by Meredith Rabe
Tucked in away off the corner of Sheridan and Glen, with in spitting distance of the Spotted Cow, stands a small red barn. And inside that teeny little red barn that reminds me of a childhood toy, lives a dive bar. A dive bar with an open mic night - two of my favorite things- cheap beer mixed with the off key wails of those trying sing and the sweet song of when someone actually steps on stage and knows what they are doing.
The barn that's more like a shack it grows surprisingly big as you continue back to where the stage lives. The stage lit by Christmas lights, small enough to not swallow a one person show, reminded me of college bars where poetry is slammed and mics are open for any and every thing.
A good open mic night has a master or mistress of ceremonies that usually is both a musician and keeps the show progessing along. In this case, this is exactly where the open mic night fell s Sarah, the mistress of ceremonies, is crass, self absorbed, and her talent is forgettable . When she attempted to sing the Godfather of Country Music's, Johnny Cash's, I Walk the Line, the older gentleman seated across from me began singing along and I longed to hear him on stage instead. Have enough respect for the music to sing it well or don't sing it in a public setting. My ears were ever so grateful when she stepped down and allowed the second artist Taylor Young to step up. Or as the crowd shouted - Tenacious T.
Full disclosure- Taylor was my reason for attending the open mic night. He's a new up and comer to Peoria's music scene. He's adds great variety adding a mellow acoustic sound then the 80's jam bands that frequently grace Peoria's stages.
And I was so glad I went. Where Sarah dropped not just colorful cuss words on stage but dropped her class and talent as she exited, Tenacious T, went right up and used that to strum his acoustic guitar. His velvety voice bellowed through the crowd filled back room through adult alternative types of grooves like Gavin Degraw's "I"m not over You" or sweet sounds of Matt Nathanson's "Come on Get Higher". Taylor ended his four song set with my favorite of the night covering American Rock artist, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers song "Maria". The song added some pep in my toe tappin' step and showcased Tenacious T's vocal talent the best I"d heard all night.
Closing my night was the act, Hanging with Chad - who apparently need to hang with lyrics of songs a bit more because they had to start their first song over not once but twice - and with that unprofessional set up, that ended my night rather quickly.
To check out the talent, the lack of talent, or the cheap beer in my new favorite dive bar, check out the Red Barn's open mic night every first Friday. To see who else graces their little hidden gem of a stage check out their facebook page - Little Red Barn