Balkan Beat Box at First Avenue, 3/11/12

Balkan Beat Box at First Avenue, 3/11/12

Balkan Beat Box
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Sunday, March 11, 2012

Balkan Beat Box had First Avenue revelers in a lather last night with their unique brand of Mediterranean-influenced Latin dance music. Throughout the Israeli gypsy rockers' two sets, the foundation of the sound remained pulsing, danceclub-style Latin beats -- layered on top of that were ample doses of world music sounds that defy categorization. It was the type of show you want to bring your dance shoes to. Dance shoes and a towel.

With his open-chested shirt and dance-induced glisten, lead singer Tomer Yosef exuded a raw sexual energy throughout the show. Drummer Tamir Muskat's energy isn't sexual, but he uniquely applies the approach of punk rock to the group's syncopated, dancey beats.

Balkan Beat Box is a musical collective, and the ensemble and instrumentation often changes. Last night, Yosef and Muskat were complimented with electric and bass guitars and alto saxophone.

In hindsight, there aren't particular moments or tunes that stand out about last night's show, but that's not to say it wasn't enjoyable. Seen live, Balkan Beat Box is more of a dance party than a concert -- it's all about the energy and the way the unique blend of sounds make you and the rest of the dance floor move.

Personal bias: I had never heard of Balkan Beat Box before last Thursday, so I actually went into the show with little bias. I'll definitely try and see them again next time they're in town, though -- especially if I have someone to dance with.

The crowd: Younger, eager to dance. Ample, but not to the point where the Mainroom was uncomfortably packed, which was perfect. There was lots of energy, but still enough room to spread out and shake it a little bit.

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