Acoustic Jam Night at the Brick House

There is nothing fancy about the makeshift stage for acoustic jam night at the Brick House.  No coloured lights or reflective disco balls, no attention grabbing costumes. Even the wave pool behind the stage is dark and silent. There is just a man, a guitar and a microphone.
 
People sit at the bar and tables near the stage, chatting and drinking.
 
There doesn’t seem anything planned or particularly meaningful about the musician being dressed all in black. He glances down at his guitar and strums the first few chords. 
 
The song is a mixture of blues, rock and country; it is one of those classics that everyone knows. People start tapping their feet, heads moving up and down in time to the music and mouthing the words.
 
“I hear the train a coming,” he sings. “It’s rolling around the bend. And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when. I’m stuck at Folsom Prison and time keeps dragging on.”
The upbeat tempo belies the grimness of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues. And while the young musician has put his own style to this song, the spirit of the original Man in Black seems to be here, too: A funny thought since this little Caribbean island is far away from Nashville.
 
Acoustic jam night at the Brick House on Monday nights is the brainchild of local musician Jack Alban. Using the courtyard in Grand Harbour for its venue, the stage can be viewed from 360 degrees.
 
Everyone is invited to play or join the audience. There are no limitations on the genre, there is no cover and no lofty expectations.
 
But that is the thing about acoustic jam night. Because it is an open mic driven by local musicians, you never know what awaits you. It could be a cover song or something the musician wrote. It could be a solo, a duo or a group that regularly get together to play. The musician could be part of a successful rock band, but just happens to be here on holiday. Everything from an accomplished musician who plays in his spare time to someone not so skilled, but still working on his music and ready to put himself out there in front of a live audience. Musicians of all levels are welcome here and in this courtyard full of locals, residents, tourists and a handful of children and some dogs; musicians of all types find a warm audience.
 
So it was in this environment that professional skateboarder Josh Harmony, who just happened to be in town, walked up to the stage with a borrowed guitar and sat down in front of a microphone. Living in California’s dry climate, Josh fingers felt a little awkward over the strings as he opened with a Blues song. But no one seemed to notice as Josh quickly found his rhythm, bringing his audience with him to the sweet sounds of old school Blues.
 
Nearby, a kid about 12 years old tries out some co-ordinated shoulder and foot movements – his  skateboard helmet still on. Another woman hugs her dog.  
Josh moves on to another song with a folksy flavour. His voice floats in the air to a song he wrote. The audience is with him.
 
Much later, four guys jump on stage with a guitar and conga drums and jam out to a mixture of acoustic rock songs. The musicians connect with each other and the audience. And for the moment, there is only music. Time stops for the musicians and the audience in a way that only live music can do. And in that moment float sweet acoustic rhythms.
 
Acoustic Jam Night takes place at the Brick House courtyard in the Grand Harbour plaza, on Monday nights from 7.30 pm to 11.00 pm or longer. All musicians are welcome.   WH