I am a Yid. I like to rock. Veitur!

- [ Sunday, October 17, 2004 ] -
Blue Fringe in Chicago
The Blue Fringe concert today was sold-out. Contrary to the opinions of a Jewish institution of Chicago, the sponsor of the event, the show would have sold-out with an audience completely under 21. In turn, a downtown club gig on the previous evening wouldn't have interfered. They wouldn't have lost a dime. Because of an unbendable exclusivity clause, Chicago lost an opportunity to hear a fantastic Jewish rock band in a proper setting. See my some of my past posts for more examples of this ignorant Chicago custom. (UPDATE 11/11: Apologies to the band and management. They actually performed at a super-secret, friend/family event. This was unknown to me, and some other people, at the time.)

They played a solid set. They were very tight. The crowd loved them. They can jam, but they concentrated more on playing their hits. The crowd was pleased the few times the band sang "Chicago," "Skokie" and "Peterson Park" into the lyrics of various songs. They even made it rhyme.

The teeny-boppers had a great time. The 12- to 14-year-old girl demographic was well represented in attendance and volume. The screaming was non-stop. These boys are rock-stars, marketable for their age, as well as their performance.

The first set had most of the hits, and the audience lost a little focus after their hit, "Flippin' Out," was played. I thought the song selection improved, as well as the band's energy, as the second set went on. They had more jams later in the set. The audience got restless during the best parts and would keep requesting "Flippin' Out," even after it was played.

They had quite a few references to secular music, as well as Jewish music. Most references were over the audiences head. The audience was there for Blue Fringe music. I was very happy when they covered part of Phish's "First Tube." I screamed out in solidarity to the band for appreciating Phish. Twelve-year-old girls can scream as much as they want, but when I scream, people look at me funny.

They did a couple nice Jewish covers, "Ahavat Yisroel," by Reva L'Sheva, and "Tismach", a Yosef Karduner song from his album, Road Marks, that sounded like it was written for Blue Fringe. The most unusual cover of the evening was "Rapper's Delight," by The Sugar Hill Gang. I'm very proud of my wife for being the only one in the audience who knew every word.

Come back again, Blue Fringe. I hope you can work it so Kfar will get to show you off in a club. I want to see what it's like when you really get into it, and also without screaming high-school girls.

UPDATE: SklarO was there, too.

UPDATE (10/19): I want to add a couple points, because I think this review isn't as complementary as it should be. The lead guitarist, Avi Hoffman, was very impressive. He was tasteful and flashy at the same time. In addition, the band was extremely adept at playing with the timing and rhythm, often switching between multiple time signatures. 'Shkoiach.