Not An Ordinary Open Mic Night

“This is not an open mic; this is your life,” proclaims an epic faraway voice, echoing throughout the BBC Radio airwaves.

Videos by American Songwriter

The voice belongs to American songwriter and Antifolk leader Lach (pronounced “latch”), a former classical pianist outcasted by the Greenwich Village folk scene for being “too punk.” Rather than conform to what he thought were narrow-minded standards, Lach opened his own after-hours nightclub called The Fort. The Fort switched locations several times before finally settling down in Sophie’s, a bar in Manhattan’s East Village. It was here that he hosted the open mic night in question, his famous Antihoot.

The longest running open mic night in Manhattan, the Antihoot has hosted a variety of “freaks, misfits and dreamers,” including Suzanne Vega, Jeff Buckley, Beck, Regina Spektor, the Moldy Peaches and even Stefani Germanotta before her meat-wearing days as Lady Gaga.

Lach takes us back to one of those legendary open mic nights during the first installment of his four-part BBC Radio 4 series The Lach Chronicles. With his hilarious anecdotes, never-ending wit and over-the-top sound effects, Lach tells a compelling tale of the time a certain folk singer paid a visit to the Antihoot. He called the episode The Night Dylan Came, although it could have easily been titled The Night I Ditched Bob Dylan To Smoke A Cigarette.

Lach now lives in Edinburgh, where he hosts multiple weekly events at Henry’s Cellar Bar. The first thirteen-minute episode of The Lach Chronicles aired on July 17, and the next three will air on July 24, July 31 and August 7.

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