Thursday, Nov. 4
Having to replace a band member happens all the time. However, there are few things more debilitating than losing a lead singer. Because of this, hearing that Israel's RockFour would be performing at Birdy's without frontman Eli Lulai was cause for concern.
According to the band, Lulai had what is being described as a nervous breakdown in Los Angeles and decided to take the next plane to Tel Aviv. When faced with the question of either going or staying, the rest of the band decided to continue the final two weeks of their U.S. tour as a trio. As the shows unfolded, Baruch Ben Izhak and Marc Lazere, neither fancying themselves as frontmen, took over lead duties respectively and pushed their flawless two- and three-part harmonies to great effect.
Even without Lulai, who is known for his intense unpredictability on stage, the band's '60s psychedelic rock sound is huge as it's ever been. And the spotlight on the musicianship of the remaining three is a cause for stronger appreciation rather than lamentation for the lost fourth. The producer of their last Rainbow Quartz release, Nationwide, Jim Diamond of Ghetto Recorders in Detroit said that while they were playing he didn't really notice Lulai wasn't on stage. "I just thought Eli was jumping around the crowd somewhere."
Either from shy reluctance, habit or perhaps tribute, RockFour maintained the same stage setup with room for the ghost of Lulai, which allowed a clearer look at why the sum is as good as its parts. You're able to see the explosive, Keith Moon-esque skill of Issar Tennenbaum, realize that Lazere's voice is a dead ringer for John Lennon and that Ben Izhak is a fantastic guitarist. Although Izhak is adamantly opposed to being in the lead role, he clearly has the goods for the job.
Whether or not Lulai will stay with the band will be up for discussion when they return this week to Tel Aviv. While Izhak, Tennenbaum and Lazere maintain that they want a lead singer, the finale of this tour shows that realignment or replacement is a choice, not an ultimatum.