New Haven’s BAR opens doors to rock in the name of tsunami relief

By on February 16, 2005

In the wake of the recent tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia, local bands Arms and Legs, Pthalo and Pencilgrass came together to perform a benefit concert held at New Haven’s BAR last Monday.

One hundred percent of the $10 cover charge went to the Save the Children Tsunami Relief Fund. According to event staffer Jennifer Milano, the event raised $1,000 for the charity.

As an added incentive to donate, all concert-goers received a raffle ticket along with their admission ticket. Winners could select which of the various prizes they would like to win. Each additional raffle ticket was $1.

Prizes included gift certificates to a variety of area locations, including a bus trip to Stratton Mountain, ski lift tickets to Okemo Mountain, a three month membership to Elite Fitness and many others.

Doors for the event opened at 8 p.m., with the concert starting at 9 p.m. Before the show, concert- goers stood around the bar and ate pizza. Some in attendance played pool and mingled at the venue, which doubles as a popular night club.

Event organizers provided a variety of chips and dip in the club’s back room, where the concert was held, courtesy of Trader Joes. Candles lit the back room, creating an ambient atmosphere, which was perfect for the first performer, Arms and Legs.

A one man band, Arms and Legs had an all acoustic sound which, according to their Web site, links 1960s music together with the songwriters of today. The singer, Scott had a relaxed, carefree attitude during his set. He joked with the crowd prior to a song, saying “I forgot the lyrics to this one, but I’ll try.”

Arms and Legs sung mellow songs about times of both happiness and sadness. All his songs were short, which kept the small audience interested.

An hour later, Pthalo took the stage. This noisy four man band had a list of original songs. The group played so loud the vocals were almost indiscernible. The small back room where they played was not equipped for the big sound the band produced.

After the audience got used to the obnoxious blast, the lead singer announced that they were going to play a cover. To everyone’s surprise, Pthalo played Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes” from 1981. This, along with a cover of Modern English’s “I Melt with you,” was the only two songs whose lyrics could be made out. They were also the only two songs the audience seemed to enjoy hearing.

After a grueling hour of Pthalo, Pencilgrass took the stage. Everyone in the backroom lit up instantly. This jazzy band included a trumpet, a saxophone, a keyboard, two guitars, a bassist, and a vocalist. It was as if people came out of hiding just to see them. People danced and appeared to be enjoying themselves.

If this band had not been advertised on the event’s promotional flyer, one can only wonder if anyone would have shown up at all. Event organizers obviously decided to save the best band for last.

BAR is a hip restaurant/bar that offers homemade pizza, freshly brewed beer and live performances every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. They are located at 254 Crown St. in New Haven.

Save the Children is a nonprofit charity organization that helps children in 40 different countries worldwide.

According to their Web site,, their mission is “to create lasting, positive change in the lives of children in need.” To make a donation, you can visit their Web site or call 1-800-SAVE THE CHILDREN.


About Gabi Levine