shemspeeding ticket

last thursday. bellhouse. 8:30. you had to be there. b/c that was when shemspeed broke my concert cherry with their shem summerfest closeout show.

first up for the night was six point star [http://www.myspace.com/thesixpointstar]. one: kudos to putting on such a good performance despite the fact there were only about 12 ppl in the audience at that point. two: kudos for being good, period. six point reminded of mid-to-late 90’s z-100 [yknow, back when they were still good and when rock hadn’t devolved into pop yet]. their sound was solid.  good vibrant rock not trying to be pop, not trying to climb out of the pop chasm, not aping the gin blossoms or pearl jam, original, refreshing, but familiar like an old friend you haven’t seen in a while.

next up and starting with a bang was…well, i don’t know their name b/c they don’t know their name, but we’ll just go with “eytan music” [http://www.myspace.com/eytanmusic]. excellent. [although i admit i saw a sax and a trombone and was hopefully expecting a lil bit more ska, but in retrospect i realize you need a couple of trumpets to pull that off]. anyhoo, imagine if queen, billy joel, the eagles, the beatles, bryan adams and night ranger all had a massive coke-induced orgy and gave birth to a child. you’d have eytan music, a multi-armed creature lubricated with melody. there was something comfortingly nostalgic about them that i couldn’t quite put my finger on. like i’d heard them on the soundtrack to my favorite movie circa 1987-92 during a particularly bittersweet moment but couldn’t remember what movie. also, they had something very key for concert full of jews: free cds.

third in line was a group i can only assume was can!!can based on the concert flyer. they were of the body-flailing-stage-writhing-crowd-jumping-super-heavy-death-metal-we’ve-got-satan-on-lead-guitar-and-beelzebub-doing-backup-vocals genre. apparently i draw the line at nin, rammstein, and tool. judging by the crowd can!!can was very good at what they did. i just didn’t like what it was that they were doing. again, not their fault, just not my thing.

after that brief detour onto cacophony drive, we merged back onto euphony highway with a [too] short solo performance by describe [http://www.myspace.com/describemusic] before the headlining dynamic duo of ylove [http://www.myspace.com/ylove] and describe took the stage. they were phenomenal as per usual [big surprise there, right? lol] and performed tracks off their “change” album [http://www.myspace.com/describeylove] such as “yaaleli”, “change”, and “make it”. now, i love “change” and “make it” [after all, i was in the videos. lol. yes, that was a shameless plug. deal with it] but the standout song for me that night was “bring it on down”. for some reason “bring it on down” breaks clear through the glass ceiling separating “jewish hip-hop” from “just hip-hop”.  i could’ve sworn fabolous or jermaine dupri was gonna come in for the next verse.

lastly, the final performance was brought to us by electro morocco, who deserved a much larger audience than the stragglers left behind after the describe/ylove performance. electro morocco was like hearing yoel sharabi in his heyday and that one sarit haddad song i like [“bosem tzarfati“]. however i am a lil bit mad that not only can’t i figure out how to purchase their music, they don’t even have the decency to have a shoddy enough myspace layout to allow me to steal their music off the site for free. [incidentally, im also looking at you, six point star].

all in all, an excellent show, even if it was held in the middle of nowhere surrounded by enough empty warehouses that one could conceivably be shanghied into a limo by edward g robinson and never be seen again.

finally, as ive promised to do for a while now, ive reviewed “until when”,  the debut album of artist prodezra, the beat-master behind the describe/ylove single “change”. [available here http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/prodezra, and here http://www.digstation.com/albumdetails.aspx?albumid=alb000030653, and on itunes]

first the bad news: “ein od milvado” and “the lamplighter” almost sound too similar to warrant separate tracks.  now the good news: they, and every other track on the cd, are awesome.

the tracks featuring nachman [“sound the alarm”, “one with him”, “stood at sinai”] are hard. there’s no other way to put it. you come away feeling a lil bit afraid that maybe the next gangsta you see might be rocking a kipah and tzitzit under the fitted cap and baggy jeans, or that the next black jew you run into keeps a glock in a hollowed out artscroll siddur. “from strength to strength” carries the same sentiment, and i just love the juxtaposition of an urbanized ashkenazi nusach with the [apparent] sounds of gunshots in the background. “the south niggun” is an infectiously addictive track that makes you very, very angry that it’s barely three minutes long. bless the good people at apple for creating the “repeat” option in itunes, b/c they’ll also have their hands full with the even more infectious and even shorterkoach”. “change”, the ylove/describe hit single, speaks for itself, but the instrumental track lets you hear the hard-grinding, ground-rumbling beat upfront and center like the front car of a rollercoaster. now if you’re trying to woo a jewish gal and get her in the mood…well, then you’re prolly breaking a gajillion rules, the least of which being yichud. so you might wanna hurry up and marry the girl so you can use “liora” to its fullest mellow, sensual potential. and maybe this is just my personal opinion, but i’d save the eponymous “until when” track and “masa l’geulah” for either the coldest of winter nights when you need something to make you get up and go, or for those hot hot summer days when you’re tooling down the highway with the top down. at any rate, get the cd. trust me.

–MaNishtana

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