PARIS – I must still be recovering from Friday night’s open mic at the Noctambules on the Place Pigalle. It started off a little slowly, but then picked up speed and tempo every hour that the night advanced. The end result? Another great night at Raphaëlle’s open mic on the Place Pigalle.
There were some new musicians, some old musicians and some young musicians. The weather was obliging as well, and as long as the rain holds out, the Noctambules is at its best, as you get to sing and play with a view out on the Place Pigalle as the passersby pass by.
Oh, there was some weird moment of some guy in a panic running into the bar with the cops on his tail, but the owner/manager took care of that in a jiffy.
Raphaëlle’s open mic has been a success for four successive evenings now, and counting. I have not been able to be present at them all, but I’m hoping it continues on the same trajectory at least until the next time I get to go.
The big test will be the summer months: While so many of the so-called open mics of Paris close down for the summer, this one intends to stay open – in the true trooper spirit. So maybe it will rise to yet another level.
For the moment, I enjoyed playing two or three times, Raphaëlle played, a Leandro from Brazil was a feature attraction, along with Stephen Saxo, Trélys, Arnaud, and several others, including one of the surprising high moments of the night: Corinne singing Amy….
I have added at least three open mics, and removed the one at the Bull, a pub that just closed down while I was in Montreal earlier this month. I’m so happy to have tasted of four different open mics on that last trip that I had not yet performed in – Mariposa, Medley Simple Malt, l’Escalier and Bar de Courcelle!
And just a reminder that tonight is another edition of Raphaëlle’s open mic at the Noctambules bar on the Place Pigalle in Paris; a fabulous new open mic in a fabulous old location, with a dream feeling to it since you play behind a mic facing out into the famous, legendary Place Pigalle. (Or you sit on the terrace as a member of the audience and listen to the music and look at the Place too….
PARIS – I’ve always said – at least since I learned it – that the success of an open mic depends first on the attitude of the host, the attitude of the bar owner or manager, and the location and shape of the bar. If those things all pass the test – i.e., no negativity, a friendly open enthusiasm for music and people and noise – then the musicians and spectators will soon follow and the open mic will be a success.
So far, so good in the first two editions of the new open mic on the historic, legendary, lovely Place Pigalle in Paris at the Noctambules bar, in an open mic founded and run by Raphaëlle Pessoa. There have been two editions of this open mic now overlooking the place through the wide open front of the café/bar, and it was so successful that it has been launched into a weekly open mic as of now. Having first run on Sundays – last Sunday and two weeks ago – it will now feature in the open mic wasteland day of Friday. Paris has practically no open mics on Friday, now musicians will know where to go, starting this Friday, 19th June.
As a journalist I feel it important to note (disclosure!) that I was involved in the founding of this open mic with Raphaëlle, and that I will also be involved in the running of it when I’m not in some other country attending a Formula One race and an open mic. But the point of this post is not to say nice things about something that is not exceptional. Both the open mic, and Raphaëlle’s hosting and above all her singing, are exceptional.
In fact, this may be the only open mic in Paris where you are likely to hear the host break away from her guitar solo singer songwriter compositions – which are brilliant – into cabaret classics such as “Mein Herr,” or monumental pop songs like Dalida or Piaf. At least, Raphaëlle decided to leap into a few of those on Sunday, and I’m pretty sure she’ll do it again, if she feels the moment is right. For the spectators and fellow musicians, the moment will always be right, for those who know her singing and songwriting know that Raphaëlle is one of France’s great so-far undiscovered talents. Maybe the Place Pigalle exposure will change that!
In any case, Sunday was a day of great talent amongst many of the performers, with visits from Simon Ferrante, Wayne Standley, Stephen Saxo, Karina Kim, Igor of the Escargot Underground, Ivan of Ukulele fame (but without uke), Brislee Adams – who did an incredible Wings song on my guitar – and others. I will be sorry every time I’m out not able to attend…and assuming and hoping that the open mic will continue.
PARIS – So my last night in Nice was not all that nice, really. But things got better going back to Paris, and look even better soon….
On my last night in Nice, on Sunday, I went to the De Klomp bar, the open mic of which was supposed to be happening. I entered the bar and asked the waitress about the open mic, and she confirmed it was happening. But the stage was not setup and I had to wait for it to be set up. I ordered a beer, therefore, and waited. No open mic. No stage setup. So I then asked the guy who looked like the manager, and he confirmed there would be an open mic, and he went on to explain that they were changing the style of it, and that it was going from a bit of a jam thing amongst friends to a real open mic format and jam.
He told me to wait until the band came to set up the state. But not long before midnight, I told him that it looked like the band was not coming to set up the stage, and he agreed. So I just finished my beer and left. Better luck next time!
Monday was the trip back to Paris, reunions, fun, settling back into the winter weather of Paris (from the Cote d’Azur, that’s what it felt like.) And on Tuesday, it was a visit to the Baroc. The great Baroc. Unfortunately, I found that I had no juice in my iPhone and no battery power in my recording device, my Zoom, so I ended up with just one video. But it was a full, wild and crazy night at the Baroc.
Wednesday, that’s last night, well, I went to check out a new venue, the recently re-opened “Aux Noctambules” bar on the Place Pigalle, and there I saw a band playing, and spoke to the owner about an invitation he had put out to Raphaëlle and I about playing there. So that’s why we went and took a look, and indeed, it all looked really fabulous, so the result is that Raphaëlle Pessoa (along with Insu), will host the first open mic on Sunday aux Noctambules, on the place Pigalle!
That’s the future taken care of! But what happened after that was that we went over to Trelys’s open mic at the Oasis 244 bar near the Jaures metro, and played some songs and had a really great laid-back time. Two of the high points for me of that open mic last night were definitely when Pascal segued into playing Bach on his harmonica (see the video until its end) and when another guy played AC/DC, “Highway to Hell” on his ukulele! I was out of battery power again for that on both sources, so only got a small bit. It was very funny – and later in the evening, he would play “Smoke on the Water” on the ukulele, which was also fun….