Israeli classic rock preferences tend more toward the Euro-opera-pop of Queen and Abba than the art-folk of The Grateful Dead. Even Israeli psychedelia aficionados seem more into the detached space-outs of Pink Floyd than Jerry Garcia's laid-back West Coast proto-jam band noodling. But with sizable portions of our nation's population originating from the American counter-culture and newly religious baby-boomer sectors, Dead fandom is certainly not unheard of. These groups will certainly be prominent at tomorrow night's Deadheads Unite tribute concert taking place at Jerusalem's Yellow Submarine club, an important event for local Dead fans.
It's no wonder that the planners and performers at Deadheads Unite are almost all heavily involved in Jewish music. Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach's formative stomping ground was the same San Francisco hippie community that formed Jerry Garcia's acid-soaked jam scene back in the early Sixties, so it's fitting that the post-Carlebach scene's finest are at the helm of Saturday night's Jerry-fest.
The Grateful Dead and its alumni have continued to perform around the world in recent years under a variety of incarnations, monikers and side projects, but none has officially been called The Grateful Dead since Jerry's passing 12 years ago this weekend, while the Anglo-Israeli Carlebach scene has only gained momentum since his passing. But thankfully, the leaders of the Carlebach faithful are not ashamed to give tribute to their other rebbe - Jerry Garcia.
N Safeq frontman and former Carlebach session man Aryeh Naftaly is serving as musical director of the show, which is being organized by Jonty Zwebner's Tightrope Productions - the same outfit that organizes annual Jewish jamming events like Passover's Dead Sea Festival and Succot's Beit Shemesh Festival. Naftaly, who resides in Carlebach's Moshav Mevo Modiim, has put together an all-star house band that includes Reva L'Sheva members Hanan Elias (keyboards) and Danny Roth (percussion), Moshav Band rhythm man Duvid Swirsky and Yood axe-man Eliezer "Lazer Lloyd" Blumen. Joining the band for guest jams are Eden Mi Qedem's Shmuel Nelson and Reva L'Sheva frontman Yehudah Katz.
Deadheads Unite takes place at the Yellow Submarine, Rehov Harekhavim 13 in Jerusalem, this Saturday night, with doors opening at 9:30 p.m. Tickets, which cost NIS 50-60, can be reserved at (02) 679-4040.