Anyone who has gotten out to hear good music in Montreal over the last half-dozen years or so has likely spent a fair amount of time in Casa del Popolo and Sala Rossa, the two cozy and creative music venues founded by Godspeed You Black Emperor bassist Mauro Pezzente. Mauro also programs the amazing and adventurous Suoni del Popolo festival, at which I’ve seen, among other bands, the Sun Ra Arkestra in the beautiful and intimate Sala Rossa.
Sala Rossa is really a remarkable place. It seems that Mauro bought the three-story brick building that had served for decades as the Spanish Community Cultural Centre, but instead of kicking the campesinos out, he invited them to stay, so long as they would make way for the cool kids and their crazy music. Which they did. And the result is an excellent mix of old and new worlds, of cheap spicy food and tasty coffee, of great music and creaky hardwood floors that speak of endless nights of footstomping fun. Every time I’ve seen a show there or played there I have had a gas.
I mention all this in part because I just played Mauro’s other venue, the Casa del Popolo, the other night, so I have lately been reminded of the excellence of these two spots, but also because I just received this note in an email:
“passing on this alert on behalf of Godspeed bassist and amazing force behind Casa del Popolo/Sala Rossa/Suoni per il Popolo, Mauro Pezzente:
hey everyone, last week someone broke into the sala rossa basement and stole mauro’s bass and sunn bass amp. the bass is a fender p-bass ’73, sunburst colour. defining features: small specks of white paint and a couple of small dents on the body. the bass was in a protech bright red case with one of the corners broken off and duct taped. if anyone sees either of them please let us know. and if y’all can pass this message
along, it would be greatly appreciated….thanks….contact the folks at casa/sala if you have any leads.”
Sadly, this sort of thing happens all the time in Montreal, where for some reason musicians are constantly getting ripped off. It’s always a shame, but especially when the musician in question has given back so very much to the city. So please keep eye out for a shifty-looking character selling or carrying a bass in a bright-red duct-taped case. And support Casa el Popolo and Sala Rossa, two great live music venues!