Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Unexpected Good Time at Truskel Open Mic

April 7, 2012

Knowing that it was only once a month, on the first Friday of the month, I decided I had but one chance to attend the Truskel open mic this month, and I better go. But I also had very low expectations, because in general open mics that happen once a month go off the radar and are not well attended. It was average a couple of months ago, the last time I had not forgotten its existence. So I went to the Truskel and at first my fears were confirmed: I had the pleasure of performing my entire five or six song set in front of an empty house – in front of no one but the organizer, Vincent.

Actually, that is not true. There were a couple of “old friends” and the bartender, on the other side of the barroom, hidden from the stage. The old friends had, I guess, heard me sing so many times that they chose to drink and chat and ignore my set. (Still, it had been a couple of years at least since they had heard me perform, and more like three years, since the last of Earle’s great open mics at the Truskel.)

Anyway…… the surprise evening would develop slowly but surely, as first what happened was right after my last song a guy came up to me – who had entered the bar halfway through the last song – and asked if I could play that same last song again – my song “Except Her Heart” – and he would throw in a rap number along with my singing. So I agreed, and it was a huge, huge bloody regret that I had not turned out my recording device to capture the moment. It went really well, we seemed to work out the division of the song and rap and singing together perfectly, and the song lent itself well to his rap. Pissed me off royally to find myself once again losing a potential moment of a wonderful recording with another musician on one of my songs.

After I finished that, the next surprise came in the form of a man who had just arrived a little before the end of the rap, and he said, “You must be Brad….” Ah, yes…. So here I found was a Tasmanian devil of a singer and musician named Scott Bywater – from Tasmania, but now living in France – and he had discovered the Truskel through reading my blog. Wow, I love it! It is happening more and more often that I run into people at the open mics who have discovered them thanks to the blog. There is no more motivating factor than that to keep me pounding out this stuff day after day.

So then Scott Bywater goes up and performs – with my guitar – and proves to be sensationally good. I loved his first song, and by his last song I was really intrigued and said, “I know that song, was that Van Morrison…” or I was thinking it was Bruce Springsteen, something about a Jersey Girl…. I turned out it was Tom Waits, and it was from the last Tom Waits album that I had bought new when it came out, “Heart Attack and Vine.” That was so long again, though, that I had forgotten the song on the record. To say nothing of the way Scott had turned it into something more mainstream than the Waits growl.

There were some nice duets, as well, and I got to sing one more song – after I requested to do so – to close the evening now that the Truskel was filling up. It turns out that it was the last of the monthly open mics at the Truskel until October, when they plan to change the day and the format somewhat to excite a bigger and more regular audience. But I sure had fun.

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