Alessandro Arciero: Bonne fête Belmont!
This month, one of St-Laurent’s last true refuges for cutting-edge live music is diving into a quarter century of existence with massive 25th anniversary celebrations. Over the past two years, Le Belmont has been experiencing somewhat of a renaissance, going from a fairly mainstream club on the Main to a new mutant-hybrid space, home to anything ranging from sweaty underground parties to swanky elbow-rubbing shindigs and everything in between. Here’s the lowdown on the joint from the man responsible for the makeover, owner and manager Alessandro Arciero.
On his first days at Le Belmont, circa 1989.
The owner and manager of the Belmont at the time came to recruit me at Metropolis to work for them. They were starting to have some security issues. My very first impression was that I had gone from a place where it would take 30 minutes to walk around the club to a place where it took 3 minutes. But it turned out to be a good decision as Metropolis began a downward spiral and was no longer a nightclub seven months later.
On his most memorable nights from back in those days.
I get asked that question a lot. Everyone says: “You must have a lot of stories.” Truth is I don’t. It’s pretty much all I’ve known as an adult. The partying, the alcohol, the women, the attention, the confrontations and all the other things that come with working in this business were my “normal.” The thing that stands out the most is the people. The lifelong friendships I forged while working. The relationships I had
with the wonderful women I met while working. And the crash course I got on human nature.
On the transition into owning the place.
I always had a big hand in running the place. As for owning it, after years of thinking I would leave the business after Belmont ended, I realized that this business was what I knew best…and then the Belmont was for sale. I bought the place with my heart though, not with my head. It wasn’t doing well and was saddled with a huge overhead. I knew that resurrecting it wouldn’t be easy but I never imagined it would be as hard and painstaking as it was.
On the renaissance of the past two years.
Not having the necessary budget to make physical changes to the venue, I decided to make philosophical ones. We had to re-invent ourselves. I decided to focus on what I do best and began forging good relationships with every promoter I met and things have been slowly snowballing since.
On the variety of events happening there now.
We do DJs, live bands, EP launches, comedy, improv, live painting, theatre, burlesque, hockey games, multimedia presentations and anything else you can envision doing in a nightclub. Every decision I make regarding changes to the Belmont’s physical configuration and infrastructure takes into account its ability to remain multi-functional. This is an extremely competitive and volatile business, so the bigger the variety of events you can accommodate, the better your chances of survival and success become.
Belmont's 25th anniversary week
November 10 to 13
Le Belmont sur le Boulevard | 4483, St-Laurent