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Three Open Mics in Barcelona in Four Days? I Must Be Dreaming!

May 17, 2016
bradspurgeon

Big Bang Bar Barcelona

Big Bang Bar Barcelona

BARCELONA – PARIS – I just got back to Paris from five nights in Barcelona, and it was such an active five nights and days that I relegated reporting on it in this blog to the back shelf of my life. Arriving in Paris at dinner time, I decided to come directly from the Gare de Lyon – I took the train to Barcelona – to the Latin Quarter, a meal in a brasserie, and now directly to the Galway Pub, the upper floor of which is my office as I write, the wifi of which is my connection to the Internet. But whatever tonight may bring, the five nights in Barcelona were sublime. Something is happening in Barcelona now….

I remember in my first years in Barcelona I had a hard time finding a decent open mic of the kind where a musician goes up on stage and plays his or her songs with their instrument and has an audience listening with silent worship-like regards. In the last five nights, I did three of those classic open mics, and I could have done more. I did not attend a single jam session, which Barcelona specializes in, and which I used to do regularly here – at Jazz-si and elsewhere.

Nick at the Big Bang Bar Barcelona Open Mic

As it turns out, one of the best venues I used to attend for its back-room jam session now has a classic open mic, and I attended this on both Thursday and Sunday night. I’m talking about the Big Bang Bar, located in one of the coolest parts of the city, with all its old, winding, dirty streets, and the name of which I do not know. Laziness and the fact this blog is a blog means I will not look up the name of the area.
Last One at the big bang

But the open mic was much more to my taste than the former jam session. I’m of mixed feelings that the back room where the jam took place has been closed off. As I understood things, that jam session had to be closed because the neighbors were complaining too much about the noise. So now they have set up a stage at the back of the main bar area – opposite the photos of famous jazz musicians – and put a piano and small drum set there. And started an open mic of the classic kind we know, and which attracts more calm, quiet music than that of the typical jam session.
Another Amy at the Big Bang

The evening was hosted by Oscar, a Spanish singer songwriter, and I was pleased that there was a mixture of people singing in both Spanish and English. It was by no means just another anglo thing.
Oscar Closes at the Big bang

I could have attended another open mic on Friday night, late after a concert, but I decided to do one on Saturday night, at another very cool venue, called Belchica, near the Urgell metro. This had a fabulous high stage in a back room, with, guess who, Oscar again running the show. What makes the venue a great one for an open mic is the back room with the stage is intimate, but then there is the front room where people can go to talk. So you really have those who want to listen, listening, and those who want to talk, talking….

Another at the Big Bang

By the way, it is now Tuesday, and I ended up stopping writing this post in order to meet with a friend and then to perform at the Galway. It turned out to be a great night too, especially since there was a lead guitar player from the U.S. who joined me on stage and played the hell out of the place to my songs, “Mad World,” “Crazy Love” and “Borderline.” Huge fun!
Second at the big bang

But back to Barcelona, in fact, the last night, Sunday, I returned to the Big Bang Bar, since there is also an open mic on the Sunday night! And guess what? It was even more full of participants and spectators than the Thursday night open mic. Barcelona is just kicking big time with open mics. Even worth the trip down for a week to do them all, if you’re trying to figure out which European city to go to for an open mic experience….
Third at the Big Bang


Another at Belchica in Barcelona

Last at Belchica

3 Comments

  1. This is awesome Brad! Thanks for sharing your experience! And for showing up at the openmics!

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