Thursday, 2 February 2017

Live Review: Atari Teenage Riot + support @ Gagarin, Tel Aviv [29th December 2016]

Atari Teenage Riot
Mechonat Hereg
Eternal Struggle
Soleil Bone

Although bands who plan to come to Israel often get bombarded with negativity by anti-Israel activists and the like, never was there more of it from within the country itself than when self proclaimed anti-fascists and fans of Israel, Atari Teenage Riot (ATR), announced their Tel Aviv concert. Many people were confused at how anti-fascists can love Israel and thus saw the band as hypocritical. At least this is how it came across online. It turns out that more people were just a bit annoyed that such an underground (albeit highly influential and respected) act as these German originators of the digital hardcore sound were playing such an expensive show. However, that hasn't stop most of the people who have come out tonight, both to see ATR and the interestingly mixed local support. 

Soleil Bone

  Unfortunately, I arrived a little late and missed opening act, Nute, but did arrive in time to check out the weirdness that is Soleil Bone (pronounced Bo-nay, I believe). Noise/experimental music has never been my favourite genre. I like it when it has a lot of intensity, passion and a even a hint of structure. Soleil Bone are more along the "let's just play and see what happens" method of noise. With a drummer (initially masked) playing quite sparsely, a guitarist creating a lot of fuzz and distortion, a guy on a controls making random noises and a vocalist growling the majority of the time, it's certainly an interesting support act but hardly anything breathtaking. It reminds me of a band made up of old guys I saw a few times in Derby, who I believe were called God Has Tits. They basically just got on stage and had a go at instruments. I think that Soleil Bone know how to play... but decide to go down a less musical path.


Eternal Struggle

I might need to stop reviewing these guys soon as I don't really have anything new to say. Among all the more metalcore bands and hardcore punk bands in the county, Eternal Struggle bring that crushing NY-style hardcore that I've always loved. They're pretty damn lucky to be put on this line-up. It might not make sense to many people having a Hatebreed/Born From Pain/Terror style band at a show like this but variety is the spice of life! Seeing as ATR have their ties to punk and hardcore, it's a nice idea to have at least one punk or hardcore band supporting. Being made up of drum n bass lovers and ATR fans, Eternal Struggle maybe seemed like the most logical choice (also, their manager organised the event but shhh!).

Although Eternal Struggle get a really good crowd at their own shows, the head count isn't quite the same tonight because of this particular event's demographic. However, their mosh parts and beatdowns get a few people running around and a fair bit of hair banging. It's a shame they didn't do their usual cover of Sick Of It All's Take The Night Off but maybe it is about time they stuck with the strength of their original material. Hardcore dancing still isn't quite the done thing out in these parts but they would totally get that sort of action Stateside and in Europe.


Mechonat Hereg

When this show was initially announced, there was no doubt in my mind that Mechonat Hereg (Killing Machine) were going to support. I don't know much about them and only caught them live briefly before but they are essentially the Israeli Atari Teenage Riot. The blueprint is essentially the same; fast breakbeats, noises and harsh punk-like male/female vocals. Difference between the two acts is that ATR actually have structured songs. Mechonat Hereg are more of a rave band for low-key shows. They've got good energy and are the only people doing this sort of thing in the country (as far as i'm aware). Unfortunately, the music keeps randomly dropping out (some form of technical issue) which dampens the atmosphere a little and is generally a tad disappointing. The vocals and delivery are also nothing special, although vocalist Yam has an interestingly super high-pitched voice which reminds me a little of Manda Rin from Scottish electro-Brit pop trio Bis. Technically, that's a good thing as I loved Bis but I can imagine it's not for everyone.


Atari Teenage Riot

As more people fill up the Gagarin dance floor, everyone's anticipating the main event. I, personally, have always respected Atari Teenage Riot as I liked how they mixed electronic music with the intensity of punk. This especially came through in a live clip I saw of them from Reading Festival '99. Although I was actually at that festival as a 13 year old (my first ever big show), I didn't go the day they played but managed to catch it on TV. With the old line up including the late Carl Crack and former co-singer Hanin Elias, it was simply a high octane performance full of full throttle beats, screaming and buckets of sweat. I know that the line-up has since changed but I have been hoping for that same kind of experience.

As the lights dim, we faintly see Zan Lyons, a sometime member of ATR, step behind the table of laptops, controls and samplers. He's closely followed by man of the night, Alec Empire, the main founder of the group and poster boy for the fast paced, noisy and hyper digital hardcore sound. Alec is encouraging the crowd from the start, raising his clenched fists in the air as the venue fills with pulsating rhythms and noises and Zan operates visuals.

During the set, Alec moves to the foreground to shout and jump around with partner-in-crime, Nic Endo. Although it is odd to see her without her iconic painted Japanese symbol on the side of her face, Nic still has an amazing presence as she moves around the stage in an almost assertive fashion. Likewise, Alec has the complete attention of the crowd and they have his, as he locks eyes with everyone while spitting his lyrics of revolution and anarchy.

Many of the ATR fans here tonight have most likely come because of the band's earlier work. Some of the newer songs from the 2014's Reset album, such as J1M1 and the untypical Modern Liars with its strangely melodic and pop-like chorus, do not fare too well at the start of the set. However, it's actually album track Transducer's heavy thumping beat that initially gets the crowd uniting and thrusting themselves around like a wave. 
The more classic tracks like Revolution Action, Into The Death and No Remorse (I Wanna Die), the latter of which contains a Slayer sample, get the biggest reception from the crowd due to being the more energetic and punk/metal influenced.

Although there are those out there who may not be happy with the change of line-up, it does not seem to have affected ATR's live performance. Their set may contain newer songs that break away from the sound many fans know and love but the high energy and dedicated performance that I remember seeing on TV all those years ago is still there. Alec's personal love for Israel may have definitely encouraged his enthusiasm but I'm pretty sure him and Nic have that same passion everywhere they go. 

All photos by Adam Oscar

No comments:

Post a Comment