Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Elm City Pop Fest Day Three: Wednesday, March 26th

Though “Sex, drugs and pop” might not carry the same ring to it, Danny Goodwin of Tweefort Records thinks the genre needs a little more attention in New Haven. He went about this by kick-starting a record label, releasing local talent, hosting frequent shows and eventually presenting Elm City Pop Fest, a barebones three-day festival (the last day is to be held this Wednesday, May 26th) showcasing pop music from home and abroad in New Haven’s venues.

The festival is an incarnation of everything Tweefort revolves around: bringing nationally touring pop bands to New Haven where they can play with like-minded locals. This year is the second run of the event—the first installment launched the weekend of the 14th—during which bands performed at Café Nine and Tweefort’s makeshift home-base venue ArtSpace Underground. Locals in the lineup like EULA and The Fictional West originate in New Haven, but this year Goodwin broadened the Connecticut portion of the lineup with acts like Steven Deal (Milford) and the Field Recordings (Danbury). On Saturday evening, ArtSpace was a gallery turned venue full of wine glass toting music fiends. They have hosted Tweefort concerts since last spring.

“I was a little surprised when we first started — although I shouldn't have been — that a lot of the fans of our shows are people that were really involved in New Haven's punk/pop heyday in the '70s and '80s,” said Goodwin. Late Saturday evening, around 60 bodies hovered around the performance space with drinks in hand, alternating between conversation and focusing on the talent. A gallery assistant flitted from wall to wall ensuring that no shoulder blade or stray elbow of an audience member touched one of the suspended paintings. One particularly inspired audience member with a ball of tight curls danced alone in the front lines to New Haven’s Butterflies of Love. A sound technician from East Rock Recording Studio, another longtime supporter of Tweefort’s mission, sat among the clumps of audience to check the bands.

All proceeds from Saturday’s show went directly to ArtSpace as a thanks for what the organization has done for New Haven arts. “[My wife] Aileen and I would travel to Boston, Northampton and New York City to see pop shows and then we kind of realized that could and should be trying to get these bands to play in New Haven,” Goodwin remembered. “New Haven has a diverse and open-minded music and arts scene plus students from all the nearby colleges and universities.” This Wednesday’s last installment of Pop Fest at Café Nine on State street coincides with New York City Pop Fest, allowing Elm City to piggy back on acts like Horowitz and Allo Darlin’, two bands from the UK.

“I think we knew there was a lot of potential fans in New Haven,” Goodwin said. “There is a whole worldwide community of indiepop fans and I knew we could tap into that with a lot of the music we promote.”

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