Haifa/100/LIVE: Dowtown Indie

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Now, here’s another little something that is worth writing about: Haifa/100/Live festival is the annual urban musical-festival in downtown Haifa, that took place this year on 28-30 of June. As implies from its title, the festival included 100 live performances, in 3 days, 17 bars and clubs, that are all located at a short walking distance from each other. It is the direct successor of a smaller urban festival in the city, that was called Haifolk.

Some of the bars and clubs that participated in the festival this year I’ve already mentioned in my previous posts about best alternative spots(Wunderbar, Syrup, House Gallery, Syncopa) and best friend-bars(Eli’s and Dovrin). Others, I’ll mention in short: Libira – a local-brewery pub that has just reinvented itself in much larger space with a stage. Gate 3 – an art gallery and concert venue. Jam – vegetarian restaurant with live concerts. Saint Etienne – a popular Arabic bar. Barki – a cute bar that is also a school for bartenders, with a rich choice of beer and alcohol, and mostly mainstream music. Urban – a bar with mind-blowing psychedelic graffiti on the walls and New-Wave music in the air. HaSimta(“the Alley”) – tiny artists’-bar with a small gallery upstairs. HaMartef(the Basement) – a club that was built in the place where once was a wine cellar of a fancy restaurant. Klemen’s – small Irish bar. AND last but not least: The Anchor – the oldest-surviving bar in Haifa, which was originally founded by few British sailors in the 40’s, with the intention to be a home-like drinking spot for other sailors and their friends when they are visiting the Holy Land.

In this post, I have prepared for you seven most interesting musical highlights of this festival(in my opinion). So, here we go…

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ShittyCT

A rap-punk group from Acre, composed of mostly ex-Soviet immigrants that are rapping and singing in Hebrew about their shitty lives in their shitty city(actually I think that Acre is more of a town than a city).

I first heard about them almost a decade ago, in 2007 when they came to perform at the legendary City Hall club in Haifa, to promote their debut album – “Park Culture”. Back then it was quite hilarious to hear the heavy Russian accent of the rapper/vocalist Falafel Crunk, and the words of the theme-song of the album, that talked about the very typical for Soviet immigrants tradition to drink Vodka in parks. Since then they already released a second album – “Hummus For the Masses”. Here’s a taste of their gig on the festival(symbolically, they preformed this time in the Wunderbar club, the direct successor of the City Hall in which they played eight years ago):


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Killer HaLohetet

True dinosaurs from the 80’s – reunited. Killer HaLohetet(“the Hot Killer”) is an Israeli punk-rock pioneer from Haifa. Some even say that they’re the very first band to play Punk-Rock in Israel. Tragically enough, this band has bloomed too early, and disbanded too soon – without even getting the chance to fully enjoy the Israeli Rock-renaissance of the 90’s. Nevertheless, the band left an undeniable impact on the Israeli music scene. Here’s one of the last video-clips by Killer, before the break-up:

After the break-up, the band’s drummer Asaf Meroz took part in some of the most successful rock-acts of the 90’s – namely Avtipus and Eifo HaYeled. Monica, one of their bassists, inspired the name of another very popular band from the 90’s – Monica SexYoram Mark-Riech, Killer’s own front-man, pursued career in journalism, and became known as the main producer and host of the long-running Rock-Cinema events.

It took them 16 years to make a come back, but finally, here they are. And here’s the real mind-blowing thing: I know Yoram Mark-Riech’s daughter – she’s just a couple of years younger than me, and nevertheless I see her father up on stage, dressed like a punk-rocker, screaming and jumping and generally kicking-ass, like in this video:

Yeah, I know that most of my favorite musicians technically could be my parents, and even grandparents – but still, only such coincidences make me truly realize how much age doesn’t mean anything, and the fact that my parents and grandparents let themselves get mentally-old, doesn’t mean that I have to be like that too. After all, there’s no such thing “too old for Rock N’ Roll”.


Adir LC

This guy’s music somehow remind’s me acoustic Strokes or Libertines. I didn’t even heard of him before seeing him live in the Eli’s bar, but his tunes are quite catchy.


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Meuban

The direct translation of “Meuban” is “fossil”. The group is doing quite a remarkable Post-Rock music – a musical genre that is unfortunately still too underrated, in my opinion. This is also the appropriate place to brag about the fact that I know their bassist, Adam Claude, from the time that we served in the same military base. And here’s a taste of their music:

In this performance at the Eli’s bar they also brought with them some surprising guests from the Stoner-Rock act The Great Machine – whom I like very much as well, and had the pleasure to attend some of their very energetic and intense performances.


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The Hazelnuts

God knows that the 30’s aren’t generally remembered as the brightest time of humankind – but the music was okay, I guess. The Hazelnuts do the old-fashioned 30’s Doo-wop with modern touch. Watch them swing:


NUTE

Iliya Gertman(a.k.a NUTE) is not only a talented electronic producer, and Dj, and MC… He’s more than that. He’s a bro.

We studied in the same high-school for three years, and I never personally knew a person more talented in everything that concerns music than he is. The guy is not only a musical genius, but also a human beat-box, a multi-channel TV, and mobile comedy station in one person. During the second day of the festival, NUTE was DJing at the Saint Etienne bar for the whole evening, and was doing quite an awesome job. You can check out his works on his soundcloud, or just listen to a sample here:


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Tiny Fingers

Except for having a logo that disturbingly reminds the flag of ISIS, here’s something I can say without any doubt about Tiny Fingers:  They were THE BEST show in the whole festival. I have been following this group for quite a while, and had the pleasure to see them in many other Indie festivals. Their music is a kind of a combination of Post-Rock, with Psychedelic-Rock, Electronic music, and I think that even some elements of Trip-Hop and Drum N’ Bass. Just listen to them:

Also, if you’re a fan of beautiful masturbation with musical instruments(because I know I am!) you can check this video too:

7 Israeli covers that should blow your mind

WHETHER you’re a big music fan or not, You probably already know that feeling, when you listen to a cover of a familiar song from the past, which have been made with such a different and original approach, that it feels like you’re listening to both familiar and completely new song at the same time. And your brain – it just has no choice but to go ka-boom in that very moment. Oh, what a wonderful feeling, isn’t it?

In this post, I’ve collected TOP seven Israeli covers of familiar songs from the past that did exactly that for me, and hopefully will do the same for you.

Enjoy.

(To skip the wordy part you can just listen to the entire playlist here)

7

Acoustic Katy Perry

Ivri Lider, both alone and as part of the duo TYP, is by no-doubt one of the most prominent names in Israeli contemporary pop music. This cover of Katy Perry’s hit was originally recorded for the Israeli Galgalatz radio station, which asked him to cover it for 2008 chart toppers show. The cover became so popular that Ivri decided to record a music video for it. It might be that the melancholic tone, combined with the well-known fact(at least for the Israeli audience) about Ivri Lider’s sexual orientation – that gives this song an interesting, and maybe even more provocative meaning when he sings: “I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it”.

6

Oriental-Metal Pearl Jam

This Oriental cover of the legendary Pearl Jam song was made by members of the Metal band Orphaned Land, as part of a campaign to bring Pearl Jam to Israel. Though the campaign eventually didn’t carry out it’s original goal, the cover that it reproduced is simply marvelous to my taste. Orphaned Land have rightfully earned their fame in the international metal-scene. Their unique blend of metal and oriental music, as well as the mixture of Judaic, Muslim and Christian themes, has helped their music to successfully cross borders where the band members themselves still literally can’t.

If you liked this arrangement, then you probably would also appreciate Nora El Nora and Sapari.

5

Funking Rage Against the Machine

It’s been for decades that Killing In The Name Of, is on almost every Israeli alternative-rock party’s playlist. And if the Dj won’t play it, then it’s a matter of time until somebody would request this song. And every time it pays, the crowd goes crazy.
I’m pretty sure that The Apples – a Funk/Jazz ensemble from Tel-Aviv – were aware of all that when they did their extra-groovy take of that song. And the outcome that they delivered is so dope that it might just make one’s brain to melt between his ears and to start doing little breakdance.

Besides that, I have to admit that I had the pleasure of seeing them perform more than just a several times in the past seven years. And every time I’ve seen them live, the concert-hall was crowded almost to the full – which is definitely very impressive for a non-mainstream indie-label band. If you want to dig-in their original music, I’d recommend you to listen to Powder and Buzzin’ About. But that’s just me…

4

Psychedelic Donna Summers

This truly far-out cover of Donna Summers’ hit was made by the Garage-Rock trio “Electra”, as the B-side of their “Dawn of Summer”(see what they did there?) single. Though currently(temporarily?) inactive, their truly electric and energetic concerts were such a prominent force in the local Indie scene during the last decade that I find it hard to talk about Israeli Indie scene without mentioning them.

If you want to check out some of their original material – I recommend to check out the Anti-Fascist tune Coming To Get You as well as the theme-song of their first album: Heartbreak’s For Fools.

Fun fact: Nitzan Horesh, their ridiculously charismatic front-man, is currently performing with a new and funky outfit, that is called the Cut Out Club.

3

Folk-Rock David Bowie

Geva Alon is maybe the Israeli most critically acclaimed Indie singer-songwriter, and is often being compared to the legendary Neil Young. I, personally, dislike these kinds of comparisons – Geva is doubtlessly a kick-ass musician by his own right, and any attempt to compare his unique musical imprint with someone else’s is just pointless, and does no good for either of them. Nevertheless, and with all that being said, I have to admit: sorry, David Bowie, but this cover just outdid the original.

If you liked it, you should definitely check out Come Race Me, and Rosemary’s Eyes.

2

Asli Radiohead

In case that you don’t know this already, the word asli means “authentic” in Arabic. In Hebrew slang, it is often used to describe anything authentically oriental.
So this truly asli version of the Radiohead’s classic is  the product of collaboration between Rotem Shefey(vocals), and Leat Sabbah(Cello), two Tel-Avivi musicians that were studying together in Rimon School of Jazz & Contemporary Music in Tel-Aviv. Their project’s Kickstarter page says:

“What seemed at first a satirical cover transformed into a full-blown multi-layered middle-eastern arrangement, recorded with oud player Yaniv Taichmann, percussionist Ori Dekel. The track was recorded at Bardo Studios in Tel Aviv by Avi Ein Zur”

They successfully crowd-sourced 1,939 dollars for the production of a musical-video for the track. The result was a video-clip with more than 887,000 views on YouTube.

Was it really worth it? The responses of my friends vary between – “wow, this is so awesome!” to “what is this shit?”

Some even accused the video of being racist because of the intentional Arabic accent that Shefey imitating during the song. I think those accusations are a bit over-the-top. Specially when considering the fact that Shefey and Sabbah, as it can be easily implied by their surnames – come from families of Oriental-Jewish origin – meaning, that Arabic was the primary language that their grandparents, and maybe even parents spoke in. So the Arabic accent is not something foreign for them to laugh about, but rather something nostalgic, and familiar, and part of their family heritage.

Bonus: If you fancy this cover, you might also like Shefey’s oriental cover of The Verve’s Bitter-Sweet Symphony.

1

Michael Jackson in Electronic-Jazz

Even though Jonathan Dagan and the members of his electronic project J.Viewz are currently based in Brooklyn – if to judge by the frequency of their visits to the Holy Land, it is hard to say that they forgot where they came from. Most of all, it is touching to notice the special treatment they give on their tours to Jonathan’s old hometown – the city of Haifa – which gets considerably lower prices(sometimes even free-of-charge entrance) for their concerts. In this video they present their interpretation of Michael Jackson’s immortal hit.

If you like liked this, you should probably also give a try to Oh, Something’s Quiet Now and Salty Air (as well as the whole Rivers and Homes album)

Trivia: there’s a shocking crime that is being committed during the video… Can you spot it?

That’s all, folks! If you’ve got so far, I hope that you’ve enjoyed this as much as i did. If you have any other good covers in mind that you think should have made-it to this list, don’t hesitate to post them in comments. Till the next time!7 crimes