Brad Spurgeon's Blog

A world of music, auto racing, travel, literature, chess, wining, dining and other crazy thoughts….

Gearshift in Paris Open Mics

June 30, 2011

Okay, so what, it’s normal that after two exceptional nights the gears shift down a little for the hairpin turn. And if yesterday’s lede was not forcing it, this one surely was. But last night my own particular evening at the Highlander and the Cavern was a little bit of a comedown after the two previous nights.

I have yet to find the right way to record videos and sound in the new layout of the Highlander, so I produced very little worth posting from last night. Unfortunately I thought I found a great little corner of a table to put the Zoom Q3HD, but even as I did it I worried that with the speaker behind the recording device I would not pick up good sound. In fact, the sound was crap. Abysmal. Too bad, because I particularly wanted to get in some of the fine vocals of Nico, who used to play at the Highlander a few years ago before moving to the UK, where she now lives. She returned to play a few open mics, and I missed her at the Galway, and got her last night, but with absolute crap sound quality. Nevertheless, check out when she really gets revving up towards the second half of the song below, and you can guess at the power of her voice.

There was a bit of blues stuff again, and a few other interesting people. I did my Tom Petty song, “I Won’t Back Down,” and “Borderline” and “Cat’s Cradle.” It worked all right, I could feel good about it. But it wasn’t exaclty “tear the house down,” stuff.

But it all left me still hungry, so I went over to the nearby Cavern club along with Tory Roucaud, whom I recorded playing there a few months ago when SHE tore the house down. But for some reason I cannot pinpoint, the Cavern was not its usual self either, last night. This is one of those places where the house band plays and you go up and sing, as in a karaoke, doing only the repertoire of the house band. It is an excellent, together, mean and tight. And for only the third time in the two years since I discovered the place, I decided to do a song. Previously I had only dared try “Stand By Me.” This time I tried “What’s Up!” since I’ve been doing it myself on my guitar and it is pretty straightforward. Unfortunately, they did it in a different key and my voice was too low on all parts, so I could not belt it out the way I like to. Moreover, the sound system was uncharacteristically bad on the vocal mic, so it was almost impossible to hear anything of my voice – still, a lot of the people in the room sang along with me, and that was great moral support. Tory did “Creep,” and I know she did a fantastic job, but there again, the vocal mic was absolute crap. So we did not get the quality of her voice we should have had. I’m putting up the video of that anyway, just for the atmosphere, and hoping you can see that she did a great performance.

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