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: February 14th, 2012 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Misc, Show announcements and recaps | Tags: Anatomical Love Machine, animation, Big Blue House, Blackberry Wood, Carolyn Mark, Chrisariffic!, Drogue, F.O.O.D., Geoff Berner, Little Mountain Gallery, No Band, OK Vancouver OK, Orkestar Slivovica, Ridley & Harrison, Sajiya Sultana, Tarran the Tailor, The Svelte Miss Spelt | 1 Comment »
In celebration of our Jaan Pehechaan Ho video breaking 15 thousand views (and the Heineken campaign fuelling its accidental virality showing no sign of slowing), here’s a low-fi video — an animated .GIF made out of snapshots virtuous band photographer Jonathan Dy took of us the same night as that viral video was made, three-quarters of a year ago. We have listened to the masses, tightened up our arrangement, and even learned the words to the second verse! There’s a round of recording coming up and this tune is definitely on our hit list.
(Haven’t you always wanted to have a little band in your desk, to take out and put on the shelf to caper and cavort for your amusement at the drop of a hat? I’m of half a mind to violate every design tenet on the book () and put this little animation on the top of our website, for viewers to enjoy on every page.)
Two items of further note: we missed telling you about a gig we played Tues, Jan 31st, fundraising for the Federation for the Organization of Open Desire at the Little Mountain Gallery (where we’ll be back Thurs March 1st presenting you a re-match with Portland’s Underscore Orkestra — but I get ahead of myself) and this Saturday night, Feb 18th, we’ll be joining Blackberry Wood at the Big Blue House again for another jam-packed album fundraiser show there, shuffled among such luminaries as Geoff Berner, Carolyn Mark, and the Orkestar Slivovica. Just keep your ears open as you walk along Salisbury Street, there’s no way you’ll miss it.
Posted: November 2nd, 2011 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: Accordion Babes, Accordion Noir, Amber Lee Baker, Little Mountain Gallery, Renee de la Prade | 1 Comment »
We first crossed paths with them during the Great Website Outage of early 2010 and we were all so blown away we nearly neglected to leave ourselves time to play a set! Then they did us a good turn, bringing three of us into their home turf later that summer (a tale still to be told). Renee de la Prade of Culann’s Hounds and Amber Lee Baker are the two roving ambassadors of the Bay Area’s thriving accordion community, championing the underdog instrument with their annual pin-up cheesecake calendar / album, presenting sights and sounds of a bakers’ dozen of awesome lady accordionists, and thanks to our ties with them through the weekly Accordion Noir radio show / podcast, they will be playing two shows in Vancouver this weekend.
Ours is the latter of the two: Saturday, November 5th, from 8 to 10 pm, the Little Mountain Gallery (195 E. 26th Avenue at Main) will be huffing and puffing with an intense and intimate acoustic squeezebox session, when the Accordion Babes Renee and Amber Lee are joined by the jug band of the damned (that’s us!) and, for a $10 admission fee, you as well. This could well be your only opportunity to get your hands on the 2012 calendar without having to resort to the hassle of mail order, and they can autograph and dedicate the calendar in person to whichever fan of kick-ass female-fronted bands is on your holiday gift list!
(If you can’t make it out Saturday night, the Accordion Babes are also performing in town the night before, Friday, Nov 4th, at Spartacus Books (684 E. Hastings), also from 8-10 pm, with a babelier line-up of our friend Natasha Enquist from Victoria and Katheryn Petersen (with Trumpet Babe Melissa Hammer in tow). And, of course, there is nothing keeping you from attending both performances!)
Posted: November 19th, 2010 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: Dandi Wind, fundraiser, Little Mountain Gallery, Pineapple, Resorts, Rickshaw Theatre, the SSRIs, Zachary Gray | 1 Comment »
It’s time to throw our weight behind a cause that’s directly benefited us, the little Little Mountain Gallery where we’ve brought so many good times to so many. When the house falls, you can no longer call yourself a house band!
Denied its bread-and-butter, indie live music performance, by ossified regulations from No Fun City’s Big Book of No Fun, the LMG is compelled to mount another fundraiser, charitably hosted by David Duprey at the Rickshaw Theatre (254 E. Hastings.)
Acts on the bill will include Zachary Gray (of the Zolas), Pineapple, Resorts, Dandi Wind and the SSRIs… along with the jug band of the damned, of course!
“THIS NIGHT WILL BE LIKE WASHING DOWN CAKE WITH MILK SHAKE…”
Your all-ages admission is a suggested $10 – $20 sliding scale fee but they want everyone to know that no one will be turned away!
Posted: August 7th, 2010 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: Alex Cieslik, art opening, fundraiser, Little Mountain Gallery, Safe Amplification Society | No Comments »
Alex “Scruffy Bigbass” Cieslik, who once had a painting stolen while playing guitarrón with Planks at that fateful Rouge et Noir cabaret, hasn’t been seen much in a Plankian context since our Gibsons visit of June ‘09… but does have a new body of visual work ready to present to the public’s scrutiny at the old Little Mountain Gallery (195 E. 26th Ave.) we’ve all logged so many hours into propping up. It’s been Quite Some Time (two and a half years?!) since the last time we played an art opening there, but these strange little gigs were positively fundamental in the development of the Creaking Planks. I highly recommend playing art openings on a regular basis to all new bands!
The exhibition runs from Thurs Aug 12th through Thurs Aug 26th; we will however only be performing there opening night.