Posted: November 9th, 2012 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Misc | Tags: Cafe Montmartre, Little Mountain Gallery | No Comments »
A moment of silence, please. You, you in the back… yes, with the alpenhorn. Just for a minute, please. Well, okay, but take it outside. Man, than thing is huge. Now, where was I? Ah yes, a chance to pay our respects to two local music venues who played key roles in the development of the Creaking Planks, both of which closed their doors to live music performance in October.
The narrow confines of Cafe Montmartre always seemed more like an alley between buildings where someone had hung sheet metal roofing and a few tricycles than a building of its own; unbearably hot in the summer, it played host to the long-running Thundering Word open mic series long after its founder passed on. We featured at the open mic twice, and played there on numerous occasions — a room we had access to book when other venues didn’t necessarily believe in our locally-unproven support acts such as the Accordion Babes from California, and of course, we’ll never forget the riot (well, the police came and my mother was standing on a table) when Mezamazing played with us there at the Accordion Noir Festival.
Two blocks away, the Little Mountain Studios have completed their conversion into a theatre, after what must be nearly a decade of struggles with the city inching incrementally toward venue legitimacy since its early days as the Butchershop Floor Gallery, where a young Lord Eel, Lee Shoal, and Blackbox Squeezebeard managed to clear a full house shortly after meeting just by pulling their instruments out. Later, we managed to play a haunting set to an empty room while accidentally burning a hole in a banjo. After the changeover we took on an official status as the venue’s “house band”, playing many an opening, and for a time enjoyed a weekly residency there. There, also, we put on gigs that quite simply couldn’t have happened anywhere else — the Cabaret of Wonders! Err on the Side of Caution! (And of course, hosting Mezamazing after their Montmartre show.) And of course, we had many, many RAV line nights.
We don’t strictly speaking need them now, but the bands who are, now, in the position we were in, then, do need rooms like these. (Venues that will pay you are also nice, to be sure, but even before your band is at that level, you need a place outside your living room to develop your skills to a point where you can go semi-pro.) Where will they be found? These rooms are survived in the neighbourhood by the Main and the Cottage Bistro; more widely, the Safe Amplification Society is keeping its finger on the pulse of accessible venues for eg. all-ages shows that can’t always promise the massive paying patrons many venues demand (in lieu of rent; of course, if you have capital, anything is possible… but that’s not a reason to make everything impossible to those without capital if all they have to trade on is talent!)
So hats off to the rooms for keeping on keeping on; it’s always a surprise when the totally anarchic band perseveres and manages to hang on for longer than legitimate businesses (well, and the LMS, which just seemed unkillable, despite its years of seemingly perpetually teetering on the brink.) We would have liked to give you one last set, but timing isn’t only the secret to great comedy, but also sometimes its inverse. Many regards to Ali and Ehren; letting your art lead you through life is one folly, but then running a business predicated on daily dealings with those fools is a whole other flavour of foolishness. We wish you great success in your next adventures and look forward to our paths crossing then!
Posted: November 19th, 2010 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: Cafe Montmartre, Ehren Salazar | 1 Comment »
While we made some improbable new Portland friends at last month’s Montmartre gig, we thought that we might like to stack the deck a bit and power-load the evening with an old friend — Little Mountain Gallery arts godfather (which we’ll in turn be shilling for Dec 10th at the Rickshaw) and incomparable comedic musical improviser Ehren Salazar. (4362 Main Street at 28th, by donation, 8-11 pm.)
Posted: October 21st, 2010 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: Cafe Montmartre | 1 Comment »
The sun sets earlier and people enter an oasis of routine and everyday schedule between the end of summer and the start of holiday madness. Defying this so-called everydayness, the jug band of the damned takes to the Montmartre stage once again for the first time since May. By donation.
Posted: June 1st, 2010 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: Aaron Read, Accordion Babes, Amber Lee Baker, anniversary, Bandidas, Beats on Broadway, Boxing Day, Cafe Montmartre, CFRO, CJSF, Convertible Kids, Dollhouse, Ehren Salazar, Erin Graves, Eryn Holbrook, F Word, feature, Fraea Morgana, fundraiser, Gerry O'Brian, HD Lab, Jack Garton, Jason Webley, Jeff Andrew, Joanna Chapman-Smith, Kidnap Kids, Lauren Cochrane, Little Mountain Gallery, Marie-Josee Houle, Melisa Devost, Melodies in Mind, Mount Pleasant Neighborhood House, Music Waste, One Two One Studios, Pawnshop Diamond, Pleasing Squeezing, radio, Raghu Lokanathan, Railway Club, Renee de la Prade, SFU, Trees Organic Coffee, Ubuntu Vancouver LoCo | 3 Comments »
For a season, from mid-December to mid-April, we temporarily lost control of our domain name (in fact, it switched off while I was in the middle of composing a promotional draft here!) and information about the Planks was unavailable from this site. We still played lots of great shows, however, and this is just an attempt to keep the historical record in order. Just because nothing turned up on the website didn’t mean that we weren’t busy little buccaneers!
2009-12-26 – the Maclean’s Boxing Day party in Deep Cove.
2010-01-06 – at Bandidas’ anniversary party.
2010-01-12 – Blackbox Squeezebeard on Melodies in Mind.
2010-01-14 – at Trees Organic Coffee.
2010-01-15 – featured at Beats on Broadway.
2010-01-16 – at One Two One Studios‘ launch.
2010-01-22 – A Night of Pleasing Squeezing with Renee de la Prade and Amber Lee Baker (the Accordion Babes), Gerry O’Brien, and Jack Garton of Maria in the Shower at Cafe Montmartre.
2010-02-26 – Dollhouse Tea Party.
2010-02-28 – Another Night of Pleasing Squeezing with Jeff Andrew, Marie-Josee Houle, Jason Webley at the LMG.
2010-03-28 – with Convertible Kids at the LMG.
2010-04-08 – with Raghu Lokanathan trio at the LMG.
2010-04-15 – Can You Hear Me Now? F*Word fundraiser at the Railway Club.
2010-04-21 – at Ubuntu LoCo at the HD Lab.
We’ve enjoyed a couple of shows since that we’ve mostly been able to keep you abreast about here, and are on the verge of splitting for the summer (one more — set aside noon, June 13th!), but before we go we can tie some Plankian threads together with a Go-Your-Own-Waste presentation of the Music Waste festival featuring frequent CP collaborators Erin Graves and Ehren Salazar with bonafide Plank Eryn Holbrook (aka Daisy Jones-Locher of the santur) and marvelous improv outsider weirdo Aaron Read at the traditional Plank venue of the Little Mountain Gallery (195 E. 26th at Main). This Friday, June 4th! Only $5, and free for festival passholders! 8 pm ’til we’re done! The most homophonic bill of the year: Erin, Ehren, Eryn and Aaron in Err On: the Side of Caution. It’ll be a slice. (Actually, imagine a pizza divided into four slices, all of which are different flavours, and at least one slice of which isn’t even pizza… but maybe apple pie.)
Posted: May 1st, 2010 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: Cafe Montmartre, Fang, Ingrid Gatin, Pleasing Squeezing | 3 Comments »
The latest installment in the Accordion Noir radio show’s series of exciting alt-accordion concerts, this evening of Pleasing Squeezing (Thurs May 13th) returns to Cafe Montmartre (4362 Main Street at 28th Ave) with an exciting triple-bill: not only does the jug band of the damned return to its old squeezing grounds, but joining us are Fang, the new duo side-project of Barbara Adler (who last played with us there at last year’s memorable Accordion Noir Festival launch party) and Winnipeg’s fabulous Ingrid Gatin. We play for tips at Montmartre, so you have no excuse not to join us and our joyful noise!