Open mic nights at the Crazy Coqs (Brasserie Zédel) every Thursday at 22:30, are hosted by American jazz-cabaret singer Harold Sanditen.
The origins of cabaret from Le Chat Noir, Montmartre 1881, are nowhere more discernible than at open mic nights, where artists, writers, authors, composers, musicians and performers share new music, songs, ideas and compositions. The café concert of Le Chat Noir formulated cabaret: No pretence of the fourth wall, no separation between audience and performers, and precisely that is the premise at the Crazy Coqs open mic. Performers – professional and other, known and unknown, have the opportunity to try new material in front of a very forgiving audience, consisting mainly of fellow performers.
Generous host Harold Sanditen curates the night by asking performers in advance what songs they will sing. He is astutely pro-promotion, and pleasantly offers each performer the opportunity to promote their work after their song – whether they want to or not, and promotional flyers and CDs of singers in the house are strewn in abundance around the room. Mr Sanditen goes beyond his call of duty by photographing all the performers in action and posting the photos to the event’s Facebook page, thus creating the sense of a club.
Performers on the night included Frank Loman and Julez Hamilton who sang a duet ‘For Always’, singer-songwriter-pianist Helen Riviera, performing her ‘I Know You’re the Woman For Me’, Christophe Hespel, who sang Charles Aznavour’s ‘For Me Formidable’ as well as Akari Yamamoto and Mychelle Colleary – each with their unique take on the art of cabaret. Pianist Michael Roulston effortlessly transposed Tom Lehrer’s Masochism Tango for me on the spot. (Although the website advises against this kind of request from the band!) Mychelle Colleary promoted the night she is hosting at the Hackney Picturehouse and Julez Hamilton promoted her night at the Bridge Bar in Clapham.
As a venue, the Crazy Coqs has a reputation for favouring the American Songbook and is not as risqué as some other cabaret rooms around London, yet the music, on these nights, is a diverse range of jazz, cabaret and musical theatre numbers.
The glorious Art Deco interiors make this London’s classiest cabaret venue. Splendid acoustics, gifted accompanying musicians (piano and double bass) and sound man, make this a favourite room for many singers in London.Entrance fee is £5. http://www.brasseriezedel.com/crazy-coqs/open-mic-night