A RoseHill In the Rough

By Tessa M. Dobrow

 
Courtesy of the  Rose Hill Mondays  Facebook page

Courtesy of the Rose Hill Mondays Facebook page

Rosehill Mondays, normally held in the Lower East Side’s Grand Union Hotel, is being temporarily being relocated to The Renaissance Hotel, as the Grand Union Hotel is under renovation. According to Grand Union hotel staff the event will be returning to its original location in the Fall.

However, while it remains, one of the grandest open mic nights in the Lower East Side mystically transports its patrons back to the days where live music was just about the music.

The event is held on Monday nights from 9pm-1am. Typically, before 9pm entry is free and after the cover charge is $10 and grants attendees a free drink ticket to redeem at the bar.

The intoxicating atmosphere is a somewhat hidden room within the hotel. It contains a full bar, plush sofas, modern art covering the walls and sacks of books on various bookshelves. The room’s whole aesthetic gently gives a nod to the 70’s jazz scene including attendees who are all seemingly connected to one another. Whether they’re performers, staff, loyal patrons or first timer’s, the event’s friendly aura comes across through it’s people.

The event is hosted by who the patrons refer to as the Mels. One of the Mels, Melonie Daniels-Walker, was formally Mariah Carey’s background singer; equipped with a voice that transcends light and space. It’s fueled by effortless power and is topped off with excellent musical timing. Daniels and the other Mel, Melodie Ray who is equally as gifted, kick off each open mic night with a playful duet, warming up the audience and the remarkable band.

Name almost any pop culture song and the band will start playing it. In fact, this is how the majority of the evening operates. The performer requests a song, and the band plays it. They start when the singer starts, stop when the singer stop and make every performance one of a kind by adding their own melodic flare to each song.

There are also patrons who bring their own instruments to play. More often than not there is someone in the vicinity carrying around a guitar waiting for their turn to perform, while another carries a synthesizer. Occasionally original music will also be performed by a patron, but more often the night is filled with colorful covers of songs.

It’s not uncommon for the hosts to interweave their own performances into the set list. Nothing’s planned, the band just starts playing, the hosts start singing and music is created.

The Mel’s also do an astounding job at making every performer feel welcome. They introduce each performer by asking the audience, “Are you ready to meet your new favorite artist”, which is almost always greeted by cheers!

New York City has hundreds of open mic nights and live music performances every night, but there’s something unspeakable about Rosehill Mondays that makes it special.

A patron of the event, Jackie Paladino, gives her thoughts to why Rosehill Mondays is so exceptional.

She says, “That place is the epitome of New York. It’s what New York used to be and it’s what New York should be”.