Everybody who came to the Webster Hall on May 20 got what he or she wanted. Those who were attracted by the mysterious flavor of an Israeli rock could see that Mashina is more interesting than most of world famous bands; their performing quality meets the highest international standards, yet their style offers new insights into what contemporary rock music should be like. Committed fans of the band that is known for its rapid rise to prominence in late 1980s and equally rapid decline in mid-1990s were pleased to see their band up and going again. Therefore, there were few people who regretted paying $55 for the entrance.
The Webster Hall was full and the spirits were running high. Many critics were cynical about the possibility of the concert’s success, since virtually no American has ever heard of the Mashina. However, these critics often forget that the U.S. is a multicultural country, and many immigrants from Israel are living here. Even if some of them attended the concerts out of sheer patriotism, they must have gone home satisfied and proud of their country’s musical tradition. After the concert at the Webster Hall, Mashina can surely count on successful sale of their CDs in the New World.
The music of Mashina equally appeals to all generations. For emo-kids, it is cynical lyrics with a touch of black humor that makes the band attractive. For older audience, their sincere yet dignified performing style reminds of the good old days when rock was not a commercial show but social movement for greater justice, freedom, and equality. By the way, a lot of their songs criticize the system, yet without the destructiveness and obscenity of punk or ska. Mashina sings about basic human values and experience; it is amazing that in the country based on the principles of ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’ their music has not topped charts yet. However, the future might prove that good music counts.
As for the performance itself, it was evident that the band got back together in 2003 for a reason. They played original, deeply moving music, devoid of previous influences that attracted much criticism both inside and outside the country (Mashina has been accused of copying the style of many American and British bands, such as Pixies, Madness, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, and even U2). Even the relatively bad acoustics of the Webster Hall could not spoil the evening for the people who came their for quality music.
The atmosphere is yet one more crucial element that makes a good concert. When Mashina were playing their classical rock ballads, everybody in the audience was singing along. When the band was playing lesser known songs, everybody was listening attentively, paying due respect to the creative effort of the band.
In the first half of the performance, the band was playing songs from the Futurologist Romance, their comeback album. By the end, however, the atmosphere began to heat up as Mashina turned to their early material, finishing the concert with their famous ‘Night Train to Cairo.’
This night will definitely stay in the memories of all rock fans as one of the most profound – and most unusual – musical experiences.