Fired up for The Firing Squad

The variety show, Art Machine, combines theatre and live music

Do you want to listen to live music and comedy at the same time? Well, look no further than Théatre Sainte-Catherine Café-Bar. The theatre’s brand new addition is Art Machine, a variety show that is accompanied by The Firing Squad, a newly-formed Montreal band. Art Machine began in late August of this year and takes place every Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Firing Squad’s members are Gideon Yellin on guitar; Lloyd White on bass guitar; and Alex Lepanto on drums. All three members are excited to play jazz-funk music every week. “I just think it’s fun to play, so the more chances we get to play, it feels like I’m sailing,” said Lepanto. The band’s goal is to blend the Montreal jazz scene with the Montreal francophone comedy scene. “There’s some really, really talented comedians that show up here all the time,” said Lepanto. “It’s cool to kind of work and hang out with [these] people.”

The band members first got together at Théatre Sainte-Catherine Café-Bar during a production of MacBeth in late-January, where they each played the music to accompany the play. They enjoyed playing music together so much that they couldn’t wait to keep the fun going after the show. “On the last day of the show, Lloyd was like, ‘Yo, do you want to come over and jam some jazz?’” said Lepanto. It didn’t take long for them to hit it off, soon becoming The Firing Squad.

Since then, the band has been involved in the creation of a musical, in collaboration with the theatre’s artistic director, Alain Mercieca. The musical, called ATM: The Musical, was presented at the Just for Laughs festival this past June and won the Fringe Award for Best English Comedy. “So you can say we’re like the funniest band in jazz,” said Yellin. Mercieca said a big reason he invited the band to play at Art Machine is that he really enjoyed working with them this past summer. “The Firing Squad, those guys are great musicians, we’re pumped, we want to do more collaborate stuff with them, make Art Machine a full musical every once in awhile. The potential is huge” said Mercieca.

Band members of The Firing Squad: Gideon Yellin, Alex Lepanto, Lloyd White. Photo by: Isaac Latham

Art Machine is a collective that he knows has the potential to grow. “We’re happy with the acts and we’re happy with the band, so it’s just time to push it to everyone [and get] bigger crowds,” he said. The band is definitely excited to get the ball rolling, and really enjoys what they’re doing. “I feel like all three of us just kind of click on a love of jamming,” said White. “We all just love jamming with people, and that’s one of the reasons we love this sort of thing we’re doing, where we get to jam with different people every time.”

On top of playing at Art Machine, the band is also working on producing an EP, which they say should be out by the end of the year. “There’ll be something that people can actually check out when they want to know what we’re all about,” said Lepanto. “Until then, they just have to come [to the theatre].”

As the show gains popularity, the organizers of Art Machine are hoping to increase the number of fresh new faces to take to the stage. “We’re always looking for new talents to discover,” said Adama Diop, the show’s producer.

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