[NHM] New Haven Music

Bands of GPSCY vs. The Sound Police
January 28, 2009, 5:00 pm
Filed under: 21+, Commentary, News, NHM, Show Reviews, Shows | Tags: , , , ,

Apart from the annual Ideat Village festival, live music at Yale’s GPSCY bar has been a rarity in recent years. That all changed though last night when the first full night of music in years occurred at the GPSCY…or almost did.

At the onset, the show seemed like a success story for the books: Safety Meeting Records‘ Carlos Wells convinces Yale’s GPSCY Bar officials that it would be a great idea to have live music again, booking two of New Haven’s better bands in the process, M.T. Bearington (quirky indie-classicism with beards) and The Simple Pleasure (rock n’ roll electro with lots of dancing and lots of beats). Show gets great buzz online and in local press. Lots of people show up. Aside from a few flabbergasted Yalies (“who ARE all these people????”), the old Bulldog vs. Townie divide is temporarily broken down. A great time is truly had by all. And then, not even halfway through the Simple Pleasure’s high energy performance comes the news: ‘sorry guys, but we’ve got to stop the music…’

Apparently the presence of the ‘Sound Police’ is nothing new at the GPSCY. According to sources in the know, the GPSCY had hosted shows every Saturday night for years, that is until an apartment complex was built in close proximity to the bar. Thereafter, the noise complaints swiftly came rolling in until GPSCY management was forced to ban live music altogether. End of story, or so it seemed.

Fast forward to New Haven 2009: participation in local music is on the rise however many venues throughout the course of the past decade have either closed (Tune Inn, The Blues Cafe, Elm City Java) or have shied away from booking bands (GPSCY, Hell, Alchemy). As a result, there are fewer and fewer places nowadays for local bands (or any sort of band for that matter) to play. With a venue like the GPSCY, which is both located on a university campus and seemingly built for shows, it would have been a great reversal of fortune for local music and the city of New Haven. The difficulties of making something like this happen though begs one to ask: When will the city and its people learn that stifling events like this only hurts everyone involved? Does New Haven not want to project an image of an arts friendly community built on a mix of local and non-local talent? Or is this more about appeasing those who pay the bills?

For now the answers to these questions and more will remain to be seen until the next Safety Meeting Records night at the GPSCY, scheduled for Feb. 10th. Let’s hope that between then and now we can all agree that punishing the local arts community is not in anyone’s best interest.