Aviv Geffen @ Proud Gallery

I went to the Aviv Geffen gig last night, at the Proud Gallery in Camden.  This was going to feature the Blackfield band lineup, including Steven Wilson.  As I walked through the rear entrance I found myself in a cobbled alley with named horse stalls on each side – the Shergar stall was set aside for the band, and Steven Wilson was already in there.  Excitement – I’m such a fanboy.  The Desert Orchid stall had Setanta on the big screen showing FA Cup highlights from last weekend, and a European round up.  The merchandise is in another stall, and there are freebies on offer, like at the Bush Hall gig – this time it is a free tshirt and free cd.  And then Aviv Geffen himself walks past me – he looks smaller in real life than he does on the NYC dvd.  Inside the music room there are themed photos on the walls, some seating round the edges, and a contination of the stone floor.  It’s not that deep a room, but very wide.  The audience is very cosmopolitan, and very female.  It’s hard to know for sure, but while some there will be along to see anything Steven WIlson is involved in, the majority appear to be here for the man Aviv Geffen myself.  It’s a mixed thing for me – I first got to know of him through his association with Steven Wilson in Blackfield, but I also enjoyed his solo show at Bush Hall (which did have Steven Wilson guesting on some tracks).
The doors opened at 19.30.  The band (finally) came on at 21.30.  Seemed like too long a wait to me, but it proved to be worth it.  Steven Wilson was his usual barefoot, with an olive Broken Flag tshirt.  Aviv Geffen looked like he had raided Prince’s wardrobe, in a frilly frock coat, dress trousers and patent shoes.  They played straight through the first three tracks, beginning with the bouncy ballad Black And White, which is the sort of thing Coldplay and Snow Patrol should be doing.  Its Alright is more upbeat, positive, sunny and features Aviv on acoustic guitar – through the gig he changes between simply vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, and keyboards.  Miss U, from Blackfield II gets a big reception and lives up to it – it is a storming number,  even though it sounds scaled down in some way.  There is a gap before the next track, but they are running at a fair pace through the set.  October is a mournful, emotional track, with Aviv’s distinctive vocals backed only by Eran Mitelman’s precise keyboard work.  And they are straight into Now Or Never, an easily paced, guitar based track, with Aviv taking off the frock coat to reveal a plain white tshirt.  The familiar drums of Once (another from Blackfield II) see Aviv back on electric guitar, introducing the band, and it really rocks hard tonight, there being a total attack on drums from Tomer Z.  Then a short gap as a keyboard is brought on stage for Aviv, and Eran helps him find the correct pitch for Glow, off the first Blackfield album.  It is just Aviv and Eran for this track, and the break out section has a different effect to that of the album, not as powerful, in my opinion.  They continue straight into The Forest In My Heart, with the full band only rejoining them for the finale of the track.  It’s a melodic ballad, and there is far too much background chatter in the room.  Another gap while the keyboard is removed, and Aviv talks about the forthcoming album and the wonderful guest musicians he has on it, before they play Silence with Aviv on acoustic guitar – a mellow, easy beat, with a very chilled solo from Steven Wilson.  Aviv is back on electric guitar for Where Is My Love ? from Blackfield II, and the track starts really laid back before exploding into the chorus, and features a very aggressive solo from Steven.  The familiar keyboard intro to Blackfield earns another great reception, and it has more echo, a spacey feel, rougher edges, totally thumping bass from Seffy Efrati, and a sublime solo from Steven Wilson, who just makes everything look so easy.  Pain is very faithful to the Blackfield album version until Steven adds in some new twists on the guitar parts, and then it is just Aviv, Eran and Steven for Berlin, a lovely number with plaintive vocals, “she was cold just like Berlin”.  Before we head into The One, Aviv tells us how he is recording the track for his album in southern Israel with arabic drummers, and there is a very arabian sound to the song, a very rocky number, and Aviv takes off his tshirt and leans into the crowd.  The set closes with End Of The World from Blackfield II, again staying faithful to the album version, and the band receive very hearty applause as they leave the stage.
The first track of the encore is Heroes, featuring Aviv on acoustic guitar, Eran and Steven.  It has a folky feel to it, with Steven’s guitar cutting into that sound.  Aviv launches his introduction to it with “I don’t believe in smart bombs, I believe in smart people”.  Then with the full band back on stage and Aviv still on acoustic, they roll into Cloudy Now off the first Blackfield album, and a manic, extended ending with lots of drum sound sees Aviv stride straight off stage, in a very powerful exit.  It was a great set, excellently performed (as you come to expect from this group of musicians), and the sound was top class – now we just need Aviv to finally release the album !!!
And there were famous people in the audience !  Neil Matthars and Carl Sampson from Paradise 9 – and it was great to have a good chat with Neil…keep an eye on their forthcoming gigs for the possibility of a surprise performance from a band (not Paradise 9 themselves) who I did not think would be gigging this year, and good to hear Paradise 9 are in the studio working on recording a new album.  And there was also David Gest – you know, formerly married to Liza Minnelli, got fourth place in I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!
I stayed at the end to try to get some autographs, and I have to say that Steven Wilson was very pleasant in dealing with a bunch of us – so I now have my copies of Insurgentes and Deadwing signed, together with my Karma demo tape.  I am very happy.

This entry was posted in Gig reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.