Liege Open Mic Adventure Consolidated:
A micro trailer from the film: From the Belgium segment of “Out of a Jam.”
A song from the album:
A podcast: Interview with David and Franco of the el cuba libre open jam in Liege:
The Thumbnail Guide: Thumbnail Guide to Oxford Open Mics, Jam Sessions and other Live Music
A link to a favorite blog item from the past: JAMMIN’ AT THE CLASSY BLUES-SPHERE VENUE IN LIÈGE, BELGIUM
A favorite video: Solo by sax player at Delerium open mic in Brussels:
An excerpt from the Book: from the Belgium chapter of OUT OF A JAM: An Around-the-World Journey of Healing and Rebirth Through Music:
Belgium was another of the places I feared, worrying more than ever that I would find nothing there – no place to play at all, let alone an open mic. I was certain to be up against my biggest challenge, my first race weekend without singing in an open mic. But I relativized it this way to Paul: “This adventure is all about the adventure. It’s about trying something and trying to succeed, trying to find open mics and playing joints for amateurs all over the world. So it is also about failure. It is not about having to play every place I go if there is no place to play. It is above all about discovering if the place is musically dead or not. It is about discovering the music scene in the city, about whether it has a scene or not, or whether it is strong or not. So if it turns out I find nothing in Belgium, then that’s fine – I’ve got my first dead place.”
For as long as I had been covering the Belgian Grand Prix, since 1997, I had always lodged in the countryside. The closest city to the circuit was Liège, and at a drive of 45 minutes’ or more from the track, I had always thought it was too far away.
I barely knew the city, having only had a couple of very brief shopping forays to buy chocolates, or as they call them, pralines. So for me, Liège was little more than the cover photo of a biography of Georges Simenon: A very narrow street with cobblestones and Simenon, in the 1930s or 1940s, standing in an old grey trench coat, grey fedora and smoking. Grey was my impression of Liège; greyness, bad weather and Simenon novels.
Oh, there was a touch of Jacques Brel as well. Although for me Brel was especially Brussels and his need to leave Belgium to go to Paris for his music. For me he was not about Belgium, this greatest of all French-language singer songwriters. (Even if he said the opposite.) So my thought about my foray into the joke country for the French was that I would find nothing there, as if it was a suburb of France, and that all the Belgian music took place in Paris… or for that matter, Quebec, where some Belgian singers also went to establish themselves. I had met one or two Belgian singers in France, who had come to sing in Paris and practice and learn their craft.