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8 Bars, 2 Days, One Week Later in Paris – One Closure, One Opener

January 25, 2016



PARIS – If it were not for the fact that a few things dictate that I keep a record of my Sunday and Tuesday last week, I would let it slide. I was so busy in the intervening time with having received my CD, “Out of a Jam,” that I led the blog slide and did not write about those two nights. But both the fact of the CD, and the fact of taking part in one new open mic on the Tuesday, and then discovering that I had also taken part in the last open mic of one particular venue on the Sunday, mean I gotta write a little about it.

I have to just at least acknowledge those two nights, 8 bars, and the end of the O’Sullivan’s Rebel Bar on Sunday night last week. This was a fairly cool open mic run by Etienne Belin, the host of the absolutely phenomenally cool Coolin’ bar open mic that closed down a while back after the bar was bought up by a big conglomerate. The Rebel open mic was a great place to go on Sunday night’s in Paris, but unfortunately it did not consistently reach the highs of the Coolin, and Etienne has said he has many other projects he needs to focus on – like a CD – so that’s the end of that.
Duet at the Green Linnet

It was fabulous night, that last one – which we did not know was the last – and followed on the 4-bar crawl I was doing: I started out at the lnce-monthly Green Linnet bar open mic right near the Coolin’, where it was calmer than the previous month, but still fun – with Stephen Saxo and Andy Bone’s warm MCing – and then I wandered off for a look at the Ondulatoire Mechanique’s big birthday party for a friend. That was also to feature a new band by some friends, but alas, I was too late for the show, and arrived just as they were packing up.
Duet at the Galway

After the Rebel Bar, I then moved on with some friends to the Galway, where there was a duet playing most of the night. Some nice talk, a Kilkenny, and it was back to home for a day of recuperation.
French trio at the Rebel Bar

The CD arrived on Tuesday, and I HAD to get out to the bars again and start handing out some copies. (More on this blog soon about the CD!!!) I started by checking out the Zebre Rouge open mic, which had turned into a real jam session, and because I needed to do several bars, I opted not to stay. I handed out a few CDs at the Zebre Rouge, then went over to finally try out the nearby Féline bar open mic, which has been running for two or three months now.
Her hopes and expectations at the Green Linnet

This could be one of the best open mics in Paris if it gets the crowds it merits – although with so many other open mics on Tuesday nights in Paris, it is not sure that will happen. The stage is absolutely fabulous, and the management loves music. In fact, the management created this fabulous little stage – complete with a kind of proscenium arch style, spotlights and half decent sound system – because he wants more music, clearly.
Jules at the Rebel Bar

I handed out some CDs there and played a long set of maybe five or six songs. Then I went on to the Pigalle Country Club bar’s open mic, not far from the place Pigalle (!!). That is the place where the photo that adorns the cover and back of my CD was taken. So I had to go there and leave a few copies. It was a very lively night, and I was offered the mic, but I wanted to get going to my final destination, the Café Oz bar open mic next to the place Blanche.
Young one at the Green Linnet

I was too late to make the list, but the Oz was buzzing with musicians and music as usual. Some great acts, and a nice environment, and the usual great presentation of the evening by Brislee Adams….
In their heads at the Pigalle Country Club

First at the Feline Bar open mic

Duet at the Café Oz

Duet at the Feline

Another from duet at the Pigalle Country Club

The Green Mic – That Will Drive other Open Mics Green With Envy

December 23, 2015

The Green Mic

The Green Mic

PARIS – Sunday night was a coin toss with a loaded coin on whether I should go to the new Green Mic at the Green Linnet Irish pub near Chatelet, or if I should attend the Rebel Bar open mic in Chatelet. I had been waiting for a month to be able to attend the Green Mic. And as it turned out, early attendance and a hungry stomach meant I went, played, popped out for a meal and then realized that the Rebel Bar was only five minute’s walk away, in the direction of the restaurants. So I attended that one too, played five or six songs, then returned to give a full and proper look at the Green Mic. Good thing I did!

In fact, it was a lively open mic all evening, from it’s early start at 8 PM to its early finish at 11:30 PM, and the MCing was part of the great feel and spirit. That was done by Stephen Saxo, the sax player (in case you didn’t catch on), and Andy Bone, the … guitar player. The two kept hard at work all evening making sure that performers were happy, and if they needed backing up with sax or guitar, they were there for that too.
Left-handed mojo on right-handed guitar at Green Mic open mic in Paris

The end of the evening the place turned into a giant jam session – or should I say, as my keyboard did, “ham session”? Because there was a lot of fun and hamming it up. In fact, it became incredibly loud, raucous and crazy. And I noticed that during this liveliness the owner manager of the bar was busy looking at his cash register without noticing the mayhem around him on a Sunday night going on for midnight. That, to me, was one of the clearest reasons why this was a successful open mic, and should continue to be so. With great MCs, a manager who is resistant to noise for the neighbors, and a location that rivals any – I mean the actual snug bar with the pool table in the back, and warm “living room”-like feel with bookshelves, etc., and the bar right in front of the stage…. well, the Green Linnet is a winner for the Green Mic.
Nul Bar Ailleurs Jam in Paris

The only drawback at the moment is the open mic is just once per month for the moment!
Etienne opens Rebel Bar open mic in Paris

The Rebel Bar will have the other three Sundays cornered. And so it should. It’s been going for a year now, and Etienne continues his MCing job as he did at the hugely popular Coolin Bar (closed down), and the bar is amazing.
Blonde Amy at Green Mic

Since I delayed doing this post for such a long time – two days – I actually had a chance to drop in to the open mic of the Nul Bar Ailleurs, near Bastille, last night. It was the first time I’d stopped into this one, and unfortunately, I was a little late, and had not yet eaten my dinner. So I did not take part, but I did take a look, and this place and set up is very cool: A cave cellar full of musicians and spectators, and wave by wave people take part in the open mic. I’ll get back to this one for sure, but had a hunger on last night that could not be denied. Will soon be adding this to my list of Paris open mics….
Yet another final jam at Green Mic

Yuke Duet at Green mic

Duet at Green Mic

Doin’ it at Green Mic

Murray Bob at Green Mic in Paris

Pizza Box Drum Jam at the Oasis – a Little Borderline

March 7, 2015

Oasis 244

Oasis 244

PARIS – It was nearly midnight at the Oasis 244 in Paris again last night when I arrived, so much too late to profit by a full night of listening to John Redford and Stephen Saxo playing their stuff for the customers at this very cool and laid back little bar near the Stalingrad metro. It was too late to have much of any kind of amplification, so vocals and certain guitar bits suffered. But I sure did not suffer while listening to and playing with several old and new acquaintances.

Especially meeting up and hearing Wayne Standley playing again. I wrote about Wayne extensively during the Ptit Bonheur la Chance and Tireuse days. But since that venue has ceased to run its open mic, I’ve not seen Wayne playing anywhere. Wayne is a longtime American expat in Paris who has played music all his life here, but maintained a bona fide American country and rock sound. So true and real. And last night Andy Bone joined him on lead guitar and it sounded like we were in the middle of the American midwest somewhere….

Then I got to go up behind the mic – that did not work – and sing a few songs. And when it was time to do my song Borderline, David Hummel leapt into action and provided a fabulous jamming rendition as he took to one of his favorite instruments: A cardboard pizza box that had contained last night’s dinner. David used that for percussion, using his drum brushes to batter the box in the rhythms of Borderline. A fabulous little jam that left me feeling great about the 20 minutes I spent on the wonderful little warm stage of the Oasis 244. Andy Bone filmed it, so catch the video – be aware the mic barely worked, thanks to complaining neighbors.

The pizza box, it turns out, is a fabulous percussion instrument in acoustic jam sessions in bars where you can’t make much noise!

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