The Barby Club.
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
The Barby club is somewhat industrial, generally associated with alternative and indie culture. But this evening, flowers and picture frames litter the stage and equipment, implying that tonight is different from all other nights. (Well, spring is coming, after all.)
Jane Bordeaux opens with the appropriately named “Kmo Bahatchala” (“As in the Beginning”). It’s a cutesy country-pop track, dripping with sweet harmonies and a contemporary hippie vibe that evokes both Nashville and Paris, a blueprint for what’s to follow.
Only one song in, singer Doron Talmon introduces the band, which doesn’t help the momentum, although her comment about their hirsuteness amuses – it is 2018 Tel Aviv after all. She mentions that they met at the Rimon School of Music.
“Ma’agalim” (“Circles”) starts with sparse acoustic guitar, but never really explodes. The lyrics work on several levels, irreverent yet deep.
Next, “Whisky,” with its earnest storytelling, turns into a sing-along as the crowd’s enthusiasm grows, Talmon’s voice floating above the simple instrumentation.
We enter hoedown territory with “Saba” (“Grandpa”), whose tempo and key changes are relentless, as if Dolly Parton were to join Blind Melon. Again, Talmon’s lyrics deal with a heavy subject in a light-hearted manner, as she sweetly sings that “maybe death is not such a disaster.” The subversive contrast is both moving and impressive.
The venue lives up to its rocking reputation, Yoav Arbel’s bass drum dominating, Mati Gilad’s amplified acoustic bass powerful if lacking nuance. Talmon’s delicate vocals disappear a little in the mix.
The mood cools with “Ma Shehashuv” (“What’s Important”), the band leaving room to let Talmon’s gut-wrenching “My heart is broken inside, now it will always be cold” reverberate.
However, as if they don’t want to make us sad, “Eich Efshar Shelo” (“How Can It Not Be”) comes next. The crowd sings along, shy, polite and reticent, reflecting Talmon’s poise and ethereal demeanor.
Rotem Bar-Or from alt-country outfit theAngelcy and violinist Avner Kelmer join the party for the next few songs, providing a welcome change of dynamics.
Out of nowhere, a cover of “Sister Golden Hair” by America, featuring Arbel singing and drumming, is the undisputed highlight. Early Eagles and CSNY vibes abound; close your eyes and you’re in ‘60s San Francisco.
Lastly, a cover of “All You Need Is Love,” and we’re a bit loved-out. The band take turns to sing, then it develops into a crowd-participation competition, first by girl/boy, then by location in the venue.
The encore begins with Bar-Or’s return for a sensitive duet on “Giant Heart.” The full band then runs through “Lonesome Town” and “Lo Pashut Li (“Not Simple For Me”), possibly an introspection too many. Talmor reads from an endless list of thanks, like at the Oscars.
No doubt the crowd went home happy, yet the material has a subtlety that would suit a more intimate setting. There’s enough here to enjoy on many levels, but a more dynamic approach might make the memories last longer.