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Calling All Musicians

Marin’s thriving open mic scene offers a venue for almost everybody.



(Clockwise) John Korty, Krickie, KC Turner.

Photos by Tim Porter

Whether you call them open mic nights, musician showcases or invitational jams, one thing is for sure: Marin is alive with a musical energy that is being driven at the most basic level — often by just one person at a time with a guitar, a microphone and a new song idea. Here, we highlight three Marin open mic hosts who are helping musicians achieve their dreams while turning traditionally “off nights” into the hottest nights of the week on the Marin music scene.

KC Turner at Finnegan’s Marin, Novato

Turner is celebrating his fifth year hosting the all-ages open mic night at Finnegan’s every Monday. He got started soon after a move to Novato. “There was nothing going on musically,” Turner says. “So instead of complaining, I met the owner [of Finnegan’s] and sold him on the idea of an open mic night.”

After a slow start in which Turner filled the evening by playing for almost two hours to a sparse crowd, the event caught on, drawing mostly singer/songwriter types eager to try out new material. Turner brings the gear, runs the board and tries to make the 15 to 20 people who play feel comfortable. “I treat everyone like Bono and try and take that nervous energy away,” he says. “I treat everyone the same; everyone is welcome.”

What to look for A burger-and-beer special is only $10. Turner is also a local promoter always on the watch for talent to open bigger shows.

Details Event runs Mondays from 8 p.m. to midnight with a featured performer up first; sign-ups begin at 7 p.m. A sound system is provided; two songs per performer. No cover; all ages welcome. kcturnermusic.com

Jonathan Korty and Danny Uzilevsky at 19 Broadway, Fairfax

What happens when two well-known Marin musicians get together and decide to invite their friends and the general public to a night of live music every Tuesday? It quickly turns into “the night to go out for a lot of people,” says Jonathan Korty, a 20-year local music veteran and member of bands such as Vinyl and Honeydust.

The night, called Kortuzday, has become so popular that Korty says the best way to get onstage is to “keep coming and bothering us and, eventually, we’ll get you up there.”

Things get started with an hour of music from Korty and virtuoso guitarist Danny Uzilevsky, joined by bassist Dan Duffin and drummer Dave Burns. Then participants can either join the band or bring their own. Korty provides a complete backline (audio equipment and instruments), so the event is open to drummers, horn players, keyboardists, bassists, vocalists and guitarists in really any combination that seems to work.

What to look for Star players, such as Pete Sears, Joe Russo, Barry Sless, Jerry Harrison and Bonnie Hayes, and music in multiple genres. Bring some cards with your personal information, as complete bands have been known to form after jamming together onstage.

Details Event runs Tuesdays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and participants are welcome to join in after the first hour; a complete backline including amps and a sound system is provided. No cover; 21 and over only. 19broadway.com

Krickie at Peri’s, Fairfax

Krickie started her second-Sunday musicians’ showcase six years ago after asking herself one question: “Where are all the chicks?

“I started [the open mic] after noticing it was always guys in the showcase,” she says about her Sexy Sunday events. Although the guys are awesome too, she says, the girls can be “just a little sexier, with a sound palatable for a wider audience.”

Krickie, who got her name after a band member mispronounced her real name, Kristie, has built a loyal audience that hails from all over the Bay Area — but she loves the energy that comes from just down the block. “There have been so many magical moments,” she says. “Fairfax is full of such great musicians.”

What to look for Lots of local female talent and, yes, usually one “token” male performer per evening.

Details Event runs from 9 p.m. to closing every second Sunday of the month; a complete backline and sound system is provided. Full bands are welcome (20-minute sets each); advance sign-ups are recommended. No cover; 21 and over only. krickie.com

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