Last night the El Ray Theater was literally bouncing with Deleon and Balkan Beat Box. If you are in San Fran, Portland, or Seattle this week- catch this show. The crowd was already primed for an amazing evening. BBB fans could be seen walking in from every direction. The woman with spiked hair, the guys with shaved heads and goatees, amidst hippies, yippies, and millennium aged Jews from LA. BBB command a serious and impressive following.
Aaron Bisman and JDub Records were gracious hosts. As Deleon warmed up the crowd, Deleon warmed up too. Their music is described as “15th Century Spanish indie rock infused with the deeply mysterious and entrancing cadences of the ancient Sephardic tradition.” I loved their trumpet, front man Dani Sak, and their hip interpretations of Ladino songs.
When Balkan Beat Box got on stage the place was ready to absolutey go nuts. Â They were primed with kabbalah infused Sephardic tunage – they were ingesting the BBB over the PA – they were gulping drinks at the bar – the crowd was pumped.
Tomer Yosef leaps onto the monitors and spends most of the night on speakers or in front of his tom-toms and mixing equipment. He is on fire, as is the rest of the band. They tear it up. They came back on stage for a 30 minute encore. The sax’s blaring, somewhere between a Macedonian folk band, Kelzmer, and Mizrachi all thrown together. I love the brass. I cannot get enough of the brass.
It is hard to understand Tomer sometimes, and he even told me that he doesn’t always know what he is saying! But understanding is not important, the message is felt loud and clear.
BBB are aworld class act and I am a new devote. I am waiting for the photos from the MTV News photographer that was there. Lastly – here is a shout out to the crew -Amir, Dan, Jessi, and Laura that I met at the show and invited for Shabbat Dinner, and the program director from CSUN Hillel who has dedication to bring some students to the show.