Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Three Nights in One, from Singapore Gig to Jam to Paris Open Mic

September 27, 2011

When I awoke at 3 P.M. Sunday in Singapore I knew I was going to have a long haul of a day and night on my last night in Singapore; the travel back to Paris; the open mic at the Galway. But I had no idea just how rich and full it would be, and that it would range from what amounted to a personal gig at the Crazy Elephant in Singapore, to a jam with Formula One team personnel at an all-night restaurant in Singapore, to a great open mic at the Galway with a family feel to it. All without any sleep to speak of….

I had only one musical venue still to do in Singapore and I had decided I would forego it and go directly to Actors’ bar to jam some more with my friends there. But walking along Clarke Quay I passed in front of the Crazy Elephant bar where the jam takes place every Sunday night. Last year I had played one song there, but it was primarily a blues jam, so I did not really fit in. Passing by I noticed there was no music, but lights still lit up the stage and instruments. So I went in an asked if the jam was still going. John Chee, the organizer of the jam, who also plays in the house band, asked me if I wanted to go up alone with my guitar and play some songs. I just leapt at that opportunity. And through his encouragement and audience encouragement, the 2 to 4 songs initially envisioned turned into a full set probably close to 1 hour long and with maybe 10 songs.

I was in heaven. I mean, here it was in Singapore, 1 AM, got all my day’s work done, had myself a gig! Nice audience reaction, and this wonderful bar with an open front out onto the quay, a good sound system. What more could I ask?

Well, outside on the quay I met several musicians from the house band and others who jam in the jam, and I interviewed them for my open mic and jam film. I also filmed another guy who asked if he could use my guitar to sing after me, which I let him do, and he had a great voice. I think his name was Rama….

I went on from there afterwards to the Actors jamming bar, but arriving at 2:30 AM, I found it closed and none of my friends around. So I went around the corner to have a dinner at a nearly all night restaurant where I had eaten on the previous night. There I met personnel from a couple of Formula One teams, and we ended up eating the meal together. I was asked to play a song for them, and that would eventually turn into a jam amongst us all. I played the guitar, we all sang, they used chopsticks to beat the rhythm on the table. And soon I noticed at the next table were a couple of the guys I interviewed at Crazy Elephant. It was particularly funny that they were the drummers, and here we had this whole bunch of Formula One personnel playing drums on the table with chopsticks.

We all went over to the Chijmes bar after that and then at 5:30 AM I returned to my hotel, showered, packed and took the MRT to the airport and caught my flight to Dubai, then Paris, where I took the RER to the Galway Pub and arrived there at 10 PM just as the open mic began. There I met my friend Calvin, and of course Stephen ‘Danger’ Prescott, who MCs the open mic. He introduced me to his dad, Ged, and his sister, Hannah, who would go up and sing with him. They are in Paris from Australia, for a holiday. The evening turned out to be a reunion amongst many other Paris open mic musicians, including Ollie Furey, who has left the MCing job at the open mic of the Ptit Bonheur la Chance for a life in music and acting in Berlin. But he just returned for a bit, and sang this Van Morrison song I love and did a great song.

I did five or six songs, and could not believe that I could hold a tune after nearly 40 hours without sleep at that point. But it was all worth it…. I let out my breath and returned home and slept soundly for 8 hours….

Singing in Singapore with Ollie Fury

September 25, 2010

Just a little note today of a funny coincidence, which I have mentioned before and want to mention again. Ollie Fury is a friend of mine and fellow musician in Paris and he runs the Ptit Bonheur la Chance bar’s open mic on Tuesdays. It turns out that he lived five years as a child in Singapore, from age 5 to 10, and it turns out also that he came here for a couple of weeks just for a visit and some gigs, arriving the same day as I arrived, last Thursday.

ollie fury drinking a tiger beer in singapore before performing at actors jam bar

ollie fury drinking a tiger beer in singapore before performing at actors jam bar

So we met up and played together last night at the Actors jam bar that I mentioned in my previous post. I played “Crazy Love” and two other songs – along with a group (and Ollie on lead) – and he played some songs before I arrived, and then when I was there he played “Brown Eyed Girl,” to match my “Crazy Love,” so we had to Van Morrison songs. I made a video of him playing “Brown Eyed Girl,” but the image quality is garbage. I’m putting it up here anyway so you can hear the sound of the music, and especially Ollie’s cool voice.

poster for ollie fury concert at crazy elephant in singapore

poster for ollie fury concert at crazy elephant in singapore

Tonight Ollie is doing a gig at the Crazy Elephant pub in Clarke Quay, and he invited me to come and play a song during his gig, which was bountiful. As I walked toward the MRT line metro stop on the way to the race track today I passed by the “Crazy Elephant” and saw the announcement for his gig. Looked great, so I took a photo and put it up here, along with a photo of Ollie having a beer with me last night before we played at Actors.

Amazing how the life of musicians can meet in the global village in the strangest of places….

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