Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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

Peripatetic Night in Paris

May 1, 2011

Just a lot of walking last night, from one venue to another, making a stop off here and a stop off there. I started at the Disquaires to listen to the band of a friend, The Grass Windows, but I arrived about five minutes too late. I visited a number of the bars around that Bastille neighborhood and then headed on to the Bizart, near the Place de la Nation, to hear the Romantic Black Shirts – another band of a friend, those who had played with me when I played at the Disquaires.

Then I visited a number of venues and bars in the Oberkampf area, and as I was heading to another one up in Menilmontant I heard some musicians outside the Menilmontant metro and I looked up to see Haylen and her band – or at least some of her band (joined by someone I don’t know). Haylen, whom I have written about for her playing at the Monday and Wednesday night open mics, said she plays there a lot on Saturday night, sometimes through much of the night. But I caught her at a moment when there were hardly any spectators. Still, it was a nice and fun moment to once again run into someone from the open mics in the street (after doing the same on Thursday).

So all in all I walked many kilometers and returned home to conk out completely and soundly, ready for today’s brunch.

Calvin at the International, and a Visit to the Bizart

October 6, 2010

I dropped off at l’International last night to see one of my friend Calvin McEnron’s latest in a string of concerts, and no doubt it is his biggest. I met Calvin at Earle’s open mic last year, or even the year before, and he has been making songwriting, guitar playing and singing progress ever since. In leaps and bounds, in fact, as this half hour or so set at l’International attests. He writes in English, and has a hip thing about him. Check him out.

I then went on to the open mic jam session at the Bizart Bar near the Place de la Nation, and only four stops away from the International. I had last attended this Tuesday-night jam at the end of last year or early this year. The accent here is on blues, but they accept just about anything. The bar is small, cosy, and the people are there mostly to listen to the music, but it doesn’t bother them to talk, and it doesn’t bother the musicians much either, as it never gets excessive.

I enjoy it because you get people like the fiddler player Joe Cady joining you while you play. In fact, Joe seemed to play on just about every song last night – including on the four I played – and he is often there, so he gets his weekly workout. Last night my friend who calls himself LadiesDi was also there, with his Finnish girlfriend and another Finnish woman, Tatiana, who played some nice tunes.

Altogether a very relaxed and enjoyable evening from start to finish. Only problem was the unicycle that I noticed sitting up above the tables on the wall of the Bizart. I asked if it was usable, but the barman told me there was no air in the tires. A terrible temptation to go unanswered, that one.

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