Benefit for Freddy B seeks to inspire hope, love and community

Friends of Freddy B Concert

6 p.m., June 3. $10 donation. Toad's Place, 300 York St., New Haven, (203) 624-TOAD,


It's not uncommon these days to hear of someone you know and love falling on hard times. Most of us hope we'd be able to lean on our friends and families for assistance. For local musician Fred Brown, aka Freddy B, he's got the entirety of the New Haven and Connecticut music scenes to help him out.

Freddy B has performed with a number of bands, including Two for the Road, First Approach Band and reggae groups I.N.I.T.Y. (of which he is a founding member) and Gnostic Roots. He was a fixture at Cafe Nine from 1991 until June of last year, first as a doorman and then a bartender. Every Monday, he'd whip up some jerk tofu and coconut rice while his friends would spin vintage reggae tunes.

Now it's our turn to give back to Freddy B. The veteran and local music supporter has recently been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. In addition to that, he's lost his longtime residence in East Rock. In the spirit of wanting to bring back much of the good that Freddy B helped disperse during his many years in New Haven, another local musician has organized an enormous benefit in his honor.

Christian Marrone has taken it upon himself to orchestrate this Sunday's Friends of Freddy B Concert atToad's Place. "I knew it had to happen, so I made some calls and sent some e-mails and got it rolling," he says. "Not only to raise funds, but also to lift his spirit as well as the spirits of everyone in attendance."

Toad's was kind enough to donate the room for the evening, helping to ensure that more of the money that walks in goes to help Freddy B. "They've shown Freddy love over the years, and have supported the community," says Marrone. . "Any other venue would be too constricting for the type of show we envisioned."

And what a show it will be. Marrone has gathered together a group of Freddy's friends and supporters to take the stage in the name of good times and love. Marrone will perform, along with Rocky Lawrence, Fallopian Two, Bowen Arrow, I.N.I.T.Y., Gnostic Roots, Don Minott and a host of others. Surprise guests will abound. In true benefit fashions, there will be raffles (prizes include two tickets to see Fiona Apple and gift certificates to a handful of local establishments) and food. Admission is a $10 donation, although larger donations will not be turned away. In the mean time, you can send a check made out to Fred Brown c/o Cab Calloway Foundation, P.O. Box 1455, New Haven, CT, 06506.

"Come out whether you know the man or not," says Marrone. "It just might restore your faith in humanity."

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