting an open mike for the past four years, both in Sumner and here in Tacoma, and think they've helped a lot with their business success. When they moved to Tacoma, they wanted their café to be a place for musician to congregate and feel at home and last Friday night, that was exactly the feel the place had.
|Gina Belliveau letting it rip at Beyond the Bridge|
To me, this was the best group of singer/songwriters I’ve seen in the short time I’ve been going out. The talent that Ben and Trish have been able to attract is a real testament to their passion for music and for trying to create a place that musicians would like to come and perform.
How would I rate it?
I had a great time and saw some of the best songwriters I’ve seen so far. The have a good stage and lights but could really use a pair of stage monitors as things sound pretty muddy up on stage when you’re playing. Word is, the pulled pork sandwich is the best in town, but as I’d just eaten, I’ll have to try it another night. Besides the regular espresso/cafe fare, there are also a number of beers on tap. They allot room for twelve musicians although if there’s time, they will let more get up on stage and play. Things shut down promptly at ten, so get their early if you want to be sure to get a spot. Also the fact that they serve beer is a big thumbs up…it’s nice to be able to have something other than coffee to drink late on a Friday night. Cheers!