Saturday night I made my way down to Popeye's Garage, an ad-hoc performance, rehearsal and gallery space located in downtown New Haven to catch a three band bill of New Haven's Roman Wolfe, Matt Wilga of NY's the Stoned Ambassadors and Northampton, MA's Apse. This was to be the first of the venue's final three shows.
Despite its semi-obvious location (it really is located right behind Popeye's Chicken), I initially missed the venue because of its unassuming street facade which made it look more like a storage space than a music venue. Upon closer inspection I found my way to the side of the building and was greeted by an arrangement of lawn chairs and a table occupied by some friendly regulars, as well as the door inside. The venue itself was a stage-less, no-frills cinder block room light by a few light bulbs that, true to its name, looked like a garage. A secondary room with sheet rock walls expanded the venue further back into what looked like a former car bay. Aside from a large pom-pom-esque art installation hanging from the ceiling, little else, save a large wall-mounted calendar, decorated the space. Overall it was a bit smaller than I was anticipating given the size of the building as a whole but served its function (a room with a PA) well.
The show itself, which was scheduled to begin around 7pm, got off to a rocky start primarily due to the revelation that all of the venues mic stands had gone missing since the last show ("that's the fifth mic stand we've lost!"). While show co-organizer Ross Menze went off to retrieve more, I made good on the extra time by talking briefly with another of Popeye's organizers, Stefan Christensen (of Estrogen Highs, Iron Hand, Medication) about the impending closure of the space. According to Christensen, shows are being ceased primarily because of a change of ownership between the current owner and New Haven's own property Pac-Man, Yale University. Although he remained optimistic about the possibility of one-off shows in the future, Popeye's Garage as the much-needed weekly venue and downtown multi-purpose space it has become the last 6 months will be ceasing October 9th.
|Roman Wolfe (photo by Bob Rock)|
|Matt Wilga (photo by Bob Rock)|
|Apse (photo by Bob Rock)|
Be sure and check out the final two shows at Popeye's Garage this Friday, October 8th (headlined by The Field Recordings) and Saturday, October 9th (headlined by Malcolm Tent).