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Quel Ambiance at L’Escalier Open Mic in Montreal!

June 4, 2015

L'Escalier venu Montreal

L’Escalier venu Montreal

MONTREAL – On my third visit to L’Escalier open mic in Montreal I finally got to take part. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I always showed up too late to get on the list, and I never actually saw much of this regular open mic on Ste. Catherine street, opposite the Berri UQAM metro. Boy, am I glad I finally saw the whole night, and managed to take part; quel ambiance!

It turns out that although this open mic runs every Wednesday in this rather bohemian location on the first floor of a building overlooking the park – a vast room that looks like someone’s apartment turned into a bar and vegetarian restaurant – it has two different groups of people that MC it. The show last night was MCd by a guy I met at the open mic on Monday night, at the Medley Simple Malt, a rapper who calls himself Odd Man Black, and is involved in this cool group, Sovereign Music Movement.

So there was a high rap, slam and hip hop content last night. But one of the best, most fun acts was a couple of guys doing a beat box routine that was simply amazing. I got pretty carried away recording almost five minutes of it, but it’s well worth viewing the video.

I really enjoyed the duet at the beginning, a woman on guitar and vocals and another on violin, as well. And the kind of Quebecois hillbilly street band sort of trio at the beginning was also fun. In fact, I enjoyed most of the acts. And unlike my previous night, at Grumpy’s, there was even a comedian that really got me laughing a lot.

The Escalier is another place that has a big mix of languages and cultures, with a fairly even mix between French and English, and there were even some spectators from England and Germany. (Surprise surprise, when the comic made a long joke about proctologists, he asked if there happened to be one in the room, and it turned out one of the English guys was indeed a proctologist! (You had to be there.))

The bar is very bohemian, spread out over several different rooms, with laid back any-style of furniture goes, a comfortably wide choice of beers, and an all-vegetarian menu. The stage is a fabulous comfortable thing sitting in a kitty-corner of the main room, but with views from it of bits of several of the other rooms. The sound system was not bad for the spectators, a little bit difficult for the performer to hear the vocals, but still very respectable.

It’s only two songs per person, or around five to seven minutes for the other performers, but anything goes – spoken word, music, rap, comedy or just plain weirdness….

And it was bursting full of an enthusiastic, but not necessarily easy, audience. Discerning through the talk, and ready to cheer…. Well worth the wait!


  1. Hey Brad, We got together at the Highlander last year.

    Are you going to Austin in October? If so, let me know. We could do a few clubs together.

    Paul Penfield

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