There's humous in my punk rock

Yidish-style punk-rockers Yidcore make it back to Israel for a few shows and a lot of drippy felafel.

yidrock 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
yidrock 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Jewish punk-rock band Yidcore is bringing their "humous-fueled" farce back to the Holy Land this month for a multi-city tour. The band mixes traditional Yiddish and popular Israeli tunes into a hodge-podge of wailing guitars, screeching violins, numerous fiddle-breaks and even some piano. "There's something about [Israel], man," Yidcore's lead singer, Bram Presser, a self-described "fat-Aussie," told Billboard. The band's a bit fervent on their trips, with "a surprise every time," Presser relates. "In Israel we can do more Hebrew stuff - they get us there. We can run around Jerusalem pretending we're biblical figures." They are touring the country to promote their newest album They Tried to Kill Us. They Failed. Let's Eat! Past albums include, Great Chicken Soup Caper EP, Eight Day Slice/Fiddlin on Ya Roof and Hummusexual EP, off which comes the track I Wanna be a Hummusexual. Yidcore, formed as a joke during the boys' college days, and includes Bram Presser on vocals, shofar and humous (a substance to which the band has formed a delicious obsession), Myki Slonim on guitar and 'pig,' Dave Jesudasen on bass and rabbinical impressions and Rory Kelaart on drums and lycra. While the music sounds like a 'punkier' version of System of a Down, especially Presser's high-pitched vocals, Yidcore looks more like a Jewish GWAR, the infamous blood-tossing monsters from outer-space band. There are many "shining moments" from past trips here, Presser says, "Once I tried to do an internal felafel on-stage. I put all the ingredients in my mouth - tahini paste, falafel mix, salad - and then jumped up and down." But the rash experiment backfired. "I threw-up all over," he laughed, adding, "It was awful. I never felt so sick." Not necessarily shallow, the band's obsession with Judaism extends beyond the Arabic culinary repetoire. Concertgoers have the opportunity to join the punks onstage and blow a shofar. Though not all audience participation ends with a thunderous wail - there is a history of injuries at their shows. In Kfar Saba, an audience member suffered a heart-attack "and in Tel Aviv a girl got a broken back," Presser boasts, adding that, "sometimes we get banned from clubs." Not all low-brow, Presser does speak fluent Hebrew. His grandfather is a Hebrew linguist in Australia and, if he didn't know the language, he states, his family would be disappointed in him. But, he adds with a chuckle, "they're disappointed anyway." On this tour Yidcore is booked to play five payot-straightening shows. Three of which with local band Useless ID who they met during a tour in Australia. The two groups bonded over stories of felafel and humous. Then, over a meal of said food, Yidcore invited them to play together. "The relationship between the bands was thereby forged, with my drinking an entire tub of tahini on the street to wash down the food," Presser said. Big plans for this tour include the promulgation of the 'Yidcore curse.' Their first visit here they covered Naomi Shemer's Al Kol Ele on the Guy Pines Show. "She was apparently appalled and went on TV the following week saying how much she was disgusted by what we were doing. Soon afterwards, she died," Presser recalls. Thus, the curse was born. "Then we covered Ehud Manor and Uzi Hitman... same thing," Presser says of the increasing body count. "By the second time we got to Israel there was a running joke that we were responsible for the deaths of the living treasures of Israel. We got a bit drunk with the feeling of power so decided to ask our fans who they wanted us to 'cover' next and they chose Ninette Tayeb." In accorance with their fans wishes a cover of Tayeb's song Yam Shel D'maot appears on their latest album. Following its release the band received an unexpected message from Tayeb. "She MySpaced us saying she liked it. So, I think she worked out the way to avoid the Yidcore curse," Presser recalls, laughing that the band isn't finished playing executioner just yet. "We just covered Idan Raichel's Mima'amakim," he says, "so we'll see what happens there..." If you want to see just how a Yidcore show goes down then they will first charge the stage at the Bat Yam Street Theater Festival on April 18 at 2 p.m. If it's a more formal stage show that you're after then check them out at Tel Aviv's Barby (NIS 60, (03) 518-8123) on April 21 at 10 p.m. or the following night, also at 10 p.m., at Haifa's City Hall (04) 862-8802, or the night after that in J-town at the Yellow Submarine at 9:30 p.m. (NIS 50-60, (02) 679-4040). Their final performance is set for the Boombamela on April 24 at noon.