Concert Review: Asaf Avidan takes it home to Nachlaot

Before the show it was hard to imagine a bona fide rock concert taking place right there, in the living room, and during the show it seemed the most natural thing in the world.

ASAF AVIDAN 311 (photo credit: Yistaca Shoshan)
(photo credit: Yistaca Shoshan)
Back in the Seventies there was an advertising drive by beer companies across Britain, to get people to consume beer at home and not only in the pubs. I recall beer being sold in an enormous 7-pint barrel-shaped can called, naturally enough, a Party Seven. While Maccabi doesn’t sell beer in such large containers there was an abundance of the beverage on tap at a home in Jerusalem’s quaint Nachlaot neighborhood earlier this week, at the latest installment of the Maccabi Home Tour series.
Anyone familiar with Nachlaot, if they thought about it in musical terms at all, might possibly consider the likes of klezmer or hassidic music being played there. But to bring a rock band with the profile, not to say amp output, of Asaf Avidan and the Mojos, to perform in the living room of a Nachlaot home sounds incongruous if not downright surreal. In the event, Sunday’s gig by Avidan and the band was an entertaining and heartwarming experience, enjoyed by one and all of the 40 or so invited members of the audience.
And if anyone thought that Avidan was going to go the gentle unplugged route, they were swiftly disillusioned. Although he kicked off the show with a couple of quieter numbers, with only his acoustic guitar for company, things got far noisier when the Mojos joined in and it was all system go from then on in.
The music and the atmosphere – at once intimate and powerful – had everyone dancing and jumping within minutes of the start of the show. The soundman had done his homework, although the upright piano provided by the hosts sounded like the kind of instrument you’d find in a saloon in some Wild West shanty town of the late 19th century. Occasional pianist Avidan proved to be up to the task, and the audience were appreciative of his fingerwork on the slightly tarnished keys.
One of the hosts – the three-story house is home to half a dozen, presumably wellheeled, students – Vania Heiman got to sit in for one of the numbers on guitar, while another member of the 20-something audience contributed well-intentioned though not exactly polished vocals to another song.
Both received rapturous applause.
After the show bassist Ran Nir observed that, in terms of ambiance and attendance, the show was similar to the previous gigs in Ramat Hasharon and Ramat Gan, although admitting that there hadn’t been quite so many kippa wearers there as at the Jerusalem show.
Before the show, microphones and speakers notwithstanding, it was hard to imagine a bona fide rock concert taking place right there, in the living room, and during the show it seemed the most natural thing in the world. Then, suddenly, it was all over.
There were no encores and the audience gradually drifted outside and back to the crisp night air and the quiet narrow streets of Nachlaot.
More details about the Maccabi Home Tour series, as well as clips of the shows, are available at