Asaf Avidan at Union Chapel
Sometimes an artist’s background can capture your imagination long before you’ve had a chance to hear his music. Asaf Avidan is one of those artists. Born in Jerusalem to Israeli diplomats before briefly growing up in Jamaica, he moved to Tel Aviv after becoming an established animator only to split up with his long-term girlfriend, quit his job, thus taking up a career in music.
However, his story would mean nothing if he hadn’t written good material. Avidan’s critically acclaimed debut EP Now That You’re Leaving, released in 2006, has since led him to release four albums – the latest, and first one all alone, being Different Pulses. Last year it was Wanklemut’s remix of Reckoning Song that has seen worldwide success, hitting over 98 million views on YouTube.
Barbican members and fans got the opportunity to see Avidan inside the architectural delights of the Union Chapel church. Walking on with his band, beginning with Setting Scalpels Free, the opening lines revealed a sharp and distinctive voice. Since disbanding his original line-up and reconfiguring it with new players and instruments, it appears he has also reworked the songs for a greater live effect.
Avidan brims with personality and fills his set with comedic anecdotes that seem totally off-the-cuff, sometimes bemusing his band members. His musical style is a mix of folk, rock‘n’roll, jazz and blues – as exhibited in Subconsciously Overly/Familiar Blues. There were many, but the gig highlight may have been 613 Shades of Sad, which is an impressive combination of Prince and Kate Bush – as sexy as it is interesting.
The singer-songwriter is an avid performer as he careers around the stage; his stage theatrics are only bettered by his vocal gymnastics. Avidan has a ridiculous pitch that may scare a few, but there is much of Led Zeppelin and The Doors about him – brimming with power and soul.
Finishing with latest single Love It or Leave It, the crowd clapped and paraded along before Avidan and his band left the stage to receive a huge encore. The group reappeared and got the audience into a frenzy by playing Reckoning Song.
This was a really impressive performance which showcased the multiple weapons in Avidan’s armoury. He is a brilliant entertainer, with great stage presence, bags of personality and a million-and-one funny stories to tell. A complete act made for this festival season.
Photos: Andrea Tarella
For further information and future events visit Asaf Avidan’s website here.
Watch the video for Reckoning Song here: