January 30th, 2004.

Last night was incredible. For many reasons. There was the swirl of late night snow, and the swirl of people, and beautiful people at that. There was Nefrit El-Or, who’s band is the first creation since Underfoot to really stir me in person. There was an almost perfect show, there was a beautiful dream.

Nefrit El-Or at Iota in Arlington, VA
Nefrit at Iota. Such a Lovely woman. I need to figure out how to write bizarre rhythms like she does.

Last night’s show at Iota’s was exquisite. For all the stress about time and drumkits and setlists and last minute saxophonists, it all went off pretty much without a hitch. I’d used up all of our shit luck the night before, it seems. We played under the Christmas lights for an audience of many new faces.

Dave's kit for the Iota's gig. Alfred hates playing anything but his own kit, but it was a lot of fun having the sheer power that comes out of a traditional set up like this one.
Dave’s kit for the Iota’s gig. Alfred hates playing anything but his own kit, but it was a lot of fun having the sheer power that comes out of a traditional set up like this one.

The night was 9 short of sold out, and the club was pleased. We made a LOT of new fans last night. I re-encountered (distracted by yelling from downstairs) – I re-encountered a friend from college – well… an acquaintance from college. We got to talk for a little while about how the art college graduates were surviving in their chosen fields. She was beautiful. Much more so than I remembered. The vibrancy of doing what you Love, perhaps.

The band at Iota's, with Junior guesting on saxophone.
The band at Iota’s, with Junior guesting on saxophone.

In which case I must’ve been radiating last night.

Which I may well have been, since I’ve not had THAT much verification from previously unknown females that I was worth something since Living in Annapolis. It felt really good.

Nefrit’s band was incredible. For those of you who didn’t know Underfoot, and most of you would never have had the chance – Underfoot was about the coolest thing ever to come out of Maryland. Unfortunately, with the “discovery” of Jimmie’s Chicken Shack and Good Charlotte, Brian Wagoner’s Underfoot sort of fell through the cracks. I heard that Brian got bitter and discouraged and vanished off to California.

Possibly one of the most frustrating things in my Life.

Anywho, Underfoot was a spectaculr trio, with mystical, sensual lyrics, a driven and passionate lead singer/guitarist, a great bass player, and one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen. A power trio that innovated on everything from how they used their instruments, to the bizarre rhythms they choose… to everything.

It’s a point of pride that I got to see their last couple of shows.

Nefrit El-Or has massed together a similar creature. A very similar aesthetic, but with female vocals. A similar middle-Eastern vibe – but her bass player is just – he’s the lead player by far. With a monstrous pedal board (semi-similar to the one that Brian had for his guitar) and the mad bassin skillz… good lord. He’s just a monster.  And elegant, and beautiful.

The same can be said for both Nefrit, and their drummer Dave. Nefrit’s voice, and Dave’s percussion – I’m always jealous of three-pieces, as they create a synergy and tightness that anything larger just… by definition and sprawl can never really acheive.

Oh – and then I had a dream about a blonde.

It was a good night all round.

I’m still sort of worn out from last night. Maybe I’ll rant more later, but Heather and I are going to go record now.


Listening to Heather warm up in the “studio”. It’s inhuman what her voice can do – precision and beauty. The “studio” is actually the Lloyd’s glassed in back porch, and passing traffic is a constant risk – but to see her bundled in a sweater and wool socks, running through scales with a back of white snow and blackened tree limbs.

Ok – the notes she’s hitting now are a bit absurd – I’d best go remind that she’s surrounded by glass. Brittle… sound sensitive… glass.

She’s just written a new song – beautiful, but so so sad. It made me cry the first time I heard it.

May 21st, 2004. 3.12am

SO sleepy. And of course, sleep eludes me. My brain is too whirly-full of fur and fuzz and thoughts. Dressing up as Marilyn Monroe, cicadas, a woman from tonight’s show, Nefrit’s rhythms, Keith’s banter… Keith’s hair, plans and schedules and the spectacular complexity of Life.

Nefrit El-Or at Jammin Java.
Nefrit El-Or at Jammin Java.

Life. Don’t talk to me about Life.

Tonight’s gig at Jammin Java was scrumptious. It left Heather and I in a lot of pain, but it was worth it. We got a decent response to our performance (and I saw a couple of faces that I wasn’t expecting, but was really glad to see – Ari: thanks for your table-full of creatures… and Cox? Thanks for your heads.

Brennan was filling my skull with dreams and possibilities, and now my inner gears won’t stop mulling and churning and burning the mindnight oil.

Sara brought us cicadas, and Keith cut his hair. And Nefrit El-Or continues to make my interior rhythms whirl to different dances. I can never sleep after her shows, and I have no place to retreat to and play guitar till the sun comes up. No place to let it out.

My head is full and pounding and I never know how to just
shut
it
down.

Also, I am CONVINCED that when they fixed my laptop, they installed an upgraded, and more difficult, version of Solitaire. I haven’t won a game since I got it back. CURSE the insomnia that has allowed me to discover this treachery!