Saturday, 26 March 2016

Live Review: Kids Insane/Spit/Azor @ Levontin 7, Tel Aviv [3rd March 2016]

With the smaller, more punk venues closing down, more shows have been cropping up at Levontin 7. Tonight sees the return of Kids Insane, with their new guitarist, with support from punk supergroup SPIT and the strange choice of rock band Azor.


Poor Azor! They've been through the wars. With both drummers and bass players coming and going, guitarist and vocalist Yuval has had a lot on his shoulders to make sure his songs still get heard. Tonight is the first show for new bassist Ofer. Out of all previous bassists, he is the most metal. He alights the stage with a raised fist and plays the entire set with the same posture and charisma of a thrash bassist. He brings along that crowd encouragement that you see at metal shows, such as the "hey" fist pumping and mouthing the words. He even gets down amongst the crowd. He's definitely done this all before and shows no hints of nervousness.

Although musically not being totally in keeping with the rest of the night ahead, Azor's mixture of progressive hard rock and stoner seems to be causing a stir amongst the crowd. Although I've witnessed them have good reactions before, I don't think I've ever seen this much dancing at their shows. It could be that most of those dancing are close friends of the band, but it did encourage others around to join in, creating quite an electric atmosphere all round.
Azor's material does still sometimes come off as dated, reminiscent of Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin, but the creative drumming from Alon makes things a whole lot more interesting. As well as purposely showing off on the fittingly titled The Drummer Is Crazy, High Temp Flight's opening groove displays his talent from the very start of the set.
They may not play my favourite track from the High Tempo Flight album, Natasha, but Port City Girl comes close and has me singing along to as much as I can remember of the song. They also play a new song entitled Muse which does not quite sound like the band of the same name.
Yuval still gives it all he has on stage; his solos get better every time. Despite me being sceptical of the new bassist being "too metal" for this band, Yuval and Ofer seem to have gelled really quickly. Hopefully, this lineup will stick and there will be more shows as fun to watch as this.



Consisting of Useless ID bassist/frontman Yotam Ben Horin on guitar, his brother Nadav on vocals (Sweatshop Boys/Mondo Gecko/Shifka Chiefs etc.), Kids Insane frontman Corey Swift on drums (also drummer for Mondo Gecko/Backliners/Tamutamen) and Kids Insane bassist Nadav Rotem on..well..bass, SPIT seems to have been born to bring back the 80s/90s hardcore punk of minute long songs you can skate and/or smash windows to.
 As the band basically play their 18 track debut album, Poison In Your Head, in its entirety, there is not quite as much of a reception dance-wise as there was for Azor. There might not be as many people familiar with the band or the record, but those who are sing along and raise their fists to the likes of To The Bones, R.A.M.B.O, Poison In Your Head and Restart. However, there is a good and obvious reason for the lack of movement; everyone is so engrossed in the spectacle that is Nadav Ben Horin that all you can do is stand and stare in wonder. With the others also playing with intense faces and joining in on vocals, the band as a whole give the performance every hardcore punk band should give.
 As the band zoom through all their quick-fire numbers, the set comes to a close with Flag II. As their longest, slowest and grooviest song, it is the perfect closer and gives Nadav more room to go absolutely bat shit crazy as he exclaims "I SPIT ON YOUR FLAG!". Nadav is known for his eccentric behaviour on stage, almost always ending half naked somehow. Tonight, he goes a little bit further, as he crawls into the "dressing room" area through the hatch, microphone still in hand, and tries to make his way out the dressing room door into the crowd. Unfortunately, the cable isn't long enough, so he returns with his trusty ladder and towers amongst the crowd to eventually dive on top of them for one final crowd surf.
  SPIT need to get out into the States and Europe and I'm pretty sure they will gain a much wider fanbase than they already do. It is pure hardcore punk that's well written, meaningful and still packs a mean punch.


Kids Insane

Both Azor and SPIT seem to have warmed the crowd up nicely as now everyone is up front for Kids Insane. As I write this, I admit that my memory of this is a bit hazy. This is one of those times where I actually got quite involved, doing a bit of dancing and shouting along. However, I can still say that they were totally on form, and even more so with Ofek from DUST now on guitar duties, who also did some great back up vocals.
  As always, the "classic" Kids Insane tracks get a great reception, with fans shouting along and a good amount of pushing and some actual hardcore dancing here and there. Tracks like Story Of A Lonely Street, Frustrated, Don't Need This (personal favourite) and Spread It All Over get the biggest receptions, as well as Same Shit, Different Scene and Love creating some sing alongs.
 With a new album almost ready to drop, the band play some brand new songs, such as set opener Black Burnt, Varicose, Slave and Overthinking. These don't seem to sit well with everyone here tonight but I am personally impressed. Some people simply don't like change and the new material is considerably different to their earlier work. Although Kids Insane may have always had The Bronx in mind as an influence and may have also had a similar "swagger" at times, frontman Corey has really moved his vocals into rock 'n' roll territory, making the influence more apparent. They also seem to have written a few more refrains and hooks which did have some people already repeating and singing along to but could become even more popular at future shows. I am definitely eager to hear and review the new album (hint, hint) as it seems even more up my street than some of their other more recent work. It'll also be interesting to see how different it is in general to their previous records.  


All photos by David "Doh Doh" Rosen

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