Carlos Wells recalled the first time he stepped into the space. “As soon as I walked in, it was immediate,” he said. “I already could see a stage here and thought we could do a show there.”
Four years later Wells is operations manager and co-founder, along with Slate Ballard of The Grove, of The State House, a venue opening on State Street between Chapel and Crown Streets later this month.
You hit play and hear some static buzzing, a beep, a bell, and then the guitars and drums hit hard, stop, hit again, and then you’re in it. “Drowning” is the first song from She Called, the first album by New Haven’s own RYXNO, a powerful punk-charged rock band that has made a place for itself on the local live music scene for over a year with an onslaught of ecstatic shows that just keep building their following.
“I don’t measure my songs by how good they are. I measure them by how honest they are,” says singer-songwriter Sarah Shook during the documentary film What It Takes, about her and her band the Disarmers, presented at Cafe Nine Tuesday evening.
Honesty is also a hallmark of the documentary form, celebrated locally this week as the New Haven Documentary Film Festival, now in its fifth year, runs through June 10. Gorman Bechard, a festival co-founder who also directed What It Takes, was on hand to introduce the film — followed by a Q&A with him led by local musician Dean Falcone and a set of music by New Haven’s own Stefanie Austin and the Palomino Club.
Watching Stacy Phillips contemplatively smoke his cigars in baggy pants and a T-shirt outside his Alden Avenue apartment or pass the hat between sets with his “bluegrass characters” at the Outer Space, you might not guess he won a Grammy.
When renowned jazz and klezmer musician and composer Ben Goldberg was considering the right place to do his next recording — of a quintet made up of some of his favorite musicians — “it didn’t take a lot of thought,” he said.
Robbie Keenan came onstage at Cafe Nine to introduce the band Strawberry Cheesesteak Saturday night, congratulate them on their album release and thank them for allowing the night to also be a fundraiser for his cause. But he also had a story to tell.
“The story does not start very well. In fact, it starts the opposite of well,” Keenan said.
On Friday one of the first truly summer-like days led into one of the first truly hot shows of the summer season at Three Sheets on Elm Street. Three bands, each with a heavy sound but distinctly different in how they delivered it, gathered at the bar to get everyone more than warmed up for the months ahead.