Flashback to the late ’70s. It was a glorious time in which Gentiles all over America wished they were Jewish. Think about it. Men wore their shirts open in order to expose their hirsute chests lovingly adorned with gold chains, while shiksas spent hours with home perm kits in an attempt to emulate the kinky curls of the Jewess. Hal Linden and Judd Hirsch weren’t only TV stars, they were practically sex symbols! It was incredible, and it was very, very Semitic.
If you doubt me, then you don’t remember just how huge this was.
The Jewbadours were started in 2012 in New York (where else?) by Ariel Hammerstein and Yakob Veivelman, two nice Jewish boys who, much to their parents’ dismay, decided to pursue a career in music rather than go to medical or law school. Now a five-piece band rounded out by Moshe Goldberg (bass), Driedel Yabinowitz (drums) and Ryan the Goy (guitar), they recognize the link between that era’s pro-Hebrew mindset and the music it produced. Their playlist is devoted to the smoother side of the pop charts from roughly 1976-83, a genre we’ve covered in great detail here at Popdose over the years (in fact, we’re doing it right now with Mellowmas). But they frequently put their own Yiddish twist on the material.
On Dec. 23, the second-to-last night of Chanukkah, the Jewbadours will throw a holiday-themed concert they’re calling “The Last Schmaltz” at New York’s Highline Ballroom. As with the famous concert of a similar name by the Band (led by half-Jew Robbie Robertson) which was produced by famous Jewish rock impresario Bill Graham (real name: Wolfgang Grajonca), they’ve invited some of their friends to celebrate. Joining them — and their — will be Popdose favorites Ari Hest and Julian Velard, Toby Lightman, Jay Jay French (of Long Island’s greatest heavy metal band, Twisted Sister), Rosi Golan, Chrissi Poland, Allie Moss, Wes Hutchinson and many more.
But even though they’ve been known to sing one of Hall & Oates’ biggest hits as “Bris on My List,” this is more than just schtick. These aren’t hipsters taking an ironic love of five-time Grammy winner Michael McDonald to a new level, they have a genuine love of this music, and the chops to pull it off. And speaking of McD — Popdose’s patron saint — check out their remarkable cover of “Peg” by Steely Dan (fronted by Jews Donald Fagen and Walter Becker).
To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld’s TV mother, how could anybody not like them? Tickets for “The Last Schmaltz” can be purchased at TicketWeb for as low as $15. Such a bargain this is!