Saturday, 12 September 2015

Live Review: Not On Tour/ Yotam Ben Horin @ Koro, Tel Aviv [27th August 2015]

   My God, it's been a while! Not On Tour have, ironically, been on tour quite a lot as of late in honour of latest album, Bad Habits (see review). The rise in popularity has seen them touring Europe, playing headline shows, gaining support slots for big bands and playing some great festival line-ups. Tonight sees the female led pop punkers back on home soil. Along for the ride, is the legend that is Yotam Ben Horin, who is still stripping things down to basics playing an acoustic set.

Yotam Ben Horin

  After his return to the US trying out his acoustic stuff on the road, Useless ID frontman, Yotam Ben Horin, returned to Israel a while back and has basically been playing solo shows non-stop, as well as a few shows with his more hardcore band, SPIT.
  He starts off tonights proceedings playing in front of the stage as everyone else stands around in a semi circle; standard. Whereas one of the last shows of his that I reviewed mostly consisted of slow ballads, tonight Yotam plays some Useless ID classics, like the uplifting Bring Me Down, the beautiful Symptoms and the rocking sing-along Blood Pressure, as well as new solo tracks and possible new Useless ID tunes, such as the catchy California Sounds and the highly political State Is Burning. Yotam is a captivating performer and it is certainly a great warm up set, with people singing along and smiling, but I'm sure everyone is eagerly awaiting Useless ID's return to the stage.


Not On Tour

  After a brief break in proceedings, local legends, Not On Tour, finally take the stage and the Koro quickly starts to fill up as people hear the all familiar sounds of a band warming up. With enough people in the room, the band tease us with the intro to Hanged, Drawn and Quartered by friends Kids Insane. The intense build-up of said intro then leads into I Wanna Be Like You (not a jungle book cover), where front woman Sima sweetly greets us over the extended intro. The song gets everybody singing along from the start. The band, as always, is on top form, with Sima's voice cutting through the air like a knife and Valer (guitar), Nir (bass) and Gutzy (drums) putting their hearts and souls into it.
   Due to being the first "home show" in quite some time, tonight's set is very long, as I can tell by looking at the setlist by Nir's feet. As the band rock out through their set, we get treated to an array of songs from the band's back catalogue, including a good percentage of new songs from Bad Habits. Opening act, Yotam, joins the band on stage for the first new song of tonight, No Communication. The thrashy, shouty number makes the place erupt as the band plays super fast and the two vocalists alternately spit politically tinged venom. Bad Habits is still a bit new to some people, so only a few have forced themselves to learn the lyrics and join in, but songs such as Sick Of This Mess, Different Kind Of Weather and Waiting In Line get a great response from the crowd. Songs like Write It Down and Gut Feeling might not have everyone chucking their weight around and falling over the place, but those who aren't afraid to have a little bit of a boogie.
    The material that gets the most response tonight are songs off of the band's N.O.T On Tour EP and All This Time album. The poppy sing-alongs, such as Just Forget It, All This Time, Fine and Did You Get Enough get everyone joining in and going a bit crazy on the dance floor. During Did You Get Enough, a guy standing next to me down the front actually loses his glasses due to the crowd's utter force. Upon seeing the aforementioned crowd member and myself eagerly searching on the floor, the band kindly stop and ask for all of us to help. As people get their phone lights out to search underneath and by the front of the stage, we hear some voices behind us. The glasses had somehow flown backwards about a meter to where some people were standing underneath the AC. Now that's skill!
  The now internationally covered to buggery, Darling, still gets the same enthusiastic reception as always, with almost the entire crowd pushing forward to have the voices picked up on Sima's mic. My personal favourite, Journey To The Ocean, is one of those songs that can make me break shit! This doesn't always go down too well with the local Tel Aviv crowd who are not too familiar with the "ninja" style of dancing, so tonight I contain myself to the best of my ability while still having to let out my aggression with a few air punches.

 Besides Yotam, local legend, former You're Next front man and founder of the You're Next Records distro, Smiley, takes the stage, for what seems like the first time in years, to join the band on one of their heaviest tracks to date, Dirty Envelopes. He may not have sung it in a while, but the intensity in his voice is still their as he shouts "I WON'T PARTICIPATE IN YOUR DECAPITATION!" 
    As well as this cameo, the band's punk take on the Grease classic You're The One That I Want and hearing songs from the self titled album are other personal highlights from tonight's performance. The musical cover has almost everyone around singing along and dancing, whether they intended to or not. Some of the early songs haven't really been played in a while. In addition to show staples such as the amazingly angry OK, What Now? and the brilliantly stupid/stupidly brilliant crowd pleaser, Don't Touch My Stuff, the band also play the punchy Baby You Such A Ho followed by the high octane Split The Earth. As with Journey To The Ocean, these songs make me explode, zooming through people without a care in the world. To those I may have bumped a little too hard, I'm sorry (not sorry.) It may be because everyone else was just a blur to me, but I didn't really see that many other people singing along or moving to these songs. Either they're not into the old stuff so much or just haven't listened to it. 
   After ending the main part of the set with other sing-along favourite, Oded, the band then starts an encore with the mental Silly Thoughts, the first song and video of theirs I ever heard/saw, which made me grin like a loon and join Sima on "DON'T STOP THINKING! USE YOUR HEAD!" This was followed by the bouncy titular track off the new album, Bad Habits, True Illness, with its infectious "Cover your ears with glue and stick to the plan" ending, and last song of the night, 90% Out.  

    They play a little something for everyone tonight and I don't think anyone is disappointed. There are no major stuff-ups, not notes out of place and everything basically sounds as it does on record. The new songs will take a little getting used to but there's some crowd pleasers in there. I would personally love to hear more of the debut, some time, but considering this was the band's first show here since the official release of Bad Habits, it's good that they managed to squeeze some oldies in. Although not totally into the latest record, Not On Tour will never get boring live and are a must-see if they ever end up in a town near you.

All photos courtesy of Beeran Production's video footage.


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