Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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

Open Mic Hopping Through Paris in the Warm Winter

December 18, 2015
bradspurgeon

pigalle country club

pigalle country club

PARIS – Last time I posted I was blaming Paris for being in Christmas-break mode and not having so many open mics as usual. Now I must lay blame on myself for being in Christmas break mode for not posting on this blog this week despite doing three or more open mics! In fact, I’m not in any kind of true “break” mode; I’m in overdrive on my own projects in the areas of my life where I am not yet earning my living, but where I still have ambitions: Editing my open mic film, putting together a CD, working on novels, memoir and other projects. To say nothing of household chores and a minimum of socializing. So here is a short report on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday open mic adventures in Paris….
Brit Style at Galway

Sunday it was off to the O’Sullivan’s Rebel Bar open mic near Chatelet, where Etienne Belin held court again for his weekly open mic in this fabulous and cool bar, which also hosts a billiards tournament during the open mic. Now THERE is a solution for all the bars that are not sure they want to do an open mic for fear of alienating other sectors of their patrons: Do everything at once!
First at Pigalle Country Club open mic

I heard some nice stuff, met some nice people, and generally had an excellent time.
Julia at Rebel Bar open mic

Monday, it was off to my first visit to the Galway open mic for a long long time. It was not the usual MC, but rather Thomas Brun, who is the MC of the Highlander open mic. And Thomas, as any reader of this blog will know, is a consummate MC of open mics…and a wonderful musician. I had a video of him opening the evening’s show, but unfortunately I was placed behind a very, very, very loud group of Americans who were standing at the bar just in front of Thomas, and in the video as at the pub, it’s not so easy to distinguish anything between their loud voices and his music. I can’t understand how anyone on earth can be in a bar directly in front of a small, intimate stage with a single musician opening a show, and how they can continue to yell at the top of their voices about nothing at all….
Group at Rebel Bar open mic

Fortunately, the group went outside eventually to talk – they had the upper floor and the back of the bar, if they wanted – and the evening went on in acceptable manner.
Duet at Galway open mic

Tuesday, I dropped by Brislee Adams’ excellent Café Oz open mic in Pigalle, but it was too early and he had not yet arrived; so I could not put my name on the list. I went down the street and had a meal of raclette with a newfound friend, and then after the fabulous meal, we went back to the Café Oz, to find the place just brimming with open mic musicians, and a list that was so long I knew that although it was only 10:30 p.m., I would not get behind the mic until 1 a.m., if at all.
Paul at Galway open mic

So we left and went to look for a place to have a drink, and that’s when it came into my mind – after visiting one or two other noisy bars – that there was the Pigalle Country Club open mic, run by my friends of the Paris band, “The Burnin’ Jacks.” This is a fabulous, very little publicized open mic that is used mostly by the Burnin’ Jacks and their friends. But that is by no means the point of the thing, so anyone can go and grab the stage, mic, guitar, and play away when it’s free.
Second at Galway open mic

So both I and my friend did play, after hearing much fun rock ‘n roll and Buddy Holly played by a couple of the Burnin’ Jacks, and others….
Japanese going wild at Rebel Bar open mic

Mini Post: Rehearsal AND open mic

February 24, 2011
bradspurgeon

Rehearsed for three and a half hours last night with Félix and Virgile in preparation for our concert of my songs and a few cover songs too, the first concert in “group formation” – at the Disquaires in Paris on Sunday. It was a lot of fun, and really cool to work with these two for the first time on my most recent song, Borderline.

I nevertheless got out of the studio at 11:30 AM and that gave me time to go over to The Highlander for the tail end of the open mic. And who should I see playing as soon as I enter but Rony Boy, who is also part of the bill at the Disquaires on Sunday, as he will play with his band “The Romantic Black Shirts.” So suddenly I had a theme for the blog….

Actually, it was cool to see the power of Johnny Cash songs in an open mic situation, as Rony played a Cash song and got the crowd clapping and banging. And the theme runs away with itself now, as Thomas Brun also got the crowd clapping and banging, but through a different method – as you will see in the video below. For my part, I managed to play two songs, starting with “Miles From Nowhere,” by Cat Stevens. And since that went over pretty well I decided on a theme and played for second song, the Cat’s “Father and Son”… which I had also been rehearsing with Félix and Virgile. (Félix of the “Burnin’ Jacks” and Virgile of “Natas Loves You.”

Normally you have to be at the Highlander by 8:30 to get a good spot on the list. But as I arrived after midnight, I had a spot immediately as the last performer – around 1 AM….

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