My first experience with PVD Hoot, Providence’s newest monthly open mic night, was on a particularly cold night after back-to back snowstorms. Most roads in the city looked like they couldn’t pick a plow out of a line up, but people came. That’s because since starting back in October, Hoot has established itself as an open mic not just of considerable artistic quality, but as one where the main attraction is the performer and not that night’s dinner special.
“A lot of bars and restaurants that have open mics are bars and restaurants that just happen to have an open mic,” says Hoot co founder Josh Aromin.
Sure there’s free beer and coffee courtesy of Narragansett and New Harvest, and Rocket Fine Street Food parks outside, but what’s important are the musicians, comedians and poets who show up to put it all on the line for the ten minutes they get on stage.
Adds Aromin’s partner, Sarah Mead, “The last thing you need is to be up there and have people talking and shuffling around. We want people to know we’re listening and we’re there for them.”
Performers are granted a level of attention and intimacy from the crowd that you don’t see at your run of the mill open mic night, and as a result Hoot has attracted a steady rotation of brave souls and curious onlookers. Aromin and Mead pride themselves on the caliber of both their performers and their audience. At one of their first shows, local musician Rich Ferri told the room not to expect the same quality of music from every open mic they go to.“It was the best compliment we could get,” says Aromin.
Here's a look at February's PVD Hoot: