Published Mar 01, 2005The Idan Raichel Project is an exciting mix of Israeli and Ethiopian influences, resulting in an interesting blend of urban pop, world beat and electronica. Many local organisations helped bring the Isreali pop band over for its first Montreal performance, including Hillel Montreal and Pop Montreal. The crowd was as diverse as the band's musical spectrum, with the audience ranging from Orthodox Jews to Consulate members to members of the African Students Association. Idan Raichel is a dread-locked Israeli musician who mans the helm as producer and main composer of the Project. After the massive success of his 2002 solo album, Raichel is now equipped with a full band (three vocalists, a bassist and two percussionists) and his first North American tour. Already a chart-topper and award-winner in Israel, Idan Raichel completely sold out his Montreal date. Onstage, Raichel sits almost unassumingly in the corner behind his keyboards and allows the ensemble to have most of the spotlight. The songs range from upbeat pop to more traditional folk, all the while maintaining the musical fusion. The live set is far less electronic than the sounds of his solo record, as most samples were replaced by live instruments and vocals (which is shame since some songs like "Time to Live Time to Die" couldn't be replicated). Some power ballads like "From All Loves" bordered too close to the brink of being overdone, as musically they translated live as overly melodramatic. Despite the songs being sung in Hebrew, the language barrier didn't prevent the crowd from singing along. Favourite moments included the band's crowd-pleasing performance of "Come Over" (or "Bo'ee") and when Dan Beats (who opened the night with Montreal band Vander Dub Experience) returned to the stage to perform with the Idan Raichel Project, driving the crowd into a renewed frenzy.