Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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

Back to Coolin in Paris from Barcelona

May 15, 2012

Got up real early – for me – to return to Paris from Barcelona yesterday, spent the day landing on earth, and then went out to the Coolin open mic where I had such a great evening last week with the great crowd. Nothing wrong with the crowd last night, but I frequently have a hard time adjusting back to home scenes after being in some far off land at “foreign” open mics and jams, and Coolin was no different last night. For me, it started slow. Then picked up, then turned into a really, really good Coolin. The thing is…

This open mic is getting so popular now that there are more and more musicians. I think last night was a record, with 20 or more musicians having signed up to play. And Etienne and Lena, the hosts, made sure that everyone who wanted to go up, did go up – although people were asking to play right up to 1 AM I think, so maybe not all did play.

I was suddenly surprised to find one of the Frangin duo brothers there, who introduced himself to me, and I had recognized him but forgotten that he had run an open mic at the Polly Magoo bar in St. Michel a couple of years ago. But as soon as I heard him sing and play, I remembered. He told me he was now hosting a new open mic, every second Thursday, at a bar called La Tête à l’Envers” in Vincennes, with the next one on 24 May.

I decided to go out on a limb and sing a song I hardly ever sing, since it really calls for me to be in a certain zone, and even then…. So I did it, A Change is Gonna Come. I was told it went well. I kept my eyes closed pretty much the whole song, so I couldn’t tell!

In any case, by the end of the night and after a long and good open mic, I felt firmly established once again in Paris. Onward I go….

Cool Transition at Coolin

April 3, 2012

Last night was the sort of pins ‘n needles night at the Coolin open mic where the man who had started it as MC, Henry Tipping, was no longer there for good, and his job was taken over by Etienne Belin-Debray. So obviously everyone was kind of wondering, “Hmm… will Coolin be so cool?”

Sorry for all the puns on Coolin. But anyway, the transition was very cool. It did not at first feel quite the same, of course, but that was also no doubt partly in the minds of the regulars who knew that Henry was not there. The great news was that there were about as many musicians as usual – with a few notable absences – and a large crowd of carousers.

I have noticed that the success of an open mic really depends on a number of factors all coming together. Some open mics survive the departure of the original charismatic MC because the locale is made for an open mic, the management loves it, and the location is great. I think even open mics run by great MCs have a hard time if the bar or location stink.

So you really only need to get a few of the elements right, but if you have them all, of course it is the best thing. Last night Etienne and gang continued the same open mic, allowing all musicians to go up once before going up again and then playing jam-style with each other.

Only time will tell if the Coolin will make the most of the potential it has as a fabulous venue and atmosphere to continue and become a mainstay open mic in Paris. But it was so young anyway – at two or so months – that that was the situation anyway….

I can’t believe this post. I intended to do a very neutral post saying something like, “Look at the videos! Coolin goes on!” And I come out with this opinionated thing that 6 billion people minus about 200 at the moment could not care less about! Anyway, I had fun and will return.

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