A not-so-funny-thing happened in the Plateau the other night, something that happens all too often.
At 11:50 p.m. on Tuesday evening, the police showed up at les Bobards during the second set from weekly residents Kalmunity Vibe Collective, whose improv funk/soul/hip hop night, held at the same club for years now, was evidently a fine-worthy noise disturbance to the neighbours. There was nothing out of the ordinary going on, no decibel-busting sound system being shown off. There was just good music.
This is hardly breaking news. Years ago, like early, early aughts, yours truly spun twice weekly at the Roy Bar (now Salon Officiel). Never have I seen bar managers stress as hard over something so trivial as those dials on that mixer.
Those poor dudes were entirely at the mercy of the jerk who had moved in next door. Yes, next door to a bar in the Plateau. I know, eh? The nerve of us, having a bar there for fucking years before them!
One night, this bloated, tight-suited, red-faced, sweaty oaf stormed the bar at around 10:30 p.m., the beginning of my set, reached behind the bar and turned my mixer volume down to about three. Before I could reach across and grab him by the tie, he informed me that he represented the dicks next door and that the police were outside waiting to fine us should I refuse to comply. The owners just shrugged, apologized, thanked him and made me vow not to touch the volume again that night.
It seems like I’ve heard similar stories every month for the past decade. When will the transplants setting roots in the city’s cultural epicentre realize that the very elements that make the Plateau hip and vibrant, that make it such a desirable place to live, are the bars, restaurants and venues catering to the huge appetites of Montreal’s party crowd? And if they don’t want all that, why move there?
I could understand if the Plateau were, say, like, Monkland Avenue in NDG — a residential neighbourhood that over the past decade has seen the emergence of a busier nightlife than it used to have. There, the businesses respect the fact that the families and residents were there first. Terrasses close at a fair hour, and the bars, while perhaps not Main-caliber rowdy, take measures to ensure that loitering and untoward public behaviour is kept to a minimum.
I’m not saying it’s perfect, but NDG residents seem to have found a balance that works for all parties concerned. I mean, unless you’re a teetotaling puritan, how can you complain about attracting the big-booze dollar to your local economy?
Well, Vincent Stephen-Ong (of Kalmunity and other projects) is attempting to channel our collective frustration by inciting us to fight back, and to “Save the Plateau” and “complain against the complainers”, in this YouTube video and its French-language version here.
Stephen-Ong’s proposition is a simple one: write a letter to Plateau mayor Luc Ferrandez expressing your dissatisfaction that new-money condo dwellers and their ilk, who moved into the neighbourhood knowing full well what goes on there, are seemingly more respected than the business owners, their employees and the acts they hire to entertain their customers, aka the people who spend money to have a good time. If you agree that Plateau policy makers need to do an about-face in terms of respecting such a huge part of what the neighbourhood represents, it’s important that you speak up.
Here’s hoping none of these shows get shut down this week.
Friday: Music Is My Sanctuary takes over Stereo afterhours with Lexis, Guilty and MTL OG Rob Brown and not a limb shall be spared on the dancefloor.
Saturday: By hugely popular demand, West Coaster Ab-Soul, of Black Hippy acclaim, makes his Montreal debut headlining the latest incarnation of the Smokers Club Tour along with Joey Bada$$ & Pro Era, the Underachievers, Chevy Woods, CeasRock and Pomo x Panther at Arena.
If you wanna just keep it Raw Authentic MTL, though, join Osti One, Full Course, Ella Grave and Franky Bragg at the Deathhouse.
And Booty Woods at Bar Exxxotica on Parc sounds basically like what it is, with a free email sign-up for entry before midnight here.
(I’m starting to believe something actually will get shut down this weekend.)
Monday: I doubt it will be Drake, though, who takes top billing at the Bell Centre for the first time ever, accompanied by high-end openers Miguel and Future.
Wednesday: Monthly art battle Beaux Degats, an eliminations series involving canvases, cans of all sorts and crowd participation, goes for lucky round 13 at Foufs, from 7 p.m.
And, as for the party-pooping Plateau set…well, these guys said it best. ■