Anyone who thought that Assaf Avidan might roll over andplay dead following the break up of his destined-for-worldwide-stardom AssafAvidan and the Mojos better think twice.
Following a three-year contract with Sony that yielded twoexcellent albums and name-making tours in North America, Europe and Asia(chronicled nicely in the new documentary Final Stages), the 32-year-old Avidanhas gone back to stage one, forming a new band and releasing an album on thelocal High Fidelity label that shows him embracing electronic keyboards andbeats, courtesy of Balkan Beat Box’s Tamir Muskat.
At a tuneup show of the new band and album Different Pulses on Saturdaynight before a packed and adoring crowd at Zappa Jerusalem, (before the official debut on September 27 atTheater Club in Tel Aviv and September 28 at the Shoni Amphitheater inBinyamina) Avidan proved that despite the complexion of the music andinstrumentation of his band, he’s still and engaging, powerful performer whodeserves a wide audience.
Handling electric guitar chores himself, Avidan was backedby cellist/keyboardist Karnii Postal, keyboardist Tom Darom,vocalist/percussionist Michal Bashiri, and drummer Hagai Frishtman. The threewomen regularly provided subtle and haunting vocal counterpoint to Avidan’strademark high-pitched wails as he introduced hypnotic songs from the new albumlike “Setting Scalpels Free” and the rhythmic single “Love it or Leave It.”
The new material, despite its groove orientation andelectronic backing, came alive onstage with the band displaying a rockinggroove despite the lack of a bass guitar. Darom’s buzzing keyboards fill anygaps, providing a broad landscape for Avidan’s inventive guitar lines. When theband turned to older, well-known material from Avidan’s The Reckoning, thecrowd took over singing most of the lyrics to the delight of the front man.
Wishing everyone a “Shana Tova”, Avidan left the stage after and hourand-a-half, with his mojo still definitely intact.