Rotation and Review: Corvallis’ Open Mics

open-micAre your beats fresh and stage-ready? Do you wish to woo the locals with your velvety voice and sick guitar riffs? Or maybe you prefer to sit at shadowy distance from the spotlight, and soak in others’ 10 minutes of fame. If famous covers and original songs from aspiring artists, paired with coffee and craft brew call to you, clear one or more Thursday on your calendar and prepare for Corvallis’ rotating open mic nights at these locations:

Sky High Brewing
Sky High Brewing and Pub held its first open mic night this past Thursday, Oct, 6 at 7:30 p.m. Patrons were packed tight, and drinks filled to the brim in the second-story bar room, where a small performance space was set up in the corner.

Located in downtown Corvallis, Sky High has claimed the final slot in our town’s monthly Thursday open mic rotation, and plans to keep hosting their open mic nights every first Thursday of the month.

“We were so pleased with the outcome that we plan to move it to a new area to accommodate the participation,” said General Manager Jonathan Scott, reflecting on this past Thursday’s turnout.

As expected after any first installment, the event is working through some kinks. The vocals were hard to hear over the huddled masses, and the performance space, which provided performers with a mic, a 12-inch mixer, and a small PA, was hard to view for many customers, as only a few tables had direct line of sight.

Scott reported that the venue is playing around with new ideas of how to accommodate the crowd. Spoiler alert: their porch may have been mentioned as a potential stage spot. Given their popularity and cozy atmosphere, Sky High has great open mic potential, so don’t go crossing them off the calendar.

Join Sky High Brewing in downtown Corvallis, at 160 NW Jackson Avenue, for their next open mic night, slated for Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. To keep up with details, visit their Facebook page by searching for Sky High Brewing & Pub.

Imagine Coffee
The stage and mic are open to anyone at Imagine Coffee on 5460 SW Philomath Boulevard in Corvallis, every second Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. The vast amount of space allows for a decent-sized audience and the dim lighting, combined with whatever art they’re hosting that month, adds a touch of home comfort to the scene. Since the coffee house sits on the border of Corvallis and Philomath, it draws a more diverse crowd than open mic venues along Monroe or downtown.

Newcomers are welcome to join a crowd of regulars, who mingle and sing along to some original songs that have spanned topics like Portland bridges, or numbers written to wives on their wedding days. A fair share of the songs were covers of bands like the Rolling Stones or Creedence Clearwater Revival, and sent the audience into a collective sway and instinctive hum.

The flow of talent was steady, with each act performing at least two songs, but casual enough that if they only knew one verse they could sing it three times over. Imagine Coffee and its crowd provided a welcoming and relaxed vibe, open to artists of all ages, styles, and instruments (though no musician braved any other then the guitar, piano, or ukulele).

Attend Imagine Coffee for their open mic night tonight, Thursday, Oct. 13, from 7 to 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Cloud & Kelly’s
Cloud & Kelly’s Public House on 126 SW 1st Street in downtown Corvallis holds an open mic night every third Thursday of the month starting at 8 p.m. Located on the riverfront, Cloud & Kelly’s draws a diverse crowd of students, musicians, and beer aficionados.

The lighting is dim, creating a relaxing and supportive atmosphere for those who brave the stage.

The stage is located on the far left side of the building. If you’re just stopping by for a cold one, the bar is a great place for neutral spectators. If you want a close-up of the performers, I suggest sitting at a table or booth.

The best thing I found while attending open mic night at Cloud & Kelly’s was the support from other musicians. Those who didn’t have guitars—the go-to instrument of the night—were given one to borrow. Many of the songs were covers, ranging from Aerosmith to Luke Bryan, while a small few played originals with an indie rock vibe. The crowd was made up of people of all ages: families, couples, and friends, all in support of one another.

Cloud & Kelly’s hosts their next open mic night on Thursday, Oct. 20 starting at 8 p.m. Don’t forget your instruments!

Bombs Away Cafe
Bombs Away Cafe, located at 2527 NW Monroe Avenue, holds their Free Range Open Mic night every last Thursday of the month starting at 8 p.m. Located near the OSU campus, Bombs brings in many college students and music lovers.

The stage is located near the front of the building, easily viewable for those wishing to sit and sip or take a smoke break at the seated outside windows. The inside is compact, with many choosing to stand and dance within an open floor space. The stage lights up with rotating colored lights, making any person on stage look like a rock star.

All instruments are welcome on stage. While I was there, one individual played a cajon, a small box-like drum. Like other open mic nights in Corvallis, many songs were covers ranging from 80s rock to today’s hits.

Bombs Away Cafe hosts its next Free Range Open Mic night Thursday, Oct. 27, along with a tasting from Calapooia Brewing Company. The craft brew tasting begins at 6 p.m., and performers hit the stage at 8:30 p.m. Both are free to the public.

By Stevie Beisswanger, Regina Pieracci and Kara Beu