Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Live Review: Not On Tour/Zaga Zaga/Are We Dead? @ HaMartef, Haifa [18th March 2016]

For what I'm pretty sure is the first time ever, I come to HaMartef (The Basement) in Haifa to check out new band Are We Dead? as well as Punkalovich favourites Zaga Zaga and Not On Tour

Are We Dead?

Are We Dead? are a new Haifa/North based hardcore band. Mixing metallic riffs with hardcore vocals, Are We Dead? manage to warm up the evening with a lot of the street punks going nuts. Whether these guys are actually into the music or just drunk out of their minds is hard to tell, but by my experience of street punks, it's more likely the latter. 
 Although this style of hardcore might not be for everyone, the moments where they play "beatdowns" do get me pumped. I also like the fact that the band is made up of people from other music backgrounds besides hardcore. Bassist Artem seems to come from a more metal background yet plays like a jazz bassist; lots of fingers and not a pick in sight. I'm normally not a fan of too much fret-work but it was fun to watch. 
 Are Are We Dead? the best new thing in hardcore, probably not. However, for what it was, parts had me smiling and the atmosphere over all was fun.


Zaga Zaga

I'm not entirely sure how many times I can write about Zaga Zaga. I certainly can't really say anything new, despite them having new material. It's not that all their songs sound the same, but they are all just crazy, aggressive and fun. Same goes for the performance.

  Zaga Zaga might still be an acquired taste, as some of the heckling mimicry of their shouting vocals proves, but there are those who are into it or are at least dancing like loons regardless. With a new album in the works, I hope there's a lot more great new songs to help Zaga Zaga make a name for themselves in the mathcore/post-hardcore world.


Not On Tour

Although Useless ID still remain the most internationally known punk band to come out of Israel, the likes of Kids Insane and tonight's headliners, Not On Tour, are closely following behind. Before they head back to Europe once again for Groezrock and after that join A Wilhelm Scream and Strung Out in Japan, Not On Tour have headed up to Haifa with a surprise new addition to the band.

In the same way as for Zaga Zaga, I'm sort of running out of new things to say about the female fronted skater punk band. Sima's voice is somehow always precisely as you hear it on record, the backing vocals are always somehow pitch perfect and not too overpowering and the musicianship over all is pretty faultless. Even with surprise new replacement guitarist, Matan (Save It), there is no drop in quality at all. I think suddenly seeing a different guitarist was a bit of a shock for some at first, but that seems to disappear as soon as they start up and the songs get under way. Matan might not right in our faces as of yet, but he certainly doesn't slip up or seem out of place.
Although there's also a good number of Tel Aviv people up here tonight, it's the unfamiliar Haifa faces that are really having a ball to the band's special breed of 7 Seconds meets The Vandals style punk rock. As usual, it's songs from the likes of All This Time and the N.O.T On Tour EP that get the best reception, closely followed by tracks off the new record. As I look around, I suddenly realise that the place has got pretty packed. Both street punks, hardcore kids and metal heads alike are dancing and singing along.

Although the whole show was pretty fun itself, including a surprising and impressive version of The Beatles' Oh Darling after their own super popular song, Darling, their encore makes my night. Not only do they play one of my favourite old track of theirs, Silly Thoughts, but Eyal of Are We Dead? takes on drum duties while someone (for some reason, I can't remember who) sings along with Sima. I was going pretty crazy myself, but could see that there were a few blank faces on those who weren't familiar with the song. Dudes, it was their first music video! It was the first one I heard from them. It's a necessary song to know!

Not On Tour are one of those bands who are gaining success for the right reasons. Having a female singer might be considered a selling point, but it by no means the main point of their success. Having a voice like that of Sima's definitely gives them an advantage, but it's the quickness and general uplifting vibes of the songs, even the serious ones, that strikes a chord with people, including me.


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