Friday, 9 January 2015

Live Review: Lailah and Document @ Ozenbar, Tel Aviv [2nd January 2015]

Tonight, I bring myself to one of Tel Aviv's more well known music venues, the Ozenbar. I used to come here quite a fair bit in the first year or so of moving to Tel Aviv, but there hasn't really been many shows of interest here in quite some time. This evening sees a show put on by club night/line/whatever it is.. Reflektor featuring previously reviewed moody duo Laila and post-punk band Document.


  As regular readers may know, I already like Laila. I like that there's a singing drummer, the dreaminess of the guitars and, at times, the catchiness of their choruses. Especially tonight, with a shorter set than the headlined show at the Zimmer that I previously reviewed, everything seems more structured. Drummer Maya and guitarist Avishag play physically closer together which helps them to stay even more in time and also helps us as viewers see them more as a team. Laila's style of what I would consider "heavy shoegaze", due to its mixture of dreamy distorted guitars (Avishag), slow pounding drumming and heartfelt belted-out vocals (Maya), does not seem to have gotten that many people at tonight's show all that "pumped up". However, a crowd did form and some Laila virgins may have just found themselves a new band to get into. If they are anything like me, they have probably also gone away with the chorus "We've gone far and landed on Mars" swimming around in their heads.
Girls...when are we going to get some form of record from you two?! I'm sure I'm not the only one eagerly awaiting that.


  Last band of the night before the Reflektor party is Document. I actually heard the band name in passing recently and was then contacted by frontman Nir directly after he discovered the blog. Despite classing themselves as post-punk, the vibe I got from the tracks and videos I checked out prior to the show was more new wave/electro indie. I guess there's a fine line...
  As the band open their set, we get dark and brooding guitars being played on top of electro beats. It seems pleasant enough, but I can already say that both Nir's vocals and the overall energy of the band could be stronger. Nir seems a little out of tune at times. There can be several reasons for this; the monitors may not be loud enough for him, he might already have a bit of a bad throat today or it could have been purposely out of tune. Either way, was a little off putting, personally. According to the setlist, the song is either called New or is a brand new song they've been working on and not named yet. If it's the case of the latter, that could be another reason why the vocals were not spot on. The band in general also seem quite static, but that can be considered normal for this sort of style.

Photo by: Nastya Levin
  Like the first song, second song "Made A Mess" is also dark with some beautiful jangly guitars (Jude and Yaniv), a solid bassline (Barack) and some ridiculously well played electro beats (Amir). To be honest, Amir's drumming is so good that it became a bit of a focus for me. The following songs Weeks and Can't Decide expose Document's more post-punk side. Weeks, the band's first song of the set to come off of their Reset Your Mind EP, reminds me of bands like Wire and Magazine. It's quite an upbeat and intense song yet I'm still not really getting that in the performance. Nir sings well but there is no real expression. The rest of the band, apart from the drummer, still remain pretty static. Can't Decide has some very nice harmonies, both vocally and instrumentally. It is on this track that the Flaming Lips quality of Nir's vocals shine through. It works with their style of music and does not come off as too much of a copycat. Songs Idiot and On The Wall are both nice, the latter especially having some interestingly menacing sounding verses and a bouncy chorus. Last two songs of the set, Where You Are and Settle Down are both off the EP. Where You Are has a strong Cure-meets-Flaming Lips sounds. Nice and upbeat with just the right amount of post-punk. The song gets a few people dancing but I still can't help but feel that if the band itself, especially Nir as frontman, was more physically active then that would have encouraged the crowd to dance more. Drummer Amir still remains the most enthusiastic and even moving the most...and he's sitting down! Final song Settle Down is also upbeat and quite a rocking number. The vocal melody at times is quite reminiscent of Nirvana's In Bloom but the song itself still sticks to the band's post-punk and electro indie ethic.   
  The band itself is tight and I can't really fault their musicianship. The songs themselves are also well written and the band has potential to really make a name for themselves in the post-punk/indie world. Based on their performance, they are not the most fun or interesting bands I've ever watched. I don't know if this was a one-off and they were all feeling a bit lethargic but even Nir's interaction with the crowd, talking about the EP and about the work they are doing on the album, all seems a bit lacklustre. If the band themselves just had a little bit more vitality in their performance, then they could be competing with the big names.

No comments:

Post a Comment