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Feeling Like a King at King’s Pub in Nice, With its Nice Sound System

May 26, 2016

King's Pub Nice

King’s Pub Nice

NICE, France – The night before last it was my arrival in Nice, in the south of France, for my only night in the town this year as I attend the Monaco Grand Prix. I’ve been lucky enough to luck out on an apartment stay in Monaco itself this year, so the rest of the week will be devoted to trying to crash the impossible town and find a place to play in Monaco. I have one or two ideas. But this post is about King’s Pub in Nice, in the old town. It’s a mainstay of live music in a town that is bursting at the seams with live music. But after a few years where it seemed to have lost its way with the open mic, the open mic is now back with a vengeance on Tuesday nights.
MC opens open mic at King’s Pub

As soon as I saw somewhere that King’s Pub was holding an open mic on Tuesday, I shelved all other plans and went directly there after a wonderful dinner at one of my favourite restaurants in Nice (had gambas pasta). I arrived after 10 PM and the open mic was just starting. I was delighted, because the crowd looked like your bona fide open mic crowd, and not just a jam crowd. And the MC, Chris, was announcing that the stage was open to anyone, and he’d just play a few songs first.
final one at King’s pub

The stage is very sweat, a nice comfortable size for a single musician, but they also manage to get whole bands up there; and the sound system was so good that you had perfect vocals and great guitar sounds coming out of every performer’s set. And there is also an excellent monitor, so you feel as comfortable as anything.
Duet at King’s pub

I love this fabulously huge pub with giant high ceilings, and when you stand on the stage, you can look right down through the whole pub and out through the front entrance into the street. And you can project, and hope that you will attract more spectators or musicians.
Another duet at King’s Pub

In any case, there were a number of musicians, but it was also free enough that I managed to do a long first set, and then later on, finished off with a second set. Another long one. It was pure delight from beginning to end. One of the nicest open mics I’ve done in Nice, now.
A different duet at King’s Pub in Nice

Hoping things will continue this way in Monaco….!

Worldwide Open Mic Thumbnail Guide: Nice (& Monaco) Edition

May 24, 2013

Cote d'AzurMONACO – For my seventh city installment of my worldwide open mic guide today I am loading my Nice (& Monaco) page. As a reminder, it all started with my now very popular Thumbnail Guide to Paris Open Mics, Jam Sessions and other Live Music, and due to that guide’s success, I decided this year to do a similar guide for each of the cities I travel to during my worldwide open mic tour.

Worldwide Open Mic Guide Philosophy

The only guide I am really in a good position to update regularly is that of Paris, since I live there. But I decided to do guides to all the other 20 and more cities on my worldwide open mic tour in order to give the knowledge I have personally of each city’s open mics. The guide has links to sites I know of local guides that may be more up-to-date, but I have chosen to list the open mics or jam sessions that I have played in myself. There may be others that I know of, but if I have not played there, I will not include it on the list. That way, the user learns a little of my own impressions. But I cannot be as certain that the guide is up-to-date – so check before you go.

More Experience Than Existing Open Mics

Unfortunately, given the ephemeral nature of open mics – and bars themselves – in virtually all of the cities in the guide my own personal experience of playing open mics in the city in question usually goes way beyond the number of venues listed, since they things arise and close very frequently.

Mostly Open Mics and Jam Sessions in Nice, Not Monaco

I do not claim that this worldwide open mic directory is anything other than a quirky Brad Spurgeon centric guide, based mostly on my travel as a journalist following the Formula One series around the world. It is for that reason, in fact, that I include Monaco on this latest list: Monaco is where the race takes place, and most of the people who attend the race stay in Nice, because it’s cheaper than Monaco. It is also more conducive to open mics and open jam sessions. Over the years I have always been able to play in Monaco, but usually as an invited guest by generous musicians. So there is no real listing for Monaco!!! McCarthy’s Pub was a mainstay, but I heard it was all over now, and I have not yet confirmed if that was an illusion… I no doubt will, though, so keep posted…!

So here, now, in any case is the Thumbnail Guide to Nice (& Monaco) Open Mics, Jam Sessions and other Live Music. Please do help me whenever you have information to give me on the venues – i.e., especially if they close down!

Playing at the King’s Pub in Nice and Finding the Right Stuff

May 23, 2012

I never expected to do a nearly 1-hour set in a bar in old Nice last night. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I’d find any place to play the whole time I am here until next Monday. But I stumbled on the King’s Pub, noticed they hold an open mic sometimes on Thursdays and Sundays, went in, asked when the next open mic was, got told it would be in nearly two weeks, looked disappointed, got offered to go on stage then and there to play. So I went up, never got asked to get down!

I could not believe my good fortune, but it had to do with the mindset of Christian, the manager of this rock, pop, folk venue in Nice, a mainstay of the live music scene. I had arrived in Nice at dinner time, had to finish doing three articles for my Monaco Grand Prix preview, worked until nearly 10 PM, ran out and found a restaurant, ate, then decided to digest my food by walking around Old Nice checking out the various venues to see if I could plan for playing somewhere later on the trip.

But I had my guitar with me, as always, and the vibe passed with Christian, and the stage was already set up with the equipment of the musician for last night, Matthieu Saque, who was just as open and willing as was Christian to allow me to go on stage and play.

The sound system was great, the monitor was perfectly set up, and later in my set – which lasted 45 minutes to an hour – Matthieu came up and pointed out that I could also use the vocal mixer button to give my voice a bit of harmony.

All in all, it was a superb evening, a great way to digest my food – truffle pasta, confit de canard and baba au rhum, plus a good local red wine – and to discover this very cool bar, the music of Matthieu and Christian and his group. Because it turns out that Christian, the manager, has a band called The Running Birds, that plays at the pub sometimes – he is also doing a different duo thing tonight and tomorrow at the pub – and they are opening up the show this Saturday at the Nikaia for The Scorpions.

Can anything be much cooler than that for a first night in Nice where I expected nothing and inherited the world? The audience was appreciative, and kept asking me to play, so you cannot feel any better while playing than having that happen.

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