Brad Spurgeon's Blog

A world of music, auto racing, travel, literature, chess, wining, dining and other crazy thoughts….

A Bru-typical Night at the Brutopia Open Mic in Montreal

June 1, 2015



MONTREAL – Arrived in Montreal pretty wiped out from a long, long day of travel yesterday. But there was no way I was going to be in Montreal on a Sunday night without hopping over to the Brutopia pub and taking part in one of the best open mics in Montreal.

So that’s where I went after a pizza dinner just up the street at which I was terribly let down by horrendously bad, and expensive, wine. But that’s another story!!!! Brutopia is one of the mainstay open mics of Montreal, and it is located right downtown on Crescent Street, where, during the Formula One racing weekend – next weekend – the street festival and all the off-track fun happens.

But Brutopia might be a pub just about anywhere in the world, were it not for the unmistakable mix of a cosmopolitain crowd, with people from Africa, Europe, Quebec, Ontario, Vietnam and just about everywhere else, along with a great little selection of beers, including local brews, and Canadian accents all over the place.

When I arrived, as usual, the small stage already had a clipboard on it waiting to be signed for a place on the open mic. It is so laid back that you don’t even have to arrive hours ahead of time, but can pretty much sign up all night long and expect a spot on the open mic. The momentum of the evening is such that people who are in the bar without even having thought of playing in the open mic end up singing up….

I got on second on the list, and after the MC opened, and a woman named Sarah from Perth did the horrible job of being the first musician aside from the MC in the open mic to play, I got to go up and relax my way into it.

Warning: Brutopia may be a very large bar, with a very cool stage, and a receptive management and audience for music, but it is far from an easy audience to grab. It’s very much a pub for carousing, and if you don’t hit the right musical chord – as it were – you can be prepared to hear talking throughout. Even if you do hit the right notes, in fact…

Anyway, I’m kind of adding words to this whole thing without saying anything, so I had better stop. Suffice it to say there were some very interesting and fun acts last night, my favorites being the Quebecois who did a great Creedence cover, and Kwa (hope I got his name right!) who did all sorts of interesting electronic things – looping, etc. – with his travel guitar, and vocals. Oh, and the fabulous Michael Jackson cover too….

I plan to be back next Sunday, so keep posted!


  1. Thanks for the inclusion in your blog post! It was a fun night, and I particularly enjoyed your cover of “Mad World.”

    Until last year, I had an apartment on the riverfront on de la Commune, and I swear I could hear the F1 gear shifts across the water!

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