The What-Have-You

Del Ray Alexandria’s music open mic for dudes, duders, and el duderinos

The What-Have-You (TWHY) music open mic at Evening Star Cafe mixes solo performers, bands, and pickup jams together in a loose, industry-night-style environment.

This is a musicians’ hang, hosted by musicians for musicians who want maybe to perform but maybe just want to hang out with other musicians on a weeknight. The vibes are casual and comfortable, with a touch of music snobbiness, but not hipster snootiness.

Please abide.

Photos by Mike Ratel

In order to facilitate solo and group performers, we provide a full backline (details below) AND instruments. This allows us to do quick changeovers, keep the night moving, and helps ensure every signup gets to play. There is NO NEED to bring your instruments or amps, unless it’s something like harmonica, trumpet, or something else we don’t provide.

You can direct questions to the hosts at Please email ahead if you have any “special requests” or “can I do this” inquiries. However, we don’t do advanced signups.


Generally, TWHY happens every first and third Weds of every month, in the No. 9 Upstairs Lounge at Evening Star Cafe, in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria.

The first Weds is an “any songs” night, while the third Weds is typically a theme night. The idea is, each act has to play one song that somehow satisfies the theme.

Start time is 8:30 pm or as soon as we get the PA working (typically 4-6 mins late). Signups onsite around 8pm.

Our upcoming dates are:

JUL 3: No theme other than being the night before a holiday
JUL 17: One Hit Wonders Night, songs by artists with a single claim to fame

AUG 7: No theme
AUG 21: End of Summer night, songs about when the party’s over

SEPT 4: No theme
SEPT 18: Bluegrass Night, an unplugged night with no amps, just two stage mics

OCT 2: No theme
OCT 16: Tom Waits Night, long-rumored, yes we’re finally doing it

lotta ins, lotta outs


TWHY is organized and hosted by Del Ray locals Greg Roth and Gabe Fry.

Both have played in numerous bands at numerous venues (sometimes together).

They’ve collectively played the 930 Club, State Theatre, Black Cat, Iota (rip), Rock and Roll Hotel (rip), Galaxy Hut, Jaxx (good riddance just kidding), a parking lot at SXSW, and various empty buildings for Artomatic.

Evening Star Cafe graciously hosts us, but does not run the open mic itself.


Signups onsite starting around 8pm day of.

Open Mic starts at 8:30 pm, ends around 11:30 pm.

Each act gets 2ish songs or 10-ish minutes. Kinda depends on how many performer slots we fill.

Quieter acts typically perform in hour one, bands and jams happen after, then we finish again w/ quieter acts so we don’t wake the neighbors.

Calling for volunteers to join your jam is encouraged.

NOTE: We don’t necessarily follow the order of signups, opting instead to establish a nice flow and make switches as the night dictates. 


We provide a full backline and your basic rock instrument lineup:

Acoustic guitar (s) w/ DI boxes

2-3 electric guitars with pedal boards and 2 tube guitar amps

1 bass + amp

1 88-key keyboard + amp

Full drum set (cymbals/snare/sticks/brushes/mallets/rods and all)

Drum rug which really ties the room together

Full PA system with 3 vocal mics

Regular features

In between performers, we’re chatty and we typically cover these but sometimes other topics:

Any questions? Ask us or someone else. Not the bar, tho.

Our Facebook page.