Best Open-Mike Night - 2013
In a city with few open mikes, and even fewer that are consistently good, Stone Groove is a breath of fresh bohemian air. Tuesdays at 10 p.m. at the Vagabond, some of Miami's finest poets read and recite their works while the weekly MC, Marcus Blake, keeps the artistry flowing across the stage in a steady but powerful stream. The Vagabond puts first-timers and veterans alike in the same spotlight at a venue that's ideally suited for intimate but impactful performances — dark, moody lighting and enough space to seat scores of audience members who tend to be very supportive of those on the mike. Voices of rebellion, of discontent, of sublime exaltation become enriched and emblazoned by the Stone Groove's weekly band, which keeps the funk churning and fills the atmosphere with keen sounds to match the mood of each respective poet. The vibe is low-key yet vibrant, and the ambiance, composed of potent words and smoky air glowing in soft red light, immerses listeners in the moving performances that flow from the microphone. Sure, it breaks the mold of Miami open-mike nights. Maybe that's exactly why it's become so popular.