Home Local music venue Il Motore turns two years old

Local music venue Il Motore turns two years old

by admin November 30, 2010

Local music venue Il Motore turns two years old

by admin November 30, 2010

The lights dimmed and musicians cranked their amps on Friday night as friends and fans prepared to celebrate Il Motore’s second year in business. The discreet-looking building is located on the corner of Jean-Talon and Waverley Streets in Little Italy. The warehouse-style venue, with its high ceilings and industrial feel, is nonetheless a compact space: a tiny bar lines the back wall and at the front sits a wide, albeit messy stage under dim overhead lights. Turned on by the dingy atmosphere, people willingly crammed the wide floor area to witness a lineup of high-energy bands including Grand Trine, Black Feelings, and TONSTARTSSBANDHT.

“We wanted to have a party for our second-year anniversary and we had a few ideas,” said Meyer Billurcu, operator of Il Motore and co-founder of the concert promoting company and former record label Blue Skies Turn Black. “My good friend Sasha is moving to Toronto so I [figured], why don’t we do the anniversary party and get some of [our] favorite bands? We’ll get some DJs and we’ll make it [a] going away party as well as the second anniversary of Il Motore.”

Billurcu and his partner Brian Neuman founded BSTB in 1999. They, along with several other partners operate Il Motore, but things are changing. In the beginning, the venue was owned and operated by five different partners. One of them was Mauro Pezzente, bassist for the influential Montreal-based experimental group Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Along with his partner Kiva Stimac, Pezzente runs and manages Mile End music venues Casa del Popolo and La Sala Rossa. However, Pezzente pulled out of Il Motore less than a year after taking it on.

“He had a lot on his plate already [with Casa and Sala] and Il Motore had only been open for a year,” explained Billurcu. “There were still a lot of struggles and the money wasn’t really coming in.”

He admitted that some details were overlooked in the beginning. “To be honest, I think we got in over our heads when we first got involved [because] there were just a lot of new challenges and things we didn’t think about [beforehand],” he said.

Though booking bands wasn’t much of an issue, thanks to BSTB’s connections, the venue still struggled with finances, new landlords and regulating alcohol and ticket sales. It was a lack of leadership and clarity that needed attention.

Billucru explained: “In the last couple months I started looking at Il Motore and asking “OK, what can I do with this place to [help it] reach its full potential?.’ I think the one thing we’ve been missing since the beginning was a real sort of vision. No one was really taking the reigns, taking control and saying “this is what we should be doing, this is what we need to do.'”

Billurcu and Neuman have many aspirations and plans for Il Motore that they are excited to put into action in the coming year. One such change will see them stepping into the driver’s seat.

“It looks like within the next couple months, Brian and I are probably going to take over Il Motore completely from all the old partners,” Billurcu revealed. “It’s probably going to be 100 per cent Blue Skies’ establishment pretty soon.”

BSTB alone already have between 20 and 30 events set for the new year and Billurcu believes that this is only the beginning.

“I think 2011 is going to be a really good year for Il Motore because now we have some freedom to approach it show by show and [ask ourselves]: what’s best for the show, [and] what can we do to make the circumstances for this show work best at Il Motore? Not just for Blue Skies, but for anyone who is renting.”

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The lights dimmed and musicians cranked their amps on Friday night as friends and fans prepared to celebrate Il Motore’s second year in business. The discreet-looking building is located on the corner of Jean-Talon and Waverley Streets in Little Italy. The warehouse-style venue, with its high ceilings and industrial feel, is nonetheless a compact space: a tiny bar lines the back wall and at the front sits a wide, albeit messy stage under dim overhead lights. Turned on by the dingy atmosphere, people willingly crammed the wide floor area to witness a lineup of high-energy bands including Grand Trine, Black Feelings, and TONSTARTSSBANDHT.

“We wanted to have a party for our second-year anniversary and we had a few ideas,” said Meyer Billurcu, operator of Il Motore and co-founder of the concert promoting company and former record label Blue Skies Turn Black. “My good friend Sasha is moving to Toronto so I [figured], why don’t we do the anniversary party and get some of [our] favorite bands? We’ll get some DJs and we’ll make it [a] going away party as well as the second anniversary of Il Motore.”

Billurcu and his partner Brian Neuman founded BSTB in 1999. They, along with several other partners operate Il Motore, but things are changing. In the beginning, the venue was owned and operated by five different partners. One of them was Mauro Pezzente, bassist for the influential Montreal-based experimental group Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Along with his partner Kiva Stimac, Pezzente runs and manages Mile End music venues Casa del Popolo and La Sala Rossa. However, Pezzente pulled out of Il Motore less than a year after taking it on.

“He had a lot on his plate already [with Casa and Sala] and Il Motore had only been open for a year,” explained Billurcu. “There were still a lot of struggles and the money wasn’t really coming in.”

He admitted that some details were overlooked in the beginning. “To be honest, I think we got in over our heads when we first got involved [because] there were just a lot of new challenges and things we didn’t think about [beforehand],” he said.

Though booking bands wasn’t much of an issue, thanks to BSTB’s connections, the venue still struggled with finances, new landlords and regulating alcohol and ticket sales. It was a lack of leadership and clarity that needed attention.

Billucru explained: “In the last couple months I started looking at Il Motore and asking “OK, what can I do with this place to [help it] reach its full potential?.’ I think the one thing we’ve been missing since the beginning was a real sort of vision. No one was really taking the reigns, taking control and saying “this is what we should be doing, this is what we need to do.'”

Billurcu and Neuman have many aspirations and plans for Il Motore that they are excited to put into action in the coming year. One such change will see them stepping into the driver’s seat.

“It looks like within the next couple months, Brian and I are probably going to take over Il Motore completely from all the old partners,” Billurcu revealed. “It’s probably going to be 100 per cent Blue Skies’ establishment pretty soon.”

BSTB alone already have between 20 and 30 events set for the new year and Billurcu believes that this is only the beginning.

“I think 2011 is going to be a really good year for Il Motore because now we have some freedom to approach it show by show and [ask ourselves]: what’s best for the show, [and] what can we do to make the circumstances for this show work best at Il Motore? Not just for Blue Skies, but for anyone who is renting.”

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