A day after the snow storm with all Paris closed down, I still decided to go out and try my luck at the open mics. I ended up with a back-up plan, too. It turned out that the open mic at Aux Copains bar on the rue Victor Letalle was just up the street from La Feline, the bar where my friend Syd Alexander was planning to celebrate his birthday with friends.
So what could be better than turnin’ up and doing a bit of both things? I assumed Syd’s party would go on all night, but it turned out to be a few drinks only. I assumed more than just a handful of people would turn up for the open mic at the Copains, but it turned out only about five of us made it.
So I had some quick thinking to do. I did a song at the open mic, and I went down the street and invited Syd, and his friends to come to the open mic too. After all, it turned out that Syd’s group, the Burnin’ Jacks, was there to celebrate his birthday. But the atmosphere at the Copains ultimately struck me as not right for the Burnin’ Jacks – it is mostly a spoken word open mic, and there was just another feeling, and so after I played I rushed back to the Feline to find Syd and the gang of about 10 people just about to come and meet me.
“Change of plan,” I said. I proposed to them that we all go up two metro stops away, to Belleville, where I knew there was the blues jam of the Cabaret Culture Rapide. This, I was sure, would be perfect for the Burnin’ Jacks, and for the jamming blues musicians and the audience.
Turned out I was right. The Burnin’ Jacks did four or five songs, got the place really rockin’ and rollin’ and even the Belleville Blues Band looked like it enjoyed the set. Then I played a couple of songs, and later in the evening I did more. The Burnin’ Jacks, I think, had fun, and they got to advertise their upcoming gig next Friday at the Feline….
I, at least, was happy that I could turn around an otherwise potentially boring night after the snow storm when few Parisians dared go out, into something fun and cool.
Incidentally, the guy who plays the cool lead guitar is Félix, and he also played on two of my recordings at the Point Ephemere in July, on the songs, “Memories” and “Except Her Heart.”