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It’s Sundown at Some Girls for Olivier the MC (of Ptit Bonheur fame), as He Takes His Leave From Open Mic Presentation – Big Party

July 23, 2017

Some Girls

Some Girls

PARIS – This just in: Olivier Yaco Mouchard (also known under several other IDs over the years) has just announced that on Tuesday, this Tuesday, 25 July, he will be presenting the final open mic of his musical career. This will take place at the latest of the venues where he has hosted open mics over the years, the bar on the rue de Lappe, off the Bastille, called Some Girls. It is the end of an era, but I have a suspicion that it is just the beginning of another era of another kind.

I first met Olivier at the original Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic in that cellar joint near the Pantheon. Actually, we met before that, but what the heck. Olivier took over the running of the Ptit Bonheur very early in the history of this astounding open mic, inheriting the job from his friend Olivier. (Don’t ask for an explanation on that, please.)

The open mic of the Ptit Bonheur la Chance lasted around three years, give or take a year, and it was the coolest open mic of the period. It attracted cool musicians from all over the world and was set in a very neat, intimate, cellar environment in a fabulous bar. The ground floor was a meeting place and a talking place, leaving the cellar room the quiet place for listening (or singing along).

Eventually the bar lost one of the three or four key ingredients when its owner decided to leave to open a café-restaurant not too far away in the neighbourhood. Another owner came – renaming it La Tireuse – and despite being somewhat sympathetic, they managed to screw up some of the ingredients, like changing the design of the basement room where the music took place, and it was never the same again.

I made a little film of the last open mic at the first incarnation of the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic (before La Tireuse), which I will put on this page to allow people to remember this period – and Olivier, if you are not quite sure who I mean!

Short film of the end of the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic

Olivier had a stint running the open mic of the Tennessee Bar as well, but it never recovered from the loss of its original MC, James Iansiti, despite being a cool setting. Olivier then moved on to take a role in running one of the longest-lasting open mics in Paris, the one at the Pop In. The Pop In being the only bar in the world from which I have been banned – read about that horrible Pop In story on this blog – I never did take part in Olivier’s MCing at that place.

Finally, Olivier ended up starting this open mic at the Some Girls bar what feels like a couple of years ago, but may be less, or may be more! I went many times, and found Olivier to be doing his usual great MCing, and music playing.

Olivier in his new bar???

Olivier in his new bar???

I have seen something somewhere about Olivier advertising for some kind of bar staff, so without actually speaking to him, I have a suspicion he may be involved in setting up his own bar. But that is completely speculation on my part. If he does, of course, maybe we will be lucky enough to find him having an open mic at his own bar. Then we’ll have two of the essential ingredients of a successful open mic combined: An enthusiastic and sympathetic bar owner, and a great MC.

(Note: I have learned since posting this that Olivier has indeed bought his own bar. It is called Le Rosalie, and it is located near the St. Ambroise metro, not far from the Rush bar open mic I have mentioned many times in recent posts. So a great stop off point before the open mic????)

Olivier, I cannot forget to mention, since it was the key to all the rest, is a great musician too. His latest musical effort being a band he calls Sundown.

So if you really want to take part in what I can only imagine as a great final night for Yaco on Tuesday at the Some Girls bar (not sure yet if the bar itself will continue an open mic), I’m linking again the Facebook invitation as I did in the first paragraph above, for the last Some Girls open mic, and the last of Olivier Yaco Mouchard Sundown.

Life Goes on at the Tennessee Bar Open Mic in Paris – And Bursts Forth at the Galway

August 14, 2014

tennessee bar facade

tennessee bar facade

PARIS – As with my report from the Highlander open mic last week, I made a visit to play music at the Tennessee Bar open mic the other day for the first time in many months. But unlike at the Highlander, the Tennessee does not have the same long-standing MC running the show, but has gone through a few changes in the last year.

The first thing that happened was that the longtime MC and Tennessee bar open mic organizer, James Iansiti, left the job after something like six or seven years running the thing. He was immediately replaced by Yaco, the organizer and MC of the Petit Bonheur la Chance/La Tireuse open mic, which was one of the best in Paris. Yaco went on to run the Tireuse on Tuesdays and the Tennessee on Mondays and Thursdays. That was a lot of Yaco, and for reasons I have not found out, he left the Tennessee job and the Tireuse ceased to exist as an open mic.

That brings us to today. I didn’t catch the name of the new MC and like every good journalist, I didn’t bother asking him his name. Some day I will, no doubt! But he was doing a pretty good job – except for the occasional mystery disappearance – and it is safe to say by this one experience that the Tennessee Bar open mic seems to have reborn, somehow, into something similar but different.

But then, up the street from the Tennessee the Galway was overflowing with musicians….

I had the feeling it was a younger crowd, and I had the feeling that the new MC is a hands-on guy, playing with other musicians on guitar and percussion when they want. He makes a list, and basically gives musicians more than just three or four songs if it feels like they are being well-received – he asked the crowd a few times if they wanted more from musicians….

All good so far. The Tennessee may have found its way into a new territory. Having said that, I really only ended up at the Tennessee because the Galway – near by on the Quai des Grands Augustins – was overflowing with musicians and I’d be about No. 25 on the list despite not really being that late to sign up. So, keep an eye on these two Monday night open mics in Paris and let’s see where they go….

Ptit Bonheur la Chance Open Mic Returns Under Another Name: La Tireuse

August 31, 2013

la tireuse

la tireuse

PARIS – On this lazy Saturday afternoon in Paris after I have found myself with nothing to say on this blog, it suddenly occurs to me that I really DO have something to say. Something in a way I rarely do, that is, to announce the return of an open mic, rather than an open mic I just attended, or worse, the closing of an open mic.

In fact, I did indeed announce the closing of the Ptit Bonheur la Chance bar’s open mic on 15 May after a three year run. It had been one of the best open mics in Paris for its charm, its musicians, its MCs, it’s understanding bar owner/manager, its fabulous set up – a bar to talk in on the ground floor and a cave cellar to play in in the basement, and above all, for its quiet and respectful audiences. Oh, and beer and other drinks that are affordable to starving, broke and drunken musicians.

It came as a massive surprise to everyone who took part in it when we learned that Pierre, the owner, had sold the bar to a new proprietor and the open mic was being closed. It felt like the end of an era. In fact, I made a video of the last night, which I am reposting.

But now, the new proprietor has negotiated with Yaco Mouchard, Ollie Joe, the multi-named, multi-talented MC, to return the open mic to the same location – now under a different name (La Tireuse) – and to once again hold the open mic every Tuesday evening, running it the way it always was run … at least I hope that there will be no new constraints.

It starts again this coming Tuesday at 18 rue Laplace, near the Panthéon, at the bar now called “La Tireuse.” An 8 PM start. And it would be wise to show up early if you want to play. I know that many of the regular performers are ecstatic at this open mic’s return. But let’s see how it goes. My experience with open mics is such that I have seen that the most successful ones are always those that get ALL the ingredients right. So it will be interesting to see how the new owner/managers manage the open mic. Keep posted on this site to find out!

Debates and Jams and Other Things at Ptit Bonheur

February 22, 2012

It felt ever so slightly slow at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic on Tuesday night, but it became a very cosy and agreeable affair. And I said to myself, sometimes these less highly populated evenings are the best.

I mean, it was far from empty, a good crowd really, but not the kneeling room only things we sometimes see at this excellent open mic. It did not start well for me either in the sense that I realized that I had once again left home without my Zoom Q3HD recording device and only had my iPhone to bear witness to the great moments of the evening.

Both the image and the sound are less good on the iPhone in these conditions – still, it is better than nothing.

I realized it was really a “different” night at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance when Yaco Mouchard, the MC, played a golden oldie, the song from the 1960s called “Crimson and Clover.” No one, not me, not Yaco, not even Wayne Standley, could remember who it was wrote and played the original, but it turned into a real live debate through the room. I said I thought it was someone of the Peter, Paul and Mary ilk, without thinking it was them. In fact, it was Tommy James and Shondells and it came out in 1968.

Yaco also played “The Weight,” by The Band, and everyone still at the open mic joined in to the chorus and it turned the evening into a bit of a jam.

Notable also was the return visit by a couple members of the band Natas Loves You, who played a Fleet Foxes song and a Beatles song – no doubt the most representative groups at either end of the spectrum of what Natas itself is all about….

Passing on the Flame at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance

September 28, 2011

I have little time today to say much on this blog as I prepare to rush off to the Highlander for the fifth anniversary of one of Paris’s best open mics. But I must get in a word or two about last night’s session at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance, which has only been around about a fifth the time of the Highlander, but which immediately established itself as another of Paris’s best open mics. Last night Ollie Fury was back in town after a couple of months or so in Germany – was it only six weeks? – where he has decided to stay for sometime to come. He showed up at his open mic, yes, Ollie started it and MCd it from the beginning, to pass on the flame of the MC job to Yaco Mouchard, (also known as Ollie Joe!), who has been running it for several weeks.

The evening was a warm and cool one – if that is possible – as it usually is. And there were moments of moist-eyed significance in the handoff. There were great moments of music as well, and I have put up a few of the high points on videos below.

Oh, and I was again flattered to find a musician from out of town who had discovered the open mic and others through my blog and thumbnail guide of open mics. That was Hugo Kensdale from Manchester, who brought a new voice to the show.

Ollie’s Twins and Triplets – or is it Duos and Trios?

March 16, 2011

I will refrain from writing too much here, as it was yet another night in Paris at Ollie’s open mic at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance. The main lines here, though, are that after a slow start led me to believe that there is something in the air this week reducing crowds at open mics, it suddenly picked up and was pretty much as busy and as successful as ever chez Ollie.

The salient point for me would be the great new duos and trios. Or rather, two duos and the everlasting Natas Loves You in trio (before its concert at the Maroquinerie this Saturday).

The first new duo was that of Aurore and Tristan, and they did a nice number together – fully unexpected; and then there was the further development of the duo of Emma Guignebert singing with Yaco playing guitar, doing a song written by Yaco, and called, “Carry Me Back.” I really like it, and Emma’s voice is hot.

Then there was Natas, doing a couple of their songs and a couple of covers…. I’d love to put the Beatles cover they do down here again in video, but I’ve done that before… so space for the rest….

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