Thursday, May 17, 2012


This article appeared in the "Baja Citizen"; the English language newspaper in La Paz. It is very complimentary and we here at the roadrunner appreciate that.  Better though, is that the story is very well written and captures the essence of the Wednesday evening music. Great job John. Following is the story.

Parking Lot Jamboree  by John Brooks

     "It's Wednesday night in Los Barriles. The businesses ringing the Plaza del Pueblo's parking lot close their doors as the day ends. Tables and chairs are being parked instead of cars, flood lights switch on, the sound system and mikes checked: "testing one, two, testing one, two." It's Parking Lot Jamboree Time, graciously hosted by Roadrunner Cafe.
     Musicians are tuning and adjusting their instruments in the shadows. About 5:30 regular music fans begin to filter down the steep stairs, or over the cattle guards. Just a trickle in the beginning claiming their reserved tables, eager for tonight's distinctive Roadrunner supper and looking forward to the music. By 6:00, a flood of people has filled any empty spaces. No vacancies or no-shows this Wednesday night. Others showboaters sit on plastic chairs set up on the beds of pick-up trucks. An ever growing bunch, the majority are left standing, leaning on parked cars, as the packed mob continues to grow. At 7:00 the music starts.
     Off to the side John adjusts the sliders on his sound board. On older guy holding a shiny guitar, sits amid a mass of music stands, bright lights, and cables, facing the packed audience. Kay, a tall, slim gal, glides up to a microphone and casually introduces Bob Farmer, the impresario of the event, who in turns welcomes the audience and introduces the older guy. "Meet Michael, from Cabo San Lucas, and he wants to play some music he's composed." Kay nodes to Bob and Michael: "No more than two songs, tonight, We've 15 musicians, a solid schedule." The audience hushes up.
     Michael looks a little worried but starts playing, it's an unique, complicated, blending of melodies. The crowd loves his tunes. There is a whispered undercurrent of conversation, but John, sound engineer, flautist, guitar playing singer had adjusted the levels perfectly and every original note the Michael the new composer plays is distinct and ringing. The audience loves both his pieces, and he is smiling looking totally at home and relaxed as he finishes his set.
     Bob Farmer a proprietor of Roadrunner Cafe, points out it's his the first time Michel has ever played to an audience. "That's the beauty of the Open Mike concept, musicians get to play in front of a live audience, and in exchange, the audience gets the vicarious thrill of being there and hearing some original music. And what a lineup of music it is: Singing a cappella or accompanied by masters of every kind of instrument. From accordion, mouth-organ, electronic-keyboard, double-bass, guitar, mandolin, lutes banjo, fiddle, tambourine, bongo drums, even a pair of shaking maracas.
     The musicians are all music loving volunteers, amateurs for the most part play and sing in almost every musical genre. Blues, Jazz, Folk, Gospel, Ballad, Blue-Eyed Soul, in other words almost every form from A cappella to zydeco.
     Just about every genre from Turkey in the Straw to an Operatic aria, the latter brought the whole parking lot Jamboree to its feet in a thunderous ovation, it was last week's highlight. This week there is a packed roster of local and visiting musicians who give their all to this live appreciative Parking Lot audience. It's no wonder over a 100 fans assemble every week to be entertained until Baja Midnight. That's 9 o'clock in the states, folks.
     If you don't eat or drink, this whole incredible musical shebang is free."

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