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.
Hot off the heels of winning a Latin Grammy for working with salsa star Victor Manuelle — and being nominated in four different categories — musician and producer Marcos Sánchez reflected back on his time growing up in New Haven, and going to Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School.
“That’s basically how I ended up doing what I’m doing,” Sánchez said, crediting in particular music teacher Patrick Smith. “He was disciplined but gave us space to create. Through him I discovered that I wanted to be a producer. He’s responsible for every little bit of success.”
The Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s 38th annual awards ceremony, held Friday during a luncheon at the New Haven Lawn Club, began with a protest. As patrons were seating themselves in the Lawn Club’s expansive ballroom, a troop of young women marched in file toward the stage, chanting and holding aloft signs about stopping domestic and sexual violence, about women’s suffrage, about curing breast cancer.
The women were dancers from Premier Dance Company, headed by Hanan Hameen, one of the afternoon’s award recipients. They took the stage to a blast of music from the speakers, moving from funk to pop to hip hop, as patrons finished sitting down — a fitting nod to the theme of the arts awards this year, of phenomenal women.
“It’s nice to have the family all in one room and most of you know what I mean by the family — the NHV and CT music family,” said singer-songwriter Frank Critelli, who took a break from his bartending duties on Thursday afternoon to take the stage at Cafe Nine and talk about his friend and fellow musician Sean Beirne, who passed away on Monday from a brain aneurysm at the age of 39.
“You know how you look at a painting and the artist paints it in such a way that it draws your eyes to a specific point in that painting, something he wants you to notice? Well every time I looked at the stage and Sean Beirne was on it, Sean Beirne was that point. He was always the focus for me.”
Perched about head-high on the stage left wall of Cafe Nine, there is a roughly LP-sized wooden frame containing what at first glance looks somewhat startlingly like a ransom note: With its askew, cut and paste lettering, it reads, “make sure your volume is right for the room. THANKS.”
Short of asking whether or not Cave or Mountain Movers noticed the sign, I have no way of knowing, but whether explicitly or intuitively, the two bands responded in very different, but equally valid manners.
Healing comes in many forms. Some find it in dance. Others in prayer. The women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. brought several forms of self-care together in an inaugural “The Art of Healing” luncheon.