Geva Alon at Bialik Café, Tel-Aviv, Israel (30.8.07)

Geva Alon. Photo by Michal Shani.
Geva's skillful guitar playing overshadows the lack of his backing band, giving his songs a new depth. Photo by Michal Shani.

As it turns, I'm writing the review on Geva Alon's latest album "The Wall of Sound" (out on The Eight Note), in parts. Every time I sat down to write the sequel I had to go back and rewrite what I first wrote since I fell in love with the album more and more with each listen, and what was written two weeks ago was not reflecting my opinion as strongly as I wanted it to.

"Days of hunger", Alon's first album, was a rare breed in Israel's stream of the local music scene of 2006, that's certain. And to be truthful, as much as it intrigued me, and I really wanted to like the album, something felt missing. The production and performance were outstanding, but something wasn't quite there. All reviews stayed focused mostly on the comparison of his musical style to Neil Young's, who has influenced Geva a lot. But there was this core of genuine talent in the album that filled me with anticipation for his next album. "The wall of sound", his second and latest album was all the proof I needed. Geva Alon is a great magnificent talent.

Alon, formerly the "Flying Baby" guitar player keeps on mastering the guitar in Excellency. You should see him in concert to understand the amount of talent this guy has the second he straps on the guitar. Whether it's the self rhythm guitar playing while improvising skillful solos or the short riffs and fills between each chord. In his performance in 'Bialik Café', he juggled his guitar parts while changing a torn guitar string. During the whole string changing he didn't stop playing, creating interesting moods and atmospheres through abstract guitar improvisations

Geva Alon: The wall of sound"The wall of sound" was a huge step forward musically. The songs on it feel much more mature and ready. The lyrics have sharpened since the last record, and Geva's voice is just getting clearer and better. The songs sound like a blend of pure intimacy or a small candlelight lighten stage, while still catchy to the ear without sounding kitsch.

You just need to listen to songs like "In my head"; talking about letting the melodies run from your head onto the stage in "A bar full of strangers" or the heart warming "Cross many oceans"; "Wall of sound" has a more epic sense to it, and "Rosemary's eyes" is a sweet love song. Geva Alon, in the Israeli music fold/singer-songwriter scene, is as unique and talented as it gets. In my opinion, I would say the same thing regarding the world wide music scene.

Geva's music is a combination between the soft spot in everyone's hearts, and precise and accurate writing. You could see it in every fan face in the 'Bialik' show. Each one of these fans has arrived here and fell in love with Geva's music throughout the many shows he played, picking the audience almost one by one. And today, this bar full of familiar strangers is overpacked, and people are still standing in line.

Bialik Café 30.8.07

Inside the small Café, filled with people inside (and outside still waiting) you could find at least a hundred hypnotized eyes (as it can't store more people) as Geva takes on the stage, armed with his acoustic guitar. He doesn’t do much talking other then sending a quick shy "thank you" here and there to his loving audience. The first songs on the set all belong to the new album "The Wall of sound". The audience already knows the lyrics by heart, even though the album was out on stores for only a short period of time now.

Geva's playing skills overshadow the fact that he is playing the gig without a full lineup band companying him. He doesn't miss a chance to play a guitar solo, or eye-opening guitar riff while supplying his own rhythm guitar. To see him stand alone on stage and still make all those songs work, sometime even better then on the album, is amazing. To change moods and atmospheres he sometimes adds some effects on his acoustic guitar, never losing to genuine feel to his songs.

The show itself lasts about an hour and a half, based on his two studio albums, "Days of hunger" and "The wall of sound". When Geva steps off the stage for the first time, the crowd stays still, wanting more and more. In a few seconds Geva steps right back to that stage, playing a fresh new song, and David Bowie's "Modern love", which appears on "The wall of sound".

Even after the encore, the crowd still waits hoping for another quick song, but Geva has already left the spotlight, left the audience hungry for more. This is the kind of hunger that's hard to fulfill, when each note on his guitar or vocal chords just opens up the appetite more.

Geva Alon. Photo by Shimrit Elimelech
Hypnotizing the audience in Bialik Café, Tel-Aviv, Israel. Photo by Shimrit Elimelech.
Geva Alon's show, just like the album, feels as if it were played in your closed door room, even though there are blinks of awareness to the people around you, feeling the same thing. Even though he lives in Israel, his music is a 100 % international - in writing, in genuinely and quality.

Roy Povarchik

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