Streaming Cafe

Friday, April 1, 2011

Our First Live Album & Release Show!

by Malcolm Petch

It’s been just over two years now since we first opened the doors at Streaming Café, and in that time we’ve had a lot of very fine musicians grace our stage. Over the months we’ve enjoyed adding to the SC repertoire through YouTube vids, podcasts, a couple of website updates (have you seen the totally revamped and new website we have now? It’s killer!), plus we’ve been happy to see the Café itself start serving food menu items and, very recently, acquire a liquor license.

Now we are more than excited to announce a new FIRST for us: in partnership with one of those very fine musicians we are happy to be releasing our first live album… (let the fanfare build here…) “Pat LePoidevin live at Streaming Café” will be released nation-wide on April 21st!

That’s right – a live album recorded right here at the Café! We multi-tracked Pat’s concert in January of this year, and it was a great show. The response in the room that night, plus the number of people checking in online and interacting live with each other and Pat, kept bringing the show back to our minds here in the post-production SC office. When we decided to move forward with doing our own CDs, Pat LePoidevin topped the list as an artist we’d love to work with in our first endeavour.

In conjunction with Pat we are hosting an album release concert at the Café on April 21stat 7PM (“in conjunction” meaning that Pat is playing a concert that night to celebrate the release of the album. We’re not playing, just him). Tickets for the event are $15, available at Streaming Café, and every ticket includes a pre-release copy of the CD. Online-purchase versions of the album will be available as of that date, too.

Woo hoo! If you can’t be here in person on the 21st, please join us online for this FIRST album release!! We will never again have a first-album-release show; this is your chance to be part of SC history! (Okay, maybe that’s overkill. But it will be a great show; you know how good Pat is, right?)

Click here for more performance details...

"Born to it..." - Ambre McLean

by Malcolm Petch

Ambre McLean is among a select group of artists in Canada, a group that shares a notable genre. These days it’s harder than ever to pin down a particular musical styling as being the “such-and-such” genre. Sometimes it seems like every artist concocts his or her own distinct flavour simply to be able to come up with yet another new genre name. There’s one genre, though, that hasn’t been claimed yet: Alt/Via Rail. This genre applies to all artists, like Ambre, who’ve traveled the country as a performer on a Via Rail train, which is clearly an alternate means of touring. At Streaming Café we’ve had the pleasure of entertaining (or, rather, being entertained by) several Canadian indie artists who have done cross-country tours via Via rail.

Ambre McLean’s music is a blend of jazz, country, blues, folk, and pop. That list, detailed though it may be, is a fairly mundane description of the actual music: McLean’s strong guitar playing supports a spirited and secure voice, which is engaging right off the bat. Her songwriting abilities are both solid and fervent, and her comfort level at handling both her instrument and extras like a Line 6 looping unit make even her solo YouTube performances worthy of note. Here’s an artist who is good, and who is fun to listen to. "She must have been born to it,” says CBC 3’s Craig Norris about her performing.

McLean has released four albums to date as a solo artist. After cutting her teeth in various band environments, she moved on to being an artist in her own right back in 2004. More recently McLean took some time off – a sabbatical, if you will – and came back to her music refreshed and ready for new experiences. Her latest album, “Murder at the smokehouse – a musical novella” was released on a new indie label (Busted Flat Records), and she’s currently on tour with all her new music.

Ambre McLean will be performing a double bill at the Streaming Café on Saturday April 16th, along with Gabrielle Papillon (who herself appeared at SC back in June of 2010). The evening promises to be one of good music and yummy noms (for in-house guests, anyway; online will still be good music!!). Show starts at 7PM Pacific time.

For more performance details click here.

Discover our NEW website!

by Malcolm Petch

Back in January the staff here at Streaming Café came to the decision to rebuild our website from the ground up.

We had started online life two years ago with a fully functioning website, and a few months in we went to website 1.1, with a re-skinning and retooling of the website appearance.

This time we wanted to make the leap to website 2.0, with a complete re-do of the inner architecture and functions of the site. We’d learned from online guests and from our own experiences what aspects of the online experience could be made better, so we decided to jump in with both feet and see what we could do about it.

By now you have no doubt noticed that our site looks different. We went live on March 16 after two and a half months of solid work by an excellent marketing strategist and his top-notch crew (thanks D!).

The first thing you’ve probably noticed is that there is no video player on our home page unless the live show is on. We wanted you, the online viewer, to be able to choose which music you watched/listened to rather than be subject to whatever happened to be looping through the player at the moment you tuned in.

Along with no video player on the mid-week home page, you’ve probably seen that we have large banner images moving across the front of the page telling you who has just played and who is coming up in the next few weeks. We’d heard from folks who’d told us, “Hey, your previous and past shows list is hard to see and hard to understand…”, so we wanted to increase the clarity of who’s who in the zoo – and when they’re playing.

Now when you click on one of those images you’ll be taken to that artist’s page, where you can either learn about them if they’re due to play at Streaming Café, or where you can view some videos of when they did play, if their performance has already happened.

Those videos of past performances are from our YouTube channel. But here’s a little insider secret: for most of our previous artists you’ll find more videos of them on our site than you will on YouTube. That’s our way of rewarding you for spending time on streamingcafe.net; we like giving out rewards – that’s just the kind of people we are.

One other change we made was with the chat room on our home page when we’re live with a show. Used to be that you had to become a member and sign in to be able to chat with the artist or other viewers. We heard from tons of people that they found that frustrating and tedious, plus it didn’t even work on some browsers, so we’ve completely eliminated that. You’ll need to give yourself a nickname and confirm that you’re a human
being (way easier than it sounds), but membership is not required. Oh – but if you’re reading this in newsletter format you’ve probably already become a member…

Hey, there’s a ton of other good stuff and innovative features on the new site. Check it out, even during the week when the show’s not live. And we are looking for feedback from you, too: What’s not working still? What could be better? Any suggestions for other stuff we could add?

And did we mention the LIVE album release that’s coming up?...