Show Review: Zeid & The Wings Live @ Basement (August 27, 2010)

 For a while, I didn’t know what Zeid & The Wings was. Look at past instances where they have been mentioned here: I would list elements I saw before me, not really picking up on the soul of it all. Well, I finally picked up the broadcast.

 Over the past couple of years, Zeid Hamdan had been hopping from one dimension to another (from an Arabic trip-hop duo (SoapKills) to an indie-pop trio (The New Government)) and playing different roles (from manning a plethora of machines and programs to wielding a humble guitar). Left and right the needle on the scale was fluctuating, until finally it settled, and equilibrium had been reached: this was when Zeid & The Wings was born. Zeid & The Wings are not a standard rock band, nor are they a band responsible for reproducing Hamdan’s self-produced studio material live. It is a fusion of his digital production with live accompaniment. This was the case when he worked with Hiba and RGB, but this isn’t anything like just playing guitar to a whole track, it’s more elaborate.

 Hamdan played the first prerecorded track on his laptop, consisting of drums, bass, and some ambient effects. The tracks for tonight were not the same as the studio versions. Different drumbeats could be heard, new percussion was added, among other alterations, and the female vocal section, Yasmeen Ayyashi, Gihan El Hage, and Sara Barraj joined in adding live percussion. The main role of the girls is of course to add backing vocals, and they do it well. You can tell they weren’t assembled for their ability as solo vocalists, but for their ability at performing together as a single entity in harmony with Hamdan himself… because that was the absolute result.

 Marc Codsi on guitar, Rita Okais on retro keyboards, and Bachir Saade on nay were each filling in the gaps in their own ways.

 Now some random comments:

-“Hkini” featured Hamdan playing some mouth harp in the intro. I too play a mouth harp. That was cool to see. Mouth harps are cool.

-It was nice to hear some new stuff, for example the song “Inspiration”, written by Hamdan out of a lack of… inspiration.

-“Rocket” sounded like happy-Portishead (at least to me it did).

-Whenever Hamdan performs, no matter who he joins, I think about how I don’t know anyone here but him who plays ska and dub… every single time, since the first time I saw him play almost a year ago.

 And they gave away a nice 4-track EP. By the way, lately if you want a band’s CD, you have to attend the release of it or a live gig, because there are seriously no more good record stores left.

 That was it overall: Good playing, good vocals, good arrangements, good band, and good show! Put this on the record: The best I have seen them yet!

 Which is precisely why it was too bad I had to leave in the middle of it…

Also, this was my first time in The Basement, and I feel it necessary to say: it has couches and a single long-ass table in the middle of the room with seats like some chillout coffee lounge, but it’s actually a nightclub with dance music and no dancefloor… oh well.

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