Mitchell Dubey Benefit Show


Algernon Cadwallader is drowned out by fans at the Mitchell Dubey benefit show in Hartford.

Andrew Lavigne, Staff Writer

Despite being a fundraiser for a horrible tragedy, April 8 at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut was far from a solemn affair. With a free live music show being hosted by a student in the lower level of a dormitory, the air was electric with music and fun.

The lineup, though small, was very impressive especially given the fact that it was organized on such a short notice. Featuring the sounds of Tigers Jaw, Algernon Cadwallader, The Clippers, and The World is a Beautiful Place and I am no Longer Afraid to Die, the music was kept raging hard deep into the night.

Despite all the festivities and the general good nature of the fan base, this wasn’t your average musical outing. It was a benefit show to help raise money for the family of Mitchell Dubey.

On March 24, Dubey, a well known and respected member of the Connecticut music scene was murdered in his apartment around 10 o’clock at night. The reasons for the murder are unclear, as it seemed to random and out of place. The police have found no leads or suspects for the shooting, his death an isolated case of unfathomable suffering.

It came as a complete shock to his friends and family. Mitchell Dubey, a 23 year old vegan, straight-edge, punk rocker wasn’t the type of person to get involved with violence. Nobody could have predicted such a tragedy to occur, especially to someone as cool, calm, and collected as Dubey.

Mitchell himself was a musician, having played and worked with bands such as Swear Jar, Musth, and The Flaming Tsunamis. On top of this artistic interest, Mitchell Dubey was extremely fond of cycling, being an employee of New Haven’s Devil’s Gear Bike Shop for 3 years.

I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Dubey in life, but that evening I feel like I truly saw a great portion of him reflected in his friends, the music, and the general air of the whole affair. A voluntary raffle was used to raise the funds that were to be given all directly to his family. In total, the raffle raised exactly $666, something friends noted Dubey would have found extremely hilarious, as well as appropriate for such an event.

The shows themselves were fantastic, the crowd atmosphere was intoxicating as well as pleasant. The first two bands that opened were The World is a Beautiful Place, and the Clippers. The mood was very pensive and almost reflective during these sets, the crowd gently swaying, nodding their heads to the beat of every pound of the drum, every strumming of the guitar.

However, when Algernon Cadwallader took to the floor the mood changed completely to its opposite polar. Within seconds to their opening song the crowd exploded into jubilation, bodies soaring over hands, people singing their hearts out. A strange camaraderie was felt as I found myself with my arm around complete strangers, our voices and fists lifted, the music completely overcoming us.

The rush that was felt was something that words alone cannot explain, the passion these musicians put into their work that evening was something I had never in all my show going experience heard before. It was as if the memory of Dubey, the frustration, confusion, and disbelief over the tragedy seemed to have broke open the gates of the mind and released itself like a spiraling torrent which smashed its waves against the venue walls.

Tigers Jaw was to perform last after Algernon Cadwallader finished with a powerful climax, the lead singer crashing his way into the crowd, falling on his back hard into the ground, his neck strained in a final scream as the song came to an utterly breathtaking end.

While the music was a bit more reserved than Cadwallader, the crowd still continued its unrelenting tide, which seemed to have pulled more people under than previously that evening. Yes, the rowdiness of the crowd would have seemed bad, but it was all out of good fun. What makes these shows so fantastic is, as I mentioned early, the sheer companionship among strangers.

I recall during a moment of crowd surfing being tossed from one group of arms to another. Eventually, this had to come to an end as I tried to crawl forward over stretched hands I felt them give way. The floor was quick to come up but within seconds I felt the grip of others on my arms, hoisting me up onto my feet. This repeated itself every time someone fell, it was obvious that nobody was there to hurt anyone else, but rather to enjoy the music and the memory of a dear friend.

When the show ended I was drained; mentally, physically, and emotionally. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house as Tigers Jaw roared out its final song, ‘Spirit Desire’, a seemingly fitting end to what the message had been all along.

The memory of Mitchell Dubey, from what I’ve seen, is going to most certainly live on in the hearts of his friends, for I was definitely touched by this complete stranger. Another benefit show has been organized on the night of May 14 at the Madison Arts Barn in Madison, Connecticut. While it is a bit of a drive, I do insist that if you aren’t doing anything in particular (prom) and have a strong love for music that you attend this. Whether you enjoy the music or not it is the atmosphere that leaves its mark on you, the passion and the love is at times utterly shocking. If anything is to be taken from the smaller show at Trinity it’s that this upcoming show (which is featuring more bands) will be even greater.

To the Dubey family, I can only send my best regards and wishes. Mitchell Dubey is someone who was most definitely loved, that night at Trinity College really solidified this. The sheer strength of music has never really shown itself to be more powerful to me personally than that Friday night, to Mitchell Dubey I say, rest in peace because your friends are going to surely raise some hell!