Brad Spurgeon's Blog

A world of music, auto racing, travel, literature, chess, wining, dining and other crazy thoughts….

Vintage Vieux – Young and Hip and Cool

February 7, 2013

The Vieux Léon bar in the Paris near the Chatelet Métro has existed for around six years. And at last night’s wonderful open mic a few of us were standing around, late, at the door, and discussing what a wonderful and cool bar it is. I mentioned to the bartender how the first striking thing was that here was a place that calls itself this decrepit, sea shanty, sea sailor sort of name of rot – Vieux Léon – and yet the clientele is mostly the opposite of vieux, or “old,” and mostly the opposite of decrepit, worn and ancient. He agreed, and in fact, went on to elucidate all the wonderful things about the bar and its great clientele and open mic. Which brings me to the subject at hand….

I think last night was the perfect level of crowd – and crowd talk – and number of musicians for this relatively new open mic in Paris. It was also a perfect mixture of styles of music. And just in general, it was a great night from beginning to end – including the fact that not ALL the musicians were actually super fabulous – I mean there was maybe one who went on a little long with the same song played three times – but that only served to show how open and free and real this is as an open mic.

The musician named This is Avalanche – huh? – did another great job hosting the open mic, and it again turned into a little bit of a jam towards the end. And again, it was thanks to Mr Tex, the Italian spaghetti western slide guitar player that several musicians had a superb foil to back and play with. Including me. I did two sets, both with Tex, and each with songs we had never played together before – since we had only played around once before. I tried some of my songs with him, and some of my regular covers, and without remembering that the Byrds themselves had used some slide on it, I did “You Ain’t Goin Nowhere” of Bob Dylan, with Tex. And that was cool – although I think “Crazy Love” and “Mad World” were the best in all. And my “Memories.”

Tex and the Gang at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance

January 30, 2013

Tex the Italian slide resonator guitar player was in big demand last night at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic. I only got a couple of videos of him playing, but it turned out that with Tex the Italian cowboy in the crowd, few musicians wanted to go up behind the mic without his backup. Me included!

Tex backed up me, Baptiste W. Hamon, Avalanche and Wayne and others. It’s because Tex is a very cool slide guitar player, and because guitar player singers will often jump at a chance to multiply their presence behind the mic. I did Crazy Love and Mad World, and enjoyed massively Tex’s backup. Baptiste did a couple of songs, including his song about Townes Van Zandt, and Baptiste recounted that it turned out that Van Zandt was also one of Tex’s favorite musicians, and actually went to Texas, like Baptiste, to follow in the legendary singer songwriter’s footsteps.

But the night was not ALL about Tex and the gang; there were several other really interesting and cool performers, like once again Rafaelle with her classical guitar and sublime vocals and lyrics.

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