Nelaska

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Wow, this blog is going through some rough times. It’s a one man show right now, and with school and work eating up every last minute I have, this has really been put on the back burner. Evan has discovered a social aspect of college he previously didn’t have, and his computer has more than just hard drive problems. Even though I’m sure this post will go unread, I’ll write anyway.

I finally got a miniature night on the town, I got to blast Friday away with a smidgen of fun and I learned a bit about night life here. I had been sent an invitation on Facebook to my ex-roommates first gig at a bar called The Music Box. I don’t remember if the e-flyer had the times listed on it, but it was a Friday night, and I ALWAYS close on Friday’s so I marked no. 

My friend later messaged me saying it was at 11, and I get off around 10~p.m. A friend of mine from work was also going, and I was really excited to hear the new music. I’ve been following Greg’s work since we lived together, and I think he’s a brilliant musician who really knows how to write catchy riffs. Even though I didn’t get to name this band, it’s a lot more … of a band. 

Note: Nelaska features Greg on lead guitar and lead vocals, a keyboardist, a bassist, and a drummer. Earlier today they went en studio and began recording, exciting! 

I left work around 10:30 or so and hauled ass back home to get changed. I was informed there was a cover charge of five dollars. money I didn’t have. I cleverly used Google maps to locate a bank along the way and the general whereabouts of the place itself. I left my place at 11:15 with 15 minutes to get downtown! Luckily traffic lights and traffic in general were good to me as I made it in the 11:35 range. I parked a few blocks off having heard it was around an oyster house.

I must say this, downtown is a pretty cool place at night. Semi-deserted except for the bars, but the old-timey feel like some historic places have is nice. Felt like I was living in a better city than I really was. With some help from some young people tossing a football around outside of a noisy bar, they pointed me in the right direction. This was my first time going into a bar, and it wasn’t a horrible experience, but it’s exactly as I imagined it, for people that aren’t me. I consider myself to be an extremely sober person, I’m not prone to breaking into dance or looking foolish in front of people I don’t know. That’s probably why I’m not invited out more often, but it just doesn’t feel right. When I’m with friends, I’m a lot more likely to look dumb or try things, but this wasn’t really the case. 

I walk in, I’m immediately carded and had my money deducted, no big deal, I’m of age and thanks to Google Street View, I’m not broke either. The lighting is dim, the air is smoky and the place is small. It’s two floors and immediately after you enter on the right is the stage. I see Nelaska setting up and I shout to Greg over the prep music and he gives me a slight wave and smile. I notice plenty of eyes my way as I don’t dress like many other people. Everyone was dressed a bit… indie. People with checkered shoes, tight pants, close-knit hairstyles, elaborate eye-makeup, piercings, tattoos, cleavage, stuff that makes teenage parents outraged. I’m not at all intimidated or nervous, I’m here for the music, not these people. Greg’s girlfriend spots me and waves me over (a good ten feet from the stage and not far from the door, really), and I go stand with their small group. We are obviously groupies of the band, many people behind us, no one in front of us. There is plenty of loud music blaring as Nelaska sets up, I watch as I see the band for the first time, anxious to hear what Greg has come up with! I’m used to being able to hear his music before anyone else, and even give my input on it, but I haven’t been with him through any of the creative process so this was pretty exciting.

 

1/2 pictures. HORRIBLE quality. Would have felt like a moron if flash was on.

1/2 pictures. HORRIBLE quality. Would have felt like a moron if flash was on.

 

 

After quite some time, Greg came onto the microphone,

“Hey guys. How’s everyone doing tonight? I’m supposed to be talking to you guys so my drummer back here can make sure everything’s cool. I’m gonna go around and I want everyone to tell me their name… by the end of the class everyone will know each other”

 

Super awful picture taken with cellphone. Click for larger

Super awful picture taken with cellphone. Click for larger

 

 

He didn’t actually call on any people for their names, but after a bit…

“Hey guys, thanks for coming out, we’re Nelaska.”

They burst into their first song with impossibly good timing, Greg wailing on guitar, their bassist plucking furiously, the drummer getting into it and the keyboardist bobbing his head (heh, poor guy). I can almost swear I’m hearing familiar riffs from Greg’s guitar as he jams with his band mates, performing excellently. He’s a real showman and his personality really comes out on stage. He moves around and makes all these faces, great fun to watch.

They play the first song… the second, Greg makes a joke about the keyboardist changing instruments (to acoustic guitar) and introduces him. They continue on, pleasing the crowd, getting cheers and applause as it was well deserved. I loved every song, especially bits with their keyboardist, which made some of the songs. Maybe I just love hearing new unique music that really, really hits the spot for me, but I thought they were fantastic. Greg admits to messing up a lot, but it wasn’t visible to anyone except one time where there was a misstep in timing (or Greg forgot some lyrics), but I thought was excellent. 

Here’s a nifty article about them. 

After the show, we waited for Greg to pack up and come meet us, I congratulated him and we waited around for the next band to start up. They were odd… named Worm something, they were Americana/Folk/Rock, interesting mix as this tiny (but oh so hot) girl got up on stage with a violin, and a tattooed smoker bassist and some pierced guitarist began to jam a bit. The mic test sounded great, the guitarist was singing,

“One two! Three four five! Six seven, eight nine ten!” 

as they jammed about. Their first song, we were told, was written by the lead-guitarists ex-girlfriend. It sounded obnoxious, and less fun than Nelaska’s songs, and involved random squealing by the guitarist. We left at that point. 

We left and walked Greg’s girlfriend and her friends back to their car, and saw them off. I threw a few questions at Greg, who said that he wasn’t nervous at all and he felt awesome the whole time. 

Instead of going back I just left, I was really tired. Enough so that it was the first time I’d ever try to turn the wrong way into a one way only street. That was pretty embarassing and after a bit of meandering, I found my way back home. I had an odd sense of incompletion, that I really didn’t party, because I hadn’t drank anything, I didn’t take home some random girl, and I really didn’t get to joke around with friends, it felt OK.

Proud to say I know the band, and I want to congratulate them on a fantastic show and can’t wait to see them again.

 

Cheers,

Michael

One Response to Nelaska

  1. Anonymous Nelaska Fan says:

    Woooaaahhhh!!! Really well written blog about my tots fave band!!! You’re so lucky to know them!!!!

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