Your bleeding heart needs release. Dorm acoustics just can’t cut it. Luckily for Ann Arbor troubadours, there are plenty of opportunities for the brave and the timid alike to share their musical efforts with people who don’t live in their hall.

Jonathan Duggan
Open mike night at The Ark opens at 7:30 p.m. (FILE PHOTO)

Open mikes and small venues are always an important aspect of a music scene. They’re the static-filled, squeaky-voiced venues for any amount of sonic exploration. Ann Arbor boasts a thriving open-mike scene that ranges from down-home folk to indie rock of the most extreme nature.

The former side of that spectrum finds its home at The Ark, one of Ann Arbor’s cornerstone venues. Tomorrow kicks off The Ark’s tradition of hosting “Open Stages.” Doors (and sign-up) open at 7:30 p.m. A raffle is held to determine the order of performances (15 minutes each), and those who don’t make the cut can present their raffle ticket the next time around (and double their chances of getting chosen). The Ark may not be for the faint of heart. It’s a warm, intimate venue with the audience in close proximity.

Acoustic performers can be spotted all over town, from Kerrytown’s Crazy Wisdom Tea Room to the Union’s Ballroom. Even Potbelly on State Street brings in singer-songwriters.

Perhaps the easiest and most comfortable venue in Ann Arbor is the Diag. Last spring witnessed an unprecedented variety of musicians. There were violins, sitars and harmonicas, accompanied by barefoot dancers. Spontaneous jams coalesced and dispersed on the hour. The September weather is again waxing perfect, so look to the center of campus as a sounding board for local music and artists.

And don’t ignore the latent power of porches as a viable outlet for budding musicians. Cruise Kerrytown for porch-lounging music lovers. You might meet your future rhythm guitarist on the way to that awesome party.

And if confidence is not your cup of tea, there is always karaoke night at The Blind Pig. PBRs are $1. Courage comes cheap.

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