Live Music Review // Abbie Gardner / Frank Critelli @ Best Video, Hamden CT, March 16th 2024

Additional photos can be found in an album on Facebook located here :::

  On Saturday night, the house was packed at Best Video for an evening of music with Abbie Gardner and Frank Critelli.   Every seat was taken and there was only standing room in the back by the time the show started, which was promptly at 7pm, as one thing I like about Best Video is they tend to have their events running on time.

Connecticut local Frank Critelli opened up this show playing an acoustic guitar and singing without a microphone.   The feelings within this music were that of an older folk singer (like when Bob Dylan seemed to just set up and play anywhere) or even at times Johnny Cash.   There was just this overall sound of the working class blues or that blue collar type of folk that it seems like everyone should be able to relate with.

One of the songs by Frank Critelli was specifically about how he thought by the time he was this age he would've had it all figured out.  I think as we get older we can really relate with that idea because at my age now my parents had a house and three kids, so I always felt like growing up that they had it figured out.  But maybe the secret is that we always think people have it figured out because they're "adults", but no one really ever has it all together.  

Not that long after Frank Critelli finished his set Abbie Gardner took the stage.  Each of the musicians seemed to also have their instruments ready to go before the show started so there wasn't that whole "check check" tuning thing in between.   Abbie Gardner played a few songs, took a brief intermission and then came back to play more songs.   I suppose this break was to visit the bar area at Best Video but it was still something I'm not used to experiencing.

I also got confused by the break because at one point I thought it was implied that after the break Abbie Gardner would be playing more songs but with Frank Critelli and when that happened it felt in a question of why we took the break in the first place.    But I'm sure there was a good reason for it and someone out there who isn't me knows exactly why it happened as it did.

Abbie Gardner plays the Dobro guitar which means it is lying flat when being played.  This is something to see just in and of itself, but the music which Abbie Gardner creates goes every where from country and blues to folk and even borderline rock n roll.   In between songs, Abbie Gardner told stories about them and this made the experience feel more personal, like that VH1 series "Storytellers", which I'm still not sure if it exists or not anymore.

The capacity crowd ate up every word of it and was just completely into this set.  From singing along with original songs to a cover of ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man", the entire show was just full of energy- not just from the stage but from the crowd giving it back as well.   This connection with the crowd made the show not only feel like something you wanted to be a part of but it made the overall experience feel that much more special.   

Frank Critelli can be found on the world wide web here :::

Abbie Gardner can be found on the world wide web here :::

Best Video can be found on the world wide web here :::


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