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100th Open Mic at Pomme d’Eve in Paris – and My First There

April 16, 2023

Pomme d'Eve Open Mic

Pomme d’Eve Open Mic

PARIS – I had the strangest experience on Friday evening attending for the first time the Pomme d’Eve open mic in the bar of the same name on the Rue Laplace in Paris. This was the very same cellar bar that had hosted the first ever open mic that in around 2010 immediately transferred up the street to the P’tit Bonheur la Chance bar and became one of the best in the city for years. But I loved the atmosphere of the Pomme d’Eve, with its kind of medieval cave and thick pillars, and small stage, and a great mixture of both intimacy and space. I had seen that my friend Riyad Sanford had been running this “new” open mic in the Pomme d’Eve for probably around two years, as a new addition post-Covid to the Paris open mics, and I had intended for two years to attend! Friday was the first time I could, and the strange thing was not so much the absence of Riyad – who had gone on a trip and been replaced this week by Vedit Raisinghani as host – but the fact that for the first time probably in more than a decade at a Paris open mic, I did not know or recognize a single musician in the open mic!

Yes, here I was, some 13 or more years later at this very same venue from which so much had grown, and at which now Riyad – who for years hosted the open mic at the Klein bar, as well as others like the Galway and occasionally the Highlander – hosted this one and so I assumed that I would find all of the familiar faces. In fact, no. Not a single face I knew. Or not, rather, until I later learned that the violin player who accompanied those who wanted to be accompanied, had remembered me from the Osmoz Café open mic of Sheldon Forrest, and I did have vague memories of him.
Man on piano at Pomme d’Eve Open mic

But what I realized had happened was that a whole generation of performers had suddenly supplanted the previous generation of performers, in the period in which I had greatly reduced my own visiting of open mics due to both Covid and other activities – notably TAC Teatro activities – and so I realized only by not recognizing anyone and also seeing for the first time a new generation that looked sooooo much younger than the previous one, that I had been away a LONG time!
MC and Ales on violin at Pomme d’Eve

But what I found was greatly reassuring: Faces change, generations come and go, but the music and the spirit of the open mic continues in the same way. Signup was advertised as being at 8:30. But by the time I arrived at about 8:35 I was already the 12th, and designated last performer, as there is a strict adherence to the need to close the open mic for the evening at midnight. With three songs each, I just barely managed to get in under the time limit to have my own three songs. But it was a huge pleasure, and there were still lots of audience members by the end of the open mic when I went up, since, I was told, the bar is one of the few that stays open until 5am!
French one at Pomme d’Eve open mic in Paris

From where I was sitting and taking a few videos, you will not see that there was a very nicely sized crowd of musicians and spectators. And my only criticism is that I found the sound system could have been better for the vocals – as you will hear it is ever so slightly muffled. But that may well be because I was not sitting directly in front of the speakers.

This place also has something that is usually missing in most such open mic venues, which is a piano. So it is well worth it for a broad cross-section of performers. And the added touch last on Friday of having Alex, the violin player, was really great. I insisted he play along with me, as I thought he was about to leave as he had not yet recognized me either as the guy he had seen at Osmoz Café. I was glad he joined me on all three songs: “Mad World,” “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” and my “Borderline.” I was really touched when afterwards one of the other young musicians came up and told me the Dylan song is his favorite … or was it one of his favorites? In any case, it showed me that the generations may change, but the same great songs go on touching them all one after the other.
Duet at Pomme d’Eve Open Mic

Oh yes, and I forgot to mention. Another shocking moment for me came right at the beginning when the MC announced that this was the 100th edition of the open mic! Boy, had I really been gone for a LONG time!

Check it out!

Another at Pomme d’Eve open mic in Paris

Sunday Night at Le Klein Open Mic in Paris – Another Alternative….

July 3, 2017

Le Klein open mic

Le Klein open mic

PARIS – For some reason, Sunday nights in Paris have never been the best night for finding open mics. They come and go quite a bit – except for the dreaded Pop ‘In – but I kept hearing about an open mic I expected would disappear with all the others…and so far it has not. And judging by my first experience at Le Klein, in the Marais, this looks like it is now a mainstay on the Paris open mic scene. I hope so, in any case….

I found at the Le Klein open mic, a very cool, long, narrow, barroom full of musicians and spectators, regulars and people coming just for the music, or just to play, and I found a wonderful set up, with the “stage” area in front of the front window and door. I found a kind, open and ready-to-please MC.
first at Le Klein open mic

And like the MC, Riyad Sanford, whom I know from his frequent participation in Brislee’s open mic in Pigalle on Tuesday nights, I also found many familiar faces and sounds. Many of the musicians from the old Coolin open mic seem to be participating here regularly – or that’s the feeling I got.
second at le klein

In any case, it was a party, festival atmosphere that I found, and I was practically happier to listen than to play.
third at le klein

It was quite cool to hear a Jake Bugg song performed by one person, a song I had never heard performed anywhere else except by Jake Bugg himself on a Tiny Desk Concert video….
fourth at le klein

Anyway, I’ll soon be adding this one to my Thumbnail Guide to Paris open mics, and I’ll definitely be returning to Le Klein.

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