What a concert! Yiddish Princess is my new favorite band. To my intense pleasure Sarah Gordon sounds like a Yiddish-singing Kate Bush; indeed, her singing on band's hard rockified version of "Oy Avram" is instantly recognizable from "Hounds of Love" or LP of similar vintage.
I have to say that this is a good thing. It's like Yiddish folk song of the 1880s (okay, most of this material is much later--some written in Yiddish by Gordon and set to music by Michael Winograd and the rest of the band, one by contemporary Yiddish songwriter Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman) meets hard rock of the 1980s. Pop meets pop, as it were. And the band has so much fun playing--Avi Fox-Rosen and Yoshie Fruchter have more fun playing guitar than should be legal. Winograd has the synths down, and both Chris Berry on drums and Ari Folman-Cohen on bass are perfect.
If I have a single complaint about the concert, it was that Gordon's voice was too far back in the mix. Despite the Kate Bush influences so clear on the new EP (buy a few! they make great gifts), in concert it was more like watching Molly Picon meets hard rock. A couple songs were already familiar to me from Winograd's arrangements on the more traditional jazz-klezmer album, Khevre. This isn't how they sounded a few years ago. Time passes.
Along with "Oy Avram," there were a few other traditional songs: "Yash," and "Vilna;" the latter was sung traditionally, accompanied only by Winograd on the keyboard for the first verse or so, until with a great clash the drums kicked in and Yoshie Fruchter crashed in with his guitar and once more we were back in the 1980s.
A select audience of Workmen's Circle friends and local klezmorim danced to the music, grabbed hula hoops and cavorted as the band played. Such an excellent time was had by all. I'm considering skipping work and heading up to Vermont for tomorrow night's gig. If you are in the vicinity, you owe it to yourself and your ears to do likewise. You can follow the whole tour from the band website, or for that matter, on the Klezmershack calendar. If nothing else, you have to catch the band live to stock up on the new EP, which I suspect will be the best-selling CD of the summer.