In the summer of 2006 Lizard Lounge Club approached Tom Bianchi and asked him if he would like to run a Monday Night open mic. The talent buyer for Lizard Lounge Club (and its sister venue Toad) Billy Beard took note of Tom’s ability to rally musicians to put on great shows even with short notice and took a chance that Bianchi would be perfect for the job.

Tom Bianchi had run many open mic nights, different songwriter series and band residencies around town, but the opportunity to host an evening at Lizard Lounge Club, Cambridge’s premiere music venue was intriguing to say the least. The one major concern of Bianchi’s was simple, how do you run a ‘listening room’ show in a bar room atmosphere. In Tom’s own words, “I’ve run dozens of open mic nights. A couple of them were great, most of them sucked and the one common denominator of the bar room show is simple, as soon as people are liquored up, no one cares about the music anymore.” He did not want to run ‘that’ show in this prestigious venue.

Tom’s wife (fiancee at the time) and Boston based singer/songwriter Danielle Miraglia, had just been on an East Coast tour earlier in the year with a stop at Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta, GA. Eddie’s has hosted and open mic “contest” for many years and Danielle had won the Monday night prize, sixty bucks. On this tour she passed through again to compete at Eddie’s, but this time the stakes were much bigger. On the stage, more than a dozen Monday night winners going head to head... on the line, a $1000 grand prize.

Danielle made it through the grueling process and got to the final round where she was beat by the last artist standing. First prize, $1000. Second prize, $0,000.00. Could you imagine? One would think that would be depressing... but what struck Tom was this, in all her stories recalling the show Danielle’s stories were all positive. She had a blast. Danielle sold CD’s, grabbed new fans and made new friends. When she tours she can count on a show at Eddie’s and some friends and fans in the seats to see the artist that knocked their socks off. She sang praise of the perfect listening audience and the wonderful community. Tom thought, “Our town needs this!”

Tom called Eddie and Eddie was gracious. Not only did he give the ok to set up a northeastern version of the long-standing Eddie’s Attic Open Mic Contest, but Eddie offered advice and even shared his system for smoothly running the night.

With one slight change in the name, on September 11th, 2006 Bianchi opened the doors for the 1st ever “Lizard Lounge Open Mic Challenge,” the perfect atmosphere for musical peers of all levels, friends and fans of music alike come together to take in an amazing night of original music. The “Challenge” as Tom has dubbed it, is not so much to win the weekly contest, but to work on the craft, perform to the best of each artists ability and network alongs side a community of peers.

Now five years and running, the Lizard Lounge Open Mic Challenge, or LLOMC has consistently been accomplishing exactly that, every Monday Night.

 LLOMC Main Event Judge Nancy Scott
Lizard Lounge Staff and strongest supporter of the L.L.O.M.C in its youngest days