tue 15/10/2019

Balkan Beat Box, Dingwalls | reviews, news & interviews

Balkan Beat Box, Dingwalls

Balkan Beat Box, Dingwalls

Brooklyn trio are happy to shake their multicultural booties

But Tamir Muskat, Orin Kaplan and Tomer Yosef were in fact joined by Itamar Ziegler on bass, Uri Kinrot on guitar and Eyal Talmudi on sax and clarinet. Their first number, “Move It”, set the tone for the evening with its chunky, muscular groove, which managed to sound powerfully Jamaican while still incorporating elements of Balkan and Middle Eastern brass. Vocalist Tomer has really come into his own on their new album Blue Eyed Black Boy and, by incorporating his talents as a front man far more, the band have cultivated a unique identity that wasn't so apparent on their debut. Tomer handles both the passages of rapid-fire rap and the singalong choruses with equal panache, and also works the crowd well. Although they are only too willing to shake their multicultural booties at every opportunity with little prompting.

“Are you ready to party with us tonight? Are you ready?” Well, I’m not sure really. The relentlessly strobing lights are beginning to get a bit wearing, and I think I would have been just as happy staying at home and listening to the new album, the subtleties of which are getting a little lost because the band have to focus on getting the crowd dancing. But don’t get me wrong, Balkan Beat Box are a great live band. And in fact they were a lot livelier than I anticipated they would be. At times I was reminded of the golden age of Jamaican ska when the focus was on short, sharp pop songs, but there was still room for a great trumpet or sax solo before the fade. And Ori and Eyal both delivered some fine solos, as well as playing well as a pair.

“Everybody feeling all right?” Rhetorical question or not, bands never tire of asking it, and I never like being asked it. And once again it’s a shame when a band of this quality still has to trot out this stuff. But I was feeling all right, and one of their encore songs made me feel even better. The title track from the new album is the most original tune Balkan Beat Box do. It rides slowly into town on the most sinuous and mercurial of bass lines, and doesn’t seem to pander to any generic dance-floor needs. And then next up was the wonderfully bombastic “War Again”. Wonderful that is, until we are asked, “Do you want to hear the remix?” The answer, of course, is no, because they got it right first time around, and remixes are nearly always about hammering home some hook in the original song until you beg for mercy. But we got it anyway.

As I leave, the band were supremely tight, bashing out a jagged, intense ragamuffin track I was unfamiliar with. Delighted audience members joined them on stage, the strobing lights building in intensity, and I was trying to remember if I ever really enjoyed this kind of event. But, hey, maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. Because, really, Balkan Beat Box are an excellent band.

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Comments

Reviewer needs to switch to Decaf. Travelled from Manchester see the gig and although I thought the band (and support) were great, I was left a little Jaded by the venue; A multiple tiered floor left me with little enthusiasm to dance lest my frame forced one of the many scrawny Charlie lovers from their preferred balcony position. Bless 'em. Still, awesome night, just needed to be in a place with a little more soul than Camden.

Cross genre fusion is very hard. The supporting band was an example of this... they played a mish mash of sounds which I found uninspiring and in the end, completely ruined by the cover track sang by the 'beautiful singer' (note: this is purely my personal opinion, so I'm not arguing with any disagreements!). BBB however are in a league of their own. I've seen them before and was blown away, so this time I ensured to get a spot right in front of the stage. Live, they are simply infectious, and I'm positive that even BBB virgins would be lifted by their energy, and forced into involuntary moves and grooves. More importantly, they manage to blend traditional sounds with contemporary grooves beautifully. Overall, the show was spot on, great energy, really good crowd, great little venue and great value for money. 10 out 10. I agree with the comments about the strobe lights though...!

BBB is one of the super fresh bands around, there is nothing like it.. amazing !! amazing !!!

Ghastly McNasty has it spot on. The venue was small and crowded, and the crowd was full of kids pushing to be at the front rather than dancing! Even though BBB were great, I much prefered the gig I saw in Islington a few years ago! Although that may be due to having to leave early to get the last bus home...

BBB really tick all boxes for me. from substance to delivery - totaly enjoyable! I hope next time I can experiance them in a huge field with quality sound (what was that about..?!) and uplifting lightining as, they and their croud, deserive. such talented and commited musicians deserve good team behind them that will allow more people to enjoy their art (we didnt manage to get as many tickets as we wanted) hope they are working on it... and yes, leading man can do with less virbal working of the croud, the music realy does the job..

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