PEPPERELL — Low-key and inviting, Lawrence Library’s open mic night is a unique late-night offering for local patrons.
Pepperell-based R&B Studios owners Bill Brandon and Rob Renaud have been hosting the event since November, when the Acoutsic Cafe program, in essence, went electric. Last Thursday, the art gallery was armed with three guitars, a piano, a sound systems and even a light rig.
Ten-year-old Akul Chennakesavan, of Groton, performed several piano pieces for the group. He takes private lessons in Lowell and says he enjoyed the open mic atmosphere.
“This was my first time playing an open mic, my first time playing at the library too,” Chennakesavan said, after his set.
In his lessons, he said he has been learning all different types of piano music. His selections for Pepperell were folk songs from the Russian Library of Music.
“It was good practice to play in front of people because I only learned those songs four or five months ago,” he said.
Chennakesavan’s Lowell-based piano group performs at a church in Westford. His parents and younger sister were among the audience members, cheering in support.
Still, others were there to enjoy the atmosphere. A few were taking time the time to read a book at the tables. Others were stepping in and out of the art gallery at their leisure.
Any and all are welcome to perform and watch. Everyone from comedians, musicians, poets, readers, essayists and improvisers are welcome.
Bill Brandon was the combination master of ceremonies and sound man, tuning and checking levels for the performers, as well as filling in to play songs between performers.
Dan Perry, of Lowell, came in with his guitar.
“Come on up, Dan,” invited Brandon. “Dan is someone I lost touch with for many years, but recently met back up with, turns out he was a pretty good guitar player and songwriter.”
Perry said he hadn’t played live in about a year, but he stepped up to the mic anyway and played through three originals called “Angry Boy,” “Tears,” and “Big Big Dreams.”
“A lot of the lyrics come from journals that I keep, I would come up with a melody and just pull stuff out,” he said.
The drums were Perry’s first instrument, and he said he still plays in a cover band that plays 80s and 90s-influenced rock. With the group he tends to play venues like bars and house parties, but low-key events like this are perfect for solo guitar, he said.
“I picked it up in a band in junior high, but i was left handed and no one would let me re-string their guitars,” he said. “So I learned the strum right-handed and played upside down until I bought my own.”
Aside from the open mic nights, library staff is also running Live at Lawrence Library performances every third Saturday of the month. Feb. 18 is this month’s set, it begins at 7 p.m. and will feature the Gardner-based Midnight Judges. The concert is free and open to the public. The Friends of the Lawrence Library are sponsoring the event with light refreshments and coffee to be provided from Starbucks.
On Thursday, Feb. 23, Wendy Frank will be performing music featuring puppets, guitar, singing books, rhythm instruments and sign language. This kid-oriented concert begins at 10:30 a.m.
For more information on either performance night, booking or any other questions, call 978-433-0330 or visit www.lawrencelibrary.org.