Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Scenic South: Party on Bridgeport, New Haven

Saturday night - date night again! We rounded up a couple young gentlemen friends (i.e. our beards) and set off on another adventure. Our first destination was Matt Mullarkey's much ballyhooed (by us) show of punk rock flier art. As per our own advice, we took the scenic route (Route 8) to get there. We've been raised on lore of BPort's epic poverty and scariness, and we're sure it has its moments but frankly, we found the neighborhood we ended up in downright quaint and certainly "not any worse looking than Hartford." Well, other than the "gallery" itself which was kind of an abandoned looking building surrounded by barbed wire (check out the FB gallery).

We've mentioned Matt numerous times on the blog - he's been a Connecticut punk scene fixture forever, with bands including The Injections, Elvis McMan, The Pink Slips, and currently The Midnightmares, as well as a flier artist extraordinaire. We've enjoyed both his music and fliers for years (something like half Jackie Scenic's life, and nearly half of Katie's, if you want to do that math...). So of course it was lovely to see the man, the band and the artwork. Jackie is pretty sure she attended this show in the late 90s:

We caught the tail end of The Midnightmares, and were once again taken in by their screamy, raucous charms. We also enjoyed part of the set by Shangk, who look like regular dudes, but rock out like nobody's business. We're going to see if anyone we know will book these bands in Hartford. We're sick of having to drive so far!

Well, either it was too fucking loud or we are too fucking old, but in any event, we had other business to attend to and didn't stay in Bridgeport long. Pretty soon it was on to Rudy's in New Haven. After a moment of panic over the fact that the bar was out of cider, we settled on some drinks (including a beer called WTF, which we've just now realized is, ugh, a Wilco reference) and sat down at one of those giant wooden tables. Between the tables, the poor lighting, the general rowdiness, and of course the ever-present cowled and scowling figures lurking in all the dark corners, the whole thing was very Prancing Pony.

The first band we saw was Skeletonbreath. They play that gypsy punk business, like Gogol Bordello or Kiss Kiss, or all those bands from the soundtrack for Everything is Illuminated. Only they do it strictly instrumental. They go completely spastic on every song, with the one dude sawing away on his violin, and the drummer attacking his kit like a rabid animal. We're convinced they referenced a GWAR riff in one song. We were transfixed. What with the absence of lyrical content and the intensity of their live energy, we suspect they may lost something in translation on CD, but we'd love to see them again. Maybe a field trip to Southpaw in Brooklyn June 4 is in order (we've totally been there).

We spoke with the bass player of 420 Blackbirds early in the night, and from her mellow demeanor and Temple Grandin-esque wardrobe, we expected something a little bit country. And, well, there were some of those basslines (you know the ones), but they were rowdy, heavy, seasoned punk/rock. We were told the personnel in this band have been CT scene fixtures for 20+ years, so maybe we've seen their previous work, we don't know... We do know the singer looks like one of our romantic interests, Vampire Bill from True Blood. We'd love to see him - er, them - again too.

By the time the Vultures (more New Haven music fixtures) came on, we were kind of all rocked out. Our toilet paper ear plugs were wearing thin (shame on Rudy's not selling ear protection, btw). Alas it was time to go. Our time in New Haven was, as usual, fraught with scenic envy. We admired their men, their women, their Belgian fries. This woman in particular:

We're already planning a return visit. We suggest you do the same. We're thinking burlesque next Sunday at Jokers Wild.

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