Zaphod’s was eerily quiet when I walked in the door at 9:30; with no opening act and a meager audience, the only sound was the clink of glasses from the bar and the third U.S. presidential debate on the television.

The debate over, it was time for Rockfour to play. “We’ve come a long way …” noted Rockfour singer and guitarist Eli Lulai. Unfortunately, few Ottawans did the same, and as a result the neo-psychedelic Israeli quartet played to grand total of 10 people (assuming one counts the soundman and both of the bar staff).

But despite the meagre turnout, the band played with an alternately intense and dreamy sincerity. Perhaps too much sincerity. If someone of a less sombre mien than Lulai sat down on the drum riser with head in hands he probably would have been laughed of the stage.

Drummer Issarr Tennenbaum's goofy grin was a marked contrast to Lulai’s serious demeanour. Guitarist Baruch Ben Itzhak stayed focused on the music, twisting and turning in time when he wasn’t making a frequent excursion to a well-stocked pedalboard. The distinctive jangle of his 12-string Rickenbacker was naturally reminiscent of the Byrds’s sound; the group’s vocal harmonies (provided by Lulai, Itzhak and bassist Marc Lazare) added to the effect. Rockfour, however, blend more modern influences into their music. Itzhak’s fondness for oddball sounds often brings comparisons with Robert Fripp, and he certainly threw in a few weird notes throughout the show.

A satisfying show witnessed by far too few.


















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