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An Israeli Rocker Tells Us About Tel Aviv's Underground Music and Nightlife

juval1.jpgEach week in our new column, "No Sleep Til...," we'll be talking to cool kids around the globe, asking them to fill us in about the bands, DJs, music venues and night spots they and their friends are obsessing over. Next time you visit their home city, leave your Fodor's and Lonely Planet guides behind and go party like a local instead.


Juval Haring



Where do you live?

Tel Aviv, Israel

What do you do there?

I play in a band called Vaadat Charigim with [bandmates] Yuval Guttmann and Dan Fabian Bloch, and I run an independent PR company for musicians/artists.

What does your music sound like?

To me it sounds like a mix of early '90s dreamy, shoegazey stuff, with some local Israeli noiserock from the '90s, which was rougher and somewhat political.

What Israeli bands or DJs are you obsessed with and that you think we should know about?

For the size of the scene, Tel Aviv has a lot of excellent bands. Check out Charlie Megira, Ed Turner & The Danilof Center and Bela Tar. There are a lot more great bands but I like the darker stuff.

How did you discover these acts?

It's a really small scene and I've been doing booking/PR/setting up DIY concerts and festivals ever since I got out of the army so I pretty much know everyone by now.

What does those bands sound like?

I'd really hate to ruin it with words. Just google and listen to it for yourselves.

Where are the cool places to see live music in Tel Aviv?

I'm 30 and married so I'm not so sure I'm an authority on what's cool, but The Zimmer stands out as a good example of DIY culture [in Tel Aviv]. There's also the Reality Rehab Center.

I like places that mean something. These are places for concerts that are also very community driven. I used to live in Berlin for four years with my wife and there were a lot more places like that in Berlin than in Tel Aviv. It has to do with the fact that the city of Tel Aviv is so expensive. Opening a place like The Zimmer is an act of financial suicide here, so most people don't bother. Your venue really has to work and generate income to survive. I guess you could say it's "cool" that these places survive somehow by being home to an underground community and remaining true to that.

We don't really have all-ages places like you do in the States, where indie music is played to kids who dig the noise and just wanna have some fun, see a show, get together in a positive way. Here, music comes hand-in-hand with drinking and losing control. It has to do with the harsh reality. Underground culture is an escape from reality here. So the underground places are a bit on the dark side, and the crowds are diverse, from the more hardcore regulars to some curious younger hipsters who come on their designer bikes.

What are the cool neighborhoods in Tel Aviv for young people to live and hang out in?

I wouldn't say there are "cool young neighborhoods" because once they are labeled as such, the rents get higher and the cool young people have to go find a new place to occupy. Tel Aviv as a city is going in a very bad direction -- young people, even those with stable jobs, are having a hard time keeping up with the high price of living. Rents are insane, taxes are high, groceries are ridiculously expensive in the city. It leaves very little time or room for art to grow. If you were a tourist, I would just point you in the direction of the Florentine or Noga districts, though.

Describe your perfect night out in Tel Aviv.

Well, I have to say I like eating in restaurants, and Tel Aviv has a lot of great places to eat. It's such a great food city. If you are looking for a place to have a drink go to Africa, Har Sinai, CorD'uroy, Uganda or any one of the many alternative bars in the city. But, to tell the truth, I rarely go out to bars. I am more fond of house parties or roof top parties. Since all the houses in Tel Aviv are international Bauhaus-style buildings with flat tops, you get all these great roof top parties in the summer where you can just stand around and have a beer under the sky.

What's your favorite bar or nightclub?

I couldn't really say, but I have a fantasy of opening a place called "The Bottom Line" and it would just be a sad bar where everyone would come and talk about their problems and get drunk, but in a pathetic way. Everyone sitting there would just be a hopeless basketcase. There are a great number of hip bars in Tel Aviv with young, cool people hanging out, but not many sad bars. I think a sad bar in Tel Aviv could be an untapped niche market.

What's a bar or nightclub you would NEVER go to in Tel Aviv?

When I was doing PR for a larger, more commercial office before I became independent, I was working on parties organized by an energy drink company that wanted to seem young and... energetic, I guess. The parties were headlined by house or trance DJs, and took place in the most disgusting hangar-size mega clubs you've ever seen. I'm an indie kid who grew up on Dinosaur Jr. and Mudhoney -- that shit was scary to me.

Check out Juval's band, Vaadat Charigim, and the rest of his music recs:

Vaadat Charigim -- "Ze Beseder Lefahed" ("It's OK to Be Afraid")

[This is the second single off Vaadat Charigim's debut LP, due out in July in the US on vinyl (Warm Ratio), cassette (Burger Records) and worldwide on CD and Digital (ANOVA Music)]

Charlie Megira
& the Modern Dance Club -- "Elvis Is Not Dead"

Ed Turner & the Danilof Center -- "HaTsiftsuf"

Bela Tar -- "Black Mark"

Check out Juval's nightlife listings:

The Zimmer, 5 Hagdud Haivri, Tel Aviv

Reality Rehab Center, 23 Beit Yosef St., Tel Aviv

Africa, 18 Harakevet St., Tel Aviv

Har Sinai, Har Sinai 2, Tel Aviv

CorD'uroy, 99 Allenby St., Tel Aviv

Uganda, Simtat Beit Habad 5, Tel Aviv

More from our 'No Sleep Til...' series including nightlife and music in Paris, Mumbai, Seoul, Bogotá and more!

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