Tuesday, January 16, 2007

From the mailbag...

PT writes:
Shmuel Simenowitz:

That album was also very influential on Kabbalah. Izzy Botnick, our guitarist, was a huge fan, and we did a cover of "Hinay Ma Tov (Jewish Blues)" and also jammed to "Hino Adon Olam." Not surprising since Izzy andYonah were good friends.

It was one of those albums, along with DYB's Live from King David's Tomb and Gates of Return, that made us realize that Jewish Rock was viable.

I think before those albums, many of us with guitar chops were not in any way considering playing Jewish Music.
Psachya Septimus writes:
I wanted to let you and your readers know that I'm in a new band called The Bentchers. The band members are Yitzchak Halevi on guitar, myself on keys, Dave Hirsch on bass, Dave Leibowitz on drums, and all of us on vocals. Our music is a combination of classic-rock, blues, surf, spiritual & folk styles with a Jewish touch. I'm personally very excited about the band - we knew we had something special right from the very first rehearsal. Anyway, we'll be doing our first public performance at The Actors' Temple in Manhattan on Monday, January 22. More information is available at Black Box Entertainment: Midtown Showcase of New Jewish Rock and Comedy.We tentatively expect to go on about 9:30 PM, but please feel free to also check out some of the other acts on the bill, as they look very entertaining.
A dissatisfied HASC concert attendee writes:
I was at the HASC concert, too, and I have to say, Life of Rubin's review is more of a blow-by-blow than a critique. The concert sucked. I've seen larger bands at weddings. Where were the strings? Where were the tympani? Lamm phoned it in, without an ounce of originality or effort. The mikes weren't balanced correctly, the backup choir wasn't mixed correctly, nobody rehearsed sufficiently, and for a 20th anniversary show, this was an absolute disappointment.

Avraham Fried actually had to sing over a karaoke CD of "Simanei Yisrael" and "Father, don't cry" while the musicians sat quietly, twiddling their thumbs. He is so tired. So tired. He did his duet with Itche Meir Helfgott, and it was like watching some movie where the aging crooner tries to keep up with the rising star, and can't. Helfgott didn't even need a mike, and he was outclassing Fried in every respect - range, depth, tonal accuracy, even. So for the "kumzitz" finale, Fried sat down on a stool, shoulders slumped, head down, while Dedi and Ohad came out and patted him on the back, almost as though they were comforting him in mourning.

Earlier, Dedi sang "V'atah kadosh" to the tune of the Flashdance theme ("What a feeling!"). I mean, seriously.

Ohad shows some promise, however, in terms of stage presence and talent. Too bad he doesn't have any decent material.

Oh, and Dovid Gabay and Baruch Levine sang. I'll give $10 to anyone who can tell them apart from the tenth row and back.
I can't understand why someone with an apparent visceral dislike of this kind of musical entertainment would have attended. Although, the karaoke complaint is legitimate.

And here's a money quote overheard at the concert:
"The concert started at 7:30! You can't come in here at 9 and expect to have your seat! We came down from Tier 3, row BB. Go sit there!"