Naylor Court finished their last song of the night Friday, but the audience was not finished with them.
The full crowd at the Rock N’ Roll hotel demanded an encore.
The lively band played the high-energy tune “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros as the crowd, recognizing the melody, immediately yelled out and danced along.
The band comprises Alex Hervish on violin, vocals and guitar, bass player Aaron Miller, guitarist and vocalist John Ray, Sebastian Restifo on drums and Ben Richman on piano.
Brought together by music professor James Levy, the band formed on the Foggy Bottom campus and spent hours in the Phillips Hall music room practicing and honing their sound. Ray, who attended the University of Rochester and is a friend of Restifo, joined in 2010.
“I think what’s fun about our band thus far is that we have short-term goals, but I think we’re excited to see how things develop and I think every step we’ve taken has been a surprise but also something that we’ve come together and decided,” Restifo said. “We’re just going to push it as far as it goes until it’s not fun anymore which I don’t foresee happening anytime soon.”
Hervish explained that at its core, the band is made up of five people
with an unbridled enthusiasm for music and writing, seeing the creative process as
an outlet for every individual member.
“Looking out and seeing a mass of people, pleading and shoving trying to get to the front was pretty incredible,” Ray said, describing the experience of performing at Velvet Lounge. “It really gets you pumped up to see the enthusiasm out there, that number of people ready to watch you get up and share what we do with them.”
During their Colonial days, the band was known as Blu Jar, but the group changed it to Naylor Court in 2010 – an ode to the D.C. street named for Dickerson Naylor, the father of J. Edgar Hoover. One of the band’s most popular songs “Looking Back” – a song about Ray’s ex-girlfriend – is a mixture of an indie and classical sound. The classical tone is embodied through Hervish’s haunting violin.
“We all come from very musically trained backgrounds, but at the same time, we all have very different musical tastes,” Richman said. “Bridging all of that together we’ve come up with what I think is a very unique sound with unique instruments and I think we’ve blended that together to make a new sound.”
The members of the group spend their days at individual day jobs from international education to working at Georgetown Cupcake. But they see the stage as a chance to create a persona. They are currently working to complete their EP and want to continue playing shows.