You know you’re listening to good music when nobody has to ask the audience to fire up their lighters or clap to the tune.
This was the scene at Cannon Coffee on Wednesday night, as a crowd of regulars and a few newbies filled the Brookline coffee house for the weekly open mic night.
“People are amazing here all the time,” said McKelvey Law, who frequently visits and often performs. “Everyone is amazing, but there’s always at least one person that totally blows the crowd away.”
Electric and acoustic, music and poetry. Originals and covers. Storytelling. Everything is welcome on Wednesdays, and people come to hear it all.
It’s a weekly habit for some performers.
Law and Nina Barone—both native Brookliners—perform original poetry at Cannon’s open mic nights. Barone also reads children’s stories she has written. Musicians Sara Macko of Troy Hill and Charmaine Evonne of Beechview have performed together at Cannon since October.
But for newcomers like Jessica Stine, who recently moved to Beechview, it’s an opportunity to meet and share her music with new people.
“This was fun,” she said after singing an original, “United and Love.” “This group is great, and really friendly.”
It’s a positive place, where performers standing in front of an audience for the first time are encouraged and receive as much applause as those playing show number one-hundred-and-something.
That might be the best thing about it, the performers say.
Barone and Law said many of the performers know each other from the area or from local organizations. But since performers also come from Carrick, Brighton Heights, the City of Washington, Canonsburg and elsewhere, they’re always welcoming new people into the group.
And, they said, the evening’s performances usually inspire them to work on their own pieces. Dean Milan of Mt. Washington said the same.
“I usually write something here, or after I leave,” he said. “Or I rework something I had.”
Whether it’s the musical stylings of Zucchini Panini—named for the third sandwich on Cannon’s menu—or Barone’s hilarious “Story of Spork,” every quirky piece has a place, as does every classic.
And whether you’re a listener or a performer, your presence is a welcome addition to a mic and an out-of-tune piano on Wednesday nights.
Open mic night at is every Wednesday at 7 p.m.