Sunday, December 30, 2007

HASC 20 - Review

Here are my thoughts on Hasc's 20 album. It's much more difficult to review a concert than to write about a regular album - HASC is a live concert and, as such, there are always mistakes and tuning issues here and there, so I can't be very critical. But I do have some things to say.

This concert starts with a Dveykus-style instrumental overture. I think Dveykus always has an overture so people can play it in dinners and other occasions when you need something in the background, but if I would be in a concert I would be bored to hear this intro. But that's just me, I'm sure some of you liked it.

Shalsheles Junior was without any doubt the sensation in HASC 20. Unlike MBC or YBC, Shalsheles Junior is a group of just four kids, like the original Shalsheles. That's much more appealing for a concert, because you can see who's singing and who's doing harmony - I like that. In the HASC 18 there was YBC and although they did well, I was much more impressed with the musical talent of these four kids - they sing, they do great harmonies and they even play instruments. It's extremely hard to sing Modeh Ani live - the harmonies are complex and there are three parts to this song - but they nailed it. I still remember saying to a friend I wasn't planning to buy SJ, because I was tired of kids choirs. But I can't get tired of SJ. They do better harmonies than many leading JM singers out there - listen to 4:16 and you will surely agree. Hisoreri is a good song but it's not very energetic, so it gets stale towards the end.

Vezakeini was easily the hit of the year to me. Boruch Levine usually composes remarkable slow songs to Yehuda! (i.e. Haleluka) and Dveykus (i.e. Yehi Shalom), but this time he did everything by himself. He no-doubt deserved to be in this concert.

After that we have the "wild-card" - Dedi, which made me happy and sad at the same time. I love Dedi's energy and stage performance, but to hear him in this HASC makes me remember the good old times when he was THE man in JM. In this concert I see a Dedi that was left behind in time and that is fading away - that makes me sad. Without any hits in the past many years, Dedi had no choice but to sing oldies and Carlebach's Neshomole Niggun. I really hope he comes out with something new soon, he's has got the talent (perhaps partnering with Yossi Green again at last?).

Gabay and specially "Lipa's Diet Song" further took away the concerts' energetic start.

But then came Ohad, the sensation. I don't know why he sang Shalom - one of his weakest songs - but he proved to be a master of the languages in the International Medley, singing even Arabic.

The best part of this night was surely the Fried/ Helfgot duet. That was probably A. Fried's biggest dream - we all know he has a thing for Chazzanut. And Helfgot is not a typical Chazzan, he's more "pop". This combination was perfect, and there are some unforgettable moments of the two, like Helfgot’s “messianic” V’hu Rachum and Fried truly magnificent falsetto in 5:48 (you can’t miss this one). It was comic to hear Fried melodically ask, “Who will sponsor (the seudas hamashiach)? I think it will be J & I” and after that Helfgot sings, “And I also sing like thaaat”. Ha!

I think Sameach arranged a great line-up for this concert, probably the best of the past five years or so. In my opinion, this album is better than HASC 18 and United We Stand, two other HASC albums I own.

Well done!

18 comments:

Gabay Fan said...

I agree with everything you write here except Gabay. I think he had tons of energy and if he'd only been able to do more then one song I think he would have just built on the first song. I don't get why HASC brings people in for ONE song. Thats so dumb.

YK said...

Don't get me wrong - I actually think Gabay is very good, love his album. Just in this concert he was a mere by-stander, he didn't shine as much as SJ, Fried and Helfgot. Maybe if he was given more time, as you said, things would come out different indeed.

YK

Gabay fan said...

How can anyone stand out when they are only given one song. Especially someone performing on such a huge stage for the first time.

YK said...

I think Pruzanski would nail it. I think he will be in the next one.

Anonymous said...

When is the Shalsheles review coming?

Anonymous said...

don't hold your breathe for pruz being in any upcoming hasc's.

YK said...

Anon 1

The Shalsheles review might take a bit longer to come, but it will be here sometime soon. That review is much more complex and I want to do it right. But stay tuned.

Anon 2

Why? Is he affiliated with Aderet?

YK

Anonymous said...

I was at the concert and Gabay looked like he was trying to be a shwekey clone.

YK said...

Funny you say that, i find Gabay occasionally sounds like Shwekey and does some Shwekey shticks.

Pruzanski sometimes also does some Shwekey shticks - it a formula that proved to be succesful, so I guess that's understandable.

YK

Anonymous said...

It's very funny that you would say anyone is copying shwekey when shwekey has made his entire career out of pretending he's MBD.

YK said...

Although you do have a point - Shwekey was shaped to be MBD's successor from the very beggining - I don't think the two have much in common in terms of voice. They definetly sound different, although both like to kvetch, if you know what I mean.

The guy that comes the closest to MBD is Ephraim Mendelson (the original singer of the famous Kayol Tarog) - I guess for the same reason Gabay sounds like Shwekey today.

YK

Anonymous said...

I never said Shwekey SOUNDS like MBD. I said he is copying him. He copies his mannerisms, his stage style, his dancing, his finger pointing to the sky. He grew up wanting to be MBD and now he acts as though he is. MBD has a much better voice. I'd never compare the two vocally.

As far as Gabay, we'll have to agree to disagree. I don't think he sounds like Shwekey. They have very specific differences, in fact I think Gabay has a much SOFTER voice. Not as Kvetchy (i.e whiny)

Joel said...

Every jewish music star who sings chassidic music sounds similar but there are clear differences.
The way Shwekey moves and dances on stage is not like MBD its his own style. Vocally Shwekey is superior MBD right now(20 years ago its a different story). Fried is probably also vocally superior to MBD right now.
MBD will always be the second best JM performer ever( behind Carlebach). He has an almost thirty year career to fall back on.
All jewish music has an element of kvetch to it because its a derivitive of liturgical chazzanut which by nature is kvetchy. Which performer is not kvetchy?
And annonymous, put a name in.

YK said...

Anon,
I'm a bit more sided with Joel and don't see so much in common between Shwekey's and MBD's stage performance. I was in a Shwekey concert a few weeks ago and he has very unique mannerisms, although he indeed does MBD's hands up thing often.

Let's put it this way - if he reeeally wanted to copy MBD he would be growing a beard by now :)

Joel,
You mentioned MBD is JM's second best performer. I ask you - who you think is the second most important guy in JM, not in terms of "performer"? Like, in general terms.. You probably know my opinion already.

-> And for the two of you - who's the best stage performer today? (I think it's Dedi)

YK

Joel said...

YK:
Dedi was a great performer ten years ago. He really needs a huge album to put him back on the scene. He is in dire need of a Travolta like comeback. I think MBD Shwekey and Fried are great performers today, but Lipa is, right now, a level above them. He owns a stage like no one ive seen in the Jewish music world. His stage presence rivals, in my humble opinion, Mick Jagger and Bono.
If you are talking about composers I will agree with you that after Reb Shlomo is Yossi Green(without his voice) and Abie Rotenberg.

YK said...

Joel

I hear you, Lipa is more "in" today and probably should be at the top of anyone's list.

I'm saying, in general, who you think was the second most important guy, not restricted to the composing field. In other words, who had the biggest impact. Indeed, I think is Yossi Green.

YK

Anonymous said...

"to hear him in this HASC makes me remember the good old times when he was THE man in JM"
what is JM???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

YK said...

jewish music