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A Laid Back Triple Header of Open Mics over Two Days Before the Weekend in Paris

February 28, 2016

Cafe Jean Open Mic

Cafe Jean Open Mic

PARIS – The open mic of the Café Jean on the Blvd Jean Jaures is one of Paris’s more interesting, and kind of oddly contrasting sorts of open mics. So I took it in on Thursday, then sped off to the Zebre Rouge for the tail end of that one, and then on Friday, I had planned to go to Murphy’s pub’s open mic, which happens only once per month, but it was moved from that big Irish pub to the small and intimate Delly’s café at the Jaurès metro at the last minute. And I must say, each open mic, each night, each visit, was an interesting, warm and fun occasion.

I was especially touched with how Renan Mazeas, who runs the Murphy’s open mic managed to find a different venue at the last minute after it turned out that Murphy’s had been reserved for something else at the last minute. I don’t think I know any other open mic MCs who would have felt it more important to honor the promise of an open mic, even if in a different location, rather than just saying, “Sorry, cancelled.”
Harpist at Café Jean

And I was a little skeptical about going to the much smaller, and less classy Delly’s joint for the open mic. But I’d only really ever seen the bar from the outside, and when I walked into the open mic I found a fabulously intimate evening and a great sound system, and Renan’s excellent, warm hosting. And I did not regret a minute of it. I’m happy that the once-per-month Murphy’s open mic will be happening next Friday, in fact, rather than in a month. So I will definitely go!
Rim at jam

The Café Jean open mic is run by Nicolas Blampain, who is an excellent soft-touch, fingerpicking guitarist who sings, and he used to run the fabulous Lou Pascalou open mic in Menilmontant, before starting up this Café Jean one, which happens just twice per month. I say it is a kind of contrasting open mic because, in fact, the hosting is fabulous, the sound system is good, the environment nice, but when you get down to it, the crowd of patrons are mostly there for a night of food and drink, and many talk throughout the performances.
Instrumental at Delly’s

And yet, they remain respectful, and when they really like something, they turn their heads, and look and listen, even if some talking continues! On Thursday, the fabulous harpist was one of those who turned heads.
Harpist with Blampain

I went to the Zebre Rouge open mic not long after I played at the Café Jean, and it was a little more quiet than last week, but there were some interesting musicians, singers, including Rim Amine, whom I had never heard or seen before, but who is currently involved in putting together another backing band for herself, and may be seen this Tuesday at the Petite Mercerie, in nearby Oberkampf.
Another at Café Jean

Anyway, it was all quite laid-back, and unexpected, the three venues in two nights in Paris before the equally laid-back weekend….

Bad Fantasy at Zebre Rouge

Double harmonica at Zebre Rouge

More at Café Jean

More Rim

Another at Delly’s

First at Delly’s

Renan closing Delly’s

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