Monday Night Singer-Songwriter Open Mike

at the Cantab Lounge

CALLING ALL FOLKSINGERS, singer-songwriters, finger-style guitar players, flatpickers, bluesmen, blueswomen, traveling minstrels, balladeers, acoustic rockers, touring and recording artists, traditional and contemporary solos, duos and trios, a cappella singers, musicians and instrumentalists of all styles!

EVERY MONDAY NIGHT AT 8:00 our songwriter open mic gets started at the Cantab Lounge in Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. If you arrive late, you'll almost certainly still get a slot. All players and audience are invited.

THE SCENE We are pleased to welcome musicians from all points of the compass. Most open mikers play acoustic guitar and sing songs they've written, but almost anything goes. Play covers? Fine. Instrumentals? Also fine. The level of talent is fairly high and the atmosphere is tolerant.

ON ANY GIVEN MONDAY NIGHT there will be young performers trying out new material and polishing their stagecraft; established performers trying out new material or winding down from the road; visiting performers from other states and countries; audience members who come to listen, socialize, sample a beer and maybe order something from the kitchen, plus regulars at the bar.

ON OCCASION we are also pleased to welcome other area and visiting presenters, higher-visibility area and touring folk and acoustic performers, area and visiting radio disc jockeys, writers, reviewers, photographers and special guests. We've been known to celebrate open mic milestones and special events with crepe paper and cake.

To determine the ORDER OF PERFORMERS, names are picked out of the hat. Each Open Mic act gets two songs and sometimes our audience requests an encore. I play a short set at 8:00 pm to kick off the night. The Open Mic runs until 12:45 am closing. If you have concerns about the time of your slot, talk to me before I make up the list at 7:50

A full DRUM KIT is discouraged because of set-up and tear-down time. If your act involves drums, an abbreviated kit... or better yet hand percussion... is more in keeping with the acoustic nature of our modest weekly event. We do not have a piano, but KEYBOARDS can easily be patched into our sound system which is pretty good and rarely catches on fire anymore. There are several electrical outlets on stage.

We can do LIVE TAPING if you bring a recording device. I carry a cable with left/right RCA plugs from our mixing board to a stereo (TRS) mini phonejack into your device... you can use it if you want. Many presenters prefer a short LIVE recording that clearly shows what is unique about you... including the quality and subject matter of your material, your vocal and instrumental skills, and your personality in a live performing situation... over a produced studio recording.

FEATURE ACT Every Monday night I hire a performer or act to play the feature set from 9:30 to 10:10. The open mic resumes at the close of the feature set.

COVER CHARGE There is no formal Cover Charge, but a $5 voluntary donation is requested from everyone in the bar. All proceeds go to the feature act.

STREET ADDRESS: Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave (Central Square), Cambridge MA 02139 Phone at Cantab: 617 354-2685

The Cantab is located at 738 MassAve (the main drag) in Central Square (Cosmic Vortex of the Great Northeast), in the Peoples' Republic of Cambridge, at the "north" end of Central Square on the "west" side of the street, two doors down from the 7-Eleven convenience store on the corner of MassAve and Pleasant street. The 7-Eleven has batteries for your pickup or tuner plus everything else you'd expect to find in a 7-Eleven. There's a True Value Hardware across the street open until 7:00 pm and gourmet coffee at the 1369 Coffeehouse over there.

PARKING is on surrounding streets or in two lots behind the club. Meters go out of effect at 6:00 pm. Can't find a spot? Drive around slowly and think pure thoughts.

By PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, take the RedLine to the Central Square stop and walk two blocks "toward Harvard Square" to find the Cantab on your left. The MassAve/Dudley BUS goes right by the door.

ABOUT THE CANTAB The Cantab Lounge is a multi-racial, multi-generational, beer and shots, cash-only, 21+, neighborhood bar. A Central Square gathering spot for many years, the Cantab offers live music seven nights and also hosts the Boston Poetry Slam.

WEB SITE The Cantab's web site is (include that hyphen!) There you'll find driving directions from all points (if you're new to Boston and Cambridge you'll get lost, so allow extra time), menu, entertainment schedule, press and photos.

SINCE ITS MODEST BEGINNINGS in December 1991, the Cantab open mic has become a popular destination thanks to much help and support from Greater Boston folk and acoustic musicians, friends in the media, the Cantab staff and owner, Mr. Richard Fitzgerald. We've been most responsive to local musicians, but some performers who have been featured in years past include, in no particular order, Martin Sexton, Don White, Peter Mulvey, Lynne Saner, Lori McKenna, Ellis Paul, Jim Infantino, Jon Svetkey, Jim Henry, Greg Greenway, Bob Franke, Dar Williams, Scott Alarik, Kristin Cifelli, Lorraine & Bennett Hammond, Jonatha Brook & Jennifer Kimball (as The Story), Jennifer Kimball with Duke Levine, Rachael Sage, Sam Shaber, Flynn, Ken Bonfield, Barbara Kessler, Darryl Purpose, Mark Erelli, Don Conoscenti, Harvey Reid, Chuck Brodsky, Kevin Connolly, Lissa Schneckenburger, Dennis Brennan, Clare Burson, Diane Zeigler, Geoff Sather, Jaime Brockett, Hunter Moore, Chris and Lorin Rowan (as The Rowan Brothers), the Mollies, Slaid Cleaves, Ruthie Foster and Cyd Cassone, Anne Feeney, Chris Chandler, Dana and Susan Robinson, Joyce Andersen, Anni Clarke, Chuck Hall, Andrew Calhoun, Rod MacDonald, Andrew McKnight, Alisa Fineman, David Massengill, Jack Williams, Cliff Eberhardt, Caroline Aiken, Caroline Herring, Ed Gerhard, Don Ross, Dave Crossland, Andy Cohen, John Schindler, Thea Hopkins, Pat Donohue, Mark Brine, Sarah Siskind, Julie Lee, Fishken & Groves, Tim Grimm, Emily Elbert, Hugh Moffatt, Alastair Moock, Chuck Pyle, Mary Gauthier, Heather McLeod, Kate MacLeod, Kate McDonnell, Liz Carlisle, Valerie & Walter Crockett, Hugh Blumenfeld, Kat Eggleston, Michael Veitch, Eric Merrill, Dana Cooper, Buddy Mondlock, Jonathan Byrd, Rosanne Raneri, Anais Mitchell, Kris Delmhorst, Deb Pasternak, the Laws, Tom Kimmel, the everybodyfields, and Kodac Harrison, plus performance poets Gary Hicks, Richard Cambridge, and Timothy Mason, and blues performers Michael Pickett, Catfish Keith, Steve James, Paul Geremia, Bill McQuaid, Bob Halperin, Morgan Davis, Jeremy Lyons and Paul Rishell and Annie Raines, and, of course, many others. Some performers who have not played the feature set but who have been on our stage include Pete and Maura Kennedy, Susan Werner, John Gorka, Utah Phillips, Ronny Cox and Tom Paxton. We've also had songwriters visit from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Hawaii and possibly other planets.

I also host Bluegrass at the Cantab every Tuesday night. ~ Geoff

John Gorka & Geoff at the Cantab
photo by Cory Despres Photography

One Monday night at the Cantab with John Gorka . . .