Noga Erez live in Tel Aviv: communal spirit, ‘American Utopia’-style

April 1: in showcasing 'KIDS' the Israeli artist taps into the raw connection of a live show – bolstered by a huge troupe of dancers

It is only when you witness this much communal spirit on stage that you realise how deeply you miss the buzzing energy of a live gig. Noga Erez’s transformative and hopeful show – billed as KIDS: A New Album Experience, after the Israeli artist’s outstanding recent record, released last week (March 26) – sees the vocalist and her troupe of charismatic dancers execute something so palpable, so moving, that it breathes new life into the live-streamed gig can achieve.

That such a slick, tightly choreographed performance is delivered with warmth and a sense of unity hardly comes as a surprise: minutes before this 11-song set kicks off, Erez traverses her Tel Aviv studio with a handheld camera, vlogger-style, and introduces her virtual audience to tonight’s production team, one by one. They can later be heard clapping and cheering feverishly in between songs, while throughout her partner Ori Rousso whacks drum pads and offers sublime backing vocals.

Credit: Noga Erez

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Under club-ready, spiralling projections, a poised Erez blitzes through the bulk of ‘KIDS’ and choice cuts from her 2017 debut ‘Off The Radar’. Donning a big suit with impossibly high shoulder pads, it’s a look that screams ‘Stop Making Sense’-era David Byrne. And the similarities to the former Talking Heads frontman don’t end there: as Erez effortlessly rolls through the rapid-fire verses of ‘KIDS’ cuts ‘End Of The Road’ and ‘Fire Kites’, she conducts her bucket-hatted dancers with the same perfect synchronicity that permeated Byrne’s 2020 concert film, American Utopia.

Noga Erez's KIDS: A New Album Experience
Credit: Noga Erez

And the euphoria never lets up. Erez delivers punchy renditions of crystallised electro-pop bangers ‘VIEWS’, ‘YOU SO DONE’, and ‘Dance While You Shoot’. And it is the FINNEAS-approved ‘Bark Loud’ – an entrancing, off-kilter earworm – that is played up most brilliantly tonight; the earth-shaking drop sees everyone in this room lose their inhibitions in tandem. The dancers barrel forward through the rest of the set with infectious vigour, momentarily pausing to hype Erez up from the sidelines when she takes a singular acoustic turn on the gorgeously sparse ‘Switch Me Off’.

As the distortion-heavy beats of ‘Spit’ begin to unwind and Erez and the team prepare to depart, she positions herself directly in front of the camera. “I hope we managed to translate the energy of a live show through your screen”, she offers, with a reassuring smile. It’s a sincere acknowledgement that tonight’s thrilling rave-up couldn’t wholly replicate dancing, sweating, and feeling together, but the empathy and wonder that it provided was meaningful enough.

Noga Erez played:

‘End Of The Road’
‘Cipi’
‘VIEWS’
‘Fire Kites’
‘Bark Loud’
‘Switch Me Off’
‘YOU SO DONE’
‘No News On TV’
‘Story’
‘Dance While You Shoot’
‘Spit’

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