It was a little world weary that I was last night as I returned to the open mics in Paris in the middle of the summer, not having played in an open mic since, could it be, more than a week, and Budapest? The trip to Brussels set that up, and a return to Paris on a quiet period for open mics. So I felt off center going to the Tennessee Bar and the Galway, my regular Monday haunts. But it was with a great sense of suprise and pleasantness that I entered the Tennessee Bar to find Jesse Kincaid on stage doing his number. Jesse, readers will remember, was in Paris a few weeks ago and delighted audiences with his compositions, and songs from the New Rising Sons. He had so much fun here, it seems, that he returned early from a stay elsewhere in Europe.
There were some unusual things happening on stage at the Tennessee, with the gold medal being taken by a French white guy dressed in conservative bureaucrat clothes and haircut, who brought his own canned music and did a few rap numbers. He had been there before, it seems, and it was with great acclaim that the audience requested he do his rap in Japanese. You can see just why when you look at the video. Didn’t catch his name. But if a video of him doing this – mine or someone else’s – does not go viral, I do not know what will!
I played four songs, starting out with four of my own songs, and making a mess of “Lara, Lara,” which I had not sung in a while and for which I suddenly forgot the chords. But I managed to get through it, and two others and then I decided to lift the joy level a little by doing “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right.” But I forgot the words on that one and then suddenly felt really foolish and pointless playing such a cliche Dylan song in an open mic, so I stopped in the middle of the song and left the stage – in good humor. It was, after all, an open mic. I try my hardest, give my all, but the open mic allows for caprices too.
The Galway was ticking along well as well, and I tried a few more songs I don’t usually do, like Marc Bolan’s “Catblack the Wizard’s Hat,” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” by Hank Williams. But then I felt the urge to do my usual “Borderline,” and it seems it went down the best. I also did “Only Our Rivers,” the Irish sort of protest song.
Jesse came along there too and regaled us with a fabulous rendition of Autumn Leaves on my guitar, which made me feel even more massively deficient – but it was great to hear how good my guitar can sound.