Just returned home, in the midst of a pretty good snow fall, from Linneman's just down the street, where I enjoyed open acoustic night. I like open acoustic night at Linneman's, because it's a really good opportunity to hear some of Milwaukee's fresh talent. Each musician signs up for a 15 minute slot, which means you can play about three songs, with the absolute limit of 15 minutes, so that everyone who signs up gets a chance to play. There was a nice variety of music tonight, most played guitar and sang, one or two just played instrumental songs. I walked in, and went straight for the bar to get a pint of East Side Dark, then found my seat in the back room.
Every time they have open acoustic night, there is a featured performer, who gets the privilege of a half hour to play. To qualify for the chance to be the featured musician, you must have a good record of play at Linneman's, and must also have a repertoire of your own original music. Once in a while, though, they get someone as the feature who not only meets the basic criteria, but far surpasses them. Tonight, Lil Rev, who has been praised by no less than Pete Seeger, asked for a slot, and in the end, Jim, who MCs the event, gave him a few extra minutes, so I got to hear Lil Rev do a forty minute set tonight.
By the way, there's any number of ways one could learn of an event like this in Milwaukee. It was advertised on Linneman's calendar, for example, but I also saw it in an ad in The Onion. So the lesson here is that you will find more than just quality journalism in The Onion. (In all seriousness, though, for the record please know that there will almost always be pages of The Onion that are not suitable for the eyes of children or ladies.)
In a few days Lil Rev will head out west to play music out there for a couple months, then return home in March. I know I've plugged Rev's web site in the past, but it's worth reminding people that LivRev.com is a good place to go for information on his shows, as well as articles by Rev, and to find his CDs and books for sale.