Posted by Nadav Lazar on February 18, 1999 at 16:39:55:
I've just returned from Danny Sanderson's HaKeisam Ha'Aharon (The Last Toothpick) concert in Enav Culture Center in Tel Aviv. This was the second time I watched the show, and it was almost as good as the first time.
After the first time I watched it, almost two months ago, I was finally convinced I should buy Sanderson's "HaLo Noda" (The Unknown). Though appriciating his work, I've always had a problem with his solo albums - they all sounded as tending towards simple pop, without the musical complexity that I love so much about Kaveret, for instance. And even when I first listened to "HaLo Noda", when it was released, I thought it was nice, but I didn't buy it.
In Sanderson's concert I was exposed to the musical qualities of the album, and I immidiately purchased it. I found it to be a great album, complexed, mature and fun to listen to.
And now, I came to see the concert again, after knowing the songs better. Sanderson got on stage with his usual "let's get down to business" expression, always a professional. He surrounded himself with excellent, yet not unique in their style, musicians. They're all good players, but most of the time they play bounded in the convention of the song, besides the brilliant Iggy Dayan, who gives new interpretations to old well-known songs (with a little tendency to exaggerate).
Kfir Ben-Layish's beautiful voice sometimes sounded "too cute", but most of the time he was great. Ziv Harpaz bass playing was somewhat dull. Noa Golandsky's percussion and vocals added some flavor to the show, but besides Iggy Dayan, the only two who did make some real impression were Iggy's brother, Naor, playing guitars, and keyboards player Amit Har'el.
Naor Dayan is with no doubt an excellent guitarist. Too bad most of the time he plays like Sanderson. It was in "Yo Ya" where his own unique sound and style came out, showing what he's really made of. To me it seems that he restrained himself, prevented himself from giving something new to most of the songs. His style is heavier than Sanderson's more classical rock playing, and it could have been interesting to listen to it.
The same goes for Amit Har'el, who is obviously a great pop keyboards player, but also a professional rock & blues pianist. He too was terrific in "Yo Ya", as well as when accompanying Danny's sketches.
Sanderson himself was as good as ever. I feel it's unnecessary to praise him again and again - the guy is probably one of the best and most sensitive guitar players around. It's amazing how his voice kept the same special tone and range over the years. He had no problems singing Mazi Cohen's backing vocals in "Ronnie" and such. It seems he put a lot of work in acting the songs and sketches, which works great.
The sketches, by the way, are surprisingly witty at times. We all know the classic Sanderson humor, using great puns and silly punchlines. But this time, together with co-writer Avi Etinger, Sanderson has managed to reinvent himself, adding tons of self irony, some political satire, and some shades of Seinfeld-like monologues. And the story about "Holam Haser" is probably a literary (!) masterpiece. He had great timing, and knew exactly how to combine it all with background music.
Ravit Har'el, who sang beautifly in Sanderson's last album, performed two duets with him, but I think she wasn't at her best. I remember she was much better the first time I saw the show.
After the concert ended, I overheard Sanderson and Yehuda Eder (x-Doda member, a musical adviser in "HaLo Noda" and a good friend of Danny's) talking about a future plain, somewhat-improvised, rock performance they may do some day in a nightclub. Though it may seem strange at first that the perfectionist Sanderson, who plans and rehearses every little musical and physical gesture, would get back to rough nightclubs rock, I think it'll be good for him, to get loose a bit. It may help him to open up his own musicians, thus improving his already excellent performance.
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