Odds are if you walked into the Mad Batter Bar at the Carroll Villa Hotel on Jackson Street, on any given Sunday night, you’d think; “What is going on in here?” That’s a questions even the locals proclaim almost every Sunday night as well. Ask a local if it’s always like this, and you’re likely to get a response: yep been like this all winter.
The Mad Batter Sunday nights, hosted by a guy named M. Q. Murphy have become a mecca for Cape May musicians. Cape May for that matter has been incubating original singer-songwriter types for some time now. At the end of most Sunday nights, attendees are mystified by what they just experienced. The quality and the variety of both young, mid-young, and seasoned musicians and vocalists has people scratching their musical heads.
Questions like, where is this going? Where is this energy coming from? Combine great bar service, atmosphere, and over-the-top musicians, and you, like me, will ask where are we? Are we in Nashville or Austin, just to name comparable towns with music like Cape May? (That’s meant to be a compliment.)
Owner Mark Kulkowitz, knows something special is happening in his establishment. You can see his wheels turning about the bigger picture. Sure a full bar means sales are good. But Mark’s heart is in it too. He would like to see a bigger stage area for the performers. On more than one night he has re-arranged the dining rooms to accommodate the ever-growing, ever attentive audiences. The Mad Batter, like the Blue Bird in Nashville, is becoming Cape May’s premier listening room.
The neat thing about Sunday nights at the Mad Batter, is that it starts and ends as a family affair. Young upstarts occasionally wow the crowds, with mom watching, while they display talent beyond their years. The night often crescendos with another family–The Bastard Sons of Captain Mey. Growing in popularity, so much so, the Sons recently landed on the cover of the color edition of Exit Zero Magazine.
The Mad Batter music Cape May offers, is difficult to reduce to words. With social media pages like Facebook, you can follow many of the published performers profiles. You can follow Twitter accounts of people like Ginny Murray, who frequently uses her Periscope App to broadcast highlights.
Better yet, get yourself over to the Mad Batter on a Sunday night and hear and see for yourself. If you go the music usually starts around Seven P.M. Get there early to get a seat at the bar. You will find yourself scratching your head in wonderment. Wondering why have I not been here before.