“What inspired the showcase was the need to do something new and different,” Hopping said. “After working the past four years with Lynnea Bourgeois of Mother's Saloon, building a successful music program, we realized that we needed to shake it up a bit.”
According to Hopping, the venue tried karaoke for about three months, however, “that wasn't what we hoped it would be, so then I took a look back at everything we had accomplished and asked myself how could I do better and what was I missing?” He soon realized that one of the largest resources he had was pretty much untapped.
“That was the many solo and acoustic artists asking me to put them in the mix, but I really had nowhere to truly showcase them. With the help of the new GM of Mother's, Chris Livesay, together we came up with the idea.”
Although Hopping has a rich pool of local talent to choose from, he is actively seeking out new performers for the series. “I have three slots to fill each week, each with a 45-minute set,” he said. “I use my own resources and I am also utilizing a new app called Gigtown to help me book at least one of those spots each week.”
While the performers must play with acoustic instruments, Hopping is open to all genres. “Honestly I'm looking for it all,” he said. “I want to know what inspires the crowd each week, as well as each artist and with the people they bring each week. I’m a firm believer in that, if you make a place for the music, the music will find it's own way.”
He notes there is no preference to whether or not a performer chooses covers or originals to play. “I leave that up to the artist and let them showcase what they think is best about their act.” Upcoming performers include Kyle Merrill of Brothers Gow (Jan. 25), Amy Day (Feb. 1) and Jimmy Lewis of Superunloader (Feb. 15).
Though Hopping has experience booking performers, he’s particularly happy to be booking this acoustic showcase. “A couple of things come to mind,” he mused. “First of all, there is the intimacy of the venue. It gives closer connection to the artists and allows them to be in a space to sell themselves and their music. Secondly, it expands my knowledge and understanding as well as reach, as the SD music scene evolves. I'm a real hands-on kind of guy,” he said good naturedly.
For his part, Hopping is also thrilled with the renewed spotlight on music in Ocean Beach. “Personally I've known that OB was a hot spot for musicians since I moved here from Nebraska 13 years ago,” he remarked. “That fact has now turned into a reputation that is known across the country. It's one of the last iconic Southern California beach towns, and I am thrilled to be a driving force in the ongoing evolution of not just the local scene in OB, but in San Diego and beyond,” he said.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesdays.
Where: Mother’s Saloon, 2228 Bacon St., 21 and up.