Zee Avi and Foxtails Brigade


We went out for some music Thursday night in the city. Leigh had set it all up, but as it turned out, she couldn’t go for a sad reason, and we missed her, and we knew how much she would have liked the show. And Ingrid had the idea to buy Leigh a concert t-shirt and Parke toasted her at Nopa, where we all met up for drinks.

When we arrived at The Independent, possibly my new favorite venue, Foxtails Brigade were playing. I loved their sound instantly: soft and pretty, but also plucky and a little weirdly experimental. I felt a little bit like watching a child deep in imaginative play. I could follow along and be charmed by an innocent narrative, and then suddenly be caught off guard by dark and obscure turns and shifts.

The singer, Laura Weinbach is a lovely, talented young woman who plucks and strums at her guitar. She wore a bow, which might seem puerile, and maybe uninterestingly precious. But she is anything but those things. Clearly classically trained in many traditions, Weinbach draws from French, English (Madrigal), and Hungarian singing traditions. Her exciting violinist tore at the air around her head with his bow. A madman with clear purpose.

Dennis bought two CDs. It wasn’t until we were listening to the one that’s mostly Bossa Nova and French songs (A Reverie) that we realized I already owned it. Aunt Eddy had said, “This amazing busker sang French songs and Bossa Nova, and I knew you guys would like it,” and slid the CD across the table to me at Cafe Gratitude. I’d played it endlessly then loaned it to someone…  Their rendition of Dindi inspired a blog post a while back…

Here’s Foxtails Brigade doing La Vie en Rose:

And thank goodness that The Independent has benches lining its side walls because the main attraction, Zee Avi didn’t come out until 9:30! Also thank goodness that I’d had a cup of JOE before going out.

When Ms. Avi played, I lost track of time. She with her ukelele, her accent, and her tiny stance, tore the place apart, as much with her huge drum as her huge heart and raspy voice. Speaking of her voice: breathy and floaty over Hawaiian strains, then deep and raspy like Nina Simone, satisfied song after song. She tells us she’s Malaysian then sings about Kierkegaard. She lulls on and on with Polynesian waves of strings and tropics, and slowly the song becomes Pumped up Kicks (better run, better run…)

Here’s Ms. Avi singing Bitter Heart:

The whole night, I thought of Leigh. The others did, too. Amazing how, in her absence, Leigh’s presence filled us all with her simple intention that we enjoyed ourselves. I hope that her father’s presence fills her heart forever, the way she filled ours that night.




  1. Jenny’s avatar

    Beautiful. Later I’ll listen to the music on the videos. My daughter Claire is now a hostess at NOPA, so maybe you saw her. Shoulder-length black hair and brown eyes.

  2. Jenn’s avatar

    Jenny, I think I did see her. Does she work behind the bar as well?

  3. Jenny’s avatar

    Well, she might end up there. You never know. She’s rather gorgeous, if I do say so myself. In a very understated sort of way. She LOVES working there. She’s also working at ForestEthics, a nonprofit in SF. Love having her (and her sister) close by. I love your blog, and always read it. I love how you put in images and videos, too. Hugs.


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