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Post-Mexico, Pre-Brazil, Paris-Interlude Ketchup Time

November 9, 2015

Le Baroc open mic

Le Baroc open mic

PARIS – So very quickly now. Got back from Mexico City and have still not managed to create my Thumbnail Guide to Open Mics in Mexico City; but having said that, with just one place to go on the list, no one will be missing much! So where does that bring us? Back home to Paris and a week of downs and downs, OK, an up or two….

So the first thing I did was to visit the Baroc last Tuesday to attend the final open mic in the history of this joint, dive bar, cool, quirky musicians’ place deluxe. The last open mic of its history – since the bar is closing for good, and in fact I believe is closed as I write these words – was a reflection of all those that I had attended since my first at the Baroc in 2008 December. Quirky, quirky again, and quirky finally again. With the sound system bopping around into worlds I never knew existed, the clients ranging from everything to everything, and a final meal of perfectly acceptable confit de canard, frites, and I had the honor of drinking the last bottle of red wine in the house – a Bordeaux of some unspecifiable domain.

Then it was on to see Paul Hazan play his French repertoire at the Alimentation Generale

From there, it was down under for a while, under I re-emerged to take in a concert at the great and cool concert venue called, “L’Alimentation Generale.” The concert was by Paul Hazan, a guy I’ve known equally since the fall of 2008, and who, again, in December of 2008, I featured on our own little double-bill at at bar then called the Rhubarbe, and later to be called the Ptit Bonheur la Chance, which was to feature hugely in my life after that, as the open mic venue of the best open mic in Paris, for a while. But when Paul and I each did a set in the Rhubarbe, it was my own first official music gig anywhere on earth, and Paul, at something like 20 years old at the time, was already an old hand.
Wonderful Guitar thing at the Baroc

Paul was then in a band called Mr. Soap and the Smiling Tomatoes, and it was one of the coolest French bands I knew of, with Paul’s raspy voice, and some sort of psychedelic, English-language, 1960s’ style garage band sound. Today, I was surprised – but not really – to find that Paul, like many young French rock musicians, has converted to a different religion: French lyrics and melodies. So that’s what he did at the Alimentation Générale on Saturday night. (Actually, he still has another band, called, “Electric Discharge Machine.”)

And finally off to an open mic that is still here in Paris, at O’Sullivan’s Rebel Bar

And that leads me to last night and the open mic of O’Sullivan’s Rebel Bar, in the Rue des Lombards. This is the warm and cosy open mic in the very cool and historic bar – that used to be home to a famous comedy troop – and which is run – the open mic – by Etienne Bélin, who used to run the open mic of the now defunct Coolin’ bar. (Seems every bar and open mic in Paris closing down and turning into something else less catholic.) (Is that two religious references in two difference grafs? Not really.)
French Rap at Baroc

Etienne closes down his open mic for the summer – i.e., for half the year, we’re in France! – and last night’s edition was the fourth of those after the break. It was not hugely full of musicians, although there was a respectable number, and so that meant that I had a chance to sing two sets and a total of 7 songs, which I was really happy to do. Playing at the Rebel Bar is nice because you not only have the cubby hole of the open mic at the back of the joint, but the people around the rest of the bar, including in the pool room near the open mic, can hear your music, and come over if they are inspired to do so.
his own karaoke at baroc

I sang a new song of mine that I wrote while in Mexico City, called, “Running,” and it went down really well from what I could tell. I was just frustrated that I am still not ready to sing my new cover, “Come Pick Me Up,” by Ryan Adams. Although I’m close to it.
Insu at Baroc

So that, dear reader, is the update. Next stop is Brazil and no doubt less writing about an open mic, but I hope to do at least one! And before that, maybe somewhere I’ll fit in the time to put up the Mexico City open mic guide … for that one joint.
young one at baroc

jam at baroc

PS, I almost forgot that I put that corny word in the headline because this is a blog and you can put whatever you want, even if it makes no sense….
She Me at Baroc

whatever at Baroc

Paul Hazan at the Alimentation Generale in Paris

another Paul Hazan

another one at the Rebel Bar

another duet at the Rebel Bar

Duet at the Rebel Bar

Etienne at the Rebel Bar

Gold Ship at the Rebel Bar

Seb at the Rebel Bar

Slick at the Rebel Bar

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