‘The sky’s the limit’ for The Space

By on September 29, 2010

Nestled in an industrial park in Hamden lies a quirky, mysterious arts and music venue. Acts like Kevin Devine, Mae, John Nolan and various Quinnipiac bands, such as Voted Most Random, have graced the stage in the intimate building. It is owner Steve Rodgers’ vision come to life.

After having friends over to play music at the original location, an intense open mic began when much of the local music scene became involved in this “underground phenomenon.” Rodgers found a bigger place and The Space was born. Eight years later, its vision is still the same; to foster a safe, comfortable place for artists to freely express themselves, and have small audiences genuinely listen to what they have to say. The Space is run by volunteers with a true passion for music and increasing positivity in the community.

Head booking agent Erick Alfisi spoke of the venue and his connection to such an inviting, fun place.

“It’s really something that came as an idea that Steve had about just trying to give back to the community,” Alfisi said. “In Connecticut, there’s not that many venues that are all ages, and really offer young bands and young musicians a place to play. Steve wanted to change that. So, he opens up this place and it’s been great to the community and the community’s been great to us too.”

Alfisi started playing at The Space during his high school years and admired the venue and the staff. After volunteering for some time, he moved up the ranks to become the head booking agent. He now works getting musicians to come play, or responds to artists who reach out to him.

“Next week we even have a hip-hop showcase, something to help local hip-hop artists,” Alfisi said. “We really take almost any genre here. I think the only thing we don’t take is tribute bands because it’s supposed to be a place for original music.”

Some of his personal favorites who have played shows at The Space are Appleseed Cast, The Thermals, and Reign of Kindo. Alfisi even booked the band Casino for Oct. 23. The venue gets a great mix of local artists as well as nationally-touring ones.

As far as what the future holds for the Space, “the sky’s the limit,” Alfisi said. “We’re always looking to grow. We’re looking to try to expand a little bit … maybe down the line we’ll open up a second venue.”

As for the décor, it’s inspired by mementos Rodgers accumulated during his time as lead singer of his band, Mighty Purple.

“Well, Steve’s a bit of a pack rat. I mean, when he was in Mighty Purple, he was touring all over the country for 10 years straight, and he would just always find this cool stuff on the side of the road or in thrift shops and stuff,” Alfisi said. “When he opened up this place he had all this junk in a trailer … and he would just decorate it. We drilled some records to the ceiling. Put every type of lamp you could imagine in there … when I was playing here when I was in high school it was just always a fun environment. Most people seem to feel the same way.”

Alfisi commented on a great turnout for the Quinnipiac-based band, Voted Most Random.

“Those are great guys. They brought a lot of people. And we like that. And they seem to really support this place,” Alfisi said. “They’re actually playing here again on Oct. 3 with Rookie of the Year, so that should be a good show. We’re looking to help support any bands. And all we ask is for that same support in return.”

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