Friday, 24 July 2015

Live Review: DANGERS/City Rats/Zaga Zaga @ Koro, Tel Aviv [18th July 2015]

   While speaking to some of the members of Zaga Zaga a while back, the name Dangers got mentioned during a discussion of great bands to check out. I took their advice and checked them out. Although crazier than what I normally like, they had some great, raw hardcore energy which impressed. Thing is, I put them on the back burner for a while, never thinking I'd hear of them again. Then, lo and behold, it turns out they've booked themselves a mini Israel tour. This had to be witnessed.

Zaga Zaga

   First band tonight, unsurprisingly, is Koro's resident band (practically), Zaga Zaga. This band are just working nonstop until everyone in the world has heard their frantic and technical noise punk/hardcore/whatever one wishes to call it. Taking on influences from the likes of Charles Bronson, SPAZZ and even The Locust, Zaga Zaga's style might not be everyone's cup of tea (yes, I'm British and I use that analogy) but the live shows are still just full of that energy every band should have. Every member is moving and shouting along and they are just one tight (mental) unit.
   Like myself, I think more people are beginning to familiarise themselves with the band's material, both from their EP and their split with the amazing Joliette. The band also have a great sense of fun, as proven by the teasing of what sounded like a Title Fight song right at the start of the show. As the band sweat through their set, there are people up the front singing along and getting into a bit of a frenzy. Set closer, Industrial Estate, has been my favourite for a while due to it's groovy breakdown from the middle of the song onwards, which always makes me go bat-shit bonkers.


City Rats

   Aaaah City Rats. The epitome of Israeli street punk. Saying that, there's a very fine line between Israeli street punk and Russian street punk, seeing as the scene out here is quite Russian-dominant. When it comes to talking about long running punk bands in Israel, City Rats' name will always come up alongside Pussy Shel Lucy and Mahleket Hanikot Shotrim.

   After Zaga Zaga, I went to get some cash to buy merch and got back as City Rats had pretty much just begun. It seemed as though quite a lot of didn't realise they had started and were starting to flow in. The pit was still already underway, with drunk punks both young and old running around, convulsing by the mere sound of a D-beat. There's one nutter here tonight who started licking things at one point. Not entirely sure how that came about, but he was licking the PA and monitors amidst his dancing as if it was perfectly normal. Well, this is a punk show; there is neither no normal or abnormal. Music makes you do things, sometimes without thinking or any logic behind it. That's the beauty and magic of it.
   City Rats definitely take their sound from early crust/hardcore punk bands like GBH, Conflict and The Exploited. The musicianship is a cut above the rest where this kind of punk is concerned. The guitarists have some great riffs between them and even the vocals are fairly coherent. I think the band definitely made a good move taking on Gutzy (Not On Tour/BEST) for drumming duties. Not only has he got the D-beat down, but he puts some other interesting things in there too. In the song 2012, I hear something a little out of the ordinary and look over to find Gutzy playing the hi hat and floor tom with the traditional crossed arm technique. This turns out to be his adaptation of the double kick sound, which actually comes out sounding and looking so much more impressive.

  City Rats are certainly fun and punk to the bone. The Hebrew/Russian lyrics don't always sit with me but the music kicks arse, nevertheless.



    So here's the main point of the evening. LA's DANGERS have got themselves quite a crowd to entertain tonight, and quite a mixed one. We've got the crowd who came down primarily for City Rats, we've got those who generally know and love DANGERS and then we have those who had nothing else to do on a Saturday night.
   The band starts things off with some nice and humorous introductions from frontman Al and guitarist Justin leading into We Broke The PA; possibly one of the best opening numbers you could ever have. It's actually the conversational lyrics of things like "Hello, How have you been?" which make it a perfect introduction. In addition, the explosive groove gets everybody piling on one another almost immediately.
   The pile-ons are pretty much non-stop throughout the show. Not only are those more familiar with DANGERS' work shouting along and grabbing the mic to songs such as the thought provoking Opposable and the insightful Half Brother, All Cop but also some DANGERS virgins find themselves singing along to some of the more coherent refrains in songs. One of the new unrecorded songs, Kiss With Spit, got me shouting the title and Al even grabbed my head and we practically shouted at one another. (See evidence below.) 

   Although their style could be considered pissed off hardcore, they're not one of those bands whose songs all sound the same. A majority go along the disjointed hardcore vein, but then there's songs like I'll Clap When I'm Impressed, the most metallic song in their repertoire, and Five O'Clock Shadows at the Edge of the Western World, one of the most (if not the only) diverse song of theirs, with its mixture of 60s style guitars, sexy grooves and dynamic changes. Because of this, I am pretty sure that everyone here tonight has heard something that they really dig. Along with the sea of bodies down at the front, almost everyone in the place is nodding their heads and grinning from ear to ear; I sure know I was.

    DANGERS definitely have that traditional spirit of hardcore that I like, sharing wisdom and social/political commentary with the crowd between songs. Their lightheartedness and humorous jibes help it all not come off too preachy but just as a gateway into how they think. The whole band (including Anthony on drums and Tim on bass) play to perfection, although due to Al's charisma and stage presence, I'm sure even they'll admit that they sometimes disappear into the background. There could have been a bit more movement all round.

   Unfortunately, a visit by the police cuts the show a wee bit short, but the fact the crowd cry out for more is a good sign that DANGERS have done their job. I can certainly say that I have gone from being someone who only knew a bit about DANGERS to now being a fan. Got the T-shirt and everyt'ing...


All photos by David "Doh Doh" Rosen

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