This is an open mic review article written by Tim Weir, a local musician whose goal is to play at and attend every open mic in Erie and Niagara Counties. What he has found is a wide variety of musicians, styles, sound systems, venues and crowds. The hope is that these reviews and the website devoted to this project will help people know where to go any day of the week for an open mic in the area, and find an open mic that best suits what they are looking for. There are currently at least 42 known open mics within the two-county area, and currently over 28 of them and counting have been visited by this reviewer.
Hideaways, 5440 Camp Rd.
Another delightful find during the search for great open mics here in Niagara and Erie County: Hideaways in Hamburg. It is located at the Quality Inn at 5440 Camp Road near the I-90 Thruway. The open mic starts up from 9pm and goes until around Midnight. The crowd was mostly younger 20 and 30-ish, but music lovers of all ages were present. The ample stage affords for any size band (including the ever present saxophone on most songs—a very nice addition), yet accessible to the crowd, which created a setting that had an intimate feel. This is the best open mic I have had the opportunity to see so far for bands, although smaller groups and solo acts are more than welcome. First of all, the quality of the bands, or parts of bands were extremely high. It started with the hosts Josh, and his band: Usual Suspects. Next up was Greg Zeis group: Zeis and the Muckrackers. Then came some combinations of various groups, including the lead guitarist from the Diva Show Band, and then the 22-year-old phenom singer-songwriter Kevin Lewis. Maybe it was in part due to the perfect sound setup by Dylan—the sound was absolutely perfect the entire night, regardless of the group or performer. The sound was perfectly balanced where all instruments could be heard, and not only vocals but harmonies were crystal clear. This does not happen often, in my humble opinion. The quality of playing and singing never wavered the entire night. Also very impressive and enjoyable was the number of high quality female vocalists from the first 2 groups of the evening. This was, in this reviewer’s opinion, the best night of entertainment ever at an open mic. Paying a visit to the open mic at Hideaways Bar in Hamburg in Wednesday evenings is time well spent. —Tim Weir