Small venues feature big names

The top-flight entertainment for the fall season includes Jefferson Airplane offshoot Hot Tuna.

Hot Tuna 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Hot Tuna 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It appears that the big outdoor shows featuring an onslaught of international rockers is winding down for the year, except for Linkin Park’s November 15 show at Hayarkon Park. However, that doesn’t mean the music is going to stop, as the next three months are still going to see some top-flight talent performing at the smaller venues in Tel Aviv.
First up is British guitar virtuoso Allan Holdsworth, who will be holding down the fort at Reading 3 on November 14. A progressive rock/jazz fusion beacon for more than four decades, Holdsworth has played with a virtual who’s who in the world of challenging, expansive music – the early 1970s experimentalism of The Soft Machine and Gong, the pioneering jazz of The New Tony Williams Lifetime, the second wave, British prog rockers UK, along with members of King Crimson and Yes, and a long, flourishing solo career.
Since 2006, Holdsworth has been part of a live tribute act in honor of late legendary drummer Williams, and over the last two years he’s toured with drummers Terry Bozzio, Pat Mastelotto and bassist Tony Levin as the experimental supergroup HoBoLeMa, playing spontaneously improvised music.
A week later, John Lee Hooker Jr., the son of the late, great bluesman John Lee Hooker, will also be laying down his groove at Reading 3, with his five-piece blues band.
Starting out as a promising musician and, at age 18 performing with his father on a live album, Hooker Jr. spent much of his early adulthood under the influence of drugs and alcohol and ended up serving time in prison.
A long time straightening out, he released his debut album in 2004 at the age of 52. Blues with a Vengeance was nominated for a Grammy that year for Best Traditional Blues album, as was his third album in 2008, All Odds against Me. Featuring a contemporary blues sound that incorporates Motown, R&B and funk, Hooker Jr. and band will likely heat up the cool November weather in Tel Aviv.
A little farther down the road, both chronologically and geographically, December 1 will witness the Israeli debut of one of the 1990s most distinctive bands, Tindersticks, at the Barbie Club in Tel Aviv. While their contemporaries like Oasis and Blur were focusing on guitar-oriented Britpop, Tindersticks were crafting dreamy, dense songs full of melancholy, intertwining melodies, mumbling vocals and gentle orchestrations, featuring a wide range of instruments such as the glockenspiel, vibraphone, violin, trumpet, trombone, clarinet and bassoon.
One critic wrote that the band “filtered the dark romanticism of Leonard Cohen, Ian Curtis and Scott Walker through the bizarre pop songcraft of Lee Hazlewood and the aesthetics of indie rock.”
Vocalist Stuart Staples and keyboardist David Boulter have been the anchors of the band, with longtime violinist Dickon Hinchcliffe leaving the fold in 2006. But they’re still going strong, as witnessed by two sparkling albums over the last two years – The Hungry Saw and Falling Down a Mountain.
And if you still have any money left, it might be best to use it for the crowning jewel of the season, the December 22 Israeli debut of Hot Tuna, the Jefferson Airplane bluesy offshoot led by legendary guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady, at Reading 3.
The 70-year-old Kaukonen has enjoyed a satisfying post-Airplane career as a rootsy acoustic solo artist, but he and longtime partner Casady occasionally bring Hot Tuna out of the closet for a rocking workout.
The proudly Jewish Kaukonen has been hinting at coming to Israel for a long time, and that time has finally come.
For those of us who no longer have the patience or eardrums to brave a stadium or arena rock show, clubs are the perfect place to enjoy top-flight entertainment in a civilized atmosphere. So, with such a wide variety of sterling talent on the way, it’s time to welcome autumn in the appropriate manner – with a brew and a song.