By Madeline Cade, Contributing Writer
Group photo credits- Curt Copeland
All other photos- Madeline Cade
Even on the dreariest Wednesday nights Matthew DeTore and I pull up to the hole-in-the-wall bar around 9:30 PM. The small banner above the door reads “Seven Restaurant and Lounge.” A group of people hanging out outside are vaguely illuminated by the Guinness Draught sign. We fill our arms with a guitar case and multiple song books, and weave our way to our table—always the same small table in the back. We are greeted by musicians and regular patrons. To many, this is just a regular night at the bar. To others, this is their staple showcase. After 9 o’clock on Wednesday nights, a local musician, Curt Copeland, hosts an open mic night for other musicians to come up and sing and play their instruments for the customers to hear. I was born with no musical talent; however, my boyfriend, Matt, plays every instrument under the sun. He brought me here in December for the first time. I automatically knew that this was going to be a different atmosphere than I had ever experienced before.
The dim bar was lit solely by a few hanging lights and two muted televisions above the bar. A red antique bicycle was suspended in the corner as if to be able to watch all of the festivities. The smells of beer and burgers mixed together to set the perfect bar environment. A few of the colorful clientele had had one too many drinks and clapped extra loud for the artists. With alcohol lined down the entire wall, it was easy to see how they had quickly become intoxicated. Probably my favorite customer in the bar was a little black and white chihuahua named Lupita. She parades around, meeting new people and showing love to those who have met her before.
When we got there, a man in his 50s or 60s named John Diablo was on stage. He sang wonderful renditions of female pop songs including Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus and I Love It by Icona Pop. After he preformed a rock symphony consisting of drums, a bass and a guitar blared Superstition by Stevie Wonder. Every note was hit perfectly. They played an audience repeating song for us to jump in and sing along. The guitarist was Curt, the man to thank for starting this night. When that act was finished, they called Matt up for his turn to preform. His eyes light up and his smile stretches from ear to ear. When he gets up there, it solidifies that this is his happy place. He holds himself differently – as if he has no care in the world. He took the stage to play a few original songs and some covers. His favorite artist is Ed Sheeran, so he started off the night with his own version of “Sunburn”. He ended his five song set with an original he wrote for me for Christmas. Everyone applauds and another artist switches spots with him.
Curt, who got the chance to play on Fox2 News, began this open mic night to give others a chance to show their talent. He says, “I knew I was the right musician to pull it off. [There are] many great musicians out there, but not all of them have to people skills to make something like this happen.”
Matt says, “In the chaos of getting your education, it is nice to have nights like these where you can sit back, relax and enjoy doing something you love – playing music.”