Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Classic, Warm and Open Jam at the Olympic Café in Paris

May 2, 2015
bradspurgeon

Olympic Café

Olympic Café

PARIS – I was all set for my first night of quiet at home last night when at around 9:30 PM I saw an announcement on the Facebook page of the Olympic Café saying that there was an open jam. I had visited this café, bar, restaurant and concert venue several times in recent months and I was attracted by the sizeable stage in the basement, and the large room where spectators can stand, dance, sit on the floor and some chairs, and by what seemed like a pretty good sound system. So I packed up my guitar – actually, it was still packed – and went off to the Olympic Café.

I’m surprised it took me so many years to discover this venue, right in the middle of a neat area around Chateau Rouge and Barbès, and La Chapelle, on the Rue Léon. But probably it took so long because there is no real regular jam or open mic. But there are sudden, unpredictable, intermittent jams. And last night it apparently happened at the last minute because the scheduled band gave up at the last moment.

In any case, the jam more than lived up to my expectations, and as usual I was scared out of my wits about the idea of going up to play with – in this case – a lead guitar, bass, bongo, drums, and possibly accordion player. The feeling being that anything beyond three chord changes can be a challenge for everyone, and most of the songs I play go beyond that.

In the end, I started out with Wicked Game and its three chords, then went into Mad World and its variations on four or so chords, and then feeling courageous and also pushed on by someone who knew it, I finished off with my song Borderline, and its I don’t know how many chords and variations…. Somehow, we made it through all three songs, and there was some really nice band support – loved the lead guitar in particular on parts of Borderline….

The other jammers seemed to be mostly sort of reggae related, but that’s not all there was. The sound system was great for the band, with a guy handling the levels throughout the evening, and the hosting was very congenial. Keep your eyes on this location, I highly recommend the Olympic Café, on a jam night or for a concert….

PS, In fact, the hosting was so open that they even let up one woman singer, guitar player to do her solo singer-songwriter stuff without the band. So don’t be shy with the Olympic Café….



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