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From a New Pub to an Old, Amazing Times in Historic Heidelberg

July 20, 2014

Heidelberg castle

Heidelberg castle

HEIDELBERG, Germany – Just when I started feeling depressed about the idea of ever finding – or rather not finding – an open mic or jam session in Heidelberg, I stumbled upon an historic, amazing, astounding student pub and restaurant called Zum Seppl, in the old town. It may not have been a classic open mic or open jam joint of the kind I try to find to play in, and I may not have played there myself last night, but not only was there music all evening long by a piano player, there was a sudden eruption later on of restaurant patrons launching into what seemed like traditional German songs, with a freedom and fun attitude and feeling equal only to the best open mics.

I discovered that the extraordinary look and atmosphere in this restaurant, and the amazing cragged wooden tables, were so astounding because this place has been a restaurant since at least 1703! Check out the link above to find out more about it, but for the moment I just want to say that if you ever get a chance to visit Heidelberg, drop in to this student pub. Heidelberg is a university town, and it and its already ruined castle were an inspiration to the German Romantics – including Goethe himself – already a hundred years after this student restaurant was a student restaurant.

It also has a tradition as a brewery, and the beer was great. But the food was fabulous too. I cannot quite describe the atmosphere and look of this place, so take in my iPhone’s look at it all – and the singing.

And Before that, It Was Off to a Karaoke at O’Reilly’s pub in Heidelberg

The night before I had settled for O’Reilly’s pub on the other side of the river, a classic Irish pub of the kind I find all over the world. O’Reilly’s has a karaoke on both Friday and Saturday nights, in the back room. It’s a fabulous little stage, a wonderful amphitheater-like room, and a great MC. The only problem with the place is that with such a great setup, they really should invest in better mics or other sound system materials to make sure that the voices in the karaoke can be heard in all their glory.

I feel as if I have succeeded in singing in karaokes only maybe once before – i.e., whenever I sing covers with my guitar I do them differently than the original, so I usually fail utterly in karaokes. But on Friday night, I found myself deciding to risk singing a song I barely know on my guitar, and have never tried in a karaoke: Born to Run. Somehow, the key was perfect and I was able to sing along in a way that felt wonderfully powerful. It was a real joy, and I fear I might try more karaokes….

Still, I’m overwhelmingly upset that aside from a jazz jam club at Cave 54 that has a jam on Tuesdays, I have still not found any of the kind of open mics that I seek out, and this looks set to be the first time in years that I have failed to find one in a new city I have visited. I chose Heidelberg because I thought it was the most culturally strong city in the area near the Hockenheim racetrack, and I think that remains true. So why is there not more live music in this student center of the region?!?

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