Vanessa and I decided to go to the Baroc open mic last night. Every Tuesday in Paris, near Belleville, this cool bar hosts an open mic. It has been run for around a year by Leander Lyons, an American in his twenties who plays guitar, percussion and sings. He’s also got a degree in music from some U.S. university, and his whole life revolves around music – a cool, nice man.
And last night we were pretty thankful to him for getting us up early behind the mic at the Baroc, as we both had other things to tend to today, and so could not stay too late. The place was just beginning to really get going, too, when we left around 11 PM. The open mic was as usual, very open in approach too. The first guy who went up sang/talked a couple of songs and then did a theatrical piece – enunciating like a trained actor – that I did not really listen to as Vanessa and I were trying to figure out which songs to do and how to do them. There was a woman singer with a guitar and a percussionist, and a trio of musicians who played some kind of rap/hip hop thing just before us.
The crowd is consistently, but not only, young. The musicians are mostly young too, and the vibe is cool, innovative, open – as I said. So when we got up to play, having finally agreed that we were not yet ready to do “Where the Wild Roses Grow” – since I have not yet memorized either the words or the chords, we had decided to do our “Mad World” and “Just Like a Woman.” At the table we had worked out how we’d attack “Just Like a Woman,” with Vanessa coming in at strategic points – ie, “…just like a woman…” – and me cutting out there, and I worried I’d forget the plan. But as I said to her – and to myself -, “We should just go up there and have fun.” I thought even off-the-cuff stuff would be effective, since people want a “live” show, not a memorized, regurgitated recitation.
Vanessa had put on some make up and looked young and great. I looked old and tired, probably. But I felt great by the time we got up and began. We started with the Dylan, since we are fuller and more together on the “Mad World.” We went through them both with few errors, a bit of back-and-forth laughing chatter and kidding, and basically I think we looked all right. But the Baroc is one of those crowds where there is a lot of talking at the tables, there is eating, there is gossip, and some listening to the music too. So I was far from convinced we’d reached many people.
But to throw it all together in no particular order, the general impression was that we brought the house down – as much as you can at the Baroc. Several people, including the manager, asked us where we were playing around town, what gigs we had lined up, etc. From the mic after we left the stage area, Leander asked if we had any announcements to make – ie, gigs lined up that we wanted people to go to.
Needless to say, we were both in seventh heaven and surprised, and inspired to go on. Sure, why not? A beautiful young woman and an older, world-weary guy – nice combination. Serge Gainsbourg exploited that one several times….
Anyway, will update on the further adventures of Brad and Vanessa as, and if, they happen….