Are You Serious? Provocative Rock On Tour?

Judith. An ancient biblical name evocative of cunning and dangerous beauty, while at the same time symbolizing independent thinking and courage. Judith. A band that similarly evokes imagery, from the brooding vocals and somber bassline to the Victorian garb they appear in. Despite the period dress and the band’s relationship with the past, vocalist and founding member Christopher David is focused more on Judith’s immediate future.

In late July, Judith embarked on a nationwide tour sponsored by Neue Aesthetik Multimedia (“NAM”), a label that he cofounded with members of Faith and the Muse and Ichor. The tour, entitled Blackout A.D. #1, is in many ways the successor to the two legendary gothic tours of the 1990’s, Procession and Apparition, organized by William Faith of Faith and the Muse. While Judith has found success in Europe at large-scale gatherings such as Whitby, it is time for New York’s Judith to reach out across the entire United States.

NAM was born from the desire to form a recording label “with the creative interests and aspirations of its artists/bands as its top priority,” says Christopher. And indeed, the label has pursued this goal, not only in music but in writing and pictures as well, releasing The Sentimentalist , a literary and artistic quarterly, and The Book of Annwyn , which traces the mythology that gave impetus to the Faith and the Muse album Annwyn Beneath the Waves . Christopher describes the label as a partnership, which officially began in January 1998.

But Judith and NAM are not simply arthouse cranks. NAM’s bands are filled with experienced musicians, many of whom have achieved cult status with other projects. Judith itself already has two well-received CDs and an EP under their belts. Christopher and Judith began after Christopher had spent ten years with the band Requiem in White: “I first met Mark Wagner (Judith guitarist) in 1995, and we began working on music together. I had already put together enough songs for a full CD [which became the CD FoHN ], and was elated to find someone who was interested in playing them. We were lucky enough to find Damian James (bassist) and most recently, Brian Veit (drummer) when we were looking to complete the band. Both Damian and Brian had been in a band called the Rogues, mainly a Los Angeles-based rock band. Careful to avoid to much comparison with the past, Christopher pointed says that “Judith is the culmination of many of our musical ideas.”

And along with Faith and the Muse and Element, Judith is taking its music on the road this summer. Perhaps overly associated with the darker edge of music, Christopher describes the music without having to use the word “gothic”: “Songs on the La Reveuse CD range from neo-classical or ‘apocalyptic folk’ to heavy/bass/percussion and guitar-oriented.” Though their stage show has won rave reviews, Judith simply “would like all kinds of people to enjoy our music and take from it whatever they want to, whether on a level that is purely based on entertainment or perhaps one deeper, as something more poetic and meaningful.” And the music is powerful and thought-provoking, as Judith is one of the bands breathing more rock influences into a genre that has lain quite quiet and serene for several years. California’s The Last Dance and Atlanta’s The Flowers For Luci are on a similar track, and may provide some frame of reference, though Judith and their intriguing aesthetic stand among the elite in the darkwave and even alternative rock crowds today.

Judith and the Blackout A.D. Tour (featuring also Faith and the Muse and Element, along with Chicago’s DJ Scary Lady Sarah) hit the Masquerade in Atlanta on August 15th, ManRay in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale on August 17th, and the Masquerade in Tampa on August 18th, just before the European tour kicks off in September. As Christopher says, “With labelmates Faith and the Muse and Element on either side of us, we can’t go wrong!” And for those of us starved for intelligent, compelling music in a big tour format, relief is on the way. Info available at www.aesthetik.com or by contacting Judith at The Lyre of Amphion, PO Box 174, Murray Hill Station, New York, NY 10156.

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