Aviv Geffen, Bush Hall, 31st Jan 2008

3 stars (out of 5)


Aviv GeffenHe’s huge in his native Israel, playing in stadiums and out-selling major artists such as U2 and Madonna – while also keeping a celebrated political viewpoint.

But now Aviv Geffen has his sights set on become a big noise in the West. Already his collaboration with British musician Steven Wilson, of Porcupine Tree, called Blackfield has created two critically acclaimed albums and a number one single in Poland.

But tonight, for one night only, Geffen plays the intimate Bush Hall in what seems to be a hugely media-packed event. First on stage is scottish singer-songwriter Lucky Jim, who greatly impresses with his thoughtful lyrics and catchy tunes, including a very familar tune in “You’re Lovely to Me”. Find out more about Lucky Jim in an upcoming MusicRiot Presents… podcast.

The crowd are here for Geffen however, and some of the anticipation in the crowd borders upon the annoying. Finally he appears with his band and things start rolling … well kind of.

The problem with Aviv Geffen’s attempts at a breakthrough in the UK and the west in general, is that English is not his first language and so far he appears to be unable to sing in english with any discernable emotion. A big problem when his whole schtick is soft-rock ballads which can only really work when sung with heightened emotion.

Geffen has a huge backing for his attack on the UK music scene, he is currently recording demos for what will become his first English-language solo album, with the esteemed producer Steve Orchard (U2, Travis, Dido, George Michael). In addition he has attracted David Bowie’s pianist, Mike Garson (Bowie is an admirer, and so is Lou Reed), to work with him, and he appears tonight.

Based on tonight’s performance there is still work to do – but we aren’t going to bet against the Israeli super-star.

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