Open mic @ The Shrine

It is with reluctance that I decided to skip my Thursday evening routine – which consists of pick-up basketball games at Universal RebelUNIS (UN International School) – to go and check out the 1st open mic ever at the Shrine. I didn’t know what to expect of the event since attendance had been so-so and the fact that the establishment was pretty new. Still, I opted to drop by anyway to lend support. So there I was standing by the bar along with a friend of mine (well, my roommate actually), ready to be entertained. Basically the event was divided in 3 segments: Spoken words, stand-up comedy and live music performances. Although we were more interested in the live performance bit (we both play guitar), we were (at least I was ;-)) pleasantly surprised by the acts of a certain Earl (poetry), Shanelle Gabriel (poetry) and a stand-up comedy act which name I can no longer recall (sorry). But if you were there, it’s the dude with the scuba diving joke! The only live performance I saw was a band from Jersey called Universal Rebel. They were introduced as soul/hip-hop/reggae but mostly their front man rapped, barely any singing, c’mon dude! Plus they did (sort of) a cover of Jimi Hendrix’ “The wind cries Mary” and some Metallica song which no one (except me of course:-D) seemed to know about. It’d be interesting to see an African artist perform though, just a thought…
Overall I think the open mic was a success, I mean there was a bigger crowd than Saturdays for goodness sake lol. Nice crowd too if I might add, reflective of the new Harlem: Blacks (Americans and Africans), Latinos, Whites and even Asians.
Although the Shrine doesn’t have the pretense of being S.O.B’s, it could be a good alternative if you don’t want to venture all the way downtown or if you just to stay in an African vibe.

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