Anyone who thought Asaf Avidan might roll over and play dead following the break
up of his destined-for-worldwide-stardom Asaf Avidan and the Mojos better think
Following a three-year contract with Sony that yielded two
excellent albums and name-making tours in North America, Europe and Asia
(chronicled nicely in the new documentary Final Stages
), the 32-year-old Avidan
has gone back to stage one, forming a new band and releasing an album on the
local High Fidelity label that shows him embracing electronic keyboards and
beats, courtesy of Balkan Beat Box’s Tamir Muskat.
At a “tuneup” show of
the new band and album on Saturday night before a packed and adoring crowd at
Zappa Jerusalem, (before the official debut on September 27 at Theater Club in
Tel Aviv and September 28 at the Shoni Amphitheater in Binyamina), Avidan proved
that despite the complexion of the music and instrumentation of his band, he’s
still and engaging, powerful performer who deserves a wide
Handling electric guitar duties himself, Avidan was backed by
cellist/keyboardist Karnii Postal, keyboardist Tom Darom, vocalist/percussionist
Michal Bashiri and drummer Hagai Frishtman.
The three women regularly
provided subtle and haunting vocal counterpoint to Avidan’s trademark
high-pitched wails as he introduced hypnotic songs from the new album like
“Setting Scalpels Free” and the rhythmic single “Love it or Leave
The new material, despite its groove orientation and electronic
backing, came alive onstage with the band displaying a rocking foundation
despite the lack of a bass guitar. Darom’s buzzing keyboards fill any gaps,
providing a broad landscape for Avidan’s inventive guitar lines. When the band
turned to older, well-known material from Avidan’s The Reckoning
, the crowd took
over singing most of the lyrics, to the delight of the front man.
everyone a “Shana Tova,” Avidan left the stage after and hour and a half, his
mojo still definitely intact.