-Before the Show: I had first found out about this show from Zeid Hamdan himself, then on Facebook. I had known that the members were Zeid himself, the double-bass player Miles Jay, and his brother the drummer Ian Jay. There weren’t so many details on what genre they would play, whether Miles would play double bass or electric bass, and other little things I was curious about, but what I did know was that this was just a one time thing. Zeid had said that they would have to finish early.
Once again arriving in my usual fashion, I found myself the only person there. I guess it doesn’t get that much traffic unless there’s an event going on? So after some waiting, someone asked me for the ticket money, which was 5,000 L.L, so I paid what I had to, but it would have been nicer to know what the price was beforehand, just saying…
More waiting followed, and then, I spied a familiar face, or actually a hairdo. It was Nando Borges, protagonist of the internet video series “Flying Kebab”, and he was with some friends. I got up with the intent of just saying hi, they invited me to sit with them at their table, which was both really cool and nice of them, but also a regrettable move, you’ll find out why later.
We talked about a lot of things such as university plans (mine, he asked) and Nando’s dreadlocks (which took 3 or 4 years to grow), and Lebanese pop star, Elissa, and her video where she tries to get a guy with a big “car”. But I knew for a fact that the band Mashrou3 Leila have appeared playing live in an episode of “Flying Kebab”, so I really wanted to ask about that. So we discussed them for a while, like how I feel Raksit Leila is being overhyped (it really is) and how they seem to have really gotten the attention of both the die-hard undergrounders as well as the average listeners.
Time passes, still no Zeid. They’re the ones who requested we be early, so why the tardiness? But then they arrive and they manage not to stall so much, only greeting some friends, and then hopping on stage to start their set.
-The Show: Zeid was on electric guitar, Miles was on electric bass, and Ian was on drums, which consisted of just bass, snare, hi-hat, and crash cymbal. The first song started out with some acapella and beatboxing, and then faded into the music (if I remember correctly). I realized that this is reggae and ska that they’re playing! I love ska! They went on to do some reworked SoapKills covers, some reworked New Government covers, and some of Zeid’s own personal songs. For their cover of “Herzan” by SoapKills, they were accompanied by Zeid’s New Government bandmate Jeremie Regnier, who jazzed it up with his saxophone additions to the already ska-ed up version of the originally synthesizer-heavy song. Later, they were joined onstage by Lebanese Arabic rapper, RGB, who performed reworked versions of his songs that he usually performs with Zeid.
-After the Show: I had seen some of these songs performed acoustic in Walimat previously, but now they were amplified and brought to life, so that was nice. However, I could have gotten a better seat if I didn’t move to go sit with Nando and company, but hey, no big deal, it was fun.
After the performance ended, I greeted Zeid and Ian and met Miles for the first time. I was always curious as to how exactly an American double bass player wound up in Lebanon, so I asked and he told me of how he came for his Egyptian oriental-jazz group, Bakash, but found the local scene interesting, and thus decided to stay. He disclosed that he is working on a solo record of double bass and buzuk that he is planning on self-releasing.
Also present, Cristobal. I said hi.
That was my first “ska-reggae-jazz-rap” show, but unfortunately the last of this kind, because Three Little Pigs was just a one-time thing, to my great dismay. Can’t wait for the reunion show.
I said my farewells to Nando and his friends, and made haste…
Fun Fact: The header for this very blog is an edited version of a photo I took that night.
Courtesy of Tanya Traboulsi:
*Personal: I have a video of their version of “Herzan” and I will post a link whenever I can upload it to Youtube.
Watch “Flying Kebab” here: http://flyingkebab.com/