Garage rockers from the Holy Land | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Times have changed since the MC5 and Iggy & The Stooges exemplified rock 'n' roll abandon -- the visceral, primal passion of turning amps up to 11 and blasting both audience and performer into oblivion. Nowadays, major-label garage-punk acts like The Hives, The Hellacopters and Jet lack that edge. They're featured on TV commercials.

To recapture true abandon, you must journey to the very fringe of Western civilization -- Tel Aviv, Israel, to be exact -- home of The Genders, who ooze sex and danger like the New York Dolls, the Cramps or even Iggy himself.

Names of band members, like guitarist Amir Neubach and drummer Orr "More Cowbell" Kahlon, might roll off the tongue like that of the director of your local Hillel chapter. But they're packing lyrics like "all the hot mamas havin' a ball / struttin' their stuff just west of the Wall" (from "Mammary Glands") and "I perform cunnilingus in return for fellatio." The X-rated references don't end there. Their debut album, Rockin' in Ramallah, features a come-hither Israeli girl suggestively sucking a peeled Velvet Underground banana in front of a stark graphic of a suicide bomber concealed by bandanna and keffiyeh.

Luckily, freedom of speech still prevails in their rather troubled, yet still functioning democracy, leaving The Genders free to swagger around with their tight pants and relentlessly loud guitars. You get the feeling The Genders believe that, if it weren't for all that religion and history bunk, Jews and Palestinians could reach a peace agreement over a classic Ramones riff. Maybe they'd even start doing the nasty.

The Genders, with The Science Fiction Idols and The Cheats. 10 p.m. Fri., Nov. 10. 31st Street Pub, 3101 Penn Ave., Strip District. $5. 412-391-8334 or

click to enlarge Available for bar mitzvahs: The Genders

Available for bar mitzvahs: The Genders

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