Review: TootArd @ Rich Mix (London; 31st January 2018)  

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There are hardly any better ways with which to illustrate the concept of ‘upbeat’ than by narrating a TootArd show. The band, hailing from the Golan Heights, with its heartening music, are the best answer to the decades of political troubles and social struggles burdening the region, and one of the most uplifting ways to end one month and enter into a new one.

That’s why we enjoyed every second of TootArd’s latest London show – part of a broader eight-leg European tour meant to introduce and spread the sound of their recently released second album titled Laissez Passer.

If you’re a long-time follower or a last-minute addition to the rank of their fans, the quintet put you at ease in no time. Their positive attitude, up-tempo tunes and setlist, which draw plenty from Laissez Passer but also not forgetting their debut Nuri Andaburi, were the most evident qualities of the Rich Mix show, but there was even more to love.

 

The five musicians from the small mountain town of Majdal Shams displayed on stage a natural, almost instinctive synergy – the kind of teamwork that you can develop only by playing and living together with your band mates since you were little more than a child.

As a matter of fact, that’s the story of TootArd: a group which grew up (and is still growing up) in parallel with its members and their friendships together. A group that is still cultivating its sound today, ripening and flowering it from the early Syrian reggae played seven years ago to a more rock-ish approach sprouting from Saharan desert rock and traditional Middle Eastern seeds.

Then there’s their spontaneity. They debuted by playing in front of friends and that’s how they still consider their audience, something which rarely happens in today’s London music scene. Since the moment they jumped onto the Rich Mix stage playing “Jeena”, arguably their most easy-going song, there was no halt to the freewheeling and breezy mood.

At times, there’s no need to look for secrets or magic formulas behind a band’s success, just look at how much the musicians enjoy playing their music.

 

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