Bassist Carl Testa, who began the Uncertainty Music Series ten years ago, spoke about the word “uncertainty.” “It’s partly about the music itself but with some unknown element that’s different every time you play it,” he said. “This series started as a chance for me to play original music, but then became about asking the audience to take a chance and having myself and other musicians take a chance as well.”
Another person who took a chance on this series of experimental music was Roger Uihlein, owner of Never Ending Books on State Street, who offered his space up as a home for the series on the second Saturday of every month ten years ago and, according to Testa, “never asked for anything in return.” As a thank you to Uihlein, Testa set up the final show of the series at Never Ending Books on Saturday, Aug. 12, with proceeds from the show going to the venue. The Uncertainty Series will itself end with a two-night sendoff at Firehouse 12 on Sept. 23 and 24.
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.
Remember the fun you had as a kid, maybe early in the morning before your parents got up, and you grabbed that colorful cardboard tube, ran to the window, pointed it up toward the sky, and turned and turned the end piece, making sparkly pieces of glass, plastic, or crystal rearrange themselves, reflecting light and making new patterns?
Give it a shake or another turn, and the pieces would flow again?
Brian Robinson of The New Chastity stood in front of the packed house at Never Ending Books on Friday night, his phone in his hand. He joked that he had told his therapist he was going to write more songs about sex. He hit a button on his phone, which was hooked up to the PA, and voices — Robinson’s own, in rich harmony — flowed out.
“Wait. Not this one,” he said. He hit a button on his phone again, and another series of harmonies flowed out. This time Robinson took his position in front of the microphone as the other members of The New Chastity — Rob Breychak on guitar and Jason Sirianni on drums — dropped into a slow jam. The effect was luscious and unexpected, sexy and fun, the beginning of a night that felt like a long kiss-off to 2016 and a hopeful turn toward the future.
Blend Foxon Park White Birch soda and maple syrup together with smoked shallots, smoked jalapeños, and tart cherry juice. Add a little brown sugar and some salt and pepper. Simmer it down and you have the makings of the house, signature New Haven-style barbecue sauce at Bull & Swine.