Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Another Baroc Night, Followed by Several More Adventures in Paris

November 15, 2014
bradspurgeon

Le Baroc open mic

Le Baroc open mic

PARIS – This has been a weird week: I arrived back very early on Tuesday morning from a two-day trip back from Sao Paulo via New York’s JFK airport, meaning an entire day spent in JFK, and two night flights in total to get back home. To say nothing of the number of time zones. And so I then arrived in paris early on Tuesday morning, and as I walked back to the apartment from the Port Royal RER station, I passed through a street market on the 11th November public holiday, and as they set up the market, several of the food hawkers said hello to me with bright, fresh morning smiles. Could this really be Paris? The place I was told decades ago that I would love for its city, but hate the people?

So anyway, I would end up sleeping off jet-lag that very same morning, then going to the Baroc open mic on the Tuesday night. It already seemed like a different culture, a different world, a different Paris, but the Baroc is also a fabulously atypical Paris. Or rather, it is perhaps one of the most quintessential Paris experiences in a bar that has kept its authenticity, and that loves music. The open mic, as usual, had a wide cross-section of fun and interesting acts, and the sound and MCing was done in the usual friendly manner by Réjean, the Frenchman with a more Quebec-sounding name than French French.

There were some familiar faces, but some new ones too. In any case, I need not go into detail, since you can just look at the videos…. Just needless to say, it felt like home after the two weeks away in Sao Paulo and Austin Texas….

On Wednesday night, it was off to the Swan Bar’s vocal jam of Wednesday night. And there, I found no familiar faces except that of the bar owner, the barwoman, and Sheldon Forrest, the pianist, MC, who has presented the vocal jam for several years now, as this has become one of the mainstays of the Paris scene, especially for those who like jazz – although Sheldon (who plays piano for the singers who need a musician) points out each time that all forms of music are welcome. My only problem with the Swan Bar is that it’s stiff prices won’t attract the majority of poor musicians, as there is even a cover charge for those wishing to play.

Thursday night it was off to a new open mic at the Bombardier pub at 2 place du Panthéon. But when I arrived I saw that this open mic – that night, at least – was one where the massively full student pub had a crowd more interested in talking than in listening to the music. So because I was planning to attend with several friends, some of whom had not heard my music before, it was not the right place to go. We ended up going not far away, to the Café Universel on the rue St. Jacques to hear the Liv Monaghan Duo, and a recitation of poetry – or verse – by Lisa Marie Jarlborn, whom readers of this blog will remember the rather provocative videos of from four years ago at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance.

Friday night, MORE open mics and concerts followed, but I’m going to give that more space tomorrow, with videos.


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