Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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

Paddy Sherlock’s Fabulous, Long-Overdue Paris Songwriters Club at the Tennessee Bar

November 27, 2017
bradspurgeon

tennessee bar facade

tennessee bar facade

PARIS – I could not go last month to the first edition of Paddy Sherlock’s open mic at the Tennessee Bar that he runs under the name of the Paris Songwriters Club. But last night, Sunday, I could get there, so I took the opportunity, because I had a feeling about this thing. My feeling was right. Paddy Sherlock, a longtime Paris musician from Ireland (who had a gig at the Coolin pub in Paris for 20 years!), really knows how to organize and run a great show. Last night might have been an open mic, but it was a great show – beginning to end. A fabulous addition to the Paris open mic scene.

The idea behind it is a slightly risky one, in that he basically demands that people play their own compositions and not cover songs. But that environment really pushes a musician with insecurities to go for the risk of playing their own song rather than falling into the safe zone of doing a crowd-pleasing cover that they know is a sure thing.
Second Paris Songwriters Club night compilation

What I found amazing last night – along with Paddy’s perfect MCing, and his own great music, and the good sound system, etc. – was that I really felt very often as if it could not be possible that everyone was playing his own song! Some of the stuff was just so good that I forgot for the duration whether I was listening to an unknown popular song, or a composition by an unknown songwriter.

In any case, it more than lived up to my hopes. And this is great news for the Tennessee Bar too – which has relatively new management – as it used to host one of the best open mics in Paris, with James Iansiti, but since that host left, the open mic has never been up to standard for long, if at all.

Paddy said he hopes to make this monthly open mic a weekly open mic, although that depends on its success. For the moment, one thing is for sure: The next edition is on 10 December. So I highly recommend you get your butt over there, songwriter or not!

PS. For the first time on this site, and in a baptising of my new camera, I have decided to make a compilation of short segments of all of the people I filmed during the open mic – which was far from the full number of performers.

PPS, I did not want to ignore that there is also a new open mic at the Tennessee bar on Thursdays, which is run by Etienne of Coolin fame, but which unfortunately the night when I went there, Etienne could not make it, so I decided not to stay as I wanted to see it in its real guise…. I’ll return again, for sure….

Another Great Night at the New Rebel Open Mic in Paris

May 18, 2015
bradspurgeon

O'Sullivans

O’Sullivans

PARIS – Great news last night at only my second visit to the Rebel bar open mic, that is hosted by Etienne Belin, who is trying to transfer the same magic from his previous venue at the Coolin, to this exceptional bar in the heart of the Chatelet-Centre Pompidou area, on the Rue des Lombards. It was an even better night that the first visit a couple of weeks ago, and to add to the mix, I recognized a number of people from the Coolin, some of whom worked behind the bar and now took to the stage, and even one was apparently there whom I did NOT recognize!

Yes, I went to the Rebel bar wondering if it would hold up to my first impressions, and the first thing that happened as I entered was I was greeted by so many friendly faces, like Paul or Sinead, the former bartenders. And later, I was quite interested in one of the acts, that it turned out I believe – but I’m still not sure – was the leading light of concert nights at the Coolin, Paddy Sherlock, but whom I had never actually seen there, since I attended only on Monday night open mic nights.

Even more satisfying, though, was meeting with Steve Kessler, a musician from Chicago, with a local band there called The Saturday June Band.” Steve, immediately upon seeing me, came to tell me that it was thanks to this blog that he had found the open mic. Another bit of personal satisfaction the blog has given. Steve, it turned out, was not just a great musician, and a nice guy, but very generous, as he offered a free drink to everyone in the open mic right after his set!

My own set by then, I felt, was far too emotional, but there are nights like that!

I shall return to the Rebel bar open mic with no questions asked next time….



Postpartum Holiday Blues at Paris Open Mics

March 6, 2012
bradspurgeon

You’d think everyone had the postpartum blues after the school holidays ended in Paris and the pub crawlers and musician students who all crowded the open mics last week returned to school and did not return to the open mics. It was a quieter than usual night at both the Tennessee Bar open mic and the Coolin pub open mic last night. But that was completely to my liking, as it meant singing more and have a more appreciative audience.

In fact, both venues had a nice atmosphere and enough musicians to bring variety, and just enough customer to have a decent sized audience in each – without having the madness of the week before.

I enjoyed the audience participation at the Tennessee, and the several different combinations of duets and trios at Coolin was a real pleasure. And for the first time last night at Coolin I got to see this guy I have been hearing about from several sources for several weeks: Paddy Sherlock, who hosts the only other regular live music night at Coolin. Check out the video of Paddy on the horn and vocals along with a guitarist.

Henry and I, after practicing the Dylan “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” a couple of times in jams at Coolin, decided to do it behind the mic yesterday. Someone caught a bit of that on video for me – picking up at the point where I had just thoroughly failed in my effort at playing lead.

We again had a post-open-mic jam session around the table, which again I enjoyed too much to make too many videos of, as I was too occupied playing myself (not with myself).

Blog at WordPress.com.