Blanchisserie art gallery, performance space, bar and myriad other venues contained in one, when I turned to my friend Adam Hay-Nicholls, a fellow Formula One journalist and friend, and said, “This is really kind of cool here, this open mic. But at the same time, we’re way the hell out in the middle of nowhere!” I was worried about how this new open mic on Thursday nights would fare, being located in Boulogne-Billancourt, so close to Paris yet so far at once from the center of town. Adam, with his usual perspicacity and world traveler’s knowledge, said: “Actually, it feels like we’re in a performance space in Brooklyn.” He got it! And then pointed out how a lot of NYC’s alternative cultural life is moving to Brooklyn – and people are going.I was sitting at the
So bury my thought for the moment. In fact, the Blanchisserie is indeed a very cool location for an open mic. Just look at videos to see who showed up and what backdrop they played against. It was a great idea for the Blanchisserie to use the main room for the open mic, instead of the concert room where I have seen bands in the past. This way, like at any open mic, people can hang around the bar and listen to the music at the same time. Had they held it in the concert hall, no doubt it would clear out whenever there is an act people don’t want to focus on.
The loft feel to the place is very neat, the terrace a great place to go for a break, and the organization and people it attracted were cool. I thoroughly enjoyed it. In, fact, as it turned out, if it had not been for Adam, I was ready to drop the long trip to the Blanchisserie at the last moment and go to my usual haunt of the Mazet. I had been severely distracted around dinner time and so ended up being very late, not arriving until 10 PM. But I checked out the situation with Adam on SMS, and he encouraged me to show up and he got me signed up on the list.
Boy was I happy to discover that my favorite lead player, Félix Beguin decided to show up with some of the other members of his band, The Burnin’ Jacks. I immediately asked if he would accompany me on lead, and he immediately agreed. We had a great time doing, “Mad World,” “Wicked Game” – for only the second time together – and my song, “Except Her Heart.” I loved it, and Félix encouraged me to book some dates so we can continue the jam more often.
There was quite a great mixture of musicians, but it was hardly overflowing with them, either, with probably around 8 to 11 acts total. A comfortable, fun and laid back night – and great to hear the Burnin’ Jacks in acoustic mode again. Definitely a Brooklyn-like evening in Boulogne-Billancourt.