Is it any surprise that Las Vegas is full of talented entertainers and musicians? In a city that literally exists for fun, there are plenty of employment opportunities for those who can provide fantastic entertainment. For the artists still working on realizing their dreams or perfecting their craft, there are many chances to get onstage in front of a receptive audience to test the waters—and that’s where the Las Vegas open mic scene comes in.
On almost any night of the week, performers champ at the bit to get out there, and fans who love fresh talent can put their hands together at many bars and venues across the Valley. Although there is some carryover by the more ambitious artists, each event has its own soul, patronage and identity. The open mics themselves are almost as diverse as the talented people who provide the entertainment, and represent the fascinating and eccentric community that makes up Las Vegas as a whole.
The vibe, focus and rules are different at each of the Valley’s open mic nights, which means that potential performers should move around to see where their style fits in best. One local musician, Jenna Reisdorph, is doing just that. She hopes to find a place that will embrace her, especially because she has never performed for an audience before and is nervous about the reception, as most are. She still has plenty of legwork ahead of her to find the right venue.
Conversely, Stefan des Lauriers is a regular at Human Experience, a vibrant and welcoming weekly open mic night at Hop Nuts Brewing in the Arts District. An incredible songwriter and producer, des Lauriers has lost a lot of his vocal abilities due to deterioration from the late stages of Parkinson’s disease. His speaking voice is slow and careful, and to combat the lost steadiness of his singing voice, he created artificial vocals digitally for his performances. He hopes to garner the attention of a talented singer to croon his multilayered, poetic compositions.
The title for longest-running weekly open mic goes to Money Mic at Money Plays. The Monday-night event has been going on since the ’90s and even stuck around when the bar changed hands years later. As the eager attendees file in and write their names on the signup sheet, you can easily see that there is a community here, as many of the performers know each other by name.
Spending just one hour in any of the open mic nights around town will supply endless entertainment, both due to the undiscovered talent and, sometimes, misguided ambition. The sense of community and palpable passion give even the most chiseled critics some much needed inspiration. Why not see what the city is hiding in plain sight?
Ready to shine?
Where to take the stage across the Valley
With a loyal following of both artists and fans, the seats at this open mic are usually packed. The affordable drinks and relaxed atmosphere make it an easy place to hang out and wait to see what transpires. Mondays, 7 p.m., at Hop Nuts Brewing, 1120 S. Main St., Suite 150, facebook.com/humanexperiencelasvegas
Monday Nite Jamming Session
For musicians who want to jam with a full band, this open mic night provides the support of the Tap House All Star Band. Mondays, 7:30 p.m., at Tap House, 5589 W. Charleston Blvd., taphouselv.com/tap-house-jamming-session
Spit Your Truth
For rappers, singers and poets, Spit Your Truth puts the talent at the forefront, providing the big stage many have been dreaming of. First and last Tuesdays, times vary, at Classic Jewel, 353 E. Bonneville Ave., Suite 111, facebook.com/spityourtruth
Open Mic at The Spike
The young, energetic crowd, open-air venue and hip Downtown vibe make this event a place not only to be heard, but also seen. Every second and fourth Wednesday, 7 p.m., at Gold Spike, 217 Las Vegas Blvd. North, goldspike.com
The unassuming strip mall gaming bar doesn’t seem like a treasure trove of musical talent, but with upwards of 20 acts each Thursday, it’s a great casual place to take in some entertainment. Thursdays, 8 p.m., at Money Plays, 4755 W. Flamingo Rd., moneyplayslv.com
It says it right in its name: Soul Sessions is made for the soulful. The all-ages event focuses on art, poetry and music. Sundays following the first Friday, at Raw Remedies, 203 E. Colorado Ave., facebook.com/soulsessionslv