The Undrgrnd: EP. 3 Recap
My debut for Cafeteria Media (cafeteria.fm)
It was a particularly but not unseasonably chilly night this past Saturday. The cutting wind and low temperatures still weren’t enough to slow down the night time buzz for food, drink, and music. Gaggles of returning students lined the streets mixed with young and seasoned professionals rushing to make their reservations and to seek shelter from the cold. The demand to party was high for some venues as they donned lines extending the length of the sidewalks. This weekend was especially notable as it was the first one of the spring semester and patrons were more than ready to start it off with a bang!
The night scene in downtown New Haven is in a constant state of evolution. We are a college town and the culture here very much caters to the demographic of budding adults starting their journey and to the slightly more tenured adults embarking on their post-graduate path. This influx of students does present an “unspoken” and uncomfortable dichotomy between residents, who are predominantly Black and POC, and students. Yale takes calculated measures to ensure their students, faculty, and staff are at the forefront of any community changes. Creating a bubble of privilege and exclusion, residents often have less and less space to come together. Coupled with bars and venues that aren’t owned or operated by Black people or other POC, it’s incredibly difficult to cultivate more inclusive spaces. The underrepresented residents and students are left with the limited options of squeezing into spaces that don’t acknowledge us or creating our own space.
Trey Moore, New Haven resident and active musician, understood the problem and took matters into his own hands with the creation of The Undrgrnd. I had the pleasure of attending the third episode of this event at Stella Blues on Crown St. If you walk or drive fast enough, you just might miss the dive bar. It’s small but mighty, often housing live music and events centered around art. If you have yet to go to The Undrgrnd, you’re surely in for a night of great music and great company.
The stage glowed hues of purples, blues, and reds with a ‘SEEING SOUNDS’ banner hanging in the background proudly. Moore tapped into early childhood nostalgia by setting the stage with a table covered in a floral cloth and 12” analog tv showing an image of plush clouds in the sky with ‘boy next door’ brandished across the foreground and a clothing rack to the left showcasing his boy next door merchandise. As the night went on, Stella Blues continued to fill with people: some who were regulars to the bar and were slightly confused because this wasn’t the typical sound or crowd. However, most of the people who walked in were there for The Undrgrnd and found themselves dancing through the door as they made a beeline for the bar. Each episode of the event features DJs and performers from across the state.
The lineup this past Saturday featured Arlene Torres aka DJ AR who had the whole place moving with her house fusion set. She dropped a variety of house mixes of our favorite tunes across the genres leaving no ear untouched and no bodies unmoved. Despite the frigid temperature outside, The Undrgrnd turned the heat all the way up in Stella Blues. Looking around the room, the energy of freedom was truly present. Patrons danced and mingled through any awkwardness that made an appearance and the love shared throughout the night left a lasting impression on every person who stepped into the bar.
As the weather warms up, the frequency of The Undrgrnd will increase too per my conversation with Moore. He advised that The Undrgrnd is here to stay and he’ll continue expanding the event to reach more artists, DJs, and lovers of music. To stay updated on all things regarding The Undrgrnd, be sure to follow on Instagram @theundrgrnd.tv