The Best Chanukah Gifts Are Musical

On the third night of Chanukah I received my first gift of the season. My kid brother sent me the latest CD from Bloc Party -yes we still buy CDs in my family. The bro has astoundingly ill music taste, especially for a 15 year old, and again came through on the clutch with this year’s Chanukah present. If you haven’t gotten ahold of the new BP album Intimacy, get it and enjoy (check track 3 Biko, straight red velvet butter sugar cake.)

How surprised was I to receive yet another gift on the fourth night: Jewltide, a concert featuring JDUB groups The Shondes and DeLeon. And what a gift it was.

Skeptical of having to leave early from my Jew Posse’s annual Christmas Chinatown dinner, a few friends and I trekked to Brooklyn to catch these two bands. The first group, The Shondes define themselves as “hard-driving politically savvy rock n’ roll”. If I were to pepper the description with my own words, I would include tough, musically competent, and gay. One song featured the phrase, “Yeah we’re gay” repeated throughout the song. And oddly enough, it worked. The lead singer introduced a final song saying, “As Jews we are taught to ask questions and think critically and so this track is in honor of a free Palestine.” The crowd was right there with her, feeling the waltz rock jam and the message.

DELEON followed with beautiful, optimistic, danceable 15th Century Sephardic rock music that rocked our world for a few reasons:

1) The five piece band opened with the drummer standing on his drum set pounding the base with a mallet ~ George of the Jungle style. Said drummer continued his shenanigans throughout the set. Also he wore little shorts.

2)The keyboardist was a badass blonde Debi Harry dead ringer and when duet-ing with the sultry tight pants/vest combo lead singer of the group, made for a beautiful (looking and sounding) combination.

3)The music elicited palpable Jewish pride in all of us. My bestie Nicole, who came with from Chinese dinner remarked, “I can’t believe that non-Jews would want to come out on Christmas eve and play this music (two of the five musicians were not Jewish.) It makes it seem cooler: like cool to be a Jew.”

– Margaret Teich

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