Here’s a tip: take the trip!

We all know that Friday nights on campus can sometimes be slightly less than stellar. The parties can be weak and the local bar scene can get old fast. A lot of times people feel the need to branch out and go someplace new, but the thought of venturing out into New Haven with no clear destination can be daunting.

It’s time to try something new. Take a chance, pay the small cab fare and head out about three miles to Hamden, where the club The Space is holding a Yale Bands Showcase.

Located at 295 Treadwell St. in Hamden, The Space is a relatively new lounge that is quickly winning a lot of attention for its hip atmosphere, live music and various exhibitions. The Space has cool airplane hangar seats and interesting lighting, and the walls are adorned with funky art. However, the most appealing aspect of this lounge is that there is always something going on there.

Owner Steve Rodgers does a great job of allowing people to showcase their talents. There have been several artistic exhibitions, as well as a few theater productions. Tuesday night is open-mic night and bands play at The Space on the weekends. The Space is all-ages, which makes it a hot spot that offers something for everyone. The only drawback for all you booze hounds is that there is no alcohol served there, which means you will all have to wait until after the show to get your drink on — or maybe go out for cocktails before?

This Friday’s showcase is especially fun because it brings Yale together with the New Haven community. Doors open at 7 p.m. and five bands will be playing, four of which are Yale-affiliated. The Fourelles, a female vocal group comprised of Yale law students, go on first followed by The Cavemen Go (a pop/rock sound with a Yale music grad student in the group), The Things Themselves (country-style with two music grad students), and at 10:30 p.m. Nate Link and the World Champions begin their act. I was lucky enough to get a chance to speak with Nate Link about the show and his band.

Nate Link and the World Champions are a pop group that integrates Latin music (a lot of Meringue) along with other international styles to create their fun, unique sound. “I grew up in a Mexican neighborhood, so I’m not a poseur,” Link jokes as he describes the band’s music. Link is the lead singer of the band and enjoys the fact that since the band is so large he can focus on just singing without having to simultaneously play an instrument, although he’ll pick up shakers during a number every now and then. The band also has two female back-up singers (they also play shakers and one does keyboards), two trumpet players, one trombone player, a base player and a drummer. Eight of the nine band members are Yale music grad students, and the trombone player, head of the music program at Wilbur Cross High School, is married to a grad student. There is no doubt that Yale is well represented in this posse.

Link writes most of the music and the trombone player does a lot of the horn arrangements. “Everyone brings something,” Link says. When they perform, Nate Link and the World Champions usually do a couple of original songs and then a number of covers. The band really enjoys playing Meringue, especially doing covers of the famous Latin singer Juan Luis Guerra. However, at The Space, the band will be playing all originals, because Rodgers is especially keen on having artists display their own talents. Rodgers and the band worked extremely hard to put this show together and promote it, and now everyone is excited for the culmination of all their efforts.

The showcase sounds like a great night out, with music for everyone to enjoy. Check out the lounge’s website at www.thespace.tk, or call for more information at 203-288-6400. Whatever you do, don’t miss a chance to spice up your Friday night and get off campus. You won’t regret it.

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