No, not Queen! There was a different set of royalty in-house on Saturday night at Los Angeles’s Wiltern Theater when Nightmare and the Cat did a rousing opening set for Neon Trees. Don’t worry, I’ll get to the royalty later! Who or what is “Nightmare and the Cat” you may be asking? They’re a group of five British and American indie musicians who love T. Rex, David Bowie, the Phil Spector sound, and The Pixies, just to name a few. They have a knack for putting smart, poetic lyrics together with melodies that get under your skin. On top of that, lead singer Django Stewart delivers a stage performance oozing with a particular sensuality that I haven’t seen since INXS’s Michael Hutchence.
Nightmare and the Cat on stage at San Diego’s Humphrey’s By the Bay
Photo by Lisa Schenck
Django is also friends with Adam Lambert, and it was a thrill to know that Adam was there, supporting his pal. Adam sent an Instagram the next day, showing Django telling the audience to “brush off all that negative energy . . . and let it out,” midstream in their closing number, Alvarado. The short vid looked like it was shot from the balcony seats. Adam added his own comments, “well said Django! Good vibes at the Wiltern! Amazing set.” Check it out here.
Another Royal Rocker in the house was none other than Django and brother/guitartist Samuel’s dad, Dave Stewart, of the Eurythmics. On top of that, Dave’s Eurythmics’ partner Annie Lennox was in attendance. I only learned this after I was home the next day, and saw the tweet from Dave about it. I then remembered making eye contact with a woman in the ladies’ room after the show, and I thought she was stunning and familiar looking. After reading the tweet, I’m almost positive it was Annie Lennox!
Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox reunite for the CBS Beatles’ special in January 2014.
Let’s now add that not only is Eurythmics genius Dave Stewart their father, but Django and Sam’s mother is Siobhan Fahey from Bananarama. The boys have made it a point to do their music on their own, without any introductions or help from their famous parents. “People can be quick to judge you when you’re the offspring of a famous rock star” wrote Chelsea Schwartz, in the just released 10th anniversary edition of High Voltage Magazine when she interviewed the band. Chelsea continues, “Although Dave did give his sons some excellent advice. Django recalls his father insisting they “stay true to your guns and be yourself and really believe in yourself, or you’re just not going to work out because this industry is just so hardcore.”
Chelsea Schwartz was also at the show because she is close with Django and band. She is well-connected in the Hollywood music scene too. She possesses incredible drive, getting her first writing gig for a teen magazine at age 14. Among her many accomplishments, she spent 5 years booking and promoting acts for The Viper Room, is a founding member of High Voltage and is a DJ. Chelsea is also a new girlfriend of mine and she texted me after Nightmare and the Cat’s set that Adam was in the lobby, but unfortunately I didn’t get the text soon enough. I went out to the lobby, saw Django and Chelsea talking, and lots of other cool looking people stirring in the lobby. She said Adam was at the merchandise booth for about 20 minutes and I envisioned the usual Glambert mob scene. But refreshingly was told no, there were only a couple of people around him. It makes sense because the demographics were not right. I can’t believe I missed a chance to reconnect with Adam! But instead, I had the wonderful opportunity for a personal introduction from Chelsea to Django and I also met Sam later, who I had a lovely conversation with about music and writing.
Carol and Django Stewart, Nightmare and the Cat
I’d like to share an example of the brothers’ closeness that Chelsea shared with me. They didn’t always live in the same house, trading off residencies in England and Los Angeles after their parents split. To remain close, they each tattooed the other’s middle name on their forearm in large capital letters. Their full names are Samuel Hurricane Stewart and Django James Lawless Stewart. So forget their lineage, with names like Hurricane and Lawless, they were destined for the music biz!
I urge you to learn more about these young men and the rest of their band, Claire Acey, backing vocals and guitar; Scott Henson, bass guitar; and Brandon “Spike” Phillips, drums. They are currently on a US tour with Neon Trees. They’ve done the West and are currently heading toward the Midwest. The tour runs through July 24, but Sam told me Nightmare and the Cat will be finishing earlier in July. I’m including a few videos and hope you’ll watch. Some are studio videos, and one is from the week before, that I shot in San Diego. The sound isn’t the greatest, but the visual is fantastic!
I bet you want to know how they came up with their band name, right? It’s not as mystical as you may think! They heard a musician named Anthony Harwood sing a song called Nightmare and the Cat, and they loved it. According to the band, Anthony disappeared before his music was finalized. You won’t find anything about him, anywhere. So they named their band Nightmare and the Cat. Voila!
Thanks for letting me go off Adam-course and recommend this band to you. Since Adam supports so many of his friends’ endeavors, I figured this was appropriate. They are my new FAVORITE band and I hope you’ll love them too! And I promise you, if you listen 3 times to each song, you’ll be hooked! Both Lila and our friend Lisa were at one or both shows I went to, and are hooked too! Nightmare and the Cat’s new album, Simple, comes out July 22nd!
~ Carol ~
Undercover – Studio version
Blackbird Smile – Studio version
Sarah Beth – Humphrey’s By the Bay – San Diego