Music Scene Is Alive and Well in Political Hotbed

ROB TERPSTRA
U-Wire

(U-WIRE) Jerusalem — Dancing to the beats of the Ministry of Sound and singing to the rock ‘n’ roll tunes of Ivri Lider, you wouldn’t know that Israel is currently embroiled in a bitter war that has no end in sight.

For Israelis 18 and older, life and their sense of normalcy represented a visit to the holy city of Jerusalem and its deserted train station. The sold-out concert on July 19 was put on by one of Israel’s most famous and openly gay singers, Lider, who put out a live DVD this year and whose last album “It’s Not the Same” came out in 2005 and hit the top of the country’s music charts.

Sold at the gate, tickets for the show cost 30 shekels, or about seven American dollars. The event, accompanied by an impressively choreographed light show and sung entirely in Hebrew, had both sexes mimicking Lider’s every word and movement.

The venue, situated in the German colony of the Israeli capital, was complete with several bars featuring Red Bull, lagers and spirits, as well as providing concertgoers with a vast array of falafel, donairs and various food selections for the one-night event.

Overflowing with bodies, the grounds were seemingly composed of an infinite amount of digital cameras and cell phones, along with the presence of many bronzed, toned and perspiring Israeli youth.
Effortlessly flowing from one song to the other, enthused and anticipating teens reached for the heavens in ecstasy when their homegrown star chirped out the first notes of each song. The connection between performer and fan solidified, constant dialogue between set pieces becoming the norm, as the cool night drew to a close and the crescent moon elucidated its presence.

Unsatisfied with the conclusion to the concert, fans begging for an encore were rewarded — Lider and his band played a three-song encore, after which the protagonist exited stage right.

A night later, in the confines of Haoman 17, not 10 minutes away, the UK’s Ministry of Sound, played at the house that trance built. For 50 shekels, exact change only, hundreds of trance addicts descended upon the intimate club setting. Complete with three levels and a glass-enclosed lounge where a “personal” DJ spun vinyls, Haoman 17 asserted its label as the coup de grace of Jerusalem’s trance scene.

Opening its doors minutes before midnight, two house DJs preceded the illustrious Paul Sparks and the Ministry of Sound. Leaving at 5 a.m., the dance floor was still inundated with glow sticks, sweat-soaked individuals and phat beats. The main DJ booth, present with five turntablists, was complete with a computerized and intricately engineered sound-and-light setup that literally didn’t miss a beat.

Complementing the music throughout the night and morning were gyrating women adorned with peacock wings — dressed later as construction workers, producing eye-catching sparks while sanding a metal frame.

The two nights — contrasting in nature, but linked by the insatiable desire for soul-warming musical accompaniment during difficult times — provided a well-deserved and much needed outlet for the young adults of this Middle East country; it is certainly something that will not soon be forgotten.