Saturday, 21 November 2015

Live Review: Azor, Deaf Chonky, Saint God @ Etzabotz, Tel Aviv [12th November 2015]

What's this? A new place? Where on earth is Etzabotz, you ask? Well, it's a sort of art studio that doubles up as a venue and is conveniently in front of the now defunct Koro. I've popped my head in there a few times before to check out what's going on, but tonight I'm here to see the new line-up for rockers Azor as well as some bands I've never checked out before.

Saint God

   As I walk into Etzabot and say hi to the guys from Azor, really the only people there I recognise, there's some heavy rock being played. As I turn towards the very small stage with darbukas buried underneath it, I see a male duo on stage. The band turns out to be Saint God, made up of two guys from Etzabot itself. With only guitar and drums, they still manage to get a cool sound via the use of effects.
   Shura (vocals/drums) and Tim (guitar) play with the right mixture of tightness and looseness; they are musically competent yet still have the feel of a laid back jam session. Vocals are sometimes a tad inaudible due to the venue's low quality sound, but it's all still very coherent. The music style seems to flip between grunge, shoegaze and even black metal, incorporating blast beats and evil snarls. It's definitely the first of its kind that I've heard before, therefore I'm impressed by Saint God and glad I arrived just in time to see them.

Deaf Chonky

  I like new blood. I love giving new acts a chance and watching the music scene grow. Like with the opening act, I had no idea who Deaf Chonky were before tonight. Another duo, this time two girls, take stage and play a set full of Bikini Kill style rock, experimental musicianship and general weirdness.
   Both girls, Tamar (drums) and Adi (guitar) lend their hands to vocals, which is mostly the sort of shouting associated with riot grrl. Although the girls tackle different styles, it's still pretty minimalistic, which isn't a bad thing.
  Most memorable of the set is Bad Things Could Happen. It goes off at tangents, even touching upon experimental poetry, but always circles back to its simple yet catchy chorus. Another highlight was when drummer Tamar played a bit of harmonica. I'm a sucker for harmonicas, so that made me smile.
   They might not be the next best thing nor the most amazing musicians, but Deaf Chonky do bring something a little different to the table.


  Finally, Azor take the stage. Now remember, folks..I'm an honest guy. I don't do bias and will always say what I really think of a friend's band. As my promo of the band shows (see article), I was genuinely impressed from the start by the stoner/punk rock trio, and with new bassist, Shahar (ex-fourfunzies/Woolly Boy), they are on just as good form, if not better.
   Although Azor played the Koro closing show recently in their original lineup, it was a very short set. It therefore feels as if I haven't seen them for a long time. Tonight, drummer Alon is in his trademark leopard skin (print) leggings, Shahar actually sings back up, which I've never seen him do before, and guitarist/main singer, Yuval, is placed in front of the stage (due to lack of space) and waves around his curly mane as he rocks out.
   It's still not totally straight forward what to label the band. Songs like Port City Girl and Paris (bearing close similarities to the Oasis classic, Cigarettes & Alcohol) are more in the vein of classic rock, whereas Shine In The Dark and Magic World are Black Sabbath influenced stoner. Natasha, written and sung by Alon, is their punkiest track. It is not only my highlight of their set but possibly my favourite song of theirs. It has me singing along and throwing my hands in the air.
  The setup tonight is weird, as they are all quite far apart and god knows how they are able to not see each other and still play so tightly. Yuval does go on stage when possible and Shahar also joins Yuval on the floor in front, so I think that helps and definitely proves them to be a well-oiled unit. 
  Due to his accent, which is natural and unavoidable, Yuval's vocals sometimes sound a bit weird to my ears, nor does he have the most impressive of voices, but what he lacks in that department he makes up for with his high energy and showmanship. Both Alon and Shahar also give it a little something on stage, and the overall remarkable musicianship is great to witness. All masters in their field.
  They definitely get the crowd (of about 7 people) dancing like crazy and cheering for them. It's a shame that this was a poorly turned out show, but they've proven in the past to be able to get a big crowd going and will soon be playing to bigger.

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