As part of a 12-day detour from his usual itinerary – touring sold-out arenas in the Levant region – Israeli pop super-sensation Ivri Lider stopped by The Blind Pig to woo a sizeable crowd Sunday night.

Angela Cesere

Lider’s Kelly Clarkson-style status abroad proved to be an accurate forecast of his local reception.

“When my Israeli friends heard he was coming here, their jaws dropped,” one fan said.

Against a five-man backdrop, Lider crooned his way through a 90-minute set of what one crowd member called “Tel Aviv ecstasy music.”

He pointed. He swayed. He proved that the ingredients to pop success in Israel aren’t much different from those in America: a basic grasp of the tonic-subdominant-dominant chord progression, a subtly attractive lead singer and a consistent, danceable beat. As one smiling fan put it: “Boy bands are the same everywhere.”

But in terms of audience reaction, early Paul McCartney may have been a better analogy than Nick Carter. The front row spent the night rotating between blissful stares and wild, ricocheting dancing. Many knew the words to his mostly Hebrew set list by heart.

Lider is in the midst of a campus-focused U.S. tour that has included the University of Maryland and New York’s Binghamton University. Proceeds from Sunday’s show went to aid the victims of ethnic cleansing in Darfur.

Over the past decade, Lider’s platinum-level international success has catapulted him into the realm of Israeli pop royalty alongside the pseudo-androgynous Aviv Geffen and a cadre of “Kokhav Nolad” (the Israeli “Pop Idol”) winners.

This made the Pig – more frequently occupied by alternative and local acts – a somewhat quirky host for last year’s Israeli “male singer of the year.” Imagine a Levantine Evanescence with Justin Timberlake’s status meandering through a set in the club’s dark, crammed atmosphere.

Midway through the night, Lider admitted he found the venue’s size a bit disorienting – his regular performances generally host more than 10 times the Pig’s capacity.

But unfamiliar acoustics and ambience aside, his appeal stayed mostly intact. Even with a three-encore-thick ending, houselights rose to reveal a crowd starved for more.

Ivri Lider
At The Blind Pig

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