Tonight from 6:30 to 9:00 PM was the third installment of the Lazy Sunday evening concert at the HideOut bar on the Rue du Pot de Fer, just off the Rue Mouffetard. This was the series of Sunday evening concerts that I inaugurated with my show a couple of weeks ago. But it was thanks to Syd Alexander, the singer of the Burnin’ Jacks, that I got that cool gig. Tonight was the third show, and it was…The Burnin’ Jacks. And so naturally, it was the best, crazest, most riotous and successful so far.
There was something very fitting and primitive and sort of retro about seeing the Burnin’ Jacks in a so-called acoustic concert – it was loud enough to blow the eardrums at a close sitting to the speakers, but Félix and Antoine played acoustic guitars (Félix with a vintage Gibson jumbo or something – and the room was crowded with Burnin’ Jacks friends and fans. Syd somehow managed to find the space in this small, cosy, intimate and laid back bar to go crazy on the stage area, amongst the spectators and even on the tables.
I made a few videos of high moments, another good collection to add to the Burnin’ Jack odyssée. Next week the show is by Saibu, a French folk band.
The above headline could be the worst I ever wrote on this blog as I try to cram in so many words and ideas that it makes no sense at all. But in that way alone, it is probably appropriate for this post which will be a round-up of my weekend. I was so busy that I had no time to update the blog for a day or two or whatever it was. So now I have to roll all the bits and pieces into one – and I will start with the freshest and work back.
Since the last Formula One race I had been working on a story about my musical adventures along with the race travel – the stuff this blog is mostly all about. And today that tiny little “memoir” – of 1700 words – of my last three years traveling around the world and playing in open mics, has been published in a neat racing magazine called GP Week. You just click on the link and go to the site and start clicking on the pages until you find my story on pages 30 – 31, and it has photos too….
The other bit of news was my concert last night at the HideOut bar on the rue du Pot de Fer in Paris, just off the rue Mouffetard. I was invited to play an acoustic concert- along with any other band members I might want to bring – as part of the first of a series of Lazy Sunday afternoon concerts that the bar will host between 19:00 and 21:00 every Sunday.
The bar is a cool, long, place with wooden tables and chairs, sports television and music. It’s cosy, and has a friendly atmosphere. I was invited to play by the organizer of the concerts, Syd Alexander, who is the lead singer of The Burnin’ Jacks. My lead gutarist, Felix Beguin, is of course none other than the lead guitarist of the Burnin’ Jacks. I also invited Justin Purtill to play bass, as I jammed with Justin at an open mic earlier in the week and found not only that we could do some really convincing stuff off the cuff with no preparation, but that we got along well and there was a great vibe. In fact, Justin is an astonishingly good bass player, and he is also a sometimes quite shockingly good singer songwriter.
For last night, Justin and I did go over most of the songs we played beforehand, to ensure some sense of professionalism…! And it worked, with Justin and Felix and me on vocals and guitar, I had fun and got some good reactions from the audience. It felt warm and nice…. I also loved the moment Felix put down the guitar and joined me on vocals in Cat’s in the Cradle.
Just before going into the HideOut I was walking up the street and wondering aloud where exactly the venue was located when a voice came from a restaurant terrace table: “Just keep going up the street there, Brad.” I turned around to see a woman whom I had noticed momentarily before but did not recognize, and she rose to her feet and introduced herself: “It’s Heather Munro,” she said.
Finally, Saturday night I went for the first time in my life to see the progressive rock band, Yes, at the Olympia in Paris. I had listened to them since I was about 15. Seeing them for the first time – I had seen Rick Wakeman solo in the mid-70s – was a revelation. Jon Anderson, the singer, was not present. But they have another singer, a Canadian, who used to play in a Yes tribute band and who does a great job on singing the band’s stuff almost the way Anderson does. That’s hard to believe until you see it live. Still, I sometimes preferred to close my eyes to pretend it was the real Jon Anderson… but anyway….
They announced it as an acoustic concert on Facebook. But the Burnin’ Jacks’ show at the Horror Picture Tea in Paris last night was anything but – it was the full band and keyboards too… sorry, indeed, no drums please. Aside from the drums – the venue is not big enough – it was the whole band. And a great show, they got the joint rocking.
And at the end I saw something I’d never seen before, which was Syd exercising his hidden musical knowledge, talents and training as he did some keyboard stuff and played The Doors’ “Light My Fire.” Cool stuff.
By the way, the Horror Picture Tea is a very cool venue, with a part bar, a part restaurant, a bit of a horror and gothic theme and if you go downstairs you can have, or watch, a tatoo artist at work – at least you could last night. The web site says it is a tea room that mixes rock and gastronomy. Yeah, it seems to do that, all right.