Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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

Last Mazet Open Mic for the Summer

June 15, 2012

I’m pissed off at the Mazet Pub open mic in Paris. It is one of the rare ones that closes down for the summer! Last night was the last one until September sometime, as David Oxxo, the MC goes off and fools around making music throughout the summer on the Cote d’Azur! The nerve of this man! The nerve of this bar! Still, I did not want to miss last night’s open mic, and I’m glad I didn’t.

It started pretty quietly, as it often does, and it became an absolutely mad, riotous jam by the end of the evening. A group of musicians came in with a retinue of groupies and tore the place apart – metaphorically speaking.

And before them, there was Scott Bywater’s first visit, and a visit by an interesting songwriter named Richard Hart, from England. The night before I had heard him do two original songs that sounded so familiar I wondered if he had really written them. When he came up with his latest at the Mazet, composed by him and sounding like it could have been composed by any superstar, I realized he was the real thing.

It was a great night, in the end. But I maintain my point of view that it is extremely irresponsible for these people to close down an open mic in the middle of Paris throughout the summer tourism months! Anyway, there are others on Thursdays….

Going With the Flow at the Mazet, Again

June 1, 2012

Second in a series of short Paris posts: Got to the Mazet quite late, but there was not a very big crowd. It was the first time I had been at this great open mic in weeks, as I had been absent from Paris on Thursdays, or trying out a new open mic. Even so, I managed to get up pretty soon after I arrived, got to hear David Oxxo, the MC, and then someone else, then did my slot with maybe six or so songs, and then spent the rest of the night talking with a friend and listening to the music in the background as the crowd grew from small to enormous. Personally, it was a great evening – even if I return with only two videos and one paragraph for the blog…!

Derailed by a Burlesque, Enchanted by….

March 3, 2012

I was just about to do my nearly daily post last night when a friend sent me an SMS asking if I wanted to join him to see a friend of his do her Burlesque show at the Alcazar in Paris, near the place de l’Odeon. I have my priorities, so I dropped everything to go and see Louise de Ville. I would write about my evening at the Mazet open mic later, like now.

I had heard about the Alcazar for years, but never went. I did not regret it. It was a vast, two-floor restaurant with a stage in the middle where both floors could see the performance. Louise’s performance was memorable, and just totally spell-binding – as she says, “people pay more attention to you when you are in your underwear.” We met afterwards, and spoke along with my friend, and I learned she is from, Kentucky, has lived in Paris for a few years, and works in Burlesque in several venues around the city. She loves the Crazy Horse, but is less hot about the other well-known venues for exotic dancing in this city that does not exactly specialize in the genre.

Anyway… not much to say that will not sound like my tongue was hanging out….

So, to back step a little, I must say that I was in enraptured on Thursday night as well. Again with a woman – no, actually two of them. It was the open mic at the Mazet and soon into the evening two women took to the stage, both on guitars, one on vocals. It was Vanessa and Emilie, and the latter played cool lead while the former sang. They looked not only like sisters, they looked like twins. They were not related. It turned out that one was the sister of David Oxxo, the MC of the evening.

I learned that after I had decided which one to propose marriage to, but it turned out to be the wrong one. I did that with Emilie – well, okay, I did not quite propose marriage, but close – after she played lead with me for several songs, “Crazy Love,” “I Shall Be Released” and “Just Like a Woman.” A Bob Dylan medley, almost. And she was wonderful: Check out her site. It was soooo cool to have a woman lead guitar player, and especially one who with the other woman – Vanessa – looked like Kate and Anna McGarrigle, or maybe the Patti Smith twins.

Speaking of medleys, it was also a treat to see and hear Mary Catherine and then her father, who did a medley of some pop rock standards.

Then, later, James Iansiti had a couple of members of one of his bands there, and they did a great rendition of Stairway to Heaven, and James pointed out it was the 40th year anniversary of that song.

And to top it all off, I got given a copy of David Oxxo’s recently released album. There is some good stuff on this beautifully produced and recorded album in French and English, but I especially loved the song “Corps en laisse,” which felt like Jacques Brel in some ways.

Can you ask for a better two days?!

Another Cool Mazet Time

December 16, 2011

The Mazet really is becoming a cool open mic. Last week I did a post talking about how festive it became, and yesterday it began slow, it was raining outside, and I thought it would end up being a right-off, as the crowd that comes to drink at the Mazet comes very much for that. But something about the open mic – no doubt it has to do with David OxxO’s laid-back and easy MCing – meant that little by little the crowd got into the music and the evening. So by the time I left at around 1 AM, it was still kicking, bubbling, jumping, and once again had turned into a free jam. And again, the crowd began singing along, clapping along and being generally nicely responsive – while not ceasing their carrousing either.

I just managed to do a few videos, though. So I’m putting up just a couple….

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