Katacombes Showbar: End of an era…

Katacombes Showbar (1222 St-Laurent Blvd) will soon be no more. They City of Montreal is evicting the entire block of enterprises to better the city’s new artificial “Quartier des Spectacles”. Those that know the neighbourhood have seen plenty of spectacular sites on that block – granted not all ‘g’ rated. In the back alley behind club soda (just a block away) I witnessed a man run out of the back of the adjacent bar, followed by two other men. One of the followers stopped the second by grabbing his backpack. Reaching inside he produced a machete, then continued after the first. After a keystone copper chase through the parking lot beside the Mosque (which was under construction) the sounds of sirens got closer. The chasee finally booked it back into the bar, followed by his machete wielding pursuer, the backpack man, two uniformed cops, and American comedian Dave Attell, who was watching from the back of the Club Soda awaiting his call to go onstage for the Festival Just For Laughs Nasty Show. Dave Attell was due onstage in less than ten minutes. That is just one incident I witnessed near that block.

Katacombes has found a new venue, just up the block. The patrons of Cleopatra’s will probably find a new location. But what of the Montreal Pool Room (established 1912)? The Pool Room, in which I’ve never seen a pool table or a place to swim, has served some of the best steamies and fries you can experience in Montreal. The Katacombes complex doesn’t just contain a bar, but a silk screening business, band rehearsal space, recording studio and history.

What does the City of Montreal want to bring into this block, to add to the ambience of new theatres, performance spaces in restaurants? An office tower. An office tower for Hydro Quebec. An office tower for Hydro Quebec that employees of Hydro Quebec have said is unnecessary. A dead space. I think the city’s plan is less about adding to the neighbourhood (or quartier) but in killing the one that exists there now.

TONIGHT, Monday July 27th 2009 the last live show will hit the Katacombes stage. The last live show before the wrecking ball. The last live show at the Katacombes is BLUE MONDAY 10: DIX. You man think it is a little strange that a bar known for punk, metal, industrial and goth music will end it’s life with a comedy show – but then you must not know BLUE MONDAY. Blue Monday has, and will always be, about free expression, loud ideas, pushing boundries, and visceral romanticism (okay, pushing that last comparison… but you get the idea).

Katacombes has been the site for the previous nine editions of BLUE MONDAY, and for our tenth we’re bringing out some of the old and some of the new:

Tonight’s show will be hosted by drag sensation Marquise, with special guests Devil Dan Derkson, Kris Dulgar, Bruno Pierre Ly, Trevor Forestell and extra special guest Mark Little (Mark Little is the 2009 winner of the Great Canadian Laugh Off, the 2009 JFL Homegrown competition winner, has been nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award (2008, 2009) and Youtube Comedy Award (2008) as well as a founding member of Picnicface http://www.picnicface.com/ ). The show will be closed out by me, yours truly, Paul Ash.

The show starts at 8pm, doors open at 7pm (Monday July 27). Get there early to get a good seat. The address again is 1222 St-Laurent. Attendees tonight will get half off attendance of the next BLUE MONDAY in Katacombes new location.