Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Jewish Star - Final Review

COLlive's A Jewish Star concert took place a few days ago and the three finalists had a chance to sing one more time to the public. The concert was clearly small, and Benny Friedman had the tough job of carrying the flame over this not-so-enthusiastic crowd. But he is a cool and confident guy and he managed just fine, even with the language issue.

By the way, one thing stood out very clearly - all three contestants were "aliens", or if you prefer, non Americans. COLlive could've pushed for a local finalist but everyone sticked with what really matters - the performance and Ohayon, Sadon and Moshe were clearly ahead of the rest. That's great.

Let's get to the facts. The first was Ohayon and he did a fine job singing Ale Katan, but fell short in making a statement and didn't manage to make this song special. Interestingly, Mendy Peilin raised fears that Ohayon's Boi Kallah didn't give us a feel of how well he would do outside of the recording room. And he was spot on - Ohayon is a great vocalist, has a very smooth falsetto but is one of those singers who do well in records but less well in live concerts. That's not a critique; I still think he would do great in a debut album but the contest's format put him against the wall. And the judges were too complascent, and I was expecting a slight critique from A. Fried but it seems like he played the nice guy this time... where is Jewish Music's Simon?!

Next came Sadon and you all know I'm not a huge fan of him. But his high note in Ani Maamim awarded him a spot in the top-3 and the question was if he could take more risks in the concert. He took a classic - Machnisei - but he did take risks and did his best to make this song exciting, with great success. Special mention to the falsetto in the end of the song, it was really outstanding and a great shtick. Somehow, Sadon managed to put up a better performance than Sadon - unexpected.

Last came Binyamim Moshe and when the guy comes with his guitar on his back facing down you know he means business. Mendy Peilin thought it was an Uzi! Moshe quickly took over the stage and was really comfortable with the spotlight on him. And he was lucky to be the last, this caused his performance to have an even bigger impact. Moshe has what the other two lack: he is authentic. And that's a quality we rarely see in JM, where originality isn't the rule of the land. Moshe sang his own song, played the guitar along and did a fantastic stage work. I don't see a singer like him coming from the US these days, unfortunatedly. Binyamin Moshe is a product of Israeli JM, which is often more authentic and groovy than American JM. My only complaint is that his guitar was perhaps too loud, I think the sound system guy should've muted it just a bit.

COLlive's A Jewish Star has been a truly vanguard project and one of the most exciting things in JM in the past years. This will be huge next year and I can't wait for it!


Yehuda said...

I'm going to guess you were not at the concert but are writing the review based on the COL video.

some things you should know:

the sound on the video is not the same sound we heard live. Sounds weird, but even though it seems like the video was plugged into the soundboard, we still got a different sound out of the speakers.

also, the video does not pick up the crowd noise at all. From being there I can tell you that while the crowd was bitterly disappointing during Fried's performances, they came alive for the competition.

Live, the vocalists didn't come through as strong. And while we barely heard the horn section, the other side of the orchestra came through far louder.

On the video, however, you hear Binyamin Moshe's guitar, but barely hear the orchestra. Avremi G (presumably) wrote some stunning arrangements for the contestants, BM especially.

You also don't gain an appreciation of how BM had the crowd eating out of his hand.

While Sadon was good (Ohayon clearly struggled hitting his notes) BM had the crowd going, and thats why he won. not by the power of his vocals, which, let's face it, aren't great.

YK said...


That's right, I only saw the video. I was guessing something was wrong because the crowd didn't even react to the jokes, but now I understand. How long was the concert? The video was quite short..


Yehuda said...

The competition was just a part of the concert.

the concert was close to 3 hours long (My memory could be failing me right now!)