Citizen Contributions

Summer Comes In February

by Karen Ponzio | Feb 14, 2018 12:32 pm

Karen Ponzio PhotoAbout halfway through Earthkry’s set, vocalist and guitarist Aldayne Haughton posed a question to the audience at Cafe Nine: “Do you want us to stop or keep playing?” The thunderous confirmation he received nearly shook the walls of the intimate room on this Fat Tuesday — a night typically known for outlandish behavior, but here, in this bar, simply for celebrating music and life.

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Experimental Music Flourishes Again

by Karen Ponzio | Feb 12, 2018 7:33 am

Karen Ponzio Photo“It’s uncertain what the name of this series is going to be,” joked Conor Perreault as he discussed taking over the second Saturday of the month time slot at Never Ending Books that used to belong to the Uncertainty Music Series — which had come to the end of its run this past August. The Uncertainty Music Series had been devoted to experimental music.

So, it seems, will Perreault’s series. It doesn’t have a name. But it does have a mission.

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Hip Hop Brings Back The Ballroom

by Karen Ponzio | Feb 7, 2018 12:03 pm

Karen PonzioBefore the final two songs of his set with Anonymous Inc. on Tuesday night, Ceschi Ramos jokingly expressed his gratitude to the audience. “Thank you for coming early for this measly opening act,” he said. But there was nothing measly about this three-act bill of artists that gave the newly reopened Space Ballroom its first weekday show, filling the renovated room with a constant vibe of love, light, and sound.

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Buttondowns Strike The Right Tone

by Brian Slattery | Feb 6, 2018 7:35 am

Courtesy the ButtondownsThe strut that starts “Strong Man,” the opening single from the New Haven-based Buttondowns’ new album Volume and Tone, is straight-up rock ‘n’ roll, of the kind you don’t hear much anymore but never really got tired of in the first place. It’s the kind that makes you feel good.

“I work 20-hour days, I never get a break / the taxman takes, everything I make / I’m working so hard for so darn long / don’t even know it when the weekend comes along,” Robert Obie sings. The music puts the lie to those hard-up lyrics. It sounds like the weekend’s already here.

“I’m a strong man,” Obie says. He repeats it again. “I’m a strong man / But you make me weak.”

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Shellye Valauskas Experience Hits The Panic Button

by Brian Slattery | Feb 5, 2018 8:05 am

“Gravity,” off History of Panic — the new album from the New Haven-based Shellye Valauskas Experience — starts with a warm bass, a chiming guitar. “It feels a little like loss / and a lot like gravity,” Valauskas sings, her voice clear and confident, though the meaning in the lyrics conveys something more ambiguous. “Weighs you down, pulls you under / and it makes it hard to see / where you are.” Within a few bars, the music joins her, the tonal center shifting, then shifting again. It still has all the accessibility of a good pop song. But it speaks of years of musical experience.

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Monterey Memories

by Brian Slattery | Feb 2, 2018 7:37 am | Comments (4)

Standing in front of a movie screen on Thursday night at ConnCAT in Science Park, filmmaker Frank Mitchell recognized a lot of familiar faces in the small but attentive crowd who had come to see Unsung Heroes, his movie about New Haven’s jazz scene.

“There are folks in the audience who can tell the entire story themselves,” he said.

And soon enough, Allen “Rubbs” Williams, former bartender at the Monterey Club on Dixwell Avenue, would watch a slightly younger version of himself on the screen talk about the history and legacy of New Haven jazz — and offer some insight about how that history might shape the city’s future.

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