Open Mic at Hola! in Burlingame – ROCKED!

I failed in taking notes and I mean to take notes – I do, really. I want to blog about open mics around the bay area and elsewhere so I will scorn myself for not taking notes. In the future, expect names and better information but for now just expect a summary of the evening… I loved it! I’ve never played my music with a drummer and a bassist, let alone a pair of seasoned players and these guys were great – I was the one screwing up.

Hola! Burlingame is located at 1448 Burlingame Avenue smack dab in the middle of town and right off El Camino Real – there was also ample parking on the street right in front and around and I don’t know if that’s just because it was a holiday or not considering there are numerous other establishments open that late – I don’t know. Nonetheless, there was plenty of parking tonight and I immediately found a space about 40 paces from the front door to Hola!

I immediately was pointed to the nice lady with the sing-up sheet and failed to get her name (here’s that reference to note taking!) but she signed me up and greeted me and thanked me for coming and asked where I heard of them. “Craigslist.” Was my reply and rightly so when it comes to this sort of thing around here; people pre-announce new open mics and venues there all the time and this one has been around for 8 total shows and already pulling a strong crowd full of seasoned musicians – at some points it felt like a live karaoke band!

So I was 4th or 5th – wasn’t paying attention as I was chowing on the carne asada and it was fantastic! Served with a side of black beans and rice and a grilled ear of corn on the cob! Damn good food and some beers and I was content. Excellent food on my first sampling of the place and I do intend to go back for more than just the food. Back to the music: The drummer and bassist asked if I wanted them to accompany me and I said sure! How could I pass that up? These guys were masters of the trade and extremely adept – they grooved right on to my songs and I belted them out with a bit more grunt than normal – a bit more to the point that I was singing edgy and rough and more hard rockish and I liked it! I’ve noticed this in me from time to time and I try to be a clean and smooth singer but when I have a band… Yeah, I dig it.

So they played great and we jammed out 3 of my songs: Mother Nature; You Know Me; and, I Met A Girl. There were a few hiccups but I’m sure they were me and finally, for the first time – I got to play 3 of my original songs with an awesome bassist and drummer and it felt fantastic. I love what they’ve thrown together at Hola! and the evening was filled with a slew of great players including one of the first – a 14 year old girl with an acoustic guitar that rocked!

This is a different vibe than the normal places in San Francisco that I frequent and the main difference was the full band and the fact that everyone kept switching instruments and by the time I left at 10:45, 4 different people had played drums and I doubt that was all that could! I think they’ve got a great thing going and I definitely plan to go back and play again and next time – next time, I’ll bring an electric guitar and jam out even harder! San Francisco is more of the acoustic/folk/Americana type open mics and I do know there are actually some house band types out there like this but I ain’t been to one and when I do I’ll rectify my opinion if needed 🙂

I almost took a video camera with me and I didn’t because I think it’s at the office in another guitar case and I didn’t feel like running in to get it but regardless! I wish I would have because that was wicked and Hola! Open Mic on Monday is a must see/do if you want to play with a band and/or jam out some covers – they’ve got good food, drink and atmosphere – what more could you want?

My ranking of Hola! is at the top of the open mics I’ve been to so far and look forward to future visits! Check it out if you get the chance and want to play with a full band and just sing or play an original or whatever – GO! They even had a fireplace with lots of space and tables in the back and a balcony above if you just want to sit back and watch.


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