Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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

Internet Breakdown, Quick Touch of Base in Paris

October 19, 2012

Arriving back in Paris after 40 hours of travel from the south of South Korea, I got home to find my Internet broken down. So this means I have no Internet at home until Monday morning, and I head off again to India and Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. So there will be a short interruption in this blog, unfortunately. I am writing this after a day at the office, at the office…. But lack of Internet does not mean a lack of music and a lack of musical adventures. Last night I attended three venues in Paris, a new one, a recent one and an old one….

The first was a new open mic that takes place on the first and third Thursday of the month. I wish I had more time to write about all of these places, but I don’t. This new open mic takes place at a very cool bar called the Kolok, near the Bourse, not far from the Truskel. I found a very neat, young, with-it audience and the wonderful musician MC named Romain. I found good beer, a warm environment, a couple of mics, great service – and quite a loud audience….

I will give more information about the Kolok as soon as I have tried it again or got a better Internet connection.

From there I went over to the Orphee, which I have written about a couple of times recently on this blog. But this time I was hugely disappointed as the owner or manager of the bar insisted that I pay 10 euros to enter this place in order to entertain the large of audience of people who had shown up for the open mic. There are very, very few circumstances in which I will pay money in order to play my music, when I know I am bringing in people to listen to the music, and when I am also buying drinks for myself. After some discussion it was clear the man was not nice and not smart and not worth it. So I left.

I remembered that across the street at the every and endlessly genial Bus Palladium, I had a friend who was taking part in the musical talent “trampoline” event last night. So I decided to go in and give him my support. It turned out that he was not the only member of the talented bunch of musicians whom I knew. There was the band JFK, whom I ran into almost four years ago at the Truskel and/or Mecano. And it also turned out that I knew some of the judges of the competition, the band Gush. Gush is extraordinary, and if they had done the competition themselves, they would have won. So they were well chosen judges.

As it turned out, Rimed – the tapping guitarist – came in an equal second in the competition. Unfortunately, by the time the eventual winners played their set, I had run out of batteries on my recording device. So nothing to show here.

Of a Vintage Kararocké and Crossing Paths

March 4, 2012

It was the first Saturday of the month again last night, and so I made my way over to the Bus Palladium to check out Nicolas Ullmann’s Kararocké. There are open mics that happen once a month that I forget about because they are only once a month; the Kararocké is one that I never forget about, but rather wait for impatiently. Last night again brought its fun and surprises, and personal thoughts about the crossing of paths through life….

Three years ago at Earle Holmes’s open mic at the Truskel I saw a fabulous group called Gush, and I had a great, wide-ranging conversation with one or two of the musicians about pop and rock music over the generations. These guys, like a few other groups in recent years – Natas Loves You, Fleet Foxes – make use of vocal harmonies and have revived that Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sound – among other ’60s groups.

Gush has gone on to have a pretty good career, playing some very interesting and big venues, and they just returned from Japan. So anyway, after half the band appeared on stage last night at the Bus Palladium, I went up to the singer – who had just done a very convincing Stones song – and he immediately recognize me – although he could not remember precisely where or when we had met.

That was cool, but it was not the only such meeting last night, or crossing of paths. There was also, for instance, another of the performers, Sigalit Rossignol, whom I first saw last year sometime at the Anthracite open mic – where singers also sing with backing by a house band – and who I have seen performer nowhere else.

And then there was the star of the previous Kararocké, the riotous man from the Philippines, who calls himself Bong Jovi, and who really milks the crowd – after what appears to have been years’ worth of playing in karaokes around the world.

At least one of the Burnin’ Jacks was there, and a few other familiar faces. So what all of this means, and got me to thinking, was just how the musical world sometimes criss-crosses, blends in, faces resurface, careers grow, fade, and there is a kind of web that develops, and we all gravitate eventually to the same musical poles.

Now, what does all that mean? Fuck all! (But I wanted to see if I could find some kind of theme to write about another Kararocké…. Shaggy dog story? Maybe….)

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