Up & Under Open Mic Is Getting Bigger and Better
The famous Brady Street blues club hosts their open mic welcome to all music types every Monday night. It has been gaining more traction in the last few months, as regulars have become established acts and more space has gotten occupied by eager music lovers.
Tyler Stefanski, who plays bass in Up & Under’s house band Honey on the Biscuit, hosts it weekly.
“We got people as young as twenty-one, and guys that just came up to me saying they’re gonna play are Vietnam veterans,” Stefanski said. “We get everybody out here. The energy is great.”
Stefanski got involved in the open mic from being a regular performer himself. He took it over recently and plays improv funk rock in his band; he met his bandmates at the open mic the first day he moved back to Milwaukee from Nashville.
“We have a great rapport with each other where we just look at each other and know what we’re gonna do,” Stefanski said.
Each open mic begins at 9pm with a fifteen-minute set by Honey on the Biscuit, and there are typically fourteen to fifteen spots for performers. It operates on a first-come first-serve basis.
“I used to think of this as a fun part-time thing, but I’ve made so many more worthwhile connections with new musicians through this than I’ve ever made money at it. I meet new people every week and it has gone so far to where I’ve gotten people gigs at other bars. It’s a great networking place.”
The current owners have owned Up & Under for over twelve years and have never a had a weekend where there was not a band playing. Additionally, it has been the longest running open mic in Milwaukee.
“There’s pictures of all the past hosts all over the walls,” Stefanski added. “You’ll see famous people that have hosted this jam. My goal is to eventually retire a bass up there.”
Honey on the Biscuit is gearing up to start playing different venues. They play Up & Under at least twice a week.
“I want to see the open jam grow so much that we can’t fit all the people in the bar.”