Silver Jew | Drag City DVD

Drag City (2008)
By JEFF TAMARKIN  |  October 8, 2008
2.5 2.5 Stars
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Singer-songwriter David Berman’s somewhat random decision to name his outfit Silver Jews in the early ’90s ensured that they would never find favor among massive numbers of fans. Berman’s aversion to performing live didn’t help. All the same, Silver Jews built a sizable following for their literate indie-rock recordings. But then, more than a dozen years into the band, a funny thing happened: Judaism found David Berman. He decided to tour the 2006 incarnation (which includes his wife, Cassie, on bass), and to include stops in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on the itinerary. Silver Jew, Michael Tully’s 52-minute home movie/documentary, follows the band as they schlep around Israel touring, shopping, and playing a handful of gigs. “This thing that had been a millstone around my neck was actually my ticket out of my hellhole life,” says Berman, who admits to having overcome a drinking problem. But though it’s clear he was moved by his experiences in the Holy Land, his deadpan delivery and changeless expression can make it difficult to tell. It’s not till he reaches the Wailing Wall, dons tefillin, and recites a prayer that a genuine display of emotion cracks through, in the form of a sob.
Related: Silver Jews, Quitters, tinklers, tacklers, and whoppers, Rare, please!, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Culture and Lifestyle, Religion, Judaism,  More more >
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