Before I talk about the year in general, I just want to mention the amazing show we took in 12/23 at The Main Pub in Manchester. It was the second to the last show for Jeff Howard with McLovins. Jeff was his usual virtuoso self on guitar. Some special treats where also had. New guitarist, Atticus Kelly, played his first show with McLovins; jumping on stage to play with the boys with set 2 opener, “Shakedown Street.” I can’t begin to tell you how much fun that was. The band has already begun to gel with new addition, Atticus (who is just a real nice guy). The other sweet surprise was a little lady named Eve Windebank who took over vocalist duties for “White Rabbit”. Nice job on that from Eve! McLovins have a final show with Jeff in Northampton 12/30. It’s a not-to-be-missed opportunity to see a fantastic guitarist play his swan song.
And speaking of SWANS…Jennifer Hill will be announcing the SWAN Day CT lineup on our new on-line entertainment talk show, LBR’s Scene Queen lsg on January 2 at 7:00 pm. Here’s the link to watch live or to see past shows with special guests.
A couple other end of the year musts…Check out Deep Banana Blackout December 30 when they play Fairfield Theater Company with Jen Durkin coming into town to kick your ass with her amazing vocals AND the very last show EVER at Daniel Street in Milford…The Felice Brothers also on December 30.
So what a year it’s been for local entertainment (and for me, I might add.) Not just local musicians but also local artists, actors, and entertainers. I’ve said this before: you don’t have to go any further than your own back yard in CT to find amazing entertainment. And the hardest working folks in the business! I personally have had a blast attending and photographing countless events this year. So much to do and so little time! I often thought I’d love to be able to split myself in two (or five!) so I could experience even more. Keep it up in 2012, CT entertainers! You Effing Rock!!!
I’d like to give a little love to Mark Nussbaum at Manic Productions for putting together some of the finest shows in CT this year and to Robbie DeRosa at Homegrown (WESU Middletown) for turning me on to an amazing crop of homegrown each Thursday at 5:00 pm. I’ve literally spent hours being entertained because of each of them!
I can’t wait to see and hear what’s in store for CT entertainment in 2012! To be sure, I’ll be on the scene as well as all the other contributors to LOCAL BAND REVIEW! If you’ve got something going on, let us know!!
In the space below, you’ll find a recap of what some of the local folks thought were the best of the best in CT music this year. This ain’t your traditional listing and none of the folks giving opinion are traditional but they do know CT music and isn’t that WAY more fun? Please note that we all had one hell of a time narrowing down these lists because we were all fortunate enough to have been exposed to a whole heap o goodness. Thanks to Anne Castellano, Robbie DeRosa, and Gary Gone for playing along.
Support LOCAL! And, as always…
Occupy a VENUE!!
“Spot”light on…Year End Review – These are a few of our favorite things…
PICKS FROM PEOPLE IN THE “KNOW”…
Picks from LBR’s Anne Castellano…
My top shows of 2011 in chronological order:
Hot Time Harv’s Rollercoaster of Kicks and the Weird Beards at Oasis Pub 4/20
The Manchurians at Daffodil Fest 4/30
The Hoolios at Burke’s Tavern 5/6
The Weird Beards, Womack Family Band, and the Tawny Twelve at Bank Street Cafe 6/24
The Baseball Project and Dogbite at the Crocker House Ballroom 8/25
The Reducers at Ocean Beach Park 9/3
The Rivergods at Burke’s Tavern 9/9
Art Adams Band at Bank Street Cafe 10/23
Girls Guns and Glory, the MacLeans at Side Pocket 12/9
Mallett Brothers Band at Side Pocket 12/16
Picks from Homegrown’s (WESU) Robbie DeRosa…
In no particular order: my top tunes (incomplete list- but some!!!!)
Forrest Harlow & His Band, Kennedys and Kings
Raise The Rent/Dig and Be Dug
MT Bearington /Love Buttons
The Ivory Bills/In Color
The Streams/Today, I died
The Grimm Generation/The Last Record Party
Bop Tweedie/Touch it up
Echo & Drake/Sundrenched Elsewhere
Picks from IndepenDisc’s Gary Gone…
I must start with the obvious preface: I probably only heard less than 10% of all the Connecticut music released in 2011, of that there were 7 chosen as IndepenDisc Monthly Features, and 2 that should have been. These are the 9 that make up my 2011 CT. Top 10 list. Everybody else was a runner-up…
(PS…You can purchase Gary’s picks at http://www.independisc.com/)
Top 10 Albums
I’ll start with the #1 album of 2011 – the 2011 “IndepenDisc of the Year”
Origins by Age Of Reason –
Next, in no particular order…
TRYPTYCH by The Sawtelles
In Color by The Ivory Bills
Maurice Narcisse by EULA
The Last Record Party by The Grimm Generation
The Nevers by Saint Bernadette
Second Saucer by SAUCERS
Sung To by Laura Ganci
The Long Hundred a Cosmodemonic Telegraph compilation –
My Favorite show of the year was The Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport, specifically the Saturday show where CT’s Deep Banana Blackout, and Elvis Costello & The Imposters blew my doors in.
Next would be (albeit my biased opinion), The IndepenDisc 13th Birthday Bash at Café 9 with CT’s Closely Watched Trains, Mill Valley Taters and from NJ, Deena.
As always, The Meriden Daffodil Festival, which, of the 33 CT bands that played, I personally enjoyed Hartford’s Heirlooms the best.
Jennifer Hill’s SWAN Day CT was also a blast with the afore mentioned Laura Ganci, The Grimm Generation and Jennifer Hill & Co. all delivering tasty sets.
I’ll also add Age Of Reason’s CD release party at Café 9 and the 2nd reunited Mill Valley Taters show at Two Boots in Bridgeport.
Band of the Year (Best Band)
Normally I wouldn’t assign anyone Best Band but I’ve found cause to make an exception…
The 2011 Best Band goes to…
Mill Valley Taters
Finally, as a Bonus, my 2011 (CT) “Song of the Year”
Bonehead by The Ivory Bills.
Picks from lsg…
My top shows this year (in no particular order!):
EULA , BOMB Fest…It’s where I fell in love with Alyse Lamb
River City Extension with City Streets Country Roads at The Space (This was my favorite show of the year!)
M.T. Bearington, String Theorie, Jennifer Hill & Company at Arch Street Tavern (Very BEST local line up this year!)
Emily Wells with Heirlooms at The Wadsworth
Hippocampus at Hungry Tiger (Best come back!)
Eilen Jewell, Café 9 (Best show at Café 9 this year among MANY!)
McLovins, Daffodil Festival (Best local music showcase each year!)
Elvis Costello with McLovins and Deep Banana Blackout, Gathering of the Vibes
Wye Oak with Marissa Nadler, The Wadsworth
SWAN Day CT, East Hartford Cultural Center
My favorite CD’s:
My top CD/EP’s (I’m going unconventional here – because I can.) I’m picking the best 10 local records I acquired this year after seeing a show because many of our OUTSTANDING local artists can’t put out a new CD each year without the green. So, here’s some love for all our local bands – friend their pages, check out their shows, purchase their tunes. They’ll thank you for it with more amazing work in 2012!
Although I’m not going to put my selections in any particular order, I am going to name my favorite for the year. Heirlooms Live Vol. 1. I followed them around like a love sick groupie this year. Heirlooms Live Vol. 1 is only four songs, but its four song perfection. And there is no way I can pick a favorite of the four. Each is unique and beautiful. Every musician in Heirlooms is a pure talent in their own right. And Jesse Stanford is absolutely my favorite local male vocalist. I await their full length effort which should be released in 2012…
Heirlooms, Live Vol. 1, Favorite cut – Impossible to pick!
The Interstellar Elevators, Self Titled EP, Favorite cut – Walk… “I’m like Sara Palin…”
The Sawtelles, Tryptych, Favorite cut – Ghost of Johnny Cash
Gigglejuice, Driving Around in Circles, Favorite cut – Black and Gold Sand
Waking Elliot, Simply Pathological, Favorite cut – Charade
Columbia Fields, Bridging the Gap, Favorite cut – Face to Face
Dave Hogan, Fun Box, Favorite cut – High, Dry and Lonesome
M.T. Bearington, Love Buttons, Favorite cut – Bed Gnome
You Scream I Scream, Bug in a Light, Favorite cut – Keep Em Laughing
Katie Wilson, Self Titled, Favorite cut – Sugaree
What’s HOT this week…
Friday December 30
*Reckless Abandon, Center Station Pub, Berlin – 6:00 pm
*Deep Banana Blackout w/Jen Durkin, Fairfield Theater Company, Fairfield – 7:30 pm
*McLovins, Pearl Street Ball Room, Northampton – 8:00 pm
* A Manic Productions Event…The Felice Brothers w/ The Robots and The Alternate Routes, Daniel Street, Milford– 8:00 pm
*Bad Rooster, Friends Cafe, Southington– 9:00 pm
*Farewell to Columbia Fields, The Main Pub, Manchester – 9:00 pm
*Driven, Bleachers Sports Bar, Bristol – 9:30 pm
*Karmic Justice, Z’s Corner Café, West Haven – 10:00 pm
*Bandwith Karoake, Coach’s, Hartford – 10:00 pm
Saturday December 31 – New Year’s Eve!!
*Mindz-I Ent New Year’s Eve Event, Anthony D’s, Milford – 7:00 pm
*Quintera, Riverside 159, Windsor – 9:00 pm
*DriveTime, The YardeHouse Tavern, Enfield – 7:00 pm
*Eleven Steps Shy, Two Boots, Bridgeport – 8:30 pm
*Breakthrough Frequencies, Green Street Arts Center , Middletown – 6:30 pm
*Michael Cleary Band CD Release Party, The Main Pub, Manchester – 10:00 pm
*Shakedown CT, Toad’s Place, New Haven – 7:30 pm
*The Solution, Airport Road Cafe, Hartford – 9:00 pm
Monday January 2
*Scene Queen lsg, SWAN Day CT 2012 Line Up Announcements, http://www.ustream.tv/channel/scene-queen-lsg – 7:00 pm
Hey! You! We’re not done yet! Check out my fb page – http://www.facebook.com/lsgoriginal – and follow my antics on Twitter at @lsgoriginal. Web page forthcoming!
Lisa Sanchez Gonzalez aka lsg
Lover of music and the visual arts, Lisa Sanchez Gonzalez is the insanity behind lsg original photography. lsg specializes in artist and performer photography. She’s had the honor of photographing national bands such as Weezer, Snoop Dogg, A Simple Plan, Paramore, Whitesnake, Wye Oak, and The Antlers along with countless local bands and performers.
Hailing from Hartford, CT, Lisa is a life- long music connoisseur. Growing up, her mother exposed her to everything from The Stones to Simon and Garfunkel to Earth, Wind, and Fire to Loretta Lynn…and everything in between. No genre was left unexplored in her vinyl collection. She saw her first concert at 14…Rod Stewart at the (then called) Hartford Civic Center. Thirty years later, it’s still her favorite pastime.
Lisa has two kids (grown!) and a day job. Her loves of music and photography have melded into a second career. And her love of CT keeps her promoting and pushing for local artists and performers. Lisa spends the greater part of her free time seeing and shooting live bands, performers, and artists and art work…and purchasing vinyl!