I’ve been off the blog for a couple of days while travelling around the world, destination: Singapore. Arrived yesterday afternoon in a terrible rain storm, then stormed over to the F1 paddock for a day of work in the series’ only night race, and then stormed off to a place on North Bridge Road at Boat Quay, called Actors, the Jam Bar.
Actually, stopped at a nearby food joint to eat some chicken and noodles and drink a Tiger Beer. But then went up the stairs to Actors and found there on stage a guy I had already met last year at this fabulous jam session bar nearby the trendy quarter of Clarke Quay. This was the guitar player and singer named Clement, who was jamming already with a man on bass and another on drums.
We renewed acquaintance, and he remembered details about me, like that I was a journalist, and that, “Hey man, sing your Cat Stevens song – “Father and Son.” Now that was very cool, I thought, since we had not been in touch in a year. I asked about the guy who ran the place last year. “Where’s Ringo?” I asked, as that was the name of the man.
“Dead,” said Clement.
“No,” he said. “Just joking. He just doesn’t work here anymore.”
Great joke, Clement! Anyway, it was the beginning of a great night of jamming. I had discovered the bar last year and I remembered that it was a very relaxed, easy place to go and play, where in fact, the mission statement of the place is the following: “A live jam bar for musicians and music lovers alike, this is one place where the band never gets boring. Comprising of patrons from the bar, the impromptu band, made up of various executives from all walks of life, dishes out radio friendly fare and old school rock hits.”
In other words, my kind of place. It’s a dark room with wooden walls and tables and chairs, a long bar and a very narrow terrace where you can go out the have a smoke and look at the skyline. The sound system is pretty good, and I love the reverb on the vocal mic that makes almost anyone sound great. There is also a kind of karaoke set up where the band plays the music and the person from the audience can read the lyrics and sing from the hundreds of songs available in paper binders. But this year I noticed that something that looked like an iPad was now fixed near the mic and full of lyrics.
I sang several songs, including the Cat Stevens he requested and also “Where Will the Children Play.” Clement played along on guitar and we did the “Father and Son” a second time together, with him on harmony and bass.
Soon a couple of members from other bands that had just finished a gig elsewhere in Singapore arrived and they joined up in the jam. So we had some fine music, particularly with the members of the band called Ocular, and one guy from a band called No Strings Attached.
I had a great time, but the videos I made are terribly lit because the lighting was so low. The sound is pretty good, though, so I am putting them up anyway.
I think I will return to the Actors bar tonight because there will be more people on a Friday night. I’ve been invited to go and see the two above mentioned bands, too, at the venues where they play on Friday and Saturday, and they said I could play a song or two. Ocular plays at Chijmes on Friday and Saturday and at Giraffe. The guy from No Strings Attached will play at one of those venues with them.
But on Saturday I also want to make it over to Crazy Elephant in Clarke Quay to take in the set by my friend from Paris, Ollie Fury. Ollie, who runs the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic on Tuesdays in Paris will play from 9:30 to 10:30 tomorrow.