This week, I had the chance to experience Tuesday Verses, a weekly open mic night for music and poetry that’s been going on at Addis Ethiopian Restaurant for the last 11 years, making it Richmond’s longest running poetry event.It’s promoted as a simple open mic night, but it was much more than that. The energy was already filling the room by the time I got there and as people went up to perform, no one was quiet. People were cheering and clapping and having a great time.
I’m amazed at the level of talent that went up and performed. There was a girl who sang a soulful R&B version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge.” There was a hip hop artist who did some freestyle rap (I later learned he goes under the name Just P). There were heartbreaking poems about mental instability and loss of emotions. Jazz musician Victor Haskins blew everyone always with his trumpet skills. One woman belted out some Robbin Thicke songs. On top of all that, the Verses house band was always on point and able to quickly pick up playing anything at the drop of a hat.
Afterword, everyone was ordered to stand up and meet someone in the crowd that they didn’t know. It was very much like a church environment, where everyone was friendly and happy to meet everyone else. You could feel the love and support from everyone in the room. It made me want to never leave.
Verses takes place every Tuesday night at Addis Ethiopian Restaurant and Wednesdays at Bohemian Caverns in DC. Go to one of these. It will seriously change your life.