Saturday, 6 December 2014

Live Review: Laila and Haziz Veraam @ The Zimmer, Tel Aviv [27th November 2014]

Tonight, I come to The Zimmer, the place considered Tel Aviv's hub of the weird and wonderful, to see a band I have not seen in quite some time.

Haziz Veraam

As I enter the Zimmer, albeit a tad early, there's not that many people here but the first act is already setting up. The whole performance area was filled with TV monitors of different shapes and sizes. In front of the monitors was a set up of a sound desk, modules and sound generators. I'm not going to pretend to really know all that gets used in experimental, noise and found sound performances. I still haven't much personal experience with those sorts of things. I studied sound recording, using computer software and a bit of akai sampling and tape looping but not the gizmos that I witness here tonight. Haziz Veraam is an ambient music project from Zimmer owner and half of Hetzi Moakh Al Ketamine. To be honest, I think I missed a good part of this performance. When I came in, I just thought it was a bit of a soundcheck or simply some background ambience as an introduction to the evening. I left the place for a while and came back to a slightly fuller Zimmer. As the ambient music of rapid bass lines played, there was static, spirals and all sorts of weird visuals on the monitors. If I had more of an understanding of how this sort of thing is done (and I will start looking into it), I probably would be more engaged in it. It is however a nice calming start to the night and the installations and the visuals were a nice change to see at a show.


Tonight's headliners Laila are made up of Maya on drums and lead vocals and Avishag on guitar and backing vocals. I have seen these girls a few times before and I always enjoy them. They play moody, almost sludgey "shoegaze" music. They start off the set with a slow, heavy hitting intro which builds along with Maya's vocals. From the get go, Maya has a lot of emotion in her voice. From what I can make out from the lyrical subject matter, she tends to sing about love and/or unrequited love. Her feelings show through as she spits her lyrics with every breath. Changing her vocals from dreamy and seducing one moment to sharp and aggressive the next, her vocals match their musical stylings. Avishag's guitar playing has similar dynamics, using her pedals to good effect. Avishag also helps with backup vocals, which are nowhere near on par with those of Maya's; it's better than just standing there doing nothing. It is a little disconcerting that the two girls are a fair distance apart on, which is really just the floorspace. It's normally nicer to see a band a little bit closer knit, but musically the girls still manage to keep it together.
Having been a singing drummer myself, I can say first hand that it's not all that easy. If you're doing too much complicated drumming, it can make you run out of breath and disrupt your singing. If you're concentrating too much on the singing, you can get distracted from your drumming. Maya manages to play simple enough yet still effective drum patterns that not only help accentuate Maya's meaningful lyrics, it also frees her up to sing melodically. Some of the songs nearer the end have an almost indie feel with "ooohs" and "wooohs", which in this case I found quite endearing.
Throughout the set, the monitors which were set up help add a bit of atmosphere and theatrics with varying visuals such as cowboys, trains, fish and space. Whether these visuals actually had any real purpose...probably not, but this is expected at a Zimmer show. The barmy lot! During a more frantic part of the set, the monitors flash rapidly, adding to the intensity of their playing. That I found impressive. At the very end of the show, the girls swap roles and end the show with a more heavy, dirge-like piece. It's always good to see band members' expanded talents.
Moving from dreamy, low-fi rock to more harsh and heavy styles, Laila are captivating enough to keep your head a-boppin' and you toes a-tappin'.

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