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Playing at Brutopia Open Mic in Montreal, and the Viral One-Man Band

June 14, 2011

Brutopia was my utopia. At least for last night. I did the jam session Grumpy’s on Thursday, but it was not entirely made for my style. So I was banking everything on Brutopia, one of the mainstay open mics of Montreal. Brutopia, according to Bud Rice, who MCs the open mic, has been around longer than he has been on this earth…of course, that is not THAT long.

Located on the famous Crescent Street, where there is a street festival that accompanies the Formula One race, this open mic was in fact perfect for me after the race I attended. The Brutopia open mic does not start until close to 10:30, and there was no need to be there before that time to put your name on the list.

There were a lot of performers, but everyone got to play. The bar was loud, raucous, warm and friendly. The little part of Crescent Street where it is located seems to be made of a strip of pubs and bars of a similar kind, very English/Irish. There’s Hurleys and others I cannot remember the names of.

In any case, Bud Rice – not his real name – did a great job of MCing, and there were lots of interesting acts, including a crazy guy from Melbourne with whom I discussed a lot of the Melbourne open mics, and he knew of most of them. (The Empress Hotel, the Arthouse – which he said just closed – and the hostel All Nations U-Bar.)

His name was Tim Scanlan, and he was a bit of a one-man band as you’ll see from the videos. But as he said last night when he played with Scott Dunbar, they were both one-man-bands and had just met that day and had never played before but were no longer one-man. Scott Dunbar somehow has some videos of him playing in the street as a one-man band that have gone viral. My video of him and Tim playing together should go viral, as they went apeshit.

It was so cool at this open mic that I felt very much at home and relaxed despite the talk in the room. The stage was very comfortable, and I enjoyed it up there, playing four songs on my set and then being allowed to go up and close the whole evening with a final song. I gave the remaining patrons the choice of “Father and Son,” something else that I do regularly and “Unchained Melody.” One person shouted out for the latter, so I did it.

PS: After I finished this blog post I then proceeded to download the files on my Zoom Q3HD and I then got caught in a tangle and I somehow wiped out half of the files, including the one-man band stuff and an interview I did – fortunately only on one of the three cameras I recorded it on – of Bud Rice, and the best videos of Bud performing. I did this while sitting in Le Depanneur Cafe on Monday afternoon before going for my flight. I then spent the next hour or two trying to figure out how to recuperate the deleted files, and failing to get them to work. I believe I may have found the secret to doing this and I will keep working on it and I hope in the next couple of days that I will get those videos up. For the moment, I will have only a few seconds of the one man bands preparing their bit. What a drag!!!!

PPS: I also sang two songs at Le Depanneur Cafe yesterday to release some of my angst after losing the files and before my flight back to Paris. This is a very neat and cool and hip cafe-restaurant that has a kind of eternal open stage, although there are also regular acts booked all the time, hour-by-hour. I got to play because the woman named Akua, who had invited me to come and see her play her hour, did not show up! So as it turned out, the woman named Bobby from the bluegrass jam was there and played, and I also played, as did a band called Ghetto Shul House Band, with a guest singer, Emma Frank.


  1. Pingback: Crowded Night at Two Paris Open Mics « Brad Spurgeon's Blog

  2. Pingback: bob's › Open Mic Night in Paris!

  3. I’m working on a promotional tool for these open-mic musiciens. I’ld love to send it to you to have a look when it’s ready.

  4. Pingback: Bravo Brutopia Brews and Open Mic « Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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