Etobicoke (yeah, Etobicoke) gets a new live music venue
The new year brings good news for Toronto music fans: Placebo Space is back. The all-genre, multi-disciplinary venue that was once hidden away above an autobody shop at Bloor and Lansdowne is about to make big waves at Lakeshore and Islington — and not just in our ear drums.
The bigger and better Placebo will be fully licensed, and there will be no more curfew (or shoes-off rule). Owner Yunior Marino has captured what was once Etobicoke jazz spot The Gallery Studio Cafe, meaning neighbourhood music lovers can breathe a sigh of relief. The former Placebo Space hosted some jazz nights of its own, and it looks like they're more than willing to do so in the new spot, along with their usual blend of latin, indie, klezmer, experimental, and et cetera.
Don't let your stomach turn: Marino carefully curates his events, so funk fans who hate harsh noise (and vice versa), have only to check online to see when Placebo will be their dance party paradise, or their circuit-bending sanctuary. The space will also continue Placebo's reputation for audio, visual, and tactile art installations (Marino himself is an artist), plus it looks like a lot more surprises are in store. We caught up with Marino himself to find out more.
Congrats on the new space! Etobicoke is a far jaunt from Bloor and Lansdowne. How did you find the new home?
Yunior Marino: Thank you. I was actually hunting for land on Craigslist to start a self-sustainable community with close friends. Somehow I came across the new Placebo space randomly. I had already dropped the music venue idea.
The Gallery Studio Cafe was a hopping jazz spot with strong ties to Humber. I'm sure the cafe's old fans want to know: will you still be hosting jazz nights?
We have heard about the university jazz nights but we haven't had a chance to meet anyone from the university yet. If someone there would like to come talk to us we are usually available. We look forward to supporting them.
You mentioned that shows will no longer have curfews, and I know the old Placebo Space was starting to have trouble with neighbours, even though you were above an autobody shop and pretty out of the way. What are some other benefits that come with the new digs?
We don't have the previous restrictions in the new place. The new space is licensed for live music - and it has more space. We won't be bothering anyone here; the neighbours are accustomed to the sound. We enjoy being able have a bigger part in the community with this location.
Will you be serving food and drinks? What's in store for our taste buds? Tell us everything!
There will be drinks and food available. The menu is still in discussion, so "everything" does not exist yet. But neither will we limit ourselves to one menu. We will be changing the menu like the seasons, like the months, like the weeks, like the days. Supporting local and organic food will be a priority.
I used to live in a nice share house for three years. One of the thing I loved was the food surprise factor. You were always eating something new, with everything changing all the time.
Are you worried that old Placebo Space fans might find the new space's distance from downtown too daunting?
Some people could be worried about this, but I see it more as something special. I can only see the bright side of the moon.
Placebo Space on Bloor was visually enchanting: your abstract paintings, the cushions on the floor, a projector beaming water droplets on a speaker-head from a back cupboard onto the stage, etc. Have you designed the new Placebo Space in a similar way, and are there any surprises in store?
The same features will be present. The floor cushions and bare feet will be lost, sadly, although we could still go that way on certain occasions. We can't have it all, at least at the same time. That's a joke.
We're hoping to surprise ourselves in the future. How? I don't know yet!
One of my favourite things about Placebo Space was it crossed between many genres: one night you'd host a reggae trio or a latin dance party, and the next week Placebo would be home to experimental noise, or lo-fi indie pop. Will the new Placebo space carry on this diversity?
We'll host all types of genres as long as we consider it good music. Movie screenings, documentaries, comedy, poetry and a few other activities will be happening, too.
What have you got coming up at Placebo Space?
We have on the opening night, January 18th, a good friend: Quique Escamilla Band, with a nice Mexican sound. The show begins at 8:30pm.
Following that, between January 18th and 31st, we are having psychedelic, space rock, contemporary cuban Jazz, classical, celtic music, klezmer and more. We're featuring bands like Ozere, Moonwood, Alexander Brown's Cuban Jazz Project, Black Walls, Lorde Awesome, and The Kitchen Orchestra.
Sounds busy! How can artists and fans contact you about the space?
Any TTC tips for getting to Lake Shore and Islington from downtown?
The 501 streetcar will leave you accross the street. Or you can take the subway to Islington and then the 101 B route. Get off on Lake Shore, and just walk one block east.
Placebo Space bursts back into life Friday night with the Quique Escamilla Band. Doors are at 8:30PM.
Photos by Denise McMullin. Photo of Bloor St. Placebo Space by Kyle Burton (4th & 5th).