by Scott Roos
photos by Aaron Brown (Aaron Brown Photography)
The inevitability of change... change is a good thing... change is always needed... new blood and new ideas and blah blah blah... That's the narrative that's been in the air lately at popular Saskatoon pub and eatery The Captiol Music Club ever since Joel Gaudet and Mark Poppen have taken over as hosts of the venue's "Open Stage" (their version of an open mic night). Poppen, the owner of Funky Moose Audio, and Gaudet, the president of Moosefest Entertainment Inc. are also the hosts of The Sit Down Podcast and well known patrons of the local, Saskatchewan indie music scene.
According to the guys, the idea for them to take over the Open Stage first came about when The Capitol Music Club announced they were looking for new hosts back in November. Gaudet saw a Facebook post asking for applications for the position.
"(Joel Gaudet) forwarded it to me asking 'Is this something we should be doing?'. We reached out, sat down with the owner of the Cap and figured it was a win-win-win situation for all involved," explained Poppen in a recent conversation with NSMZ.
The guys officially took over as hosts just before Christmas and so far have two nights under their proverbial belts. It's been a "so far so good" vibe but with the festivities of the holiday season in orbit around Saskatoon, it's too early to tell how impactful they've been.
"So far after having two under our belts its been amazing," raved Gaudet,"Nothing but positive vibes, enthusiasm and encouragement (from the artists and musicians who have been involved)."
"(The artists) have been encouraging everything we've been doing since the moment the word got out we took over. We've been very upfront about the fact that hosting is all new for us and we're open to suggestions. We've learned quite a bit from just talking to these artists," added Poppen.
Poppen and Gaudet have some exciting things in the works for the new year with the implementation of a house band, and the possibility of mini interviews with the artists between acts, crowd participation and prizes, featured acts, as well as recording and posting some of the performances of the evenings online.
"We don't want to make it a tidal wave of changes because the basis for a good night is already there thanks to previous hosts of the open stage. We're just making small tweaks and add some features to keep things interesting," Poppen said.
"The house band will be on stand by for these nights. If the schedule is open they will be there to play or if an artist would like to try preforming with a live band to back them, they are there for that too. We have a permanent drummer and bass player with the lead guitar player being interchangeable every 4 to 6 weeks. So if you're a guitar player looking for a spot come check it out and come see us," adds Gaudet.
The Open Stage usually starts at around 7 pm every Tuesday night at The Capitol Music Club. There's a sign up sheet for artists who wish to perform. There is no cover and artists typically will get a 20 minute slot or three songs - whichever comes first. Come and check it out if you wanna take in some great music, eat good food and imbibe.
edit: The Cap is closed tonight (January 3rd) so no open mic. But be ready to give'er next week (January 10th). It's gonna be a time.
L to R:Aurora Bella, Josh Stumpf, Nicolas Aiken, Haunt Era (Pics of the inaugeral Open Stage event with Poppen and Gaudet in charge by Aaron Brown)