Back in Paris on a Monday after the complete lack of musical culture in Valencia, Spain, it was great to attend two of my favorite open mics in the same night: The Tennessee Bar and the Galway Pub. It was even better to discover that there was something in the air that meant that both places were brimming over with musicians, and good and interesting ones at that. At the Tennessee Bar the accent was on the blues, at the Galway, I suppose the accent was on just about everything – with a little tilt toward accents from the south of the United States and Sweden.
When I arrived at the Tennessee just after 9 PM there was hardly anyone there and I thought it was going to be empty. But it soon filled up with spectators and musicians, including a lot I had not seen before, but while I was there, it was certainly predominantly blues and jazz-like pop. The last act I saw I was sure was Iggy Pop doing the blues, but the voice was definitely not the same – and this guy spoke French…. Also, he didn’t take his shirt off, which would have been the real Iggy giveaway. Check out the video of him, though, and see if you agree on the Iggy bit.
The Galway had lots of people spilling out into the streets, and I enjoyed many of the acts, including a couple from Sweden who are travelling Europe on their music busking earnings and along the way picked up a violinist from Western Australia. Then there was a guy from Canada – from Montreal, and who plays Brutopia all the time, he said – who had a wicked acoustic guitar with supercool carvings on the table and the neck. And then, one of the best of the night, Stefan Cashwell from Georgia, who unfortunately could not be heard as well as he should have been, because by then the drinking crowd had hit overdrive. But it was all great fun, nevertheless.
Oh, and by the way, was I ever amused when James Iansiti, the MC of the Tennessee Bar went up and sang All Right Now – just as I am in the middle of reading the manuscript of Andy Fraser’s memoir, All Right Now.