Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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A New Open Mic, and an Old Open Mic Redone

June 23, 2011

I had to debate if I would do an open mic in Paris last night before getting up early to go to Valencia, Spain today. I opted for doing it, and I’m glad I did. It turned out that I managed to do TWO open mics, as there is a new one in Paris on Wednesday nights, just up the street from the mainstay Highlander open mic in the Latin Quarter.

But I had not been to the Highlander for so long that I did not even know that it had a complete makeover, and now it takes place in the basement room instead of on the ground floor. This may not sound like much, but it changes the whole vibe of the open mic, confirming for me once again that the success or failure of an open mic depends massively on where it is located, what the room is like, in addition to the vibe give off by the host MC, the day of the week and the kind of musicians that end up feeling welcome there.

It will be interesting to see how it develops at the Highlander. At first glance it seemed to me that it should always have been in the basement room. It is a more wide open space, the sound system is better placed in front of the performer rather than behind, and the cave-like feel to the place is comfortable. But there did seem to be a kind of lack of the neat thing of the past: Little corners all over the place where you could tuck up and mix and view the show from different angles. Anyway, we’ll see.

There were some interesting performers, and Thomas Brun, the host, was as lively as ever.

I put my name on the list there and decided to run up the street to the Rue St. Andre des Arts to check out the new open mic at The Mazet pub. It is run by David Oxxo, who, it turns out, is a friend of Thomas Brun. The Mazet is a cool pub and the little stage on the ground floor with a big backdrop of a window leading into the street is very comfy. I played five songs! That was very wonderful, and while there was a lot of talk, it was also clear that people were there to listen to the music too.

The one thing I really wish for, though, is that all the open mics would not choose the same day! There are two or three on Sunday, two or three on Monday, around five or six on Tuesday and two or three on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday and Saturday desperately need an open mic like the Mazet one.

Oh well, it was nice to bop from the one to the other – kind of like the nearby Tennessee Bar and Galway Pub open mics on Mondays.

I am writing this from Valencia, Spain, and as often happens when I go off to another country, the Internet connection is not strong enough to defend itself against the coffee I’m drinking – to steal a style from Tom Waits. So the problem is that although I took several videos last night, it has taken a couple of hours for three to upload, and I wanted to put up about six. Maybe I’ll add something more tomorrow. I did not make the choice – YouTube took them randomly.

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