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Rkstar Message Board : Open Mic :
Discuss the Rkstar Open Mic, or others. Make plans to collaborate a song with others, share your favorite open mic acts, announce other open mics, etc.

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Topic:Van Dyck open mic
by: patman
Jan. 11, '07 7:44pm
Is the attendance picking up any? i was there 3 weeks ago and still only 10 or 12 people were there.
by: Rkstar
Jan. 11, '07 8:14pm
A few weeks ago when i went there, there were like 40 people there. Still not it's hey-day numbers. But these days the biggest concerns are not with the future of the open mic, but with the venue itself.
by: dawgmatics
Jan. 12, '07 1:42pm
I only recently started going to the Arthur's open mic, finally, and I still haven't been to the Van Dyck, ever. (Sch'dy is a little out of my way.) I've wanted to see the Van Dyck, just didn't get around to it. So if someone could lend me a clue I'd be grateful:

First, will there even BE an open mic at the Van Dyck any more, what with the foreclosure stuff?
If yes, then:

Second, how does the Van Dyck open mic compare to the one at Arthur's -- is the music as eclectic, is there food, is there booze, is it the same 2-song deal, etc.
by: Rkstar
Jan. 12, '07 10:27pm
The open mic at the van dyck will at least go on for a little while longer. The situation with the foreclosure is still just a looming cloud for now. The Van Dyck definitely has a bigger menu and such than Arthur's, the room is about 50% bigger with a stage, lights, piano, drums, amps, etc. I pretty much let Paddy run it as she sees fit. I believe how many songs you can do depends on how many people are on the list. There's a $2 cover. And yes, the Van Dyck serves alcohol.
by: patman
Mar. 1, '07 8:10pm
Someone told me they went to the Van Dyck at 9:30 pm last Thursday and it
was closed. Is there deinitely an open mic tonight?
by: Rkstar
Mar. 1, '07 10:58pm
It's unfortunately really tough to tell. Since I'm really not running that one myself like I do the Sunday night open mics... the best I can say is call the Van Dyck in advance and hope someone there knows what's going on.
by: Ashleythrockstar
Mar. 6, '07 2:03pm
Well, there hasn't been an open mic in three weeks now. For the two weeks before these past three weeks, there were less than 5 people on the list; the past three weeks nobody's even gone upstairs.
by: lyricaltobias
Mar. 6, '07 11:46pm
I don't understand the Van Dyck. Didn't we go through the struggling Open Mic thing before it was shifted to Moon and River. In my opinion this is one venue I've wanted to play for many months. I'm hoping the Van Dyck is going to have a singer songwriter series that will include the artists like myself and those who barely play show in the area. I would look into an artist series and shift the Open Mic to another night and see if that works and toss out the cover charge once again I was right and it didn't work.
by: patman
Mar. 8, '07 12:57am
Strange last sentence.
Is there any breaking news on:
The Van Dyck.
The open mic...
and/or Paddy...

by: lyricaltobias
Mar. 8, '07 12:35pm
Looks like the Capital Region is falling. I wonder how many were on the list in NYC's "The Underscore"
by: MikeOwl
Mar. 8, '07 9:37pm
Hey, Patman, hope you didn't head down there tonight: I showed up around 8:15 pm and the place was closed, with no notice of explanation on the front door or anything. It's freezing out there, maybe they figured that no one would show up.
by: Rkstar
Mar. 8, '07 11:12pm
Yeah... I don't know what's going on. I tried calling both the Van Dyck phone (which I got a message saying it's out of order), the owner's cell phone (just got voice mail), and Paddy's cell (just got voice mail). This is pretty similar to the reasons I left the Van Dyck two years ago. Any way, I just told a reporter at the Gazette about it and he has a lot more resources than myself to figure out exactly what's going on. Maybe something will make it into tomorrow's paper.
by: AshleyThRockStar
Mar. 10, '07 4:52pm
yeah, I was there this week too... unfortunate that it was closed. Even without the open mic I've enjoyed the past few weeks hanging out at the bar.
by: patman
Mar. 10, '07 8:52pm
Yea, it was definitely fun "hangin". Mike: "ya don't need a weather man to tell you which way the wind blows". Both literally and figuratively, the weather report was bad: so i hung out in the patcave and talked back to the voices in my head...We all have them...
by: MikeOwl
Mar. 11, '07 12:36am
Yeah, I love hangin' out with you guys. I passed by the Van Dyck tonight and they had a new sign taped to the front door, something about being temporarily closed for repairs and innovations. The best part was it was signed: "Love, the Van Dyck".

I love you, too, right back at you, you crazy nightclub. Sorry, I'm still drinking on the weekends.
by: Rkstar
Mar. 11, '07 12:55am
Mike, I think the sign more likely said "renovations", not "innovations"
by: patman
Mar. 11, '07 10:39am
i'm hoping for some innovate renovations. And that's what it sounds like in the last RK news post-"The Van Dyck To Close For A Few Weeks". Booyah...
by: Ashleythrockstar
Mar. 12, '07 12:10pm
so what am i supposed to do on thursday nights now? man... i hope they do reopen at some point.
by: MikeOwl
Mar. 14, '07 8:26pm
Oh, yeah, that's right: renovations. Well, that's what tasty European lagers will do to you.
by: kevbrockmusic
Mar. 14, '07 9:08pm
who needs the Van Dyck, there are plenty of acoustic open mics all over the place.....
by: Rkstar
Mar. 14, '07 9:45pm
I will say... the best open mics ever in the capital district were at the Van Dyck when it was both Paddy and I running them. For a good stretch there (before the VD management decided to ruin things) we had 200 people there every week, amazing performers, the list was always full within minutes of my putting it out, it was just amazing. And while there were tons of reasons for it, the Van Dyck being such a great physical venue/place to play was a big part of it. i just want to say- not all open mics are equal by any stretch.
by: MikeOwl
Mar. 15, '07 12:08am
I'd like to add that the crazy management at the Van Dyck was the result of the owner making some bad hiring decisions (a whole string of them). The owner is a music lover who can talk all night about favorite concerts or obscure liner notes from old records. The managers he hired were a bunch of crazy guys with big egos and little else. A while ago the owner started basically managing the place himself, coming in personally until closing time- maybe too little, too late.

Bad management kills good businesses. The Van Dyck is worth fighting for: it's a world class music venue with history.
by: lyricaltobias
Mar. 15, '07 3:22pm
You know something Kev makes an interesting point here. Open Mic in the Van Dyck is one thing but I want to book a show there. I'm sure I could land a decent crowd in that place about 20-40 would be nice. But the venue has a piano and is a decent place for music. Maybe a show with me and an NYC artist could do wonders. I haven't played the Van Dyck yet but yet I've played NYC interesting why that is.
by: kevbrockmusic
Mar. 15, '07 7:51pm
I don't know what to say then. If the Van Dyck officially goes out of bussiness, then there's this thing called "moving on with life". Venues come and go all the time. Deal with it.
by: Rkstar
Mar. 15, '07 9:04pm
Spoken like a true someone-who's-never-played-there.
by: kevbrockmusic
Mar. 15, '07 9:20pm
And neither has Tobiaz.

I have been to plenty of great open mics. What bothered me in your response is that you put this entire area of open mics down with saying the Van Dyck Rkstar open mic is better than every open mic in town.

Sorry but you're in a delusional fantasy world, man. Wake up and look around, there are other venues to have rkstar open mics where you and Paddy could have it at.

I could care less to play the Van Dyck 'cause Schenectady is a bit far out for my tastes. I am proud to play open mics around the Saratoga area where it's closer, thanks.

Yep, every other open mic shows sucks crap if it's not a Dan rkstar open mic.

by: patman
Mar. 15, '07 11:20pm
You need to get your head out of your...Anyway, what exactly are you mad about, sir? Also, i must say for you and your cousin; your ego preceeds you.

by: Rkstar
Mar. 16, '07 1:25am
I guess Kev is just being his bitter self. I never said anything to imply that my open mics are any better than others, that must just be his own opinion. I only said that the Van Dyck is a great venue which would be a much bigger loss than a lot of the other venues that have come and gone over the years.
by: kevbrockmusic
Mar. 16, '07 9:18am
It would only be a big loss to the rkstar camp, the Capital District could really care less. Quit the insults and slandering at me, just speaking my mind and using common sense here. This area is losing venues big time and it should be no surprise that the Van Dyck could possibly go out of bussiness soon.

by: kevbrockmusic
Mar. 16, '07 9:51am
And for the record, I don't care what anyone says, I still disagree what Dan just said about the rkstar open mics not being equal to others, it's only an opinion.

I had been to many really good open mic gigs around the area that were really successful like Caffe Lena for example. Besides, I'm not really into open mic gigs that much to begin with. I prefer playing the actual shows and going to actual shows, not the open mics. I play a lot of actual shows that aren't open mics and proud to what I do. I get the impression that Dan Rkstar only goes to open mics that are only Rkstar open mics.

Why do you think all the metal/hardcore bands are playing their shows at venues like the Backstreet Billiards, Valentine's and Northern Lights? Well the answer is quite simple, no Hudson Duster. The Hudson Duster was a very popular venue with history, they didn't fight back at the venue to make it stay in bussiness, they moved on to find other places to play.

My thought is that you shouldn't fight back, let the Van Dyck handle things on their own and let them do bussiness. If the Van Dyck stays, it stays. If it closes, it closes.

And Dan, yes, you did say that the rkstar open mic at the Van Dyck were better than other open mics in the Capital District, re-read what you just wrote:

I will say... the best open mics ever in the capital district were at the Van Dyck when it was both Paddy and I running them.

"The best open mics ever in the Capital District"?

Yes, that sounds like to me you're definitely saying that your open mic is better than this area.

(before the VD management decided to ruin things)

I don't see how the Van Dyck is ruining things. I'm sure the Van Dyck would love to keep the rkstar open mics there, it's just bussiness and money. They have the rkstar open mics there just for side entertainment and they would get rid of the rkstar open mics if they can't afford it. They aren't ruining things on anyone, it's just bussiness.

by: Ashleythrockstar
Mar. 16, '07 12:59pm
Everything Dan said was true. (In my opinion. Apparently we have to specify when something's an opinion now.) Years ago, when the open mic first switched from Larkin to Van Dyck, it was amazing. I've been to a good deal of open mics in the area and I agree with Dan that it doesn't get much better than those days.

Also, to what Kev said-- yeah, there's this thing called moving on with life, but there's also this thing called sentimental attachments. And sometimes when you have this thing called emotions, and you get these so-called attachments, it's hard to just do this thing called moving on with a snap of the fingers. When you've been part of an on-again off-again community for so long, it happens.

Also-- a point I want to mention in my open mic supremacy argument is that this particular attachment had little to do with the venue and lots to do with the people. Which is why it's not as easy to just say "Screw it" and go to another open mic. Because it's not all the same people anymore. You get used to seeing the same people every week and suddenly you never see them again. It's not about just showing up and waiting for your turn to play.
by: Ashleythrockstar
Mar. 16, '07 1:02pm
Also... what's wrong with Dan saying his and Paddy's open mic was the best in the area? I mean, it's not like any performers on this board ever hesitate to flaunt their greatness (or refer to themselves in the third person); what's wrong with pride in one's accomplishments, particularly when one's accomplishments are truly great?
by: stevemoss
Mar. 16, '07 1:54pm

Since by your own admission you missed out on the Van Dyck open mics, I think that pretty well takes you out of the running for criticizing someone's opinion.

Instead of simply quoting the one key line that incensed you, try re-reading the entire comment and take note of the portion where Dan backs up his opinion with supportive facts.

Of course, "best" is a subjective thing. Music's a subjective thing, too. It all comes down to opinions... but a consensus of opinions adds up to a majority. (That's how voting works... as you ought to recognize, after carrying a category in each of the last 2 years' Metroland polls).

Without trying to take anything away from the other open mics in the area, re-read Dan's post again. I'm going to corroborate his statement:

The Van Dyck open mic, for a time, was truly extraordinary. Their entire upstairs performance room would end up packed with both performers and musicians. The upstairs bar would often be so busy that people would have to go downstairs to try and grab a drink. The give and take between the audience and the participants was genuine, and the atmosphere was warm and familial. Because of the number of people there, and the combination of room and sound system, week to week it felt more like an evening show where everyone just got really short sets, rather than an "open mic". Other open mics often feel like an informal ad-hoc thing thrown together at a venue's off-night. That polish in presentation and setting really made a difference, and in that respect, the Van Dyck open mic really did trump many open mic nights.

The other thing you need to understand, in the context of Dan's comment, is that he was discussing a truly past period for the Van Dyck - not the current situation of the restaurant closing. The Van Dyck's closure is affecting the SECOND series of Rkstar open mic to be held at the Van Dyck (late 2006-2007). Dan was discussing the FIRST run of Rkstar open mic nights at the Van Dyck, which spanned 2004-2005.

That first 2004-2005 run of open mics came to an end directly because of the Van Dyck's management. The management first tried adding a door charge to what had for months been a free event. When that decision proved unpopular, they instituted an utterly confusing series
of food/drink vouchers - attendees would have to pay admission at the door and would receive a voucher good toward an equivalent amount of food/drink from the Van Dyck menu (the way these vouchers functioned and what they could be redeemed for varied weekly and were undocumented, causing confusion and frustration for attendees and the Van Dyck waitstaff). Then, in spite of the attendees who would regularly patronize the upstairs bar or order food, the Van Dyck management began leaving upstairs either unstaffed or so minimally manned that there was effectively no service for those who wanted it. These decisions, in a cascade over about 3 months, resulted in the open mic's attendance dropping by about two-thirds... on the nights when the Van Dyck wasn't simply darkened and
locked as a surprise to those who would drive up to 40 minutes from elsewhere in the capital region in order to attend.

None of this information is likely familiar to you, since as you observed, you never attended either incarnation of the Rkstar open mic that was held at the Van Dyck.

But this leads me to my primary point, Brocko - since you acknowledge that Dan's statement was simply an opinion about an open mic that (and I can't restate this enough) YOU NEVER ATTENDED, then what point are you trying to make?

This thread was about a specific subject - the Van Dyck open mic. A Rkstar endorsed and co-run open mic, on the actual Rkstar website. Home turf, Kev.

If you noticed, nobody here is fighting the Van Dyck's closure. But its closure has been reported here because it directly affects the Rkstar open mic held there. If the joint closes, it closes - life goes on. But there are people who frequented and had an affection for that open mic, and they are certainly entitled to lament its loss.

Do you attend funerals and console people that they should just go visit their living aunts rather than mourn their dead aunt... or debate with them that their aunt wasn't as great as they think, even though you never met her, and that you had an amazing aunt that would put their aunt to shame?

1 - Have a little respect.

2 - Everyone has opinions, and everyone's entitled to their opinions... but my recommendation to you is that before you not only share your opinion but attempt to bludgeon people with it, you do a little research. An informed opinion has much more credential than an uninformed one... and brother, on this topic, you're extremely uninformed.
by: Ashleythrockstar
Mar. 16, '07 1:59pm
haha... i don't know if anyone here watches the British show Coupling... Steve's post just made me think of a particular episode where Jane yells to Steve "ANYONE could have a dead aunt!"... haha that was awesome... ok, no one probably knows what i was talking about. carry on.
by: kevbrockmusic
Mar. 16, '07 2:10pm
Nothing wrong with thinking that the Rkstar open mic is the best in this area. I'm just saying that comment is a bit absurd 'cause I've been so many open mics.

All open mics are pretty much run the same way and pretty much have all levels of talents from amatuers to profesionals, open mics even have everything from standup comedy to poet readers.

If I went to that open mic at the Van Dyck, I garuntee you that I'm gonna think that open mic is no different than all the others as Steve Moss described the open mic the post above.

They act like the rkstar open mic at the Van Dyck is like some "big show" which is the whole point I'm trying to make. An open mic is not an actual show.

I'm just simply saying that bussinesse's do what they have to do to stay open and do whatever the landlord wants to do.

I understand the Van Dyck's history, but so what. It's no different than the CBGB in NYC closing down and everyone moved on in NYC.

Whether I played at the Rkstar Van Dyck open mic or not, I still have the right to speak out.


by: Rkstar
Mar. 16, '07 5:44pm
Kev, I've been to dozens of open mics all over the area, and I can say with absolute certainty...NONE compared to those Paddy and I put on at the Van Dyck in the Summer of '04. And if you had the sense to go to one of them as well... you would agree (as Steve and Ashley did... because they were there... and they both also know other open mics for comparison).
by: kevbrockmusic
Mar. 16, '07 6:03pm
Ok, if that's the case, I'll try my very best to make a Rkstar open mic at the Van Dyck when they reopen.

by: Rkstar
Mar. 16, '07 8:37pm
But you missed it... as I said... it was the summer of 2004 when the open mic was great. Even when the Van Dyck re-opens, too much is missing... I work Thursday nights so Paddy runs the open mic by herself (and to be as successful as it was, it needs more than one person), the great Van Dyck management of Stephen Duso has moved on (and frankly, that was the start of the open mic's fall... he was a great help). So when the Van Dyck opens back up and Paddy starts hosting the open mic there again... while they'll still be great open mics... they're nothing compared to what they were a few years ago. Hopefully at some point in the future we can get the pieces back together to make that happen again.
by: patman
Mar. 16, '07 11:35pm
The summer of 04. Did i perform there then? i can't keep track.
by: MikeOwl
Mar. 17, '07 1:02am
Yeah, Patman, that's when we all met up- when the Paddy/Rkstar open mike moved to the Van Dyck. That's when the second floor was packed from the stage to the last seat at the bar. Good times, rockin' good times.

by: MikeOwl
Mar. 17, '07 1:23am
Regarding Stephen, the former manager of the Van Dyck, I hate to publicly be critical but he was not all that some people make him out to be. I don't want to list details- otherwise I'd be in the tabloid business- but he was not the hero that many people think he was.

The problem, as I see it, with the Van Dyck management was that the owner wanted to hire someone to run the place and then go home and rest easy. However, the people he hired- there were at least four duds in a row- were not interested in making the Van Dyck a success, they were interested in themselves and making their mark upon the place. They were egotistical people who didn't have a clue about what the place really needed.

In contrast to the other posters here who represent the open mike (which I love with all my heart), I'm more concerned with the survival of the club itself.
by: Rkstar
Mar. 17, '07 2:05am
I guess there's no way to tell for sure how much Stephen had to do with the open mic's success... other than to say his vision of it jived pretty well with Paddy's and mine. But I can say with absolute certainty, that his departure was the beginning of the end of what was definitely the biggest weekly open mic to grace the capital district. Oh, the nostalgia.
by: patman
Mar. 17, '07 12:39pm
Stephen was cool, i know that much. He had charisma. And the open mic at that time was way cool. Mike and i were lamenting that. i wish i showed up more often but i'm quite the tard at getting myself out there.
Who knows, maybe it will be better than ever. That would be way way cool...woooh...
by: lyricaltobias
Mar. 17, '07 3:25pm
I've never played the Van Dyck Open Mic but did play Moon and River before. I'm looking forward to the return of the Van Dyck Open Mic because at least they have a piano there. This is what I miss about the awesome "Larkin Open Mic in Albany" and I went to that several times. That was one of my favorite Open Mics and I met a lot of awesome people. The point here in the Albany Lata the music is the best thing this area offers. For a lot of us including myself it is a starting point. Maybe let's hope the Van Dyck Open Mic comes back and is better than ever and all of us can go there to perform and fellowship with one another. That's something I'm looking forward to.
by: patman
Mar. 17, '07 8:47pm
This has turned into a great thread! Hope i don't ruin it, but: here's a quick but stupit', (it's important to be quick if you're gonna be stupit'), poem i wrote 2 minutes ago. You figure out what it's called...

i need to erase you from my memory.
i need to schedule you out of my mind.
i'm running out of scotch tape for my heart: sometimes love, is like...
a stinky fart.
by: MikeOwl
Mar. 17, '07 10:57pm
Don't get me wrong, I liked Stephen as a person- I got along fine with him. It's just that there were so many behind-the-scenes power struggles between him and the owner and the staff. It was a really chaotic environment that didn't help the venue in any way.

Stephen was devoted to bringing in great music to the Van Dyck- there were so many great shows when he was the manager. But the constant conflicts and power plays were a neverending drama.

The managers that came after Stephen didn't know a thing about music and barely knew how to run a restaurant. After the open mike's attendence starting declining then the bartenders didn't want to work the upstairs because they knew they wouldn't get many tips (their real source of income). I remember one bartender saying during one open mike that she'd be rich if she got a tip for every water she served. Then came the cover charges and food vouchers and all that.
by: Ashleythrockstar
Mar. 18, '07 7:34pm
kev, your responses to our responses seems to miss the community aspect i mentioned before-- in saying that the quality of an open mic is dependent on the venue, how it's run, all that stuff, you miss the fact that for a lot of us, the loyalty is because of the people. Granted, for an experience to be enjoyable the venue and all that stuff does contribute. In my case anyway, the reason I got so attached to this open mic was the friendships I made and the solid, non-pretentious musicians who I played it with.
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