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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chippewa Chapel Open-Mic Night Is More Than Amateur Hour

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 12:23 PM

  • Photo by Elizabeth Ortmann

Stumble onto the moonlit patio or into the neon-lit basement of south city's Iron Barley on a Thursday night, and you have not only found Fred's Six Feet Under, but you are also guaranteed to have one of the most entertaining nights of your week. The ten-year-old weekly open-mic night -- or, as it is more affectionately known, the Chippewa Chapel -- is the most successful "traveling show and networking night" for some of St. Louis' most talented.

At 9 p.m. one of the three hosts takes the stage to introduce themselves, the event and to perform their "two songs or ten minutes" before passing the torch to the next on the list. The list on which the host recruits the performers, urging them to pick their sweet spot for debuting that new song or instrument they have been fine-tuning.

  • Photo by Elizabeth Ortmann

Musicians (singer-songwriters mostly) fill the bulk of the bill, but the event has been known to feature poets, an accordion, kazoos and even belly dancers. In between acts, the room is filled with a constant buzz of conversation from a crowd of Fred's (of the late Frederick's Music Lounge, KDHX (88.1 FM)'s Fishing in the Dark and now beloved bartender of Six Feet Under) regulars, newbies and the performers' support groups, there to offer the right amount of participation and liquid encouragement.

  • Photo by Elizabeth Ortmann

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