The Salt Lake open jam scene has been a been off the hook lately with some great sessions and fun people. Yes, sometimes the spontaneous groupings of musicians can be awkward—that’s the risk you take at a jam night—but I’ve found that a majority of the people jumping up on stage can rock. Besides, many of these players are in bands and showing us all new, untested material. So yeah, I can roll with it.
…sometimes the spontaneous groupings of musicians can be awkward—that’s the risk you take at a jam night.”
Most Salt Lake open jam nights have a house band to warm up the evening with the open jam antics beginning shortly there after. If you want to play, look for the signup sheet when you arrive. Sometimes the spots fill up fast. Here are some places to check out (we’ll be updating this in the coming weeks, so bookmark this page and check back in for up to date info):
The Royal, Murray
This place is one of my favorites and it has the potential to be bigly. In fact, the Royal’s stage is big. The viewing area is large, and the sound is masterfully bossed by Owen Owens. The full kitchen serves up great pizza and more, and there’s full bar downstairs and one upstairs on the balcony. Pro-tip: performers can’t see you up on the balcony—because of stage lighting—so you can get up there and make rude gestures all night. The Tuesday evenings jams start at 8 pm with solo or small ensemble acoustic and electric performers. At 10 pm, a house band kicks it off with a few tunes then the jam opens up. The Royal, 4760 S 900 E
The Hog Wallow Pub, Cottonwood Heights
I once endowed into a wetlands bog while mountain biking up at Kelly Canyon, northeast of Idaho Falls. My buddy Michael tagged the spot as Scott’s Hog Wallow. So years laters, when I moved to Salt Lake, I had a strong desire to check The Hog Wallow Pub out. When I did, it lived up to my expectations. The crowd can be a mix of ski tourists and locals. The Monday night jams start at 9pm and a house band usually plays til around 10-10:30 on the small and intimate stage. Form there on, it’s anyone’s guess. I love the 4$ pints of 801 Pilsners. Speaking of beer, check out this short piece on the History of Beer in Utah. The Hog Wallow Pub, 3200 E Big Cottonwod Canyon Rd.
The Hideout, South Salt Lake
Wednesday night jams can be found at the Hideout. This place reminds one of a typical dive bar. Nothing fancy. Pool tables. Tatoos and laid back peeps. I love it. The stage is a decent size and the jam is run by Thomas Roybal. I’ve seen a mix of Rock ‘n Roll and country music, so plan on an eclectic night of music. Signups start a 7pm and the jam runs ’till 11pm. Acoustic solo performers and small ensembles are welcome for the first half of the jam. My buddy Mike Feldman likes the Blond Hooker…Hooker Blonde Ale that is. (Side note: you can find some good local players on weekend evenings at Feldman’s Deli.) The Hideout, 3424 S State St.
This is the type of jam if, like me, you’re not quite ready for the big stage. When I went to Lumpy’s jam on Sunday night, it was a small crowd of mostly musicians. The stage is downstairs with a low ceiling and a small stage (watch your head). But the musicians were way chill. I did a solo piece, then a couple of the house band guys (Mitch Olson, Trevor James), with Alan Carrington, jumped up and joined me on a couple originals and an old cover I conjured up from the depths of Mordor. I think it was Bad Company’s Shooting Star. Nailed it! Then there was the guy who was so stoked at the music that night, he bought a round of drinks for all 14 of us! I hope he comes again. The jam at Lumpy’s get’s started at 8 pm and runs to 10 pm. Lumpy’s, 3000 S Highland Dr.
(Note: since the publication of this article, Lumpy’s is no longer hosting an open jam…update coming soon.)
The Green Pig, Salt Lake City
The reputation of the blues jam at The Green Pig preceded my actual visit. I had heard you don’t just walk in and get selected to play….that you have to earn a spot. I’m not a big blues guy and my chops are definitely questionable, so I never once considered bringing my guitar on this trip. Maybe I’ll get the nerve later this summer with a bit of work. The house band featured a familiar drummer by the name of Kevin Gardiner. I also recognized a few other players, like Gary Tada, who play the circuit, and the sound was nice and tight.
The vibe at the Pig is totally different from other Jam nights. For a Monday night, the place was almost packed with a mix of locals and trade show visitors. There was also quite a bit of dancing which was great. Despite the crowd, the service was great and I had no problem ordering a mug of Coors draft. Don’t hate me. I’ve been going out a lot and I needed something light and cheap. As far as food goes, the wings must be good: the tourists were eating them by the basket. Check out the Green Pig blues jam on every Monday from 10 pm to 1 am. The Green Pig, 31 E 400 S.
Gracie’s, Salt Lake City
Alan Carrington tells me the jam night at Gracie’s is interesting because being downtown, a bar has to meet certain standards. Alan, BTW, is a great photographer and shoots thousands of photos and videos of jam night performances and posts them on the Salt Lake Band Life facebook page. I digress. Gracie’s Monday night jam is a Jazz music jam and on Sunday nights it’s blues. I’m mostly keen on dropping in to the new Bluegrass Jam currently scheduled for once a month, every 3rd Tuesday. Gracie’s, 326 West Temple
Salt Lake open jam nights come and go and it can be hard to keep up with what’s what. Like I mentioned earlier, bookmark this page and return every now and then. We’ll do our best to keep it updated, including adding Ogden and Prove area events. If solo singer songwriter music is more your style, stay tuned for an upcoming article on Salt Lake open mic night scene. I’ve been hitting these up and there are some great ones out there, offering a relaxed enviro and some eclectic and talented artists.
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