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Mic Check: Ellicott Manor

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.

Ellicott Manor, 16 Ellicott Place

Screen shot 2014-02-17 at 12.34.21 PMAn amazing crowd and host awaits open mic music lovers Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm at the Ellicott Manor in Depew, NY. It is located at 16 Ellicott Place, just a mile or so East of Walden Avenue past the intersection of Walden and Transit Road. This friendly, neighborhood bar boasts a group of pros who play here locally known as The Amazing Street Kingz. Although it is billed as a blues open mic, all forms of music are welcome, accepted and supported by everyone here. All you need to feel comfortable here is a love of music.

The age range of those attending is in the neighborhood of 30-60. The hosts, The Amazing Street Kingz enjoy letting full bands play or having the members of their host band join in with solo open mic performers. This is what I would call a collaborative open mic. This is an open mic where individual drummers, bass players, leads guitar players and lead singers among others may also sign up and hook up with others players, and form an impromptu band on the spot. While this can be challenging to achieve great results, sometimes the result can be surprisingly good.

The patrons here love music. They come here to listen to the music, and will enthusiastically tell you to hurry up if setup takes too long between groups. My experience here was singing and playing classic rock and roll with exceptional musicians: Rich Morrison the drummer, “Big G” who plays lead guitar; Rich Basle the bass player who added some great vocals, along with Paul the sax player. It was an incredible feeling having musicians of such high caliber playing with me. The reason they can do this:  they can follow another performer perfectly. It is a skill often tried but rarely executed to perfection the way they do here.

The result was the music sounded fantastic. There are several things that makes this open mic so special: 1. a very warm, friendly, appreciative crowd, consistently one of the best I have ever seen at an open mic; 2. a very talented group of performers who will “back-up” a performer if they wish; and 3. a very capable and versatile host band that could entertain for a whole evening if needed.

The Amazing Street Kingz, the regular hosts every Thursday evening are what have created this ideal open mic environment. The love of the music they play—and the enjoyment of all forms of music—is really what makes this open mic so special. They appreciate and respect the other musicians here who come to play, and it is felt in the level of quality and the passion that people bring to the stage when playing here.

On any given night, this open mic is always in my top 10 and currently ranks in the top 2 or 3 of weekly open mics.  I recommend this open mic and give it an 8.9 rating out of 10.0   .

For more information and details about this and other open mics in the area, go to: www.openmicrevieews.com.