Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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

Playing at the George Payne open mic in Barcelona

May 20, 2011

Sometimes on my worldwide musical adventure I get the feeling that an open mic here or there has been thrown together just for me. When I played in Cologne two years ago I found what was certainly the only open mic in the city, and it happened to be on the first day I arrived, the Thursday, I stumble across it immediately while searching the bars desperately for an open mic, and it had only existed for three months. Although Barcelona is full of open jam sessions, the strict open mic mic format is more rare. Two years ago I discovered an open mic on the Monday night at an Irish pub called the George Payne, on the Place Urquinaona. But it did not last long. Yesterday after an internet search, I found it was happening again, and it was on Thursdays.

I arrived last night to find that it has only existed since last week, but in only one week it has become a great success. There were all sorts of accomplished musicians and bands there to play last night in this vast “Irish Pub,” which looks more like a Texas whorehouse, if you ask me – although I’ve never set foot in a pub in Ireland OR a Texas whorehouse…. but anyway….

This time around it was more Spanish, too, as the MC, Max, is Spanish, and there were more Spanish-speaking performers, despite the Irish pub aspect to it. There were the usual expats too, and some very good ones. In fact, most of the performers were a multicultural mix – from Joe-Psalmist of Nigerian origin to Jesse Masterson and Paul Henry of Argentine, Spanish, U.S. and British mix to me, a Canadian living in Paris….

Most of us did around three songs, although the guys dressed up like the Blues Brothers – Masterson and Henry – did a lot more, by popular demand.

Oh, forgot to mention, the Internet also led me astray as I first went to a very hip musical venue called KGB, that was supposed to have an open mic according to the net, but which had some kind of pin-up girl thing going on instead. Reminded me of the venue in Paris called the Machine du Moulin Rouge.

Now onwards to the many blues, rock and jazz jams in the coming days….

From Tory’s Gig to the Machine du Moulin Rouge and BSMS

March 19, 2011

I managed to get through my two Irish songs without a single error on Thursday night at the Mecano. I was greatly helped by the fact that it was a drinking crowd, there was lots of talk and noise and so I said, “Hey, this is like singing all alone in my living room!” So I proceeded to do “Only Our Rivers” and “Peter’s Song,” of the Sands Family, without mistakes. I even heard afterwards that one or two people actually liked them….

But it was Tory Roucaud’s night of music to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and she did a great job and got the crowd really excited – those that were not talking. She showed what a great host she is with her open personality and fabulous singing voice and songs. But I’m not sure this Irishwoman even sang as many Irish songs as I did… unless you consider that her own songs are by definition and parentage, Irish.

She also invited Adrien Zerbib, also known as Zucco San, and he played a few of his own and sang with her on her Alice in Wonderland song. Sven Cosnuau also played a set. All in all, a very fine evening, one to remember, and a fabulous and full crowd – you WANT them to carouse….

Last night, as a form of recovery from Thursday, I went to the BSMS concert at the Machine du Moulin Rouge. I have mentioned this band at least twice before on the blog, and last night did not disappoint. The sound at the Machine was just fabulous, and the band got warmed up quickly and did a monumental set. My apologies for the crappy video image point of view from the back wall of the room. I was talking a little time to chill out sitting on the bench with a friend, and feeling like I was… in my living room….

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