A 1980s-era, guitar-god concert at the old New Haven Coliseum featuring Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughn helped propel a then-teenaged boy toward a musical career of his own — and, eventually, an intertwined Jewish spiritual quest.
“On Time,” the opening track to Sam Moth’s Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, starts with a single programmed hand clap that, within seconds, has blossomed into a lurching beat powered not only by glitchy electronics, but a wave of Moth’s sampled breaths. And then comes Moth’s vocals.
“I need you right now,” a raspy single voice calls. In response is a startling arc of a processed chorus, one voice after another coming and going. For how simple it is, it’s a foot-stomper, a late-night jam, and the next step in the New Haven-based Moth’s musical experiments.
I sat on the stage under the lights at Best Video Film and Cultural Center, and we were playing a song about prostitution. Drummer Mike Paolucci had just started up the beat. Singer Anne Rhodes was swinging it. Guitarist Chris Cretella, accordionist Adam Matlock, cellist Nathan Bontrager, and bassist Mike Tepper fell in. I was waiting for my part. In one hand I had my violin, and in the other I had a bicycle horn.
The song was “We Put the Spring in Springfield,” and we — Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps — were performing 23 songs from the animated series The Simpsons, a year of planning and one blizzard later.
During a show in July 1980 by the local new wave band Disturbance, Hank Hoffman — musician, recording collector, and now proprietor of Best Video Film & Cultural Center — recorded the sound of what could have been a shooting. It was at Ron’s Place, which was on the corner of Park and Chapel. In the recording, you can hear guitarist and vocalist Marc Puttock apologizing for the delay. “We’re glad to be with you now,” he says.
Then someone interrupts. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Get down! Everybody get out of the way. Just get down and out of the way. I’m telling you, get down, he’s got a gun!”
New York-based percussionist Ed Fast, who recently played in orchestras at Shubert Theater’s Motown The Musical, at Long Wharf Theatre’s The Most Beautiful Room in New York, and for Yale Rep’s production of Assassins, said he spent a lot of time in New Haven, recognized the city’s vibrancy, and wanted to add to it.
Chubb Rock, a rapper popular for the 1991 smash hit “Treat ‘Em Right,” gave New Haven a soulful performance Wednesday evening in Goffe Street Park to launch this summer’s Cool Breeze in the Park Series.
During the Sawtelles set at Never Ending Books on Saturday night an audience member every so often would yell “story” between songs if drummer Julie Sawtelle or guitarist Pete Riccio did not readily offer a little piece, as they most often do. However, this was a night when story and sharing came easily and naturally to each performer without much provocation.
It was another edition of the annual birthday party for The Sawtelles, celebrated each year during this month because both Sawtelle and Riccio — who are husband and wife as well as bandmates — each have a birthday in July.