Posted: January 31st, 2008 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: Blue Q, Blunder the Knife, Borscht Belt Karnaval, Brutal Village, BYO, Dolly the Dollar Store Clown, East Side Boys, Ghost Taco, Gina Gash, Laura Boo, Secret Location, Speechless, Team Satan, Valentine's Day | No Comments »
The Planks have worked with Team Satan in the past — in addition to the Hallowe’en show we can likely never tell you about, last year’s Valentine’s Day event granted us a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join both Burcu of Something About Reptiles AND host Ana Bon-bon in a rousing rendition of Bosvermisim Dünyaya. This year, we’ve been diligently practicing to offer up a whole course of further special Planks features for an evening themed around the secret code designating especially lewd cabaret performances. (Despite all this, I fear we still have an opening for un Pétomane. That’s probably green-letter.)
Of course, there’s a host of other worthwhile talent on the bill: Master of Ceremonies Speechless will set the stage for BYO, the East Side Boys, Dolly the Dollar Store Clown, Blunder the Knife, Laura Boo (the silent underwriter of so many of the Planks’ 2007 successes), Gina Gash, Blue Q, and DJs Borscht Belt Karnaval, Ghost Taco and Brutal Village. The show opens at 10 pm and runs until L.A.T.E. (so late that even People’s Prom attendees can take in both shows!) though the Planks will likely be on relatively early — also due to limited capacity in the Secret Location (I can’t tell you here in public: It’s A Secret!) for assured admission you are recommended to turn up early.
Sooner or later, everyone gets to sell out, but you should only be so lucky as to get a chance to make a deal with this Devil.
Posted: January 31st, 2008 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: BC Ferries, MeiCom, Ministry of Casual Living, Raghu Lokanathan, Scott Towson, Shayne avec y grec, Solstice Cafe, strong cottonwoods, the Solstice Series, Vancouver Island, VeloVixens, Victoria, What The? | 4 Comments »
The invitation to perform at the BC:Clettes’ Rouge et Noir cabaret in July ‘07 represented the CPs turning a corner in all sorts of wonderful ways; most charmingly, after each of the three nights’ performances, a comely lass would inquire as to whether the band had any openings. Our fan from the first night has remained too busy with the Her Jazz noise collective to make good on the query, while our fan from the last night is now our very own (ir)regular Orange-Eye Sabretooth Skipper, holding down the crucial (I am very serious about this) kazoo-and-slide-whistle end of things. The second night was exciting, however, because the lady who asked us then turned up for our refresher practice on the back steps prior to the third and last night’s performance. While many of the Planks on tap that final night had never met each other before, this new player enjoyed the distinction of not only never having met any of us before, but also not being familiar with any of the repertoire. (And yet when the crowd was called upon to guess which of us was rudely thrust into the spotlight cold, they guessed our eternal x-factor Scruffy Bigbass, on account of his casual man-off-the-street clothing style.)
We have never since played another show with the fearsome Skulltits McGee, a onetime VeloVixen, but she did plant the seed of us sallying forth to her hometown to play a set for upright Victorian citizens. This was clearly a good idea whose time has come, and so tomorrow we board a ferry to cross a body of water and bear some fruit!
Logan’s is renowned as the blue-chip Victoria venue but our friends in Trike whose paths we keep crossing, them always a step ahead of us, made plans to travel to the same town the same night as us and deny us its stage! Actually no, but in retrospect, things amounted to the same. In truth, I hoped to call in a favour from old friend and onetime 57 Varieties regular (a big fan of my old staple Shakespeare’s Got a Gun by Dan Bern) shaggy Shayne, now Solstice booker. Early on problems arose when it became apparent that the venue is primarily engaged by that caliber of semi-pro performers (us, we’re virtuous amateurs) who know what they’re doing nine months in advance. Many of our gigs we find out about less than nine days in advance! All the same, it looked like we secured a booking, lost it, then finally… re-secured it. Now we’re in and, by jingo, we’re going to have an adventure!
I did not have to think twice about an opener: recent Victorian Raghu Lokanathan from Prince George’s the Cottonweeds (and the man who taught me Osasa before the fabulous Artswells 2007 Accordion workshop! I, in turn, taught him Styx’s Mister Roboto. I think I came out ahead in that transaction.) A versatile instrumentalist and accomplished songwriter, he pens dark and serious songs that I, in moments of doubt, envy while putting a clown nose on the hit parade. Between the two of us, I think we complete both sides of the same coin. A wholly original and unique poster design by MeiCom (with layout assistance from Scott “strong cottonwoods” Towson) completes things. If nothing else results from this performance, the commission of this poster alone will leave me vindicated and satisfied at our efforts. Raghu takes the Solstice stage at 8 pm, with the Planks maybe relieving him some 30-45 minutes following. Admission is on a $7-10 sliding scale.
As a preview for locals, Craig of UVic’s radio station CFUV (101.0 fm) will be previewing the concert with some Planks recordings and a telephone interview he conducted chez Squeezebeard last night on his Friday morning (6:30-8 am) comedy show What The?
While we’re on that side of the water, we may be mounting a performance the following night (Sat, Feb 2nd) at the laid-back Ministry of Casual Living (1442 Haultain Street — I hope we are, since we’re also hoping to crash on their floor!) but as of press time, details remain too hazy to confirm.
In the end, the second performance did not happen, and all we got out of day 2 was a breakfast with Trike chez Lady Marmalade and a tired demonstration at the magic store. But we did return with a few action pictures courtesy of Natasha Enquist! Merci buckets!
Posted: January 31st, 2008 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: Gabriel Deerman, Gaff Gallery, Slanting Floorboards | 2 Comments »
Gaff proprietor Gabriel Deerman’s opening “All in the Deck” was the most recent LMS function we’d performed at as “house band”, making a sufficient impression that he invited us to play a rent party in his space in early October, with nos amis Trike. I don’t know that it was a commercial success, and we discovered an advantage of a conventional stage where personal space issues are concerned, but we got an invitation to return and by gum we intended to honour it. And here was our last chance! Because Vancouver venues are always, for various unfair reasons, closing, it’s difficult to establish a “scene” around even something people can agree they enjoy! There tonight we were gleefully received by the Jacques Brel fan we met at Betty Kracker’s annual August backyard Pirate picnic via Betty Kracker (through the Joey Only Outlaw Band show at the Cobalt with Gertrude — what a tangled tale! See what kind of supreme historical grasp you need to maintain in order to try to figure out where gigs and fans come from?), cutting a rug, and the bemused ladies from the LIVE Biennale Cabaret in November who unusefully retained only the semantic content of our name, which got them 90% of the way there but still unable to find us again because our name is the Creaking Planks and not the Slanting Floorboards. (Still, that’s a keeper for names to tour under incognito.) And having found us again here, it’s not like they can find us there again — since the space was closing up three days later! It’s a real quandary. I guess we just have to go everywhere and hope to randomly encounter repeat customers. (Oh wait, we’ve been doing that anyhow!) And so we busted our hump (and our voice, cough cough) singing everything we knew from heart in a savage blitz to a motivated audience of four (and one cellphone) in a crowded room. (I’m sure we made a secondhand impression on everyone else around; they may just have needed to appear and act oblivious and disaffected so as to maintain their art scene credibility.)
For the time being, Gabe is now doing sound at the Astoria, and the Planks ought to return (?!) there sometime soon to join him some night for some improbable karaoke/open mic jamming. In the meantime, however, we’ve got an island to storm.
Posted: January 25th, 2008 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: AC Fields, Aleah Dunfield, anniversary, birthday, Christine Allen, CJSF, Dark Blue Horse, Elise Boeur, Heroes, Joanna Chapman-Smith, John Pippus, Larissa Ardis, Melodies in Mind, Pierre Lumoncel, raw & cooked, Roger Dean Young, Russell Sholberg, Sarah MacDougall, Shawn Killaly, That's My Brain... And You're Killing It!, Tim Tweedale, Tin Cup, Trees Organic Coffee, Western Front | 1 Comment »
Sarah MacDougall presided over the “raw & cooked” series of new work at the Western Front that was the Creaking Planks’ first public performance back on January 20th, 2005, so when accordionist Blackbox Squeezebeard (who first met Lee Shoal + Lord Eel that night while promoting the performance poetry cabaret “That’s My Brain… And You’re Killing It!”) somehow got invited to host an alt-country concert she was running in that same space (with her band, the Heroes — a truly heroic Shawn Killaly, Tim Tweedale, Russell Sholberg, Joanna Chapman-Smith, and “Sexy Pierre”) and at that magical time of year, he immediately got on board and brought along as many Plankian stowaways as he could hide under his coat. Also on the bill is AC Fields (once stopped in her tracks dropping off flyers at a CP practice session in the LMS gallery and compelled to sing along) and her Dark Blue Horse (Pierre Lumoncel, Larissa Ardis, Elise Boeur, and Christine Allen), giving the fabulous multimedia (courtesy, presumably, of Aleah Dunfield) cabaret its name. Rounding things off are Roger Dean Young and the Tin Cup, who none of us have ever heard but who we all agree have a most intriguing name.
This show runs the night of Friday, January 25th from 8 pm through midnight at the Western Front (303 E. 8th Ave at Scotia), with Planks shaking things up before, after and between sets, but if you’re not yet convinced ($15? But you get four bands!) you can get a sampling for what the evening has to offer Friday, January 18th at Trees Organic Coffee (450 Granville Street) from 8 pm on (possibly to be broadcast the morning of Monday, January 21st on CJSF 90.1) courtesy of John Pippus as well as by tuning back in to CJSF at 8 pm on Tuesday, January 22nd where the frontmen of the respective ensembles will be playing in a song circle on the Melodies in Mind show.
Originally posted Jan 17th, 2008 @ 17:42
How’d it turn out? Well, we made enough of a splash at Trees to be invited back for a longer set, likely April 11th… but you’ll hear more about that closer to the date. Melodies in Mind was a fun regular hootnanny, with members of all three ensembles jamming together to croon out soulful renditions of… public service announcements. That’s right. As for the main attraction… well, due to delays (ah, cabarets!) there wasn’t quite as much Plank performance as we’d anticipated (apologies to anyone who came out hoping for a big, fat slice of us!) but between the three headliners a full, satisfying concert was nonetheless delivered. Happy third birthday us, and as bonus content here you get the joke I’m contractually obligated to open every Western Front engagement with — Q: What do you get when you cross a mafioso with a performance artist? A: (ahem) Yuz gets sumwun whos makes yuz an offa ya can’t unnastand!
Posted: January 25th, 2008 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: birthday, Dylan Thomas, Hoko's Japanese House, Katie GoGo, Larry Stallion, Mezamazing, Nimish Parekh, Stephen Taylor, Trike | 2 Comments »
Hosting indie rawk shows is not Hoko’s traditional bread and butter (well, vinegar and sake); however, the proprietors have determined that the kids are alright and the beer money of tight-jeans’d hipsters is as good as that of soulfully-crooning Filipino longshoremen (for no one takes on the karaoke challenge as sincerely as someone from south-east Asia!) The sound system may not be everything you might hope for to pipe a six-piece band through clearly, but that’s because it’s optimised for two drunks to be dueling on Snowbird. But Vancouver being what is, we work with the venues we have if not necessarily the venues we want, and we’re darned grateful to them for supporting live music at all!
It’s also a suitable site for the Planks for two reasons: one, no sound system has never been a real impediment to our path considering that our history has mostly consisted of playing living rooms and backyards; and two, since we write (virtually) none of our own material, as a cover band what we’re doing is already essentially karaoke — this just formalises it. It doesn’t hurt that GoGo and Stallion seem adept at packing the room with people ready to party, so when we were invited to play for her birthday, we enthusiastically girded ourselves and prepared to grapple with one of Vancouver’s most charmingly curious (but essential!) rooms. We knew the crowd would meet us half-way and, true to form, they were still ready to dance after sitting through our feedback-squeal-inducing sound check. (Admittedly, Larry Stallion — or at least his Vincent van Gogh song, and (the other) Dylan Thomas (PS, thanks for the CD!) got everyone warmed up for us… no stiff feat considering the frosty climes outside! In any case, when we were ready to give up a show, they were ready to get one.)
A handful of performance notes: the downright tragic turnaround at the end of the Song of the Count (”when I’m alone… I count myself!”) really gets the air taken out of it if someone bops you on the forehead from across the room with a birthday balloon. The only way to follow that up is really with having your music stand fall over. Also, your ears weren’t deceiving you — Peg-Leg Right-Eye Ryan wasn’t multiplexing; those horn harmonies were courtesy of Trike’s Stephen Taylor (who wonderfully writes back: “thanks for letting me blast my brass with you”… any time!), trombone-equipped courtesy of an earlier spot performing at Cafe Deux Soleils’ riotous open mic (and, one should note, playing at Hoko’s the day after us — one more complication for a busy Jan 25th!) The next time I turned around there was someone else on the same trombone (PLRER reports: Nimish Parekh, the bass player from 5 Alarm Funk, to which I said: “Well, he knows his stuff. Actually, sometimes he seemed to know his stuff better than we did, which is odd considering it was our stuff!”), and, well, let me just tell you that after you’ve played Beastie Boys on an accordion and trombone it’s hard to go back. (A horn section is a pretty splendid luxury we probably can’t afford to get used to.) (And yet how else will we ever truly realize our manifest destiny of becoming a gypsy Balkan brass army in an Emir Kustirica movie?) We may see some photos up courtesy of Trike’s Xania, to which I say thanks in advance! (Too bad we probably aren’t going to get a chance to play with them in Victoria, but… we’ll be better organized next time!) (Especially if it turns out that it’s easier to secure a booking at Logan’s than the Solstice 8)
Certainly people drank and danced (Adi from Mezamazing sang along near the front of the stage for much of our set) and had a great time (and, really, were quite demanding… after playing 150% of our planned set length, well past 1 am a cadre of ’80s fashion victims were petulantly demanding more!) so — mission accomplished! As for us, we got to workshop some of our new material for the Valentine’s Day Blue Letter Cabaret at the Secret Location and, more to the point, once we resigned ourselves to having no control over the variable sound situation… had a blast. What more can you really ask for?
Adrienne took a couple of pictures of us playing, which was grand; really we need to take pictures from the stage to show what a great time the crowd was having.