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Int’l Music Showcase Preview: The Night Rock Almost Died in Jerusalem

Cut Out Club will be performing Nov. 18, 2015 at the Yellow Submarine for the International Music Showcase. We caught up with them at their first ever club show in Jerusalem to get an idea of what to expect.

It’s something you don’t see every day — Jerusalem’s premiere yuppie music club turning into an impropmtu rock venue. But there it was unfolding before our very eyes as Tel Aviv rockers the Cut Out Club finally broke through, the crowd began moving tables to carve out a dance floor and rock n’ roll narrowly survived to fight another day in Jerusalem.

“Between all the seating and what’s been going on in the city, it wasn’t the best atmosphere for a show, but in the end, Jerusalem always has a great crowd that we love and they came through,” Cut out Club band leader Nitzan Horesh said after the concert.

Cut Out Club Jerusalem

While the night certainly had a happy ending, it didn’t start out so hot.

It actually looked like a premature bust when we first arrived at Jerusalem’s Port, expecting a foot-stomping rock show only to find tables and chairs covering every inch of the would-be dance floor – hardly the proper setup for one of the few pure rock shows in town.

Sound-check was equally ominous as Horesh and band-mates Ben Golan, Roey Bar Yehuda, Daniella Milo, Ishay Berger, Shay Roth, Doron Talmon, Haggai Fershtman struggled through a dry run plagued by instruments and props dropping like flies left and right.

Horesh, an old-school rock performer in the truest sense, was none too happy about the situation.

“[The live show] is the only thing that matters… almost,” he remarked. “Tonight we’re going to be polite, though, because this place is very polite and nice.”

It’s no secret that Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, while only 45 minutes away from each other, are actually worlds apart in every other aspect. Music is no exception.

Where Tel Avivians love to dance the night away in a crowd of strangers at underground techno and rock clubs reminiscent of CBGB in New York or Whiskey a Go Go in LA, Jerusalemites over the age of 22 skew toward the yuppie side. There are a couple of small rock venues and festivals have been known to get pretty wild, but by and large, people in Jerusalem love their sit-down venues.

Meanwhile, Cut Out Club is known from Tel Aviv to Russia and beyond for energetic live shows that whip the crowd into a frenzy with a distinct fusion of rock, funk and punk — think Harvey Danger meets David Bowie.

True to form, the band came out with a string of high-energy songs that would probably have gotten the crowd moving anywhere else.

A noticeably frustrated Horesh was anything but polite, bantering with concert-goers who declined his invitation to sit closer to the stage, jumping onto a couple’s table with his guitar and generally making his opinion known on the table and chair situation.

“What an atmosphere you have here,” backup singer Daniela Singer said at one point, soothing some egos.

“And what chairs!” Horesh piped up from the background.

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For the first 45-minutes of their set, neither the funky tunes nor Horesh’s “polite” suggestions had any effect on the crowd as they sipped on Lambrusco and chowed down on their salmon gravadlax and fish n’ chips, but the crowd grew bold as the night wore on.

It started with a trickle as a group of young musicians, hopped up on lambrusco and the devil’s music, got up from their seats and made their way to an open area next to the stage for some dancing. Taking their cue from the youngsters, a couple in their 30’s got into the action with some wild, uncoordinated dancing back by the bar.

The levies broke when the tables in front of the stage cleared and the crowd pounced on the opportunity to create a dance floor by (politely) moving chairs and tables to the side.

It would have been more rock n’ roll to flip the tables and toss the chairs, but you take what you can get.