Brendan Toller — whose inaugural dance night at Cafe Nine, “Shake ‘N’ Vibrate,” happens this Sunday, June 24 — recalled the first time he walked into Cafe Nine on a Sunday evening for the monthly Sex Beat Dance Party with Kid Congo Powers.
“I remember going the first night and being super thrilled because I could already tell it was my aesthetic, my taste and there it was right in front of me. It created this rock ‘n’ roll realm ... this small tight knit group where you get to know everybody, like it or not, because it was on the dance floor. Even if you didn’t know them by name you knew what kind of moves they were doing. It was a real open space — all of his flyers said ‘All Stripes Welcomed’ — and it was just free and magical, the best elements of rock ‘n’ roll as an art form and as a political force coming together. It made for a really fun night.”
Toller never missed another one. When he found out that Kid would be ending his run due to moving, he was worried that the community that had been built would vanish. Thus Shake ‘N’ Vibrate, with DJ B the T Jr., was born.
A New York City developer who already owns several historic New Haven properties is looking to top off his Elm City holdings by erecting a 60-unit apartment complex atop a surface parking lot downtown.
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.
“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.
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.