Mark Coyle’s Open Mic

The Stonewell Tavern – 16/12/09

Reviewed by Carla Scarano

Entering the Stonewell Tavern on Wednesday evening always gives me a sense of familiarity and novelty. It has the warm atmosphere of a continental bar (for lunch: pizza, pasta e basta), the pictures  recalling the Italian origins of landlord Jerry. On  specially commissioned mirrors there are the notes of ‘O mio babbino caro’ and the portrait of Fabio Capello, the Italian coach of the English Football team in a green field, which is a part of the Italian flag, and St George’s cross. In a corner Jerry’s music bar, a proper stage with microphones, amplifiers, piano and bongos. Photos of performers cover the walls.

Mark Coyle’s Open Mic is one reason to join the Stonewell on Wednesday night but a pint or two add to the atmosphere. His voice always warms up the evening, opening the performances with some original songs and this time cover versions of Coldplay, Snow Patrol and Springsteen.

The stunning Jenny Shaw in glamorous lace, a black rose in her copper hair, started the Open Mic. At the piano her melodious voice introduced us to a gentle, romantic world with Under the Beech, Hold me, Was it ever Love? and Waiting at the Bay.

To follow, Sue Seddon one of the Thursday girls who perform regularly at Mark Coyle’s open mic, read ‘Cherish your Assets!’ from Hermione Blackwell’s Growing old Disgracefully. It provided a hilarious interlude to the music  thoroughly appreciated by the audience. No one could keep a straight face at Sue’s lively mimicry and comical self-parody.

Guitar plus singing by Nancy Kent, a girl as confident and joyous as a skylark at dawn. She sang her own original songs: Love Boat, Memories, She is looking at you, Super Star and Picture Perfect.

Sue Seddon then offered her saucy, novel account of Christmas shopping from The Vagina Diaries. ‘The No-Surrender Bra’ (the Northern Irish way to control the curves) ‘The Attack of the Killer Crotch’ and ‘Down the Pan’, a hilarious appeal to ladies to head for the men’s when the queue for the ladies’ toilet is too long.

Then music again till half past eleven: – Andy Slatter and his guitar, with the accompaniment of Jerry on bongos. There were some original tunes plus the arrangement of the Canadian folk song ‘When you and I were young Maggie’, followed by Rock ‘n Roll in true fifties style with making us sway on our stools with Johnny B Good. Then Mark back to the mic with the sublime Simon singing Man on the Moon, Destiny, I’m on Fire.

To end, a cheerful jam session where all performers still standing were on stage changing styles, rhythm, and even instruments, to the iconic “Stonewell Tavern”. An amusing mayhem to close an enjoyable evening.

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2 Responses

  1. Its never called ‘Mark Coyle’s’ open mic night right? Surely you don’t name an open mic night after yourself.

  2. P.s I’ve been to one or two Stonewell open mics, nice affairs. Great having the piano there.

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