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:

5 hottest Alternative-spots in Haifa

This post will be a short guide the Alternative nightlife-scene in Haifa. This is written in favor of those wish to travel to the Holy Land, and want get wasted there. When talking about nightlife, tourists are usually naturally attracted to Tel-Aviv as they come to Israel. Amazing amount of ink and pixels were already used to describe the nightlife there. But, believe it or not, there are other large modern cities in Israel that are worth getting wasted at. Specifically Haifa.

Haifa is the third largest city in Israel(after Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv), and the capital of the second-largest metropolitan area. This post will focus on the Alternative nightlife. What is Alternative nightlife in this context? Basically, what’s opposite to the mainstream taste, and intended for audience with specific and different taste – including music, art, parties etc. Meaning, you won’t find on this list any of the most popular nightclubs and and bars. After all, they’re not interesting from the first place. What is really interesting when you travel – is the rare and the unique, and not what’s most popular and common. And this city is not just a good spot for music and nightlife that’s alternative to mainstream, but it’s also aspiring alternative to the nightlife scene of Tel-Aviv as a whole.

5

HOUSE Gallery

Address: Derekh Yafo 30, Haifa

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(photos via House Gallery FB page)

This wonderful place is located at the Jaffa street, downtown, and as the name suggests, this is first of all a gallery: a place for art. But instead of being just a regular gallery, this place(which also has a stage, and relatively non-expensive alcohol-bar) hosts a numerous musical events, concerts and parties. The music is traditionally something in the range of blues/ethnic/middle-eastern/folk, but sometimes they might surprise you with something like a Hip-Hop party. The environment at the place is somehow middle-eastern-hippie-like.

Recommended drink: just grab yourself a black bottle of GOLDSTAR – Israeli most popular dark-lager.

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4

Syncopa-bar

Address: Khayat Street 5, Haifa

 Syncopa is a place with style. When you enter, the first thing you

Place with style (Photo credit: Syncopa FB page)

Got style (Photo credit: Syncopa FB page)

notice is the design – which is crazy, even psychedelic in a way. The bar has two floors: the ground floor is like a regular bar, while the second floor hosts concerts, parties and even poetry-slam and stand-up evenings. It’s probably one of the very few places where you can find Elecro-Swing, Rockabilly, Funk, and even Balkan parties – all of which are coming with a specific dress-code, that will make you feel like you’ve came back in time, or at least traveled to the Balkans. Except of that, the place hosts a large amount of Indie and Alternative concerts.

Recommended drink: Pint of Hobgoblin and/or Vodka-Caramel shot.

3

Wunderbar

Address: Derekh Khativat Golani 18, Haifa

 The first thing there’s to say about Wunderbar – is that it’s a REAL club. Not a pub with stage, not a dance-bar, but a real, full-blown, alternative-music club. It’s a large building, with 3 dance-floors with 3 well-equipped alcohol-bars, and monstrous sound-systems. There’s a different music on each floor. Wunderbar also has a stage for concerts where various alternative-music acts can preform. What concerns the parties – they vary: may it be Rock, Indie, Reggae, Dubstep & Drum’N’Bass, dark 80’s, and 90’s, or even Psy-Trance & Techno.

Wonderbar - a full-blown Alternative-music club

Wonderbar – a full-blown Alternative-music club (photo-credits: Nati Gold)

But nothing could be said about it without mentioning it’s legendary founder and owner: Shlomi Mangar. The guy is the UNDISPUTED GODFATHER of the Alternative-scene in Haifa. Wunderbar is the third reincarnation of Shlomi’s vision of the city night-life. The other two were “The Second City”(1987-1995), and “City Hall”(1995-2010) – both of which became mythological places for whole generations in the city. For me, personally, the name “City-Hall” will always bring-up warm memories of drunken nights and wild parties, crazy hook-ups, and awesome concerts. At one of it’s peaks, “City-Hall” have hosted a Rage Against the Machine concert. And to whatever concerns the legendary “Second City” club – it even makes appearance at Ari Fulman’s Waltz With Bashir movie, at the sequence where he returns shell-shocked from the war in Lebanon:

Both of those clubs were eventually closed only because of municipal bureaucracy and red-tape. Nevertheless, Shlomi refused to give-up, and so we got the new Wunderbar club.

Recommended drink: 0.5 litter of Tuborg-Red and/or Vodka-cranberry-juice.

2

Kartel

Address: Ha-Namal St 10, Haifa

 Say whatever you want about Hipsters, but you can’t accuse them in having a bad taste. And “Kartel” is definitely the Hipster item on this list. First thing you see when you get there is those giant ruins of a building, covered from the ground to the top with mind-blowing graffiti. There are some tables outside, and a bar, and deep inside the building there is a dance-floor. In this way, it reminds very much the Tel-Avivi Teder-bar – or at least so it seems at first sight.

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(Picture-credits: Kartel / קרטל FB)

The truth is, if you really accept this term “Hipster” – you must understand that Haifa-Hipsters and Tel-Aviv-Hipsters are totally different breed. First difference: Tel-Avivi-Hipsters are assholes – while Haifa-Hipsters are not. Second difference: Haifa-Hipsters actually have talent – Tel-Avivi-Hipsters only think they do.

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That was taken in one of the “art exhibitions” opening. The guys really know how to party (Picture-credits: Kartel / קרטל FB)

I think10549245_776623619068394_2480779179004227877_o that’s makes “Kartel” so great: that kind of awesome combination of a party, a bar, and an art exhibition. Whether you came there to party hard, or just to sit with friends and talk, or maybe to see some interesting urban art – this place fits best for all these needs.

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The dancefloor at the Kartel.

1

Syrup

Address: Ha-Ne’emanim St 2, Haifa

The man behind “Syrup” is Ben Rifftin. An ex-Tel-Avivi band-manager and one of the founders of the Indie-label “Pit/kit“. In it’s core, Syrup is a place for Indie music. Specially the more edgy/noisy/punk-rock/psychedelic/distortion spectrum of it… But it’s also a host for a bunch of other different events – like various parties, “random text” evenings, stand-up nights, and even “Syraoke”(typically, the song choice that you’ll find there is different from a regular Karaoke). And even though there are other places in Haifa that host Indie acts(Syncopa, for instance) I think that every local Indie-lover could feel the difference after “Syrup” was established in Haifa. It brought with it some kind of new spirit that finally managed to awaken this city from it’s sleep.

Recommended drink: For both Kartel and Syrup – I recommend to try Maccabi(an Israeli light-lager) from the keg with a shot of Tubi60(a local alcoholic drink, made in Haifa. Containing herbs and other awesome stuff. It is specially popular among Hipsters all over the country).

ILLY

The band ILLY preforming at the Syrup. (Photo credits: Me)