Mohawks, stage diving, fists flying. Homemade band t-shirts, circle pits, singalongs. These scenes are not unfamiliar; They have flooded pop culture imagery for over 25 years. The punk rock... See full summary »
Mohawks, stage diving, fists flying. Homemade band t-shirts, circle pits, singalongs. These scenes are not unfamiliar; They have flooded pop culture imagery for over 25 years. The punk rock ethos gains new relevance in Israel, however, when band members' choices are often between picking up a guitar or picking up a gun. Like the country itself, the punk rock music scene in Israel is young, small, and passionate. The bands have differing political views, but they share a struggle for freedom in a country where they feel restricted by religious laws, mandatory military service and an explosive political situation. Looking at the present situation in Israel through the eyes of punk rockers is not a common vantage point, but the voices of these young people will illuminate the thoughts of a generation of disillusioned Israelis who yearn for an end to the bleak politics of war, so that they might live out their dreams. Written by
This is what Hardcore/Punk is about - it's way more than music
Punk Rock in Israel - this sounds like one of these columns in Maximum Rock'n'Roll we used to read back in the days. About a scene in a very small exotic country with lots of addresses at the very end to write to and to ask bands for a demo tape. A world wide scene was created that way - ask Jello Biafra about it. Nowadays nobody does that anymore. There are way too many local bands in your own city that don't amaze you. Who really wants to know how punk rock sounds in Kyrgyzystan or Gabun or another place you can't think of right now?
What we got here is a whole documentary about the Israeli scene - 'Jericho's Echo - Punk Rock in the Holy Title' is the title and it was done by the Jewish American Liz Nord in true DIY style. It is no surprise that Liz used to work for a punk rock label and for Maximum Rock'n'Roll, the mother of all scene reports. The movie is very thrilling, and interestingly this has nothing to do with the bands. The music is quite variable within the Hardcore & Punk genre. And the only one known outside Israel are Useless I.D. who toured the USA and within Europe and who are the Israeli version of the famous Fat Wreck sound. The other bands are totally unknown, very young and in their very early stages of finding their own sound. You find Streetpunk as well as Emo and even NY Hardcore (and the band that plays it is as much cliché as you'd expect). A lot of times this is nice and okay to listen to, but if the documentary would feature a list of all the contacts to the bands in true MRR style you wouldn't miss much if you'd don't write them. In a world with way too may bands most of them are just another band. And no new Fugazi, to say it this way.
But why is 'Jericho's Echo' a music documentary that is thrilling and a must-see anyhow? Because in our world punk and hardcore became just another style of music. A career choice, if you see how many Emo bands break the charts. It doesn't matter if we listen to the Dead Kennedys now and afterward to Bruce Springsteen. It's just music we consume. In Israel choosing to be a punk has massive consequences - Judaism doesn't like tattoos for example, and if you decide to be a Peace Punk and don't want to join the army you might end up with the label "psychopath" printed into your I.D.
So how do punks as a not so beloved minority think in a country which is even less popular in its region? What is their perspective on society, on the conflict with the Palestinians? The great thing is that the movie doesn't use clichés. As an outsider you'd like to hear how the whole conflict started, but Palestinians and Israelis are like chicken and egg. The movie doesn't want to take sides, Liz just listened to what people said. And so we find calls for peace and coexistence as much as people who prefer an Israeli dominance. At the same time everybody has to deal with fear and the loss of friends who got killed by suicide bombers. The statements Liz filmed are truly authentic and deep from the heart. And they show what Hardcore is all about - that it's more than music. And this movie is more than just (a) music (documentary) too.
And now got out and watch this!
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