Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Independence Day concert featuring Machina and Rita (among others) at Kikar Rambam

As far as Independence Day traditions go, the Israeli one (free, municipality-funded concerts at night, BBQ with family and/or friends the next day) is right up there with the best of them.  

The concert nearest to me happened to feature acts I was really interested in seeing.  Machina might be loosely compared to Manic Street Preachers.  Both bands try to exude a certain sense of danger and aggressiveness, an image which is aided by not infrequent intra-band disputes during their history and tight, energetic live shows.  But dig a little deeper and both bands are fairly soft on the inside and have achieved considerable chart successes with slickly produced pop-rock and anthemic choruses.  That's not a dig at either band, but more of a statement of how they've managed to adapt and find ways to remain popular after sixty years of combined history.  Machina were going through the motions a bit on this night, perhaps partly restrained by the mere 40 minutes allotted to their set.  They made sure to choose songs that would turn into big singalongs in front of a very mixed crowd that obviously wanted to have something to sing along to, and by this measure their appearance was a big success.  The band's job is sometimes easy when everybody loves your songs and nobody has to be won over, but I loved their show regardless.

Rita is a different story completely, closer to an Israeli version of Cher with her ageless appearance and the way she makes every second of every song sound like a big dramatic moment.  Rita would be described by her fans as a "survivor" too, and whereas Cher was a star in many different musical genres (not to mention acting), Rita is a star in at least three languages (English, Persian, Hebrew).  You'd think that Rita and Machina couldn't possibly share fan bases, and in the US or Canada, they wouldn't.  It's a credit and a constant mystery of Israeli society that many mainstream acts are celebrated by just about everybody.  

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