If you are ever in Hobart on a Monday evening, it's worth dropping into Onba (just opposite the Republic) for their Open Mic Night.

Onba opened up some time after I left Hobart. It's a smallish place that does tapas, cocktails, wine, beer, live music, up-market cafe meals, free(ish) Internet access and decent coffee. The atmosphere is great and the whisky selection is small yet tasteful. Your average Sydney pub has nothing on this.

I didn't really know what to expect at the open mic session. I mean, I figured things would be pretty laid-back and friendly, but I wasn't sure about what kind of music they'd have, or how good it would be. First thing I see when I went up the stairs was my friend Alistair playing guitar accompanying two people on bongos and a chap on one of those hand-held things with keyboards that you blow into. I recognized one of the bongo players, since I had glared at him murderously the day before when he dared to play during my 2pm breakfast.

It was a bit more world / folk than I'm used to, but it was good for all that. After Al stepped down, the guy on the melodica (yay learning) swapped places with the non-breakfast bongo player and did some improv. That was fun.

The biggest surprise of the evening (except, perhaps, for the fact that Talisker costs \$26 a glass) was hearing Al sing some of his own songs. I'd heard some of his stuff a few years back at the turn of the century and it was all well-polished and what-have-you, but since then... I don't know, I guess I was surprised at how much I enjoyed his music and how much it affected me. I could pull it all apart and say how his singing is much better and how he's obviously more relaxed and that live acoustic in a nice pub is more appropriate to the songs than a professionally mixed recording in an office—I could do that—but I'll leave that to the professionals.

Also, you've probably forgotten how good Prince is (was). This is OK, he's been dormant for a while and his recent stuff isn't great. Still, you should take yourself down to your record store and find something that has Raspberry Beret on it. One guy at Onba played a warm acoustic cover, good enough to make me shut up and listen.

the kind u find