Rocks Black Rock
By Mike Lauterborn
Black Rock, CT – Black Rock gave New Orleans a run for its money Saturday, Feb. 18, when it pulled it out all the stops to celebrate Mardi Gras. The fun began midday and built in intensity and numbers as day turned to night and the hours pushed past midnight.
Concentrated on Fairfield Avenue among three main venues – Acoustic Café, Neutral Ground and Lulu’s – the event attracted hundreds of revelers who turned up in festive garb with an aim to “laissez les bon temps roulez”. Each venue had been renamed for the occasion and offered a distinctive push.
Acoustic Café was dubbed Rue Bourbon Stage and featured seven acts over an 11-hour period, from Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps to I Anbassa. Beads were draped over the backs of chairs, a merchandise table pitched masks, hats and “Got Beads” t-shirts, and the bar promoted a number of drink and food specials: Hurricanes, Bourbon Street Banger shots and Mac ‘n Cheese.
Next door, Lulu’s – Rue Decatur Stage – gave visitors the opportunity to be photographed in costume in front of a New Orleans street scene backdrop, courtesy of Racheal Jankelson. Beads lay on tables for the picking and eight performers, from Ada Pasternak to TC & the Speakers, graced a space at the back of the venue.
Across the street, Neutral Ground a.k.a. Rue Canal Stage promoted Voodoo Rum Punch and a Saranac Beer special, wherein people could purchase a logo’d glass for $6 and fill it up at a discount. The special, actually, was offered across all of the sites, as Saranac was a major event sponsor. Another highlight here was facepainting – done quickly but elaborately. Performers at this stage ranged from HOE to Nigel Hall (of the Royal Family) and The AB featuring members of the Sam Kininger Band.
In the middle of it all, curbside, was Marty McCarthy and his Fire Engine Pizza Company, serving up slices from his trusty converted fire engine.
All of the festivities were coordinated by BlackRock Rocks, holed up in a space one floor up from Home on the Range. There, Melissa Bernstein and her mom Adele accommodated performers and press with trays of food and coordinated event scheduling and staffers.