Returning from the cold, winter-like climate of Liege, Belgium – where I had the brilliant idea on my final night and after all these years of finally eating a Café Liegois (great!) – I had the not-so-brilliant idea of dressing the same warm way as I went to the Paris open mics last night. I arrived at the Tennessee Bar to find the place bursting at the seams with customers, listeners, but not that many musicians at that moment. So it was that James, the MC, offered that I go up right after the current performer. I went up, did four songs, and descended from the stage in a state of sweat like none I have ever experienced before.
I tend to give a lot physically when I sing and play, so I usually do sweat. But last night was the most insane thing ever. Just drenched. And my new black Paul Smith, tight-fitting shirt turned into something that looked like the satin or silken duds of a hard rock, heavy metal guru. Death. Metal. I had to try to use the bathroom of the Tennessee to wash up a little, but it was clear I would not survive what I had hoped would be a long night of music and more than one open mic.
So I had to leave the Tennessee prematurely. The singer of the band taking to the stage as I left asked my permission to sing “Whats Up!” since that was one of the four songs I sang – and probably the one that evoked the most sweat – and I thought it was cute and nice of her to ask. But I told her it was not my song, so of course she could sing it. In fact, I think she should have asked herself or the audience for permission to redo a song that had just been done. I imagine she must have been disappointed to hear me do it, as they were three or four of them and they had rehearsed What’s Up…. I caught part of it on video – and you can see how packed the place was on the return of the summer holiday goers in Paris – August is officially over.
So I decided to stop on the way to the Coolin open mic to buy myself a T-Shirt, since I could not survive the night in a wet suit, even if it was signed Paul Smith. I could only find a Souvenir de Paris store open at that time, however, and so I had to buy a black T-Shirt with the Eiffel Tower on it. The salesman had the brilliant – though not very loyal – idea of turning the shirt inside out and cutting off the tag at the collar. So it was that I looked almost passable when I arrived at the Coolin, if not exactly Paul Smith chic.
There, the temperature was much more conducive to singing energetic songs, and many people did. I chose something a little more low key to start with – “Wicked Game”. It was a wonderful night at Coolin, and afterwards, most of us went down to the Seine to jam a little more. However we might judge the first part of the evening, the second part was clearly a case of Coolin’ off…. No sweat!