New London's Hygienic Art Park is just about the perfect venue for summer concerts, and Rich Martin is fiendishly adept at mixing and matching shows that feature diverse local artists as well as eclectic and worthy national acts.
The season debut takes place Friday. It's an early 7 p.m. start, and it's a stunner. Zydeco rocker Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience headline, and anyone who saw them at their Hygienic show two years ago was delightfully astonished. Probably a lot of people who were there would suggest, "Yeah, I'm biased because I love him and that kind of music," but the Grammy-winning band put on one of the greatest performances this town has ever seen.
Simien not only introduces an admittedly niche roots style to folks who might not be particularly familiar with zydeco - in effortlessly fun fashion - but his reflective spirit of the entire Louisiana life experience is the work of a joyously committed cultural ambassador.
In that context, the band has recently represented the U.S. government on tours of the Ukraine, Georgia, and the Dominican Republic. Also, Simien and the Zydeco Experience are featured in the new Zac Efron film, "The Lucky One."
- RICK KOSTER
Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience, 7 p.m. Friday, Hygienic Art Park, 79 Bank St., New London; $8; (860) 857-6337, hygienic.org.