Best Open Mic

Binions

For too long, the open-mic scene in St. Louis has been the undisputed provenance of dudes with acoustic guitars. And that's OK, mostly — there's nothing wrong with dudes or acoustic guitars, but they're hardly the only people in town with a song to share. So it was heartening to happen upon Binions on the opening night of its live-band open-mic night, which takes place each Thursday. A crack house band, with guitar, bass, drums, keys and turntables, is on hand to back up performers; on the night we visited, the group showed its ability to riff on everything from OutKast to Stevie Wonder at a moment's notice. Our ears were treated to performers trying out original neo-soul compositions, a few hip-hop artists working out a new track and some golden-era Whitney Houston thrown in for good measure.

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