Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


Home · Articles · News · Music · Incognoto No Longer
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Incognoto No Longer

Eric Pokoyway - August 10th, 2006
Golf champion Walter Hagen was a frequent visitor of Lil Bo’s tavern on Front Street in the early 1960s. Today, this “little bohemian” bar has become a place for many musicians looking for a start or just a place to play.
“Walter Hagen, when he retired, spent
a lot of time in here… He called Lil Bo’s his ‘second home’,” co-owner Nancy Freund said.
Blues, rock, folk, and country musicians have found the same comfort within the bar’s lacquered wood walls. With the support of Darla Rowland and Dan Babiarz, Traverse City musicians can test their talent in front of a live audience at open-mic night on Fridays.
Rowland, who works at the Grand Traverse Resort, and Babiarz, who is involved in food marketing, have been hosting Lil Bo’s open mic night for six years. They are musicians themselves and understand how difficult it can be to find a place to play. Rowland plays bass and sings while Babiarz is the lead guitar and sings in their own band, Incognito.
“We are all musicians, and we have to stick together,” Rowland said. “ If we can’t count on each other, then who can you count on?”
Its not uncommon for either Rowland or Babiarz to loan equipment, or even jump in and jam when a band needs someone to fill a spot. They feel they should support anyone who has the guts to perform in front of a crowd.
“We want to give them a lot of support, accommodate them, and have them come back,” Babiarz said of the players. “We will definitely plug and promote anyone’s upcoming show.”
 
WELCOME MATT
Rowland and Babiarz want the musicians who sign up for open-mic to feel like they are welcome. Rowland bakes cookies for participants around the holidays, and Babiarz hosts an annual musician’s softball game.
The two have seen everything from indie-rock to folk musicians striking wood boxes with their hands.
“You really never know who is going to walk in that door,” Rowland, said.
“It’s unbelievable how much stuff we have packed in this place.”
Regardless of what kind of musician or who has signed-up, Rowland and Babiarz give the same amount of time to each band. It’s completely first-come, first-serve said Rowland.
“You live and die by the list,” Rowland said. “If you are the third person on the list then I am not going to bump you.”
Lil Bo’s open mic night has been a place where many local musicians and bands get started.
 
FIRST-TIMERS
The heavy metal rock band SMYT, has been together for two years, released two CDs, and are gearing up for a third. They have played venues ranging from Streeters to The Loading Dock, yet the first time they ever played together was at Lil Bo’s open-mic night. Rowland and Babiarz have even engineered the soundboard for the headbangers’ band outside of open mic.
“Darla and Dan are not selfish people; they would rather be a part of something than have that something be about them,” Dane Deroshia, lead singer of SMYT said. “They have supported us from the beginning, no one knows how to mix our sound on the board better
than Dan.”
Like SMYT, Hursh had its early beginnings at Lil Bo’s open-mic night; they are now playing at Le Naro’s Pub in Lake Leelanau on Friday nights. They have found it difficult to find gigs in Traverse City because there are a lot musicians fighting for the same crowds.
“You can’t throw a cat in this town without hitting a musician, it’s very competitive.” said Guy Hursh, lead guitarist. 
“The bars that do feature live music are kick-ass, but there are only a handful of them in Traverse City.” Ben Hursh, lead singer of Hursh said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of musician you are, Darla and Dan will always have a spot for you and will support you. ”
 
AUDITIONING
Rowland and Babiarz have also given Lil Bo’s a chance to test out new talent trying to find a regular gigs.
“If you want to play here [at Lil Bo’s regularly] come to open mic night, sign-up and we will let the crowd decide,” Sal Capone general manager at Lil Bo’s said.
Sol de Luna (formerly Bo Bossa), Hands Down, and Egon are all bands that have auditioned at open-mic night and have played paying gigs for Capone. All three of these bands Capone booked after hearing them play at open-mic night.
“These are young musicians struggling to see if they have it; that’s what open-mic is all about,” Capone said. “It gives them a place to play other than a garage or basement.”
 
Open mic night at Lil Bo’s is on Friday from 10:30-1:30 pm. For more information go to Rowland and Babiarz’s band web site www.incognitorocks.net
 
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