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Another Little Open Mic Crawl in Pigalle

July 14, 2017
bradspurgeon

pigalle country club

pigalle country club

PARIS – I suddenly realized on Tuesday night in Paris that without even putting my mind to work to think about it, I had a possible four open mics to attend as well as the gig of a friend, and that three of these were in Pigalle, within a short walking distance of each other. Unfortunately, the gig at the Chat Noir – of Simon Ferrante, who is now doing the Cavern open mic I wrote about last week – was already finished when I arrived. But not far away, on the Place Blanche, Brislee’s open mic at the Fabrique was in full swing. And I followed that one with another visit to the Pigalle Country Club open mic, near the Place Pigalle.

Brislee’s was as fun and as musical as usual, and he announced that next week’s edition is the last before the summer break. So don’t miss it, get there on Tuesday – preferably early….
second at Pigalle Country Club

Down the road, or up the road, whatever it is, was the Pigalle Country Club, where I walked in to find a familiar sound of voice and playing I had not heard for years. There was a fairly large cross-section of performers including the usual suspects, some members of the Burnin’ Jacks, and even some Italian tourist women (whom I did not get to make a video of for this blog, since they asked if I could make a video of them with their phone!).
First at Brislee’s

I was happy to find myself being able to play when most people went out for a cigarette break (!), so that gave me the kind of peace and freedom to try again a song that I have rarely performed in public, and so therefore need to practice in a live environment: “So Long Marianne,” by Leonard Cohen. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think one or two people who didn’t smoke also enjoyed it well enough!
First at Pigalle Country Club

In any case, it was a fun and relaxing time at the Pigalle Country Club, and I love this place’s quirkiness, and its decision to keep going through the summer (unlike so many Parisian establishments that close down their open mics)….
Second at Brislee’s

Stay tuned in for more summer open mic adventures in Paris!

Trying Out My New Martin D-42 at Brislee’s Open Mic

May 3, 2017
bradspurgeon

Martin D-42

Martin D-42

PARIS – What better environment to try out a new guitar than Brislee’s open mic at La Fabrique just off the Place Blanche in Paris? I bought the new Martin D-42 yesterday afternoon so late that I only had time to return home and prepare dinner and eat, giving up all idea of attending his popular open mic, as I knew there would be no room on the list. Last week he had 21 musicians playing from that usual time of just after 9 pm until midnight. Then came a message on Facebook that he still had room – so I finished off the dinner quickly and took the metro and my new Martin Dreadnought over to the Place Blanche, to find, as I expected, the perfect environment to test my new guitar….

As it turned out, as there were a few fewer musicians signed up last night than usual, Brislee ended up giving me the time to play five songs behind the mic. Fortunately, I got to listen to the other musicians first before my turn came, and so I wasn’t just thinking about my new guitar all night. There was the regular Ash Orphan, with his distinctive Lowden guitar, and there was another guitarist doing tapping and slapping with another great guitar, and Triinu doing her melodic stuff. So all together, a nice night – in addition to other musicians and Brislee’s final closing number.
Ash Orphan at Brislee’s open mic in Paris

My Martin D42 does not have a mic inside it, of course, because this is all about one of the greatest acoustic guitars in the world with the fabulous wood it comprises. And I have strong doubts that I will set up any kind of mic system in it. I did buy an L.R. Baggs M1 Active Body-sensitive Active Magnetic pickup that you can strap into the hole, though, since it can also be removed whenever you want. But although I had it with me last night, I decided not to fool around with trying to put it in the guitar in the dark while listening to other performers.

slap n tap at Brislee’s open mic in Paris

So I asked Brislee if we could just use a mic for my new guitar, and he agreed. In a way, in fact, it seemed to me the most appropriate way to christen the Martin on its first public performance. Suffice it to say that I felt immediately, immediately at home and at one with the Martin in this live performance. I started with a Bob Dylan (“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”), then did my “Borderline,” then did my “When You’re Gone Away,” then Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train.” I decided to end with a Dylan too, with the simple, “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” When I hit the end of that song, the Martin told me to do some flat picking instead of the strumming I usually do. And that was pure joy.
Triinu at Brislee’s open mic in Paris

This is not a review of the D-42. There are hundreds of those online. Let me just say that everything I have read in the reviews is true: It feels like the perfect guitar. I still love my Gibson J-200, but it has a very limited use for me, where as the vast range of this D-42 is a great all round guitar for my music. And I was really pleased to hear exactly the same comment from Ash Orphan at the open mic, as I did from my son earlier in the day when I was buying the guitar at Woodbrass: “This guitar really suits your style.”

second by Brislee at Brislee’s open mic in Paris

Amen. It feels great too, to know that my D-42 has a note inside it stating that it is one of the Centennial edition guitars of the Martin Dreadnought. Martin’s first Dreadnought was made in 1916, mine – although it came straight to France from Nazareth, PA, was made in 2016.

another at Brislee’s open mic in Paris

And thanks again to Brislee’s great open mic for this first time playing the new guitar – a great replacement for my semi-retired, weary, 8-times-around-the-world-Seagull-S6.

An Update to My Paris Open Mic Guide

March 29, 2017
bradspurgeon

Thumbnail Open Mic Guide

Thumbnail Open Mic Guide

Just a note to say that I have updated my open mic city guide, The Thumbnail Guide to Paris Open Mics, Jam Sessions and other Live Music, for the first time since last June.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest open mics and jam sessions in Paris has now ceased: Caveau des Oubliettes. How such and institution could disappear is beyond imagining. I have also updated information in Brislee’s open mic at the Café Oz at place Blanche, as the bar has changed its name to La Fabrique – and I’ve updated the times Brislee runs the evening, since I realized it was slightly out of date – and I have also now shifted over, yet again, the Tennessee Bar open mic from the Thursday back to the Tuesday – and apparently we can forget its traditional date of Monday! I have also updated the shifting scene at the Oasis 244 bar, with its three open musical nights per week. There are other open mics in Paris, of course, that I have not even put on the list, as I only put those I attend, and there are several new ones I have not attended….

But The Thumbnail Guide to Paris Open Mics, Jam Sessions and other Live Music, remains the most extensive and up-to-date guide of the Paris open mic scene. Check it out!

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