UPDATE: Norman & the Rockwellians get in the swing Wed., Oct. 6

UPDATE: Norman & The Rockwellians play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Wed., Oct. 6. The show starts at 5:30 PM. (This show has been rescheduled due to the expectation of rain on its original date of Sept. 23.)

Originally formed as the house band for the Institute Library, Norman and the Rockwellians is comprised of members of Swing du Jour, Dr Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps, the Brooklyn Swing Ensemble, and the Galvanized Jazz Band.

Collectively they play the music they love, from the heyday of the American songbook, highlighting Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, Fats Waller, George Gershwin, and more! The players are Norman Plankey (guitar), Brian Slattery (trombone & violin), Daniel Elias (clarinet), and Art Hovey (tuba).

Dancing may spontaneously occur. Music you can whistle on your way home.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Children’s music with Val McKee Sat., Oct. 2, at 10:30 AM

Val McKee plays music for kids in the Best Video Film & Cultural Center parking lot on Saturday morning, Oct. 2, at 10:30 AM.

Val McKee is a writer, musician, and teacher of both. While Val fronts the band “Junebug Saddle” and has been lucky enough to share a stage or two with some of the area’s finest musicians, she is far more popular with the toddler and preschool audience.

To see just how many little friends Val has made in her ten years of teaching Music Together, join her for a trip to Stop & Shop and wait for the inevitable toddler squeal down an aisle “It’s MISS VAL!” According to Val, being a children’s musician in New Haven is the greatest version of rock star status–like an adorable, fun-sized Beatlemania.

A Tennessee native and mom of three boys, Val’s performances are full of folk and children’s music classics, with plenty of play, education, and humor–heavy on the silly.

Suggested donation is $5-10 per family but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Youth XL, Stephen Friedland at Best Video Thurs., Sept. 30

Youth XL plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., Sept. 30. The show starts at 5 PM with Stephen Friedland opening.

Youth XL is a charmingly irreverent indie-rock group based out of New Haven, CT. Led by singer-songwriter Alex McGuire, their live shows are a lively mix of catchy originals, curious covers, and a healthy dose of general silliness. With songs about learning Yoga, swiping right on dating apps, and texting your friends, Youth XL strikes a balance between cynical social commentary and a sense of optimism for the future. Their debut EP Text Your Friends (2020) is available on all streaming platforms.

Stephen Friedland — the group Fat Randy’s principal songwriter, vocalist and guitarist — has also been a sound engineer and co-promoter with Tiny Box Booking, Connecticut’s premiere promotions vehicle, for nearly 5 years. During his time cutting teeth in the hottest local DIY venues the Nutmeg State has to offer, he has run sound for hundreds of bands, many of whom play music at the intersection of self-conscious indie rock and insular bedroom pop. In what amounts to some kind of gratuitous exercise in Musical FOMO and a totally epic test of being able to write songs that listeners without neckbeards can enjoy, (Randy) Alex G was born.

The album, recorded and mixed by Zack Abramo (Mesmer [fka Crag Mask], Vundabar) and Friedland, is surprisingly diverse in its scope, despite hewing to a more stringent stylistic theme than recordings past. The garage bombast of “Asymmetrical Bangs, Pt. I” and “Asymmetrical Bangs, Pt. II” pays homage to bands like LVL UP (and Friedland’s very brief tenure at SUNY Purchase College, where so much of this genre of music originated), while “Not Now, I’m on Island Time” fuses Sinatra-esque croons with relaxed Hawaiian slide guitar music. At present, the album is slated for mastering at Dog Year Studio in Ellington, CT by Phil Lord (also of Mesmer), with a formal release date TBA.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Five ‘N Change play show Sun., Sept. 26, 5:30 PM

Bluegrass quintet Five ’N Change play Sun., Sept. 26, at 5:30 PM. (This show was rescheduled from Sept. 9 due to rain.)

Five ‘n Change is a New Haven, Connecticut based bluegrass band that drives hard and carries a big pick. They respect the tradition. They respect the trailblazers. And they respect the renegade outlaws. Our final product is an eclectic balance of American roots music which both reinterprets and redefines the bluegrass songbook.

Formed in 2011, the band has spent the last several years building a catalog of music that showcases the group’s strong vocals, musicianship, and passion for genre busting. The band released their debut album in the Fall of 2013 entitled Live in the Chamber to rave reviews and followed up with a self titled EP release. (Both CD’s are available in the MUSIC section of this website).

The group is Ken McEwen (guitar & vocals), Pete Kaufman (banjo), Dave Casali (bass), David Sasso (mandolin) with Ryan Mooney (dobro, guitar).

Jim, Willow & David; David Coller play Celtic and folk-influenced music Sat., Sept. 25

Jim, Willow, and David play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Sat., Sept. 25. They are joined on the bill by singer-songwriter/folk artist David Coller. The show starts at 5 PM.

Join Jim, Willow, and David for songs and tunes that draw from Irish and old-time traditions that have been vigorously preserved and passed down over generations. Because more than half of the settlers that emigrated to Appalachia came from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the Celtic influence in the music there was strong.

The repertoire of this New Haven-based group of musical friends reflects that connection with their eclectic mix of lively Irish dance tunes and instrumentals, Celtic ballads and old-time songs. The group features Willow Sirch on 5-string fiddle and vocals; Jim Sirch on Irish flutes, whistles, bodhran, clawhammer banjo, and vocals; and David Sasso on some combination of guitar, mandolin, octave-mandolin, cittern, tenor banjo, and vocals.

Connecticut singer-songwriter David Coller is again playing local venues following a 14 year musical hiatus involving a wooden boat (if you’ve ever owned one, you understand) followed by a year and a half of COVID purgatory. He brings with him a variety of songs and styles: jazzy soon-to-be standards, new bluegrass tunes, sea-songs, a cowboy tune or two, and plenty of straight-up folk performed on the guitar, banjo, and the odd bit of button accordion. If you have wide-ranging (not to say “scattered” or “aimless”) tastes in music, an appreciation for careful instrumental and vocal arrangements, and an enjoyment of polished lyrics, you’re bound to enjoy the show.

Before vanishing into the world of splinters, sandpaper and sail, David played for many years in duos and bands in Connecticut and before that, southern California. He now resides in the last rural smidgeon of Hamden, Connecticut.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

The Bargain plays the Best Video deck Fri., Sept. 24

The Bargain—a trio featuring Frank Critelli, Shandy Lawson, and Michael Rivers—play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Friday, Sept. 24, starting at 5 PM.

A bargain was struck with the devil and each other to write, record, and perform the songs Frank Critelli, Muddy Rivers, and Shandy Lawson lasso while sitting around the kitchen table.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

The Mandingo Ambassadors return with joyous West African jazz Sun., Sept. 19

The Mandingo Ambassadors, led by guitarist Mamady Kouyate, play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Sun., Sept. 19. The music starts at 5:30 PM. (This show was rescheduled from Aug. 27 due to forecasted thunderstorms that never appeared.)

An African jazz band with beats to make chairs obsolete and melodies to put your mind at ease! Check out NYC’s magnificent Mandingo Ambassadors at this last of the old school video stores (turned non-profit cultural center)!

The Mandingo Ambassadors was founded in New York City by griot-guitarist Mamady Kouyaté in 2005. As a veteran of the great orchestras of the golden age of Guinean dance bands, Kouyate is a living library of musical science inherited from his ancestors and from a half century of experience as an arranger, band leader, accompanist and soloist.

Mamady Kouyaté carried this heritage with him to New York where he has collaborated with members of the West African diaspora and Western musicians to continue the great tradition and sound of Guinean Afro-jazz.

Since the summer of 2008 the group has been in residence at Barbes, performing every Wednesday night at this well-known Brooklyn venue. In addition, they have performed at many clubs, events and festivals including Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Celebrate Brooklyn, and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.

In a review of a show at Barbès in 2008, New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff wrote:

The music of the Mandingo Ambassadors has been structured to make you feel good. It puts dazzling vocal and guitar patterns over a rhythm section that is like a perfect system: a locked drum groove, much of it played on high-hat cymbal and drum rims; soft bass lines that fall short or start late, or leave gaps in a run of notes; fingerpicked rhythm guitar notes like clear fizz. In the small, square backroom of Barbès on Wednesday — as it will be next Wednesday and for Wednesdays to come — the music sounded loud and light and unfailingly right…

It could have gone on forever, and that was a nice thought.

Joining Mamady Kouyate on Aug. 27 will be rhythm guitarist Mamady Kouruma, bass player Emanuel Gatewood, drummer Jeremy Dion.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

The Moon Shells play Americana on the Best Video deck Sat., Sept. 18

The Moon Shells play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Sat., Sept. 18. The show starts at 5:30 PM.

The Moon Shells draw from the traditional music of Appalachia, Louisiana, West Africa and elsewhere to try to make something new. Whether performing as an acoustic stringband, a stripped-down trio, or a five-piece making modern sounds on traditional instruments at clubs and festivals, the Moon Shells move hearts and feet.

In 2019 they released two albums—Seaside Asylum, an album of original songs and tunes, and Screech Plank, an album of more traditional fiddle tunes. The Hartford Courant named Seaside Asylum one of its favorite regional albums of 2019. Their next album of original songs, House of Air, came out in 2020 to similar acclaim. Both albums have gotten radio airplay throughout New England. The band is currently finishing its next two albums for release later in the year and this gig will be one of the band’s first chances to play new songs for an audience.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Anne Marie Menta with Richard Neal and Cadence Carroll Fri., Sept. 17

Anne Marie Menta plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Friday, Sept. 17, starting at 5:30 PM. She will be joined by Richard Neal on guitar and mandolin and Cadence Carroll on harmony vocals and percussion.

Anne Marie Menta hails from New Haven, CT., where she has been a long time favorite singer/songwriter. She comes from a family of three brothers, where playing and listening to music was their great passion. Her musical credits include fronting various rock & roll, folk, and country bands as a singer/guitarist, including The Wanderers, Sugar Moon, Sky Riders, and Rodeo Radio. In the mid 90s, she decided to concentrate on her own original music, and those tunes of hers that she “snuck” into her cover band repertoire now became her main focus. But, the country, folk, and pop music that she loved continued to be an influence in her writing.

Her most recent CD, “Sky Tonight,” came out in the fall of 2019.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Dave Mazza & Friends jazz show this Fri., Sept. 3, at 5:30 PM

The sounds of jazz will enliven an early September evening on the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck as Dave Mazza & Friends take a tour through jazz standards. The show is this Fri., Sept. 3, starting at 5:30 PM.

(This show was scheduled to take the place of the previously scheduled Mega-Illegal Leg Farm show, which was canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.)

The group features accomplished local jazz musicians Dave Mazza on guitar, Mark Kaplan on saxophone, and Esdras Lubin on bass. (Mazza and Kaplan are both members of The Dave Mazza Group, formerly known as Badslax.)

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.