Tuesday’s open mic night at Chelsea’s Corner Café in Eureka Springs saw the formation and dissolution of 17 distinct musical ensembles. Among them was a five-person all-washboard band known as “The Rubs” that performed for seven minutes before band member Keith “Keystone” Biggins stepped outside to “burn one down” and wandered off.
The Rubs then invited audience member Missy O’Clary to join them, despite never having met the University of Arkansas sophomore and despite the fact that O’Clary had no musical training other than a year of clarinet in the seventh grade. After a brief discussion, the group announced that it would be called “Missy O’Clary’s Magic Mountain Experience.” O’Clary was handed a beer bottle to blow on and played admirably until the group split up following a twelve minute jug-band rendition of “No Quarter.”
Other groups that came and went included
- “Packrat Hootenanny,” a quartet featuring a banjo, mouth harp, heavily distorted electric guitar, and spoons;
- “The Super-Ups,” a group that required beard length of no fewer than four inches to join;
- “Show Us Your Tots,” an all-girl power pop band that performed while sitting in a canoe someone brought in from the street; and
- “Widespread Panic,” who got lost after Wakarusa and happened to be in town. (Note: Widespread was not counted in the 17 bands who formed and dissolved over the course of the evening.)
Chelsea’s Corner Café is a Eureka icon. Located on Mountain Street downtown, they offer pizza and beer and have live music regularly. Open mic is every Tuesday.