I t’s a week rich in community, of the musical sort. On Monday, the blues community gathers, on Tuesday a grand folk/rock ensemble passes through town, on Friday a high-energy hip-hop musical theater show hits the Shubert and on Sunday the entire local music community celebrates one of its favorite sons.
Monday, May 28
Six and half hours of the blues? Well, it is a Monday. Five important local blues bands are involved: The Elm City Blues Project (featuring D.W. Armstrong), The Langley Brothers, The Travis Moody Band, The GateHouse Band and the Crown Street Orchestra. Special guests include Bill “Ice Bucket” Beckett and the legendary George Baker. Lots of extra time has been allotted for the players to jam—and to eat food, which is why they call it the Café Nine All-Star Blues Band Barbeque. 4:30 to closing at 250 State St., New Haven. (203) 789-8281, $10.
Tuesday, May 29
Fill up your Tuesday with a really big folk/rock band, River City Extension (pictured above). The New Jersey-based octet releases its second album, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger, this week, and their show at The Space tonight is part of a five-week, 28-city tour. The Drowning Men (who add Eastern European influences to their alternative roots sound) and The Proud Flesh open the 7 p.m. show. $13, $10 in advance. 295 Treadwell St., Hamden. (203) 288-6400.
Wednesday, May 30
In concert (get it?) with New Haven Public School teachers, Yale’s Morse Recital Hall plays host to the high school edition of the Fifth Annual Yale/New Haven Young Artists Solo Competition. The action starts at 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 31
I shot an arrow in the air. It fell to earth … in West Rock? Two “Intro to Archery” classes begin today at the West Rock Nature Center, at 5 p.m. for youth aged 8-15 and at 6 p.m. for adults (16 years and up). The classes, which use recurve bows, cover “the fundamentals,” like safety rules and tips for those who’ve never held a bow. It’s also a good chance for those who haven’t shot an arrow in a while to take a refresher course. Because how many times do you get to play Robin Hood in West Rock? Wintergreen Ave., New Haven. Registration required. (203) 946-6559.
Friday, June 1
Surely babies ride in strollers? Not when B.A.B.Y. stands for Bicyclist Appreciation Breakfast at Yale, a special event sponsored by Yale Transportation Options. Two-wheeled commuters will be honored with not just breakfast but a free T-shirt (to the first 100 riders only), safety checks overseen by the Devil’s Gear Bike Shop and Street Smarts safety info from New Haven City Hall. On Yale’s Old Campus, via Phelps Gate, 344 College St., New Haven.
Friday night (and all this weekend), you can explore another freewheeling community. Brooklyn ain’t that far from here, and neither are Middletown or Waterford, but the spirit of all those places comes to New Haven this weekend when the Broadway hit In the Heights comes to the Shubert. The show, about the exhilarating community in present-day Washington Heights neighborhood, was first developed at Wesleyan University in 1999, then given a reading at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Festival in Waterford before the show’s first Off Broadway production in 2007. Heights has four performances at Shubert (247 College St., New Haven): Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 & 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. $35-$82.
Saurday, June 2
The Arts on the Edge festival hovers on the edge of summer a few weeks before the International Festival of Arts & Ideas begins and the public school year ends. Arts on the Edge is primarily a celebration of Audubon Street, showcasing the cultural offerings which exist year-round at Creative Arts Workshop, Neighborhood Music School, the Educational Center for the Arts and other residents of this hallowed arts district. As always, there’ll be dance bands and other musical ensembles performing on a special stage in Leeney Plaza, a painting wall along the alley near Koffee?, informational and educational booths from local museums and non-profits, and lots of children’s activities (including a performance by the Pantochino Children’s Theatre troupe). Noon to 5 p.m. on Audubon Street between Whitney and Orange. (203) 772-2788. Free.
Sunday, June 3
The historic Pardee-Morris House, which still emanates 18th century rural charm, is owned and operated by New Haven Museum. Today’s opening day of the beloved farmhouse summer season, with tours and activities from noon to 5 p.m. There’ll be a special focus on how to grow and use herbs. Free. 325 Lighthouse Rd., New Haven. (203) 562-4183.
At night, over a dozen bands get together to help support one of the finest guys in the local music scene, Freddy B. The lifelong New Havener, former Café Nine bartender, I.N.I.T.Y. keyboardist and stalwart fan/friend of countless area acts has been struggling with cancer. A joyous celebration of Freddy B’s boundless enthusiasm and generosity begins at 6 p.m. A highlight performance might be Mike Mills & Friends mixing it up with Cecelia Calloway (daughter of Cab Calloway), The Langley Project, the Rhythms from the Heart drum circle and others. But with all the love in the room, you know everybody’s going to play great, and check this line-up (from reggae to hip-hop to blues and back to reggae): Mutti Lewis, Gnostic Roots (with special guest Don Minott), Irie Feelings, Rocky Lawrence, Travis Moody band, Christian Marrone, Fallopian Two, Bowen Arrow, DJ See Love, WPKN DJ Emcee I-Messiah and of course I.N.I.T.Y. Held at Toad’s Place in order to accommodate all the people who care about Freddy B, the fundraiser also features raffles, refreshments and collection of non-perishable canned goods to be donated to the Connecticut Food Bank. 6:30 p.m. to closing. $10. At Toad’s Place, 300 York St., New Haven. (203) 624-TOAD.
Written by Christopher Arnott.