Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Playing at the George Payne open mic in Barcelona

May 20, 2011
bradspurgeon

Sometimes on my worldwide musical adventure I get the feeling that an open mic here or there has been thrown together just for me. When I played in Cologne two years ago I found what was certainly the only open mic in the city, and it happened to be on the first day I arrived, the Thursday, I stumble across it immediately while searching the bars desperately for an open mic, and it had only existed for three months. Although Barcelona is full of open jam sessions, the strict open mic mic format is more rare. Two years ago I discovered an open mic on the Monday night at an Irish pub called the George Payne, on the Place Urquinaona. But it did not last long. Yesterday after an internet search, I found it was happening again, and it was on Thursdays.

I arrived last night to find that it has only existed since last week, but in only one week it has become a great success. There were all sorts of accomplished musicians and bands there to play last night in this vast “Irish Pub,” which looks more like a Texas whorehouse, if you ask me – although I’ve never set foot in a pub in Ireland OR a Texas whorehouse…. but anyway….

This time around it was more Spanish, too, as the MC, Max, is Spanish, and there were more Spanish-speaking performers, despite the Irish pub aspect to it. There were the usual expats too, and some very good ones. In fact, most of the performers were a multicultural mix – from Joe-Psalmist of Nigerian origin to Jesse Masterson and Paul Henry of Argentine, Spanish, U.S. and British mix to me, a Canadian living in Paris….

Most of us did around three songs, although the guys dressed up like the Blues Brothers – Masterson and Henry – did a lot more, by popular demand.

Oh, forgot to mention, the Internet also led me astray as I first went to a very hip musical venue called KGB, that was supposed to have an open mic according to the net, but which had some kind of pin-up girl thing going on instead. Reminded me of the venue in Paris called the Machine du Moulin Rouge.

Now onwards to the many blues, rock and jazz jams in the coming days….

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One Comment

  1. Hi there. I realize this post is old, but I was hoping you had any help for finding an open mic in Barcelona or Madrid. I’m spending 10 days there in December, and want to bring my guitar. Also…is the street performing super cutthroat? Would I be frowned upon for playing a few songs in English on the street somewhere?

    Any help would be great! Thanks!

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