Review: open mic night at the Portsmouth Hoy

Review of ‘Fly by Night’, the Portsmouth Hoy’s year-old jazz, folk and blues-infused open mic evening.

© Copyright Chris Talbot and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence

Local performers have been making their way to the Portsmouth Hoy’s weekly open mic night for just over a year now, to have a few drinks and play some folk, jazz and blues in a good-natured, relaxed atmosphere.

It was such a laid-back Wednesday night, in fact, that on arriving five minutes before the music was due to start, I had the confusing experience of finding myself in an empty room, other than for a few regulars reading the newspaper.

But it soon began to fill up, and by 9pm the small room was busy with musicians chatting, exchanging jokes and eagerly awaiting their turn in the limelight.

Bournemouth University lecturer Mik Parsons kicked off proceedings with rough-voiced acoustic covers of The Zutons, The American Breed and Steely Dan.

Highlights of the night were Graham Coast’s jazz/rock fusions and the long-haired, moustachioed Alan Boore, whose energetic, country/blues-style guitar was complemented by a voice which wouldn’t have seemed at all out of place in the Deep South.

Organiser Nikki Hann said: “The night’s a stepping stone for local musicians. They often get booked to do gigs in the pub if they do well.”

She added: “Not many people come to Poole at night any more. This is one of the few pubs with people in it tonight!”

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