Staggering out of their first decade looking markedly changed, East Van’s jug band of the damned take to the stage to do their unique combination of holy idiocy, colliding the canny with the foolish, the sacred with the profane, and Britney Spears with the accordion. Doors at 8:30, $10.
The Benedict Arnolds of the trad set, The Creaking Planks squander perfectly pleasant old-timey acoustic instruments on unlikely repertoire that ranges from inappropriately avant-garde to downright bizarre. But why? It’s anyone’s guess, but happily as it turns out, the unexpected end result is pretty fun: a mystery wrapped in an accordion wrapped in an enigma wrapped in bacon.
The members of the Myrtle Family Band are bound by a tie thicker than blood. Those mysterious Myrtle Sisters boil down a thick, juicy slice of Americana to a potent syrup both sweet and salty, then apply it judiciously.
Vancouver’s Sidewalk Cellist takes the classics out of the concert hall and throws them into the streets, with the help of her nearly-indestructible carbon-fiber cello! She provides a musical mix of everything from Bach to Nirvana, jazz to heavy metal, and more, building bridges between genres for audiences of all shapes and sizes.
Just a little note to our seemingly permanently hooped website that a rump delegation of Royshiker Krokves will be playing klezmer tunes at Floral & Hardy Edible Plants (688 East Hastings) this Saturday night at the free Heart of the City festival event “Ashkenaz”, from 7:30-10 pm:
a celebration of eastern European music, Yiddish story telling and EATING… klezmir musicians, Yiddish story telling, bagels, cream cheese, jam and smoked salmon… FREE… a container will be passed around to raise some funds to sponsor a Syrian family to Canada
Today marks the full worldwide release of Imaginary Games‘ “Afterland”, a gothic collectible card game for smartphones… for which we were thrilled to compose and record soundtrack music and sound effects with a “dark carnival” edge.
We’ll be playing its launch party at Creative Coworkers tonight, but (sorry) it’s a private function — however the game is free-to-play, meaning that you can install it on your Android or iOS smartphone right this minute and hear our great work during your coffee break:
[T]his year marks … the final AN Fest appearance of the Creaking Planks. Gasp! Shock! Say it ain’t so! [T]he programmers have spoken… (And who knows, maybe in time we can be brought back… But it won’t be in 2015.)
Well… what can we say? We’re big, fat, lying liars. We saw this year’s Sunday afternoon community event promoted with an accordion parade, and then got a fire lit under us when we were told that no one had organized one. But the location, Spartacus Books, so close to Trout Lake! All you need is two people (a small parade, granted, but one person alone is never a parade) to musically march one block and do a loop of the park. Surely we could round up two people in 48 hours!
Well, those 48 hours were a roller coaster ride, I can tell you. Squeezebox Circle luminaries confirmed their availability, then cancelled hours before the parade. Planks themselves boldly issued “yea”s which then somehow twisted cruelly into “nay”s. But having been announced, the show had to go on! So I strapped the baby accordion on my three-year-old and went to Spartacus Books to rendezvous with Daisy-Jones Locher, the only constant element in my hair-brained, last-minute cockamamie scheme.
There we found additional accordionists! Accordionists setting up raffle tables, adjusting stage lights, setting up video cameras… accordionists, otherwise put, unavailable to join us in our parade. But the hosts of the afternoon’s fest program, the Kate & Rich duo from Halifax, were there early and opted to join us for strange kicks. (Just as well, I’d be lying if I said that our motivation was so very different.) A further ancillary accordionist loitering around the facility also followed suit, and we were off!
Without necessarily being a criticism, I feel confident in making the observation that the sunny Kate & Rich, likely highly lucrative on the busking circuit, may despite their affiliation with this festival this year, perhaps be the least Noir ensemble in existence. It didn’t help that to lighten her load, Kate elected to play & promenade not on her regular 120-bass accordion, but the student model being offered as a raffle prize — the one with no minor chord buttons. But we were so happy just to not be certifiably crazy weirdos out there all alone in the world (instead, crazy weirdos out there in a very small group in the world) that we tempered our planned park-circuit set (mostly klezmer) to suit the limitations of the instrument. But it sure made for an emotional roller coaster: we played “Creep”, they countered with “You are my Sunshine”; we upped the ante with our G-rated rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer”, and they centred the mood back with “When the Saints Come Marching In”. But our bizarre procession did garner some attention and drum up some interest in the imminent proceedings nearby at Spartacus — notably, the final notes of Closer were recognized (”No freaking way!”) by a park patron who was squatting a picnic table for a goth clothing swap.
OK, throwing together a last-minute accordion parade flashmob was stupid, what can I say. But also it was fun. (It was also, I think, the third most successful accordion parade in the festival’s 8-year history, and this time no one had to play through garbage bags to keep their instruments from being drenched by a torrential downpour.)
Anyhow, thanks to the Accordion Noir Festival for waiving their prohibition of us, and thanks to Kate & Rich for mellowing our tartness with some sugar — and thanks to all the goths out there, who have no choice but to be themselves in this world gone mad. Now, we have another announcement coming up for early October, so stay tuned!
If you live at 1188 Howe Street, you probably already know that your place of residence is presenting a block party this coming Saturday. If you live in the West End, you may not have known but this information may be of interest to you. If you don’t live in the West End but could use an excuse to visit that lovable, walkable, urbanly dense neighbourhood, this could be just what you’ve been waiting for!
The festivities are divided up between four stages and other ancillary sites offering discounts and freebies. They’re trying to bring about a Mr. Rogersian feeling of downright neighbourliness!
As for the performances, well, there are a bucketload! Throughout the event’s runtime from 2-8 pm there are a pile of solo performers and small acts bouncing between the small acoustic outdoor stages and the amplified mainstage. The Mint Juleps, Monkeybar, Cowjazz Billionaires, Derek Nyberg, Julia Spitale and Shera Kelly, John Cullen, Jonny Paul, Johnny Scoop, Jordan Lyric, David Shurvell, Anni deGroot, Bad Oldesloe… AND MORE! To that list you can add not only the Creaking Planks, but also our mandolinist Daisy Jones-Locher (with Ludwika LePearl on cello) and Blackbox Squeezebeard (with his new beard the squeeziest it’s been in some five years!) performing solo sets sometime within our compressed timeframe of 3-6 pm. There might be multiples! We, uh, we don’t know yet when or where we’ll be playing, but will update this page when it’s finally confirmed.
The poster is by polyglot Jordan Lyric, who in addition to appearing on the bill also appeared in this very blog seven years ago (his comic strip appears at the very bottom).
In case we don’t manage to get the site updated in time to be useful, for breaking news and last-minute details you can check out the Facebook event for the block party. Cheers!
(PS, thanks to the Bike Smut people for having us back for a zany intersection from even further back than Jordan’s, opening on short notice for the July 23rd screening at the Rio! It was, well, it was really what it was.)