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Three Open Mics and Two Jams (one non-existent) in Paris

March 6, 2016



PARIS – Days are slipping by so fast as I move into overdrive on the editing of my open mic film. That has not prevented me from attending four open mics and one jam session this week over a three-day period. But it did prevent me from writing about it on the blog…. If excuses are allowed. But the open mics allowed for plenty of discoveries, and fun moments, and some videos to show that….

On Tuesday, it was the Féline open mic time again. I played a three-song set, and left in the middle of the open mic like an ungrateful guy who doesn’t like to listen to other musicians or socialize. But that was not the case: I had simply said that I would attend Rim Amine’s gig at the Petite Mercerie, about a seven minute walk away on Oberkampf. I did that partly – and mainly – to listen to Rim, who I had discovered the week before at the Zebre Rouge. But I also went for what had been announced as a jam session afterwards.
A bit of Melodie’s own song

Since there was no jam – I think they started the gig late – I decided to head on and take my chances at the Café Oz, metro Blanche, thinking I’d be too late to get to play. But no, when I arrived, I found that most of the musicians and spectators who had been there earlier on had now left, and there was room for me to play – so I did. I actually enjoyed singing to the small remaining crowd, since it allowed me to do some quieter, less “crowd pleaser” stuff. (I finished with “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.”)
a final one at Murphy’s

Thursday I decided to go all the way out to St. Germain des Près and the O’Sullivan’s Pub where I wrote about the great open mic a couple of weeks ago. This time, it was not an open mic, but a gig – there is an open mic every second week, and a gig followed by a jam in the other week – but I went because I knew that it was guaranteed a fun night, and there would be the jam afterwards. And this time, there WAS the jam, and I played for maybe 30 minutes or more. Played with other musicians, too, and it was fabulous – thanks to the great organization of the pub and Stephen Saxo….
another at Murphy’s

From there, Friday, it was the monthly open mic at Murphy’s in Paris, behind the Opera. Again, I was so certain the atmosphere would be convivial and friendly and that there would be lots of interesting people, that I had no difficulty choosing this open mic over other possibilities. And I was not let down. Plus, I got to meet a new Canadian friend (visiting Paris) and her daughter, who played int the open mic.
band at La Feline open mic

All in all, a worthwhile time at the open mics in Paris – although I’m not sure it makes for great reading…. So there’s always the videos to fall back on!

Rim at the Petite Mercerie

trio at Murphy’s

band at O’Sullivan’s in St. Germain en Laye

duet at Murphy’s

another at the feline

first at the Café Oz

last at the Feline

mc at the feline

Melodie at Murphy’s

second at the Café Oz

A Laid Back Triple Header of Open Mics over Two Days Before the Weekend in Paris

February 28, 2016

Cafe Jean Open Mic

Cafe Jean Open Mic

PARIS – The open mic of the Café Jean on the Blvd Jean Jaures is one of Paris’s more interesting, and kind of oddly contrasting sorts of open mics. So I took it in on Thursday, then sped off to the Zebre Rouge for the tail end of that one, and then on Friday, I had planned to go to Murphy’s pub’s open mic, which happens only once per month, but it was moved from that big Irish pub to the small and intimate Delly’s café at the Jaurès metro at the last minute. And I must say, each open mic, each night, each visit, was an interesting, warm and fun occasion.

I was especially touched with how Renan Mazeas, who runs the Murphy’s open mic managed to find a different venue at the last minute after it turned out that Murphy’s had been reserved for something else at the last minute. I don’t think I know any other open mic MCs who would have felt it more important to honor the promise of an open mic, even if in a different location, rather than just saying, “Sorry, cancelled.”
Harpist at Café Jean

And I was a little skeptical about going to the much smaller, and less classy Delly’s joint for the open mic. But I’d only really ever seen the bar from the outside, and when I walked into the open mic I found a fabulously intimate evening and a great sound system, and Renan’s excellent, warm hosting. And I did not regret a minute of it. I’m happy that the once-per-month Murphy’s open mic will be happening next Friday, in fact, rather than in a month. So I will definitely go!
Rim at jam

The Café Jean open mic is run by Nicolas Blampain, who is an excellent soft-touch, fingerpicking guitarist who sings, and he used to run the fabulous Lou Pascalou open mic in Menilmontant, before starting up this Café Jean one, which happens just twice per month. I say it is a kind of contrasting open mic because, in fact, the hosting is fabulous, the sound system is good, the environment nice, but when you get down to it, the crowd of patrons are mostly there for a night of food and drink, and many talk throughout the performances.
Instrumental at Delly’s

And yet, they remain respectful, and when they really like something, they turn their heads, and look and listen, even if some talking continues! On Thursday, the fabulous harpist was one of those who turned heads.
Harpist with Blampain

I went to the Zebre Rouge open mic not long after I played at the Café Jean, and it was a little more quiet than last week, but there were some interesting musicians, singers, including Rim Amine, whom I had never heard or seen before, but who is currently involved in putting together another backing band for herself, and may be seen this Tuesday at the Petite Mercerie, in nearby Oberkampf.
Another at Café Jean

Anyway, it was all quite laid-back, and unexpected, the three venues in two nights in Paris before the equally laid-back weekend….

Bad Fantasy at Zebre Rouge

Double harmonica at Zebre Rouge

More at Café Jean

More Rim

Another at Delly’s

First at Delly’s

Renan closing Delly’s

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