Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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From Bennigan’s to the Dublin Club in Bahrain – 2-Jam Night

April 21, 2013

Dublin Club Bahrain

Dublin Club Bahrain

There has once again on F1 race weekend been a fair amount of noise in the media about protests and social unrest, about armoured vehicles and police fighting rioters with teargas in Bahrain. But like last year, I didn’t see anything myself, not venturing out into the villages outside the capital, as I was busy enough working on my sports stories. Again, however, this year, I did find the time to go jamming in downtown Bahrain, where life does indeed go on as usual.

That is not to deny the civic strife and the problems in the country, as there is social unrest. But not only was it life as usual in the city, but in fact, personally this year I have already beat my record for the number of jam venues I have played at in the city. Prior to last night, I had only played in one place here in Bahrain, as I had only found one place: The Dublin Club open jam at the Ramee Palace hotel.

This Irish bar in the ground floor of the Ramee Palace in Juffair is a lively joint, and has a great expat band featured throughout the year. This weekend it played to a backdrop of an F1 weekend, and it held its usual jam session. The jam takes the form of the house band opening the stage for anyone who wishes to sing or play along, in the company of the house band.

That meant that for me I got up and played “Wicked Game” with my acoustic guitar and vocals, along with a keyboard player, a lead guitarist – Félix Fréchette, from Québec – a couple of backing vocalists, a drummer and a bass guitar player. It was really magical, especially as the band is so good, and despite not having played the song before – apparently – it went very smoothly, I thought.

I recognized a few of the other jammers from last year, a vocalist or two, and a guitar player. The U.S. navy fifth fleet is based here, and some of the jammers come from there, I understand….

But the night had begun with a dinner at Bennigan’s restaurant and bar, where there was also an open mic going on in the pub opposite the dining room. The house band here is a Filipino couple named Wally and Tanya. Wally plays lead guitar and sings, and Tanya sings. They also use recorded backup stuff, like drums, and generally have a vast repertoire of cover songs.

But on Saturdays they open the stage to anyone, in addition to playing themselves through the evening. I played three songs, and Wally played lead on two, while he shook maracas on the third – my song “Borderline.”

Sometime in the next day or two I will put up my Bahrain guide to open mics and jam sessions, as promised at the beginning of my world travels….

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