Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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

Peripatetic Night in Paris

May 1, 2011

Just a lot of walking last night, from one venue to another, making a stop off here and a stop off there. I started at the Disquaires to listen to the band of a friend, The Grass Windows, but I arrived about five minutes too late. I visited a number of the bars around that Bastille neighborhood and then headed on to the Bizart, near the Place de la Nation, to hear the Romantic Black Shirts – another band of a friend, those who had played with me when I played at the Disquaires.

Then I visited a number of venues and bars in the Oberkampf area, and as I was heading to another one up in Menilmontant I heard some musicians outside the Menilmontant metro and I looked up to see Haylen and her band – or at least some of her band (joined by someone I don’t know). Haylen, whom I have written about for her playing at the Monday and Wednesday night open mics, said she plays there a lot on Saturday night, sometimes through much of the night. But I caught her at a moment when there were hardly any spectators. Still, it was a nice and fun moment to once again run into someone from the open mics in the street (after doing the same on Thursday).

So all in all I walked many kilometers and returned home to conk out completely and soundly, ready for today’s brunch.

Down Night at the Highlander – for Me, at Least

April 28, 2011

Not sure why, but I did not feel myself at the Highlander last night. Was it because the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic the night before was so good? Was it because I am entering into a phase of intensive preparation for my trip to Istanbul next week? Was it because there were not really any friends there? Was it because my guitar kept on cutting out electronically during my three-song set? Something to do with it hitting the pavement in Malaysia…. Don’t know.

In any case, I did see a few noteworthy acts, and I will just put them up here. There was Haylen and her group who got everyone rocking. There was an amaaaaaazing a cappella singer from Sweden who sang just before me – THAT was difficult – and there was a cool guy named Abdou who could really sing and got the audience going too.

Anyway. A short post, a down post – but that’s life. Here are the videos.

Gospel at the Highlander, a Warm Audience and Overseas Beckons

March 10, 2011

I debated with myself over the last hour if I should actually do a blog item even when I have nothing much to say. I’m against it in principle, and last night at the Highlander it was pretty much business as usual – except for two things, one of which leads to a third thing. So what the hell:

The first thing had to do with another fun performance of gospel by Haylen and band, this time joined on guitar by the Tom Waits of the Highlander and Tennessee….

The second thing was entirely personal about my own personal experience playing last night: Even though I had to wait until nearly 1 AM before I got to play – my fault as I arrived late – I was really, really happy with the reception for my performance. I mean, there were cheers, ovations, encores, all sorts of stuff. All right, everyone was flying on alcohol and whatever else they fly on by that point, and there were enough people to have that crowd power…. And I had befriended just enough people to have a fan club…. And I had noticed that big, popular well-known hits had been going over well – Hotel California, etc. – no matter how well they were sung. And I had met a Formula One fan and his girlfriend at the bar and she liked Cat Stevens…. Ergo, I decided to do “Father and Son” and then to continue on the hit path with “Space Oddity.” Both went over really well, with people singing along – as far it is possible to do with my interpretations of the songs – and then I did my own “Let Me Know.”

But those two subjects also bring me to the next subject, which is just a sudden realization that in a week and a half I will be heading of for Melbourne for the start of the Formula One season – and the beginning of my worldwide travels to the open mics and jam sessions. So that will mean that this blog will once again cease to become so Paris-centric as it has been for the last three months or so! Hallelujah!

A Return to “Solo-ness” and a Selection of Vocals from the Tennessee to the Galway

March 1, 2011

The day after my gig at the Disquaires with Félix and Virgile it felt really odd to be back at an open mic all alone with just me and my guitar and a mic. I arrived late at the Tennessee Bar on a night where there were a massive number of musicians, so I opted to watch a few acts and then leave for the Galway.

So it was at the Galway that I found myself “naked” behind the mic with just me and my guitar. I practically could not recover from the sensation and did my four songs feeling there was a lot of sound – and even emotion – missing. Just goes to show what a good practice it is to play alone without a band so that when you do get up with other musicians you are that much more prepared.

ANYWAY… I thought I would just put up three videos, two from the Tennessee Bar and one from the Galway. The common thread to these is just different sounding voices – oh, and also that I thought the American guy singing at the Galway looked a lot like Don Henley of the Eagles does today!!!!

Haylen did a very cool gospel number with her friends at the Tennessee, and as I arrived I heard this young man with the beard and cap who I had not heard there before and who had some definitely interesting qualities and personal style in his voice.

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