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Playing at the Collage Micro Abierto in Madrid

June 1, 2016

Collage Micro Abierto

Collage Micro Abierto

MADRID – I cannot imagine that I could have done much better than the Collage “Drink & Arts” bar in Madrid as a location for my first ever open mic in Madrid – or what they call here, “Micro Abierto.” I had been in Madrid a couple of weeks ago, and just failed to attend any open mics. Last night, I found a couple that were happening – Tuesday being a great day for open mics in almost any major city around the world – and I chose the Collage because it was within 15 minutes walking distance from where I am staying. But the world I found, and the musicians I heard, really made me feel it was the right decision.

I have written extensively about my open mic experiences in Barcelona, but this is the first time I’ve done one in Madrid – the biggest city in Spain. When I arrived at Collage, there was an almost entirely empty ground floor – just five or six people waiting to be served a meal at a table – and I thought I was in the wrong place. But then I noticed the staircase to the basement, went down, and was immediately greeted by the MC, Lui Sinese, in a warm manner, and saw that someone was already up on the fabulous stage playing music and singing.
Third at Collage open mic in Madrid

This is a unique basement room. It’s in the style of so many in Paris, a vaulted cellar ceiling, bar at the back, stage at the other end. But the room is so big, the ceiling so high, the room so long, that it feels almost like a cathedral. And a cathedral of open mic music it is indeed. The stage is actually reminiscent of some New York comedy or music open mic place – the Improv, the Bitter End – with its brick wall backdrop. The sound system was great for the spectators, but a little more difficult for the performers, in terms of the monitor.
Sixth at Collage open mic in Madrid

I was most delighted, though, by hearing so many Spanish performers! In Barcelona it has been rare for me to hear as may Spanish musicians singing in Spanish as here in Madrid last night. And they were all quite unique. There were two or three expat who sang in English, of course, and a fourth counting me. In fact, I got so excited and nervous that when I decided to start with Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman,” I completely began screwing up the chords, and then forgetting the lyrics as a result of that. I stopped after just two verses, it was so painful.
Lui at Collage open mic in Madrid

The only drawback is that each performer has only two songs to do, so once I’d thrown away those two verses, I was very worried that I might find myself having only one song left. And that’s what happened, as the MC came towards the stage. But when I asked if I could please do another, since I’d only done two verses of the first, he took a vote with the public, and I was allowed to do another song.
Fourth at Collage

Another reason I was so nervous was the quality was so consistently high – that fingerpicking guitar player singing the American old time stuff with a Spanish accent, was great – that I felt I fell far below the required level. In the end, I was told it went well.
First at Collage

Anyway, I highly recommend this Collage open mic … sorry, Micro Abierto….
Fifth at Collage

Second at Collage

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