The plan was, go see the concert of a friend – Baptiste W Hamon at the International – and then go to play at the open mic of The Mazet. But just as I was warming up my voice and trying out a new song I had just written in the preceding two days, I received a call from a guy I met the night before at the Cavern.
“I’m in your neighborhood,” he said. “I’m going to a new open mic tonight. Want to come?”
Breaking plans is cool. And so are new open mics – whenever I get the chance. Breaking habits is revitalizing.
“I’ll be over at your place in a few minutes,” said my new friend. “I’m on a scooter.”
Crap, hate being a passenger on a two-wheeled vehicle. Still, I was not going to refuse a tandem ride to a new open mic at the Etoile area in Paris. So within a few minutes he was there, and I was on the scooter and he had my guitar on his back and off we went.
It turned out to be a very posh sort of bar/restaurant called either Lounge Royal or LR Restaurant, depending on your humor. And it was actually a mixture of posh and grungy rock. The bar, the tables, the lighting, the colors, all was posh cocktail kind of thing – but there were patches of collages of photos of the Rolling Stones and other more grungy bands and musicians on parts of the walls.
And in the basement, a beautiful brick cave with vaulted ceiling and white painted bricks and tables along the walls. And a stage against the side wall. All cramped in close quarters. It was the first of a weekly open mic at the LR Restaurant and the music was high quality. But it was not exactly an open mic of the kind that I go to most. This was the Cavern kind of thing, the live band backing the singers in a kind of live karaoke.
And the accent was on soul. A drummer, bass player and keyboard player – but no guitar. The keyboard player had a nice jazz touch, too, by the way, and all in all the vibe was very cool, Las Vegas slick. But I sensed there was no real place for my guitar, and after the first set I left, without hazarding an effort to sing.
It was not that I was unhappy – I loved it. But I had been away from The Mazet for a few weeks and I itched to get back there and play several songs, and talk with friends. So I caught a cab in front of the LR and I was at the Mazet probably less than 20 minutes later. And on stage maybe 15 minutes after that.
Listened to some nice music, met cool people, found yet another person who discovered the joint because of this blog and my list of Paris open mics – the same had happened at the Highlander the night before – and then I went home, having had a full and satisfying night at two completely different open mics…. But what a difference in style!