I arrived at the Bar de la Degustation in Nice just in time to see and record what would be the last song in some kind of open jam, open not just to musicians, but open to the public in the streets of Nice on the public square. I was asked by someone if I wanted to play, I said, Yes, I went up to the mic and someone else started unplugging and told me it was finished. I ended up being much luckier at Paddy’s Pub, where I had seen a near riot take place the night before….
Having just missed the chance at this curious bar with its wide open front and terrace being bigger than the interior of the bar, I decided to check out the other bars. I found one that had a couple of musicians and I chatted with one of the managers at the door, and he was interested in hearing me play, but clearly with a band doing a gig it was out of the question.
So I went down the street to again visit Paddy’s Pub. I could see immediately that the crowd and the vibe and the band were all different from the night before. It was quieter, but still far from tame. It was a lively evening, in fact, with a good crowd, and this duo of musicians on stage, with two guitars and vocals provided mostly by one of the musicians, but occasionally they worked in harmony.
I pulled up to the bar, listened to the band, and found I liked it. After their set, the main guitar player came up to his girlfriend who was standing beside me, and we struck up a conversation. I learned that they were two of a four piece band called Pin Heads, that they were from Nice, and the most surprising thing for me to learn was that the lead singer had only started playing guitar and singing last year!!! I mean, he sounded so good after one year at that, that I wonder what he can do from here.
Anyway, as we spoke, I told the musician about my musical adventures. So he asked if I wanted to go up and play a song or two, and I agreed. We all three of us went up, I did “Mad World,” and “Wicked Game,” AGAIN! And they played along with me. It was pretty loud, the sound system was not what you would call great, but I felt a captive audience and I enjoyed myself immensely.
The secret to a venue is always the people therein….