Two finely textured dolls stand facing each other. Their expressions are simple, but not simplistic. They suggest openness, warmheartedness, a willingness to engage. One of them has an open flame in her hand. She passes the flame to the other one.
The piece, by Julie Fraenkel, is called Conversation. As apt as it is for its chosen subject, it’s also a fitting concept for “Deck the Walls,” the last exhibition of the year from Kehler Liddell Gallery in Westville.
An eclectic billing of hometown electric guitar-adjacent acts took the stage at the still fresh-faced State House to celebrate the release of headliner Polluter’s new record, The Tree That Owned Itself. As a thank you to the crowd, each attendee received a ticket to a free digital download of a cross-genre session that explores the far reaches of artsy jazz punk.
The night started later than billed, allowing a small but attentive crowd to filter into the Lyric Hall, and then opener DaDA Mr. — Christopher Cavaliere on guitar with painter Marcella Kurowski, of Bridgeport — glided silently onto the stage. Cavaliere sat down, center stage, without a spotlight. The projector behind him showed the quick work of Kurowski, paint splattered and smocked, shadowy hands and brushes streaking the white screen in blue or purple.
All the elements in the title track from the New Haven-based Ports of Spain’s latest album, Able Archer, are in place from the song’s first breath. There’s Carlson’s drums, relaxed yet urgent. There’s Ilya Gitelman’s intricate, muscular guitar. And there’s Carlson’s voice, sending a melody cascading down a startlingly poetic set of words.
“Sleep through spring / You can throw it away / And lie till the onset of autumn / Cool like a knife slipping into a wave / And lithe gliding down to the bottom,” Carlson sings. “Strong square breathing I’m a leaf on a stream / An archer who’s nocking an arrow / Unfit and insistent I’m a smear on a page / Who shoots though the target is narrow.”
Terminal 110 on Sargent Drive was already crowded Wednesday evening, the tables near the stage accounted for and the bar area bustling, when Anthony Williams stepped to the microphone.
“Time to network, maybe meet somebody,” he said. “Maybe you meet someone who’s struggling, tell them they’re going to make it. You never know.” He continued: “You had a bite to eat. You had something to drink. Now it’s time to feel the vibe.”
“Is there a doctor in the house?” Max Loignon shouts in the opening line of the song “Fire in a Theatre,” off the EP of the same name, but he sounds more revved up than in need of resuscitation on the latest release from local rock revelers The Right Offs. The EP includes three songs from three musicians — Loignon on vocals and guitar, Than Rolnick on bass and vocals, and Bob Breychak on drums — who know how to pack maximum impact into a minimal amount of time, and how to make the introspective sound expansive.