Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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

Rushing from the Rush to the Some Girls to the Galway on a Monday Night in June

June 30, 2017

Rush Bar open mic

Rush Bar open mic

PARIS – I can confirm on my second visit to the Rush Bar open mic in Paris that this place is really cool. As it turned out, I was late to arrive, and despite a very full list and an open mic that had to end precisely at midnight, the MC made room for me to play as the last man on the list, acoustic. It turned out to be a huge pleasure, despite my fear of confronting a large audience without a mic for the voice or amp on the guitar.
Third at the rush bar

That was the way I was treated personally, but the other positives were the huge crowd, the great vibe and a new batch of musicians I had not seen the last time I was there. In addition to a few of the same. The bar is soon going to have a new owner, and the new owner also happened to be there and assured us that there would be no change in the attitude toward the open mic.
second at the rush bar

So long live the Rush.

And I noticed that Charlie Seymour, the MC at the Rush, apparently used that word “rush” near the end of the night without noticing it, as he said they had to rush along and do only one song per person when near midnight in order to let everyone play. So it is that after using the silly pun in my post a couple of weeks ago, I could not resist using it in a different way in my headline above.
first at the rush bar

Yes, after performing in the Rush bar I was still hungry for more. So I rushed on over to the Bastille in cab, as it was only a few minutes away and I knew there was another open mic at the Some Girls bar.

And then it was off to the Galway Pub open mic

Unfortunately, when we got there, we found that that open mic had also ended some 20 or so minutes before. So it was that I decided to rush over the more distant Galway Pub open mic at the Place St. Michel, again in a cab. There, I found the stage occupied, and the wonderful Tess running the show as quietly and efficiently as ever, and she offered to let me play, despite her having already announced to the crowd that the open mic was about to end.
outside view at the Galway

I got to do four songs! And then it turned out another late-comer got to play as well. And so it was that the Galway open mic must have ended at around 1 AM or later. And once again it confirmed my warm feelings for this longstanding open mic in Paris, which has changed MCs three times since I started attending in 2008 or so, but which has maintained its quality and standards….

It was all worth the rush….

Blinded by the Light: A Great New Host at the Galway Open Mic in Paris, and The Guinness Tavern’s Rock ‘n’ Roll

August 9, 2016

Galway Pub Paris

Galway Pub Paris

PARIS – Now that is the first time I’ve seen a woman at an open mic singing “Blinded by the Light” by Bruce Springsteen! Or maybe I should say that it is actually the first time I have seen ANYONE at an open mic singing “Blinded by the Light” by Bruce Springsteen. But not only did it inspire me just now to pick up my guitar and seek out the chords and lyrics myself to give it a try, but it also made me realize in just what good hands the Galway Pub open mic is now after having passed from the second or so generation host – All the Roads – to Tess Liautaud. Nor should I be surprised about Tess singing Blinded by the Light – after all, this is the woman who got invited up on stage by the Boss himself at Paris’s Bercy stadium (it has a different name now, I believe) a few weeks ago to join him for a song on guitar and vocals….

And so there I was last night at my first visit to the Galway run by Tess. I also realized tonight just how devoted Tess must be to Springsteen, as I realized that learning all those lyrics is the mental gymnastic equivalent of learning any of a number of Dylan songs, like maybe, “Shelter From the Storm,” and requires huge memory skills…. what?:

Madman drummers bummers and Indians in the summer with a teenage diplomat
D G A7 D
In the dumps with the mumps as the adolescent pumps his way into his hat
D G A7 D
With a boulder on my shoulder, feelin’ kinda older I tripped the merry-go-round
D G A7 D
With this very unpleasing, sneezing and wheezing, the calliope crashed to the ground

Tess doing Blinded by the Light at the Galway

Anyway… back to the open mic. It was a quiet night in August, with half of the open mics closed down for the month of streets emptied of Parisians by night, but full of tourists, and I decided to check out the Galway and Tess’s new presentation of the evening.

And there, I immediately discovered that not only was I seriously low on battery power on my Zoom recorder, as well as seriously low on my telephone, as well as having no charger for the phone and no charged batteries for the Zoom, but I was also around No. 10 or 12 on the list at the Galway, and it was 3 songs each and after 10 PM when it all started.

So having met a friend at the Galway who suggested we go check out a band at a bar I’ve never gone to, I accepted, and decided not to perform.

So off we went to the Guinness Tavern, a Paris institution for live music, with house bands that play until after 4 AM every night – I think it’s every night! Located on the rue des Lombards, I did notice that across the streets, the Duc des Lombards, the famous live jazz music joint, was closed. That was either because it was Monday, or again the month of August. No idea.

Anyway, we stayed an hour and a half or so and listened to the highly adept band play hits from the time of Blinded by the Light until today. And had a nice time listening to the band, Jesters, and when the musicians saw a couple of us had guitars, they even invited us at the break to go up and play. I will regret it for the rest of my life that I did NOT go up and play. How dumb of me. How unlike me. I’m always ready for a musical adventure. I guess I was feeling my music was so different than what the band was doing that I’d only let either me or the spectators down – but now I regret it.

Oh well, the Guinness Tavern will stay there, I assume….

And so, the good news is the Galway continues despite the departure of Romain “All the Roads.” I’ll miss his time there, but at least we still have the joint, and a fabulous new host…. Decidedly, the calliope has not yet crashed to the ground!

P.S. How strange is memory. I discovered as I was adding the tag for Guinness Tavern that I had actually already been to this joint, way back in 2011, just for about half a song or something, as I was clearly not impressed at the time!

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