Robbie Taylor, known as Orbbie, performs at Piano Jam at Serbian Crown Restaurant in Great Falls.
Great Falls Jennifer Flynn of Vienna stopped by the Serbian Crown Restaurant Thursday, Aug. 23 because she had heard about the highly-rated cuisine. What she didn’t expect was the latest edition of Piano Jam, the restaurant’s monthly open mic night.
"I had no idea we were coming on a night there would be performances, but it was a really neat show," she said. "It was nice to see some local musicians performing, and I think it added a lot to the atmosphere."
The monthly Piano Jam began last June, after local resident David Mascatello had a chance run-in with local musician Bennie Potter, whose band Western Electric is a fixture at local venues.
"Bennie was telling me about how he liked to play shows at Serbian Crown, and it got back to me that management was looking to maybe host a few music shows there," Mascatello said. "It was difficult at first, there were a few with just me up there with my guitar, and literally no one else there. But it built up."
After a few months, Mascatello began finding other acts to put on a sort of showcase, and that’s when the idea grew legs.
"I think a lot of people didn’t really think live music had a place at a four-star place, but we did get some compliments," he said. "Once we made it into a showcase, we got a piano player as the main attraction, and made it into an open mic."
They hold customers to an unofficial requirement of a $3 donation to the artist and a minimum for $15 for the check, but Mascatello says it’s rarely an issue.
"In my experience, live music usually means fried chicken wings and greasy burgers, and great food means classical, quiet piano in the background, but the open mic at Serbian Crown is neither," said George Hoiles of Great Falls. "It’s a fun vibe, but a step up from a pub or typical dive bar, it’s a very new experience for me."
Piano Jam is held at Serbian Crown restaurant, 1141 Walker Road, in Great Falls. It takes place on the fourth Thursday of every month from 7 to 10 p.m. The next installment will be Sept. 27.