Local venue cultivates talent

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West Chester’s Cozy hookah and cigar bar offers Tuesday night open mic to musicians and performers of all strokes

By P.J. D’Annunzio, Staff Writer, UnionvilleTimes.com

Telly Pandel is at the mic at Cozy's in West Chester.

WEST CHESTER — Is this thing on?

When you first walk into Cozy, you’re immediately transported to another world, something out of Casablanca perhaps. Adorned on the walls throughout the smoky den are bits of Egyptian décor and on the floor, Middle Eastern cushions. They line the way to the stage which, oddly enough, showcases players not only in front of an audience but also in the display window for passersby.

Too much pressure for the armchair Dylan? Not at all. Cozy’s open mic caters to all brave souls who want to take their shot at stardom.

“Newcomers and people who have been playing a while can both benefit from coming to open mic,” said Cozy open mic emcee Telly Pandel.

“For a newcomer there’s the experience of getting out and basically performing in front of a crowd. For a seasoned player it’s good for testing new material. For both types of players there’s a community: people you see week to week, people you get to know and end up collaborating with along the line. Overall, both experienced and new performers experience growth, and basically it’s a good way to cultivate that growth.”

The open mic welcomes a vast array of performers including bands, guitarists, singer/songwriters, poets, spoken word performers, rappers, comedians, percussionists, and others.

Cozy’s open mic is a place where multi-genre performers can thrive as well.

“I like the environment here,” guitar player and teacher Bill Kucera said. “I play a wide range from Dance to Heavy Metal to Country and everything in between. It’s also a great way to network with other musicians in the area.”

In a time when musicians are struggling more than ever to survive, the open mic circuit becomes more and more critical for musicians both aspiring and practiced.

“For musicians there tends to be a lack of places to play; venues that aren’t willing to have you out or will only book professionals,” Pandel said. “Maybe you want to get out there and get exposure or you want to start getting paid gigs but don’t have enough experience, it’s a great place for that too. For other people, they’re searching out local, original music and open mics are a great way to find that. “

In the end, when the smoke clears, Cozy’s open mic is a great way to perform, watch, or just unwind. It’s “no pressure” environment serves to welcome musicians of all strokes and help others who are connected through music to meet and socialize.

“It’s always a mix of seasoned players and newcomers who just want to get out and experience live performing for the first time,” Pandel said. “You get all types. If nothing else, it’s always entertaining.”

Open mic is held on Tuesdays at 8 PM at Cozy Hookah and Cigar Bar, 122 E Gay St
West Chester, PA 19380. For more details, call (610) 696-5300.

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