You know how people say 'We were dancing in the aisles' even though they really weren't? I'm not one of those guys.
The Klezmatics Feat. Joshua NelsonCity: Madison, WI
Venue: Wisconsin Union Theater
You know how people say "We were dancing in the aisles" even though they really weren't? I'm not one of those guys. When I say "We were dancing in the aisles" it means that by the end of the show, many in the audience (including me) were dancing around in a big grapevine-hora chain. We did this because that is what people actually do at a Klezmatics concert during "Ale Brider", the group's signature song. But we also danced because, for a few minutes, we were all in love with each other, life in general, and music. That's what the Klezmatics do. Frank London -- up front on trumpet and keyboards -- is the anarchy-loving hype man, the Flavor Flav to singer Lorin Sklamberg's more spiritual Chuck D. The group is tight; they can turn on a dime; their solos often approach the ecstatic, and Sklamberg's tenor could tear down the walls of Jericho. The crowd was not entirely Jewish (but mostly so), not entirely middle-aged (but mostly so), and not entirely ground down by the freezing Wisconsin weather (but mostly so). They would have been happy to hear the band crank out their brand of fun, folked-up klezmer all night. But the Klezmatics were intent on messing with the format -- that is, after all, the only way to move ahead. When the group originally formed 20 years ago, their goal was to combine traditional Jewish music with contemporary and postmodern aesthetics. That mission has long since been accomplished, and they've expanded their focus into other, more specific projects, such as recordings and arrangements of Woody Guthrie's recently discovered "Jewish Songs" and their collaborations with a number of other artists.