Bismarck, July the first, 2010

On my way to Minot, ND, I decided to stop in Bismarck to see if anything was going on. I had a day off from shows and I thought, since it was a larger city than I would see in a while, that perhaps there was something to do.

The gods must have been looking out for me that day, because for stopping in this town (which the day before I was planning to skip altogether, since it’s a bit out of the way) I was rewarded with one of the best open mic experiences I’ve had.

Too often, I find myself in situations where I have decided, on the hottest of days, to wander aimlessly along the concrete in a place where there is no protection from the oppressive heat blast of the sun. On this day, I had also not showered, because I slept in my car (on top of the parking break and seatbelts), and I had been drinking gas station tap water that tasted suspiciously like sulfur.

I smart-thinkingly parked under a row of trees (for Bismarck is a Tree City USA) near the first coffeeshop I saw. My goal was to find internet and then to find an open mic. I walked into the coffeeshop, and it was closed. So, I walked a few blocks and found another coffeeshop. They had $2 per half hour wireless, which I reluctantly paid, since wireless is a bit harder to come by in this state (unless of course you are at a rest area along i-94), and anyway, I wanted to get out of the horrifying yellow heat of the sun, and the stinking steam of the sidewalk.

Using the internet I found three open mic listings. The first one I checked out had shut down years ago. The place used to be a coffeehouse, but had since converted into a musical instrument store. They still had the old sign out front, which confused me a lot when I walked in to find a bunch of guitars and amps and no coffee. My second lead was at a youth center. When I walked into that place, which had advertised heavily on the internet as being a place for a thursday open mic, the guy working the counter had no idea what I was talking about. At this point, I wasn’t surprised. I didn’t let it get me down though; after all, I wasn’t expecting anything this day. But my third lead turned out to be a good one: Mr. Delicious.

I wandered around aimlessly for a couple more hours until I finally decided to go to Mr. Delicious, see if their food lived up to the name, and just chill out until the open mic started.

When the open mic started everyone in town showed up. The sun had gone down and we were left with what I considered a perfect temperature. I immediately met some awesome people, I put on a good performance, got some great feedback, sold some cd’s, met more people, saw some wonderful performers (including 3 writers who did some impressive spoken word), and had a great night. I’m glad I didn’t pass Bismarck, and I definitely will be back.

You should go there too if you get a chance.

Thanks Justin, Kristopher, Tyler, Oliver, Aaron (sp?), and everyone else who was cool and supportive, and Laura for the rhubarb/raspberry jam.

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