Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shemspeed's first anniversary concert

What a time I had last night at Le Poisson Rouge! Shemspeed threw quite a party to celebrate its first anniversary. Olde dame that I am, and an outer-borough resident, as well, not to mention (fortunately) employed, I had to leave at 10:30 PM, but I still managed to hear—and dance to—several bands.

The first group onstage was Blue Fringe. They wowed the crowd with, among other songs, Shir HaShirim, Etz Chaim, and Anayni. I find Etz Chaim a fascinating song because, although the melody is almost exactly the same as that of one (I know two) of the traditional tunes for Etz Chaim, sung at the end of the Torah service, the instrumental arrangement makes it sound completely different. As for Anayni, it’s my favorite from their latest CD, a heartbreaking and beautiful song about the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

Next up, if memory serves me correctly, was Avi Fox-Rosen and his band, which sounded considerably more lively than some of the tracks on his MySpace page. I walked out of the room when his band played “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”—I didn’t go to a Jewish rock concert to hear Christmas music. (Grumble.) On the other hand, his crew played a rather amusing song called, I think, “Mount, Dismount,” which, in the classic Mae West manner, didn’t have a single dirty word in it but was full of sexual innuendos from start to finish.

I think the next to appear was Smadar. She put on quite a fine performance, as always, but I really do wish she hadn’t asked the sound technician to put her microphone on the “reverb” setting. She has such a lovely voice, why reduce it to a recording-studio tech trick?

King Django’s Roots and Culture was next up. It never would have occurred to me that one could mix klezmer (with Yiddish vocals) and reggae. Hot sauce, this was fun stuff!

The final performance that I was able to see before I thought it wise to head home was Y-Love, a fellow blogger in addition to being a hip hop artist. He appeared onstage with Shemspeed founder Erez Safar, a.k.a. Diwon (formerly known as DJ Handler), and, for one song, with DeScribe, as well. I didn’t understand a word—I bought Y-Love’s “This Is Babylon” CD so that I could try to catch the lyrics on my own time—but the music really rocked, and half the audience (including yours truly) was dancing its collective feet off.

Side note: This time, I compared my own outfit to that of the other women in the audience (see second-to-last paragraph here). Am I the only woman left in New York City who wears striped blouses and/or non-neutral colors to rock concerts? Well, never mind. I like my burgundy-striped shirt.

Get this: A young woman actually asked me how I came to be there, since I was—as probably the oldest person in the room other than Yossi Piamenta, whose band I couldn’t stay long enough to hear (sniff)—an anomaly, as she so delicately put it. I told her that, as long as it’s not purely a “shidduch scene/”meet” market/matchmaking scene and people are actually listening to the music and dancing, I don’t care about being the oldest dancer at a concert. Have earplugs, will travel. :)

Thanks to Diwon and his Shemspeed crew for a wonderful time. My feet will recover, eventually. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008 update: You can find the lyrics to Y-Love's raps here. Make sure you're wearing your glasses, though—some of the lyrics are posted in handwritten form.


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