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  • Writer's pictureCurious Fan

Ducks Ltd. & Ratboys - The Space Ballroom - Hamden, CT 4/5/24

The Space Ballroom had been on my list of venues to explore for several years. Stepping into the parking lot my first step towards the music was in this case, the wrong one. The sounds coming from the basement were from Cellar on Treadwell, right next door. This odd industrial complex buried behind a residential neighborhood has two event spaces. The bouncer pointed me to the Space Ballroom - just steps away.

The song that got my attention for this show was "Hallowed Out" by the opener Ducks Ltd. Originally a duo, this Canadian duo writes upbeat and catchy gems - think indie jangle pop. I'm a big fan of their new album 'Harm's Way' including tracks "Cathedral City" and "A Girl, Running".

Being a rookie in the venue, I was thrilled to meet my new friend Rob during set break. He lived locally, saw a lot of shows at the venue, had good taste, and was able to answer all of my questions. We moved up to the front row right underneath a giant speaker while Ratboys set up. If you haven't seen a band in a small venue recently, there is no feeling like being up close to the band, with the bass thumping and the connection to the stage intense.

Ratboys, led by frontwoman Julia Steiner, is pure indie rock...with a touch of Americana - via Chicago. Don't let her innocent voice and quirky stories fool you, she rocks. She also had me laughing, telling the story of "Elvis Is In The Cooler" - about her childhood cat that passed right after going to college and her mom's surprising tactic to delay the burial until she could come home.

Other standouts included "Go Outside", "Morning Zoo" and the title track of their latest album "The Window".

"How could I have known that

You wouldn't come back home?

I sit down at the table

And I fiddle with the phone

I wish you were right next to me

Instead I'm alone

But, I'll always have the memories

Of our life together"

With my ears ringing I stopped to view merch on the way out. "We're on the second column of tour dates on the t-shirt" Julia joked.

The intimacy and connection with the bands offered by the Space Ballroom will get me to return to this venue - hopefully soon. The promotion team at Manic Presents keeps a busy calendar - with shows four or five nights a week. Small venues rock!

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