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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Your guide to weekly Joliet-area open mics and blues jams

William Alexander Wine Studio
By Ted Slowik

If you're a musician itching to get out and perform at an open mic or blues jam in Joliet, Ill., you can find a place nearby to play every weeknight.

Jam sessions and open mics tend to come and go and move around, but as 2016 dawns here's a rundown of current weekly performance opportunities.
Gustos Bar & Grill

Sunday
Sunday Sessions open mic starts at 7 p.m. at William Alexander Wine Studio, 900 S. State St., Lockport (815-834-9463). "All musical talent welcome, please bring your own cords. Keyboard, PA and electric drums provided."

Not sure where T-Bird Huck's band is jamming these days but for many years you could catch his band hosting an open blues jam on Sundays at various venues around Will County. If anybody knows--leave a comment!

Monday
Alex Hoffer hosts acoustic open mic at 8 p.m. at Chicago Street Pub, 75 N. Chicago St., Joliet. (815-727-7171). Predominantly acoustic but the occasional electric player who brings an amp isn't turned away.

If bluegrass is your thing, grab your guitar, banjo, mandolin, upright bass or other acoustic instrument and head to Tribes Alehouse, 9501-R West 171st St., Tinley Park (708-966-2051) for the Weekly Monday Bluegrass Jam, 7 to 10 p.m., hosted by Steve Haberichter of Down Home Guitars in Frankfort. (Note: no jam on Jan. 4 but will resume Jan. 11).


Tuesday
Billy Osman hosts a free electric jam from 7 to 11 p.m. every Tuesday at Gustos Bar & Grill, 2115 Plainfield Road, Crest Hill (815-744-4159). Typically the house band includes Doug Horan on bass and Ted Matichak on drums.  


Also, The Tree of Joliet (formerly Mojoes) hosts an open jam at 22 W. Cass St. in downtown Joliet (815-666-8079). Sign-up starts at 7 p.m., music starts at 8 p.m. "Open jams at the Tree of Joliet on Tuesday nights are available to all musicians, just get up on the big stage (with a sound tech) and rock!! It's that's simple and awesome! Drum kit, guitar amp, bass amp, plug in for acoustic, and mics are all available for use."

Wednesday
Electric Wednesday Open Mic takes place every week at The Drunken Donut, aka The Joliet Bakery,
The Drunken Donut
821 Plainfield Road, Joliet (815-723-8210). Sign up at 8 p.m. with music starting at 8:30. A showcase for the area's exceptional young, original talent. The occasional stand-up comic and acoustic act rounds out what typically is an evening of good, loud rock music with lots of hip-hop, prerecorded beats and jams. It's a donut shop by day, bar/live music venue by night, and Stan the owner/bartender will take good care of you. The jam is expertly hosted by Alex Ziech, and sign up is first come, first choice, so you might want to get there as early as 6:30 to choose your slot. Also demand is so great performance slots are limited to 15 at most, so there's a rule that performers may not play two consecutive weeks.


Also on Wednesdays there's an open mic from 8-11 p.m. at Jenny's Southside Tap (also known as 191 South or Jenny's Steakhouse), 10160 W. 191st St., Mokena 8-11 (708-479-6873).

Thursday
The place to be is the 8 p.m. blues jam every Thursday at Grubens Uptown Tap, 24035 Lockport St., Plainfield. (815-436-9395). Full back line provided with regular appearances by Tut and the Blues Kings and many others. Hosted on alternate weeks by The Billy Osman Band and the Hip Shakin' Party.

It's not a weekly gathering, but it's worth noting that on the third Thursday of each month Kevin Krauss typically hosts an open mic at Chicago Street Pub. 

And on the first Thursday of every month Brian Barry hosts New Lenox's longest-running acoustic open mic at JBD White Horse Inn, 348 W. Maple St. (815-485-4848). Gets underway at 9 p.m.

If you know of other open mics and blues jams in the Joliet area, leave a comment!