I Can’t Get No Sleep – Orange Music Experience Festival, Haifa Port – 2005 – Day One

It’s about time. There were almost no foreign gigs in Israel in the last few years. Scheduling and cancelling, usually for “security reasons” became an all too sad joke (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ian Brown, TATU etc.) I only remember Jethro Tull and a few minor events.

So finally, a three-day festival with major international acts. And some lesser ones who need promotion – but most of them have character. The selection of artists seems to point at a “vibe”, “dance”, “funk” direction – Faithless, Róisín Murphy, The Bays, Earth Wind & Fire, Infected Mushroom, with some touches of world music – Boban Marković Orkestar, Emiliana Torrini, Seis Cuerdas and of course rock, mostly Israeli – Blackfield and Fortisakharof.

I arrived with Hadar from Jerusalem, the traffic jam in the entrance took a whole bloody hour, during which we heard the Blackfield gig on the radio and it wasn’t too interesting – mostly the songs from Aviv and Steven’s album and Porcupine Tree’s “Feel So Low” and all of them sounded just like they do on the album. We came in just in time for Róisín Murphy. Her name is pronounced roh-sheen, she’s Irish. I’m probably the only Israeli who knows it. And well, quite a few people that studied Linguistics in HUJI took a course in Irish and maybe they know it too. But the radio hosts say roh-zeen and the newspapers transcribe it to Hebrew as רויסין, which is the right transliteration for, well, Róisín, but it’s the wrong transcription. Anyway, she’s the girl from Moloko, she’s stylish, she can sing, she does funny things on stage, and her band is jazzy-funky. There is a problem with songs, however, which sound quite similar to Moloko’s, but rather heavy-handed and somewhat less fun; maybe if i give her album a chance they can grow on me. Still, the show was quite enjoyable, but the sound towards the end was terrible – the bass was suddenly turned too high and it made quite a lot of people actually run away from the stage. But except that – great fun.

Faithless … they were amazing. I didn’t have very high expectations, but these guys just blew me away. There was a complete live band with percussion, bass and guitar, Ayala “Sister Bliss” Ben-Tuvim played keyboards and was, well, hot, but it was, of course, Maxi Jazz who stole the show. He started in a suit, later removed it and for the last few songs he went half-nude. He got some energy. He’s a professional with character. The simple little phrase “I can’t get no sleep” from their greatest hit “Insomnia” made the crowd crazy, quite expectedly; the vibe was more positive and ecstatic than i would imagine.

We had to go home to Jerusalem early – i had an Italian exam today – so we didn’t stay until the end of Infected Mushroom with Erez Netz show, but from the few songs i saw, the combination of trance with Netz’s virtuoso electric guitar solos was surprisingly good. Metal and trance crowd united there very nicely.

It was tiring and on the way back Hadar drove and i was completely mastool – slept and mumbled crazy crap i can hardly remember now, and i didn’t take any drugs or alcohol. So i guess it was another sign that this first day of the festival was really satisfying.


Take Me Baby, part 2.6

…And then maybe God tries to save me from the hell that’s gonna be at the barriers during the Disengagement weeks. I hope, of course, that there won’t be a Disengagement. Or that there will be a Disengagement and that my pessimistic predictions will turn out to be completely wrong and that expelling 8,000 Israelis will bring peace, security and prosperity to 6,000,000 Israelis, and although i’m ashamed to say it, is a fair price if you look at it from a broader point of view. Ah, policemen and soldiers expelling Jews from their homes – that’s something the world hasn’t seen for like 60 years, the demand must be huge.

Anyway, currently i just want that lovely apartment…

Take Me Baby. Take Me Now.

As it seems now, hunting for a new apartment is about to take less time than i would imagine.

We started yesterday. First there was a two-room apartment in Rehavia, one of central Jerusalem’s better old quarters – quiet, not too religious, and with a lot character, just like i love it. The tennant that opened the door was surprisingly a student i took a course with in my first year. Quite expectedly, she had Hindi and Sanskrit dictionaries and grammar books all over the place, which gave me a warm feeling of homeliness. The second one was nearby – Gaza Street, a block away from Benjamin Netanyahu’s home. The area was fine, but the apartment was not as nice as the first one.

Then we went to Pisgat-Zeev. It was the first time i visited that neighborhood. Apparently it is a pretty new one, quite like Ramot-Yitzhak, where i lived for the last 10 years. The apartment was all too white and clean and all too made-for-rental. So sterile it made us sick.

And then we went to Kfar-Adumim. Unlike Pisgat-Zeev, which the UN considers occupied territory, but Israel considers completely its own (annexed), Kfar-Adumim is a 100% settlement, hitnakhalut. It is a bit further from Jerusalem than Maale-Adumim, which is also a settlement, but being over 35,000 people strong it is widely recognized by most Israelis, even the left-wingers, as a part of Israel, “almost annexed”, and essentially a suburb of Jerusalem. And Kfar-Adumim is a suburb of Maale-Adumim, further on the way to Jericho and the Dead Sea. Now i, of course, would happily live there, but i wasn’t sure at all about Hadar, who’s not as deeply Zionist as myself and who seemed to value proximity of the apartment to her campus more than anything. The ride there seemed a bit long; Hadar was scared a little by the sign directing to Jericho and Ramallah and was dubious even when i told her that the actual cities of Jericho and Ramallah are many kilometers away. When we finally arrived at Kfar-Adumim, we realized – despite the fact it was night already – that the view from that village should be absolutely amazing. Jericho, Jordan Valley, and the northern parts of the Dead Sea and Judea desert are all visible. There was also a horse farm on the way, which made Hadar feel a little better. The home was large, nice and fully equipped; moreover, the landlady was very nice too and if that’s not enough she was apparently employed at NDS (“carpool” springed to my mind right away). So many coincidences in one day. When we went away, Hadar was eager to take the place immediately. I was completely surprised by the fact that she decided so quickly in favor of an apartment which is pretty far away from the city and rather deep into the territories. But who am i to object? We’re supposed to decide quickly, maybe even today.

U Can’t Touch This

Rhino records, which specializes in reissues, issues a compilation of 90’s hits. It’s a milestone: the 90’s was an important decade in music in general and for me personally and Rhino is a serious company whose re-releases got character. Curiously, there’s no Radiohead, Soundgarden or Nirvana, but actually it makes sense; there still are many reasons for me to buy it: there are a lot of one-hit wonders whose albums i wouldn’t but anyway, and there are wonderful surprises such as Stereolab’s “Cybele’s Reverie” and Grant Lee Buffalo’s “Mockingbirds”, which i feel ashamed for having only as MP3’s. And what makes it completely irresistible is the first track – “U Can’t Touch This”.

All too allegorical…