Music: Pigeon English bring their classic harmony pop to Best Video Fri., Aug. 30

Pigeon English plays Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Aug. 30. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range). Pigeon English is a collaboration between songwriters Brian Larney and Rob Nelson, exploring close harmony vocals and the mysterious paths of melody.

What happens when two high school friends who love writing and performing music together grow up and drift apart? If they’re lucky, they reconnect years later at a nightclub and sing an Elvis song together at a birthday tribute to the King of Rock and Roll.

That’s how Pigeon English happened. Brian Larney and Rob Nelson rediscovered the magic sound of the close harmony vocals they had begun crafting as teenagers.

When Pigeon English released their 6-song debut EP “Coo” in January, Rick Allison of Cygnus Radio called it “one of the new treasures of 2019.” Brian Slattery of the New Haven Independent wrote that Pigeon English “melodies, chords, and lyrics consistently make clever turns that feel both unexpected, satisfying — and emotionally complicated…thanks to songwriting this fun and sharp, complicated, agonizing relationship troubles have rarely been so catchy.” Frank Critelli, singer, songwriter and co-host of WPLR’s Local Bands Show, called Pigeon English “one of the best bands to come out of New Haven in a very long time.”

In July, the band released its first full-length album, “Places, Everyone!” featuring 10 new songs. Around the same time, the readers of CT Now! chose Pigeon English as Runner Up for Best New Band. The close vocal harmonies of singer/songwriters Brian Larney and Rob Nelson have earned Pigeon English comparisons to the Everly Brothers and The Beatles. Their music has been described as “brand-new, yet instantly nostalgic.”

Brooke Dougan—a 16-year-old singer-songwriter who has played Infinity Hall in Norfolk, the Acoustic in Bridgeport, CJ Sparrows and the State House, as well as Best Video’s Second Wednesday Open Mic—will open for Pigeon English.

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Music: The Birdmen take wing Thurs., Aug. 29, at Best Video

The Birdmen play Best Video Performance Space Thursday, Sept. 29. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

The Birdmen are Johnny Java (bass), John Lindberg (electric guitar), Johnny Memphis (vocals/guitar/fiddle), and Richard Neal (vocals/guitar/mandolin/banjo). All four are longtime musical collaborators of James Velvet, a beloved figure on the New Haven music scene who passed away April, 2015. And—as if this isn’t enough—New Haven fixture on the drums Tom Smith has joined forces with the group, adding another dimension to their sound. They perform music written by Velvet as well as original songs by Neal.

With the release of a CD of original compositions entitled “HOE” in 2001, Richard Neal emerged from the shadows of being a sideman to becoming an artist in his own right.

Another CD of original material entitled “Beacon” followed a few years later, and in 2016 he released “A Step Up”, produced in collaboration with Rex Fowler of Aztec Two-Step.

Now, in addition to performing solo, he has recruited long-time running mates the Birdmen to accompany him at shows. They are featuring titles from Richard’s next collection of songs, which he plans to release in the spring of 2018.

“an ingenious and nuanced songwriter”–

“A fresh new talent in the contemporary acoustic , Americana, and folk music genres…you’ll hear subtle influences in Richard’s singing and songwriting including dashes of Randy Newman, David Bromberg, and various members of the Band.”–Rex Fowler

Music: Vance Provey/Bob Gorry/Paul Gunsberg play jazz Wed., Aug. 28

The trio of Vance Provey/Bob Gorry/Paul Gunsberg plays Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Aug. 28. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

The collective trio of Vance Provey (Trumpet) , Bob Gorry (Guitar), and Paul Gunsberg (Drums & Saxophone) will bring their music to Best Video.

Provey is a trumpet soloist with a long history as a composer and leader. His approach is rooted in the jazz idiom using strong melodic and rhythmic approaches, but now mostly in a more free improvisatory space. His work with Bill Dixon at Bennington College in The Black Music Division is a guiding influence.

Bob Gorry leads the New Haven Improvisers Collective and has developed his own approach to the guitar blending rock, free improvisation, new art music with Jazz elements. Paul Gunsberg’s drum work brings the room together and takes it somewhere else and with his saxophone work the trio reaches another level entirely. Paul announced his arrival on the New Haven scene in a trio with Joe Morris and Jaimie Branch with a stunning set at Multiplex.

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Music: Birthday party free & open to public with music by Rebecca Scotka, Greg Sherrod, Kevin Day Sat., Aug. 24, 5-7 PM

Lordy, lordy, Rebecca’s … 50? Belatedly? VERY?

Nah, we don’t believe that for a minute. But it’s true, apparently. Rebecca Scotka – singer, librarian, woman of a thousand costumes, and maker of funky earrings – will throw her own party, Rebecca’s VERY Belated 50th Birthday Concert, on Saturday, Aug. 24th, from 4-7 PM at Best Video Film & Cultural Center, 1842 Whitney Ave., Hamden.

Rebecca has long been a fixture in local music circles – from being a part of notorious New Haven vocal trio The Who Whos in the ’90s, to being a regular participant in Dean Falcone’s traditional night-before-Thanksgiving extravaganza, Vomitorium, at Café Nine in the Elm City. Most recently, she hosted a Sweetheart of the Rodeo benefit at the Nine, in which she and other local musicians sang The Byrds’ touchstone country-rock album front to back to raise money for the Joshua Tree National Park Foundation. In the daytime, armed with an array of clever and creative costumes, she’s a librarian who gives readings and presentations to young Shoreline kids, sometimes with a touch of rock’n’roll.

And of course, it’s a concert, so there will be music, performed by Greg Sherrod and by Kevin Day. Greg, who’s been playing his craft in Connecticut and Rhode Island for three decades, is a mighty singer who can provide power an array of styles: rock, blues, R&B, you name it – if it has a soul, he’s on it. Kevin, meanwhile, is the singer/songwriter who fronts gigglejuice, an East Hampton-based groove-rock band, billing them as “good time fun and danceable music.” He, Rebecca, and Greg took part in the Sweetheart of the Rodeo show.

There will be snacks. And, of course, cake. And admission is free. Call 203-287-9286, go to, or go to the Best Video & Cultural Center Facebook page.

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Music: Electronics & more by Psirens Fri., Aug. 23

Psirens performs at Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Aug. 23. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

P S I R E N S formed serendipitously in 2009 when Paris Mancini played some tunes with strangers all night in a performance space she was renting in north Brooklyn. The next day, she recorded what she could remember from the dreamy melodies conjured the previous eve and BOOM! P S I R E N S was born! The project caught fire and Paris was asked to play a small tour in Berlin, which she happily did. Next a tour across the US, and later, Latin America. P S I R E N S is sometimes a 3 piece, a one-woman power choir, a wall of noise in a sailor bar in Staten Island, leading a symphony recording in Boise Idaho, sneaking a secret show in the mirror room deep underground in Manhattan, and/or recording amongst millions in Mexico City.

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Music: Particles of Light (Dave Brooks & friends), Dan Soto’s Artificial Energy play Thurs., Aug. 22, at 8 PM

Particles of Light, a new act led by Dave Brooks (formerly of The Streams), and Dan Soto’s Artificial Energy play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Aug. 22. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Dave Brooks is a singer-songwriter best known for his band The Streams, which featured Jeff Wiederschall (Miracle Legion, Baby Huey). Spike Priggen (Hello Strangers, Dumptruck) and New Haven guitar impresario Bill Beckett. The band previously released a civil war-themed rock album: Today, I Died but has lain dormant for some time with only intermittent solo performances.

Dave’s song chest is near overflowing with story-songs and sleeping rockers aching for some percussion and embellishments so his latest manifestation is Particles of Light- primarily a duo between Dave and Jeff with add-ins and extras including Streams remnants and new particles. The particles reference is lifted from some recent song lyrics winking at physics and alchemical notions about the origin of man’s persistent and puzzling melancholy.

Dan Soto’s Artificial Energy has been described as ceaseless begging, useless prodding, and endless yearning for the truth lurking behind all nonsense. Rock & roll never really played right, but not really ever wrong either. An audition for nothing. A fun dip into a rockin’ time. Nothing intentionally too low or high. Nothing less than genuine. Just a thing that happens. Just a rogue tune rocking. Just a rocker. Featuring Dan Soto and Brendan Toller of Dust Hat but with Dust Hat bassist Soto on guitar and guitarist Toller on drums.

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Music: GuitarTownCT evening bluegrass jam on Mon., Aug. 19, at 6 PM

The monthly first Sunday GuitarTownCT bluegrass jams became so successful that Chris Wuerth added a new jam to the schedule. For those who need to twang community-wise more than once a month—or can’t make the Sunday afternoon events—we now have a bluegrass jam (usually) on the Third Monday of every month from 6-9 PM. Admission to this jam is a suggested donation of $5. August’s jam is on Monday, Aug. 19, from 6-9 PM.

Players of all abilities are welcome as well as those who just enjoy listening.

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Irish/Celtic music jam slated for Sun., Aug. 18, 2-4 PM

Best Video Performance Space hosts a monthly acoustic Irish music jam. The August jam takes place on Sunday, Aug. 18, from 2-4 PM. The jam, organized by musicians Jim & Willow Sirch, takes place on the third Sunday of each month (unless it needs to be rescheduled due to other Best Video Film & Cultural Center programming).

As with our bluegrass jams, feel free to come and join in or just sit and listen.

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Comedy: Reel Life Stand-Up Comedy show, hosted by Kendra Dawsey, returns Sat., Aug. 17, 8 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center presents “Reel Life,” a monthly stand-up comedy show, on Saturday, Aug. 17, at 8 PM. Reel Life is hosted by Kendra Dawsey, a comic who also hosts a weekly open mic at Lyric Hall in Westville and has also performed at Best Video’s Second Wednesday Open Mic among other venues throughout New England. Cover is $10.

Also on the bill for Aug. 17 are comics Chloé Cunha, Jimmy Blair, Diana Lu, Zul Manzi, and Dylan Uscher. Note: Comic routines may feature explicit material and language.

Kendra Dawsey is an up and coming stand-up comic who has performed in clubs and showcases in NYC and all over New England, including Stonewall Inn, Comix @ Mohegan Sun, and ImprovBoston. She was also a featured comic on the Sirius XM radio program Paid or Pain. Kendra garners humor from her identity and experiences by blending anecdote with higher concepts. Never too proud to laugh at herself, Kendra endears audiences by inviting them to laugh with her.

Jimmy Blair – The quick witted and in your face comedy stylings of Jimmy Blair are unprecedented. His riffs off the cuff are what what other comedians could only wish was their written material. The Baltimore native has wowed crowds all over the country and has left people always wanting more.

Diana Lu – Diana Lu is a writer, comedian, and scientist in Boston, Massachusetts.

Chloé Cunha – Chloé Cunha is a comedian, poet, and occasional sapphic vampire/assassin such as in the retro indie horror film Blood of the Tribades (2016), or The Penumbra Podcast. She hosts and produces The Queer Qomedy Hour at ImprovBoston and does stand-up all throughout the greater Boston area. She features regularly at The Comedy Studio, and is thrilled to be their Comic-in-Residence in November 2019. She has performed at a number of different festivals, such as the Midwest Queer Comedy Festival, the Dallas Comedy Festival, and the Women in Comedy Festival. Catch her on Twitter @ChloeCunha or take a listen to the comedy debate podcast Pick a Side Stupid!, for which she contributes frequently!

Dylan Uscher – Dylan Uscher is a queer standup comedian, producer, and host from Boston, MA. Dylan strives to walk the line between scandalous, hilarious, and heartfelt. He usually ends up somewhere pretty funny and a little dirty, and everything is said with a wink. Dylan has performed at clubs, festivals, and competitions all across the country. Some notable festivals from the past year include the inaugural Midwest Queer Comedy Festival, The Cleveland Comedy Festival, North Carolina Comedy Festival, and the Palm Springs International Comedy Competition. Dylan has opened for several notable acts, including queer icons DeAnne Smith and Fortune Feimster.

Zul Manzi – Zul Manzi is 21 years old and resides in Springfield, MA. Outside of stand up, Zul Manzi creates short films, documentaries, web series, and cartoon animations on his website, Mostly comedic content, but hey he’s a comedian so it makes sense.

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Music: GuitarTownCT presents Phillips, Grier & Flinner Fri., Aug. 16, at 7:30 PM

GuitarTownCT Concerts presents Phillips, Grier & Flinner on their 20th Reunion tour at Best Video Performance Space Friday, Aug. 16. The show starts at 7:30 PM. Advance tickets are $35 and available through

David Grier, guitar, Matt Flinner, mandolin, and Todd Phillips, bass, are three of the most accomplished and well-known musicians in acoustic music. “Bluegrass supergroup,” an overused phrase, is true in this case. This tour marks 20 years since their debut album. Their resumes are too long to list. Suffice it to say that they are the best of the best. They have all appeared at GuitartownCT in various configurations, but never together.

Bluegrass Unlimited, “It’s amazing how full an acoustic trio can sound. Fans of exquisitely played acoustic music will want to check out the newest ‘power trio’ in string music.” JazzTimes: “Their playing is exquisite without exception!”

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