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Silver Jews - ULU, London, 29/5/2008

  by Sarah Rowland

published: 24 / 5 / 2008

Silver Jews - ULU, London, 29/5/2008


At the London ULU, Sarah Johnson sees Nashville alt. country act the Silver Jews play an electric set, but nevertheless finding themselves being overshadowed by their support, beer-spraying Israelite trio Monotonix

Supporting the Silver Jews, Monotonix, were like nothing I have seen before. The band completely overshadowed the gig, their presence felt even when not on stage thanks to their drum kit, which sat intriguingly, in front of the stage, level with the crowd. The first band on stage was Port O’Neil. This was a slight disappointment as the original line up of the bill had included the Ruby Suns – a quirky summer-time pop group from New Zealand. The last minute change didn’t seem to bother the crowd however, as they swarmed forward giving the rogue drum kit confused looks. Port O’Neil drummed out a healthy half-hour set but didn’t really set the place on fire. They had some pleasant tunes but didn’t really seem to gel all that well on stage. In fact they didn’t really look like one band with two members wearing cowboy hats and there also being a rocking drummer, a banjo-playing girl and a Cobain look-a-like singer. As Israelites Monotonix wandered out in to the crowd to play their set, they misleadingly looked like your ordinary rock trio. It wasn’t until the first intro hit the crowd along with several pints of beer (sprayed out by lead singer, Ami Shalev) that it became clear they are a force to be reckoned with. The music was loud and shambolic but in all the right ways and it was the actual ‘show’ that wowed the crowd anyway – they would have gone down a storm no matter what they sounded like. Guitarist, Yonatan Gat and drummer, Gever, both seemed happy to rock out oblivious to Shalev’s performance, which had him launching into the crowd drenched with beer (most of which had been stolen from unsuspecting crowd members), crowd surfing and dropping from a balcony a good ten feet from the floor. By the time the Silver Jews got on stage the atmosphere was electric, sweaty and beer soaked. The Monotonix drum kit had been dragged in to the crowd mid song and then removed after their set, allowing dedicated Silver Jews fans to get right up front for the headliners. They played an extensive set, flitting between old and new songs. The sound was very much focused on the more country / alt-rock image of the band, which didn’t phase the crowd, but also didn’t quite give a full picture of their earlier sound. All in all a fantastic gig that definitely gave the crowd more than they were expecting. Silver Jews' front man, David Berman, joked to the crowd that no one else would follow Monotonix and so he had taken it upon himself to take them around the world. A brave move, but one which certainly paid off.

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Silver Jews - ULU, London, 29/5/2008

Silver Jews - ULU, London, 29/5/2008

Visitor Comments:-
131 Posted By: c, nowhere on 25 Aug 2008
it's port o'brien. idiot. and who cares if they don't look the same? that's not what makes a good band.

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Interview (2008)
Silver Jews - Interview
Despite having first formed in 1994, Nashville-based alt.country band the Silver Jews only played their first gig three years ago. Frontman David Berman talks to Mark Rowland about why his group just started touring so recently and their new album, 'Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea'


Early Times 1990-1 (2012)
Endearing and revelatory collection of early lo-fi recordings from continuously underrated New York band, the Silver Jews

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