Tracey Shipley
Youth, family and addictions counselor/creative therapist/band organizer and manager/event producer/writer

Israel’s king of Progressive Rock

subterranean masquerade performing photo by Yalon Schori

Have you ever heard of Progressive Rock? Raised on Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and the rock of the late sixties and early seventies I had never heard of this rock genre.  Then upon returning to Israel in 2009 I stumbled upon Jerusalem’s only rock bar “Blaze” and it opened me up to a whole new rock scene. Blaze Rock bar was the brainchild of Yehi Zaken the founder of Blaze bar over thirteen years ago realizing the void of a rock bar in downtown Jerusalem with no cover charge where one can find live rock music almost every night, closed on Shabbat. There is almost no band formed since Blaze’s opening that did not start on Blaze’s stage. It was not surprising that I would learn about this beautiful new genre reminiscent of one of my favorite bands “Emerson Lake and Palmer” at Blaze.

In 20021-2022 many of Jerusalem’s cultural stages and bars closed their doors due to Corona. Blaze might have been added to that list of casualties had it not been for Arnold Nesis, co-founder of Capricia Productions and his partner Ben Shmuelof. This innovative company was the first to combine rock music with exciting original video games. Arnold knew Yehi for years as a young musician and regular at Blaze. Arnold and Ben approached Yehi with the idea of renovating Blaze with a whole new feeling as a Rock and Game bar while keeping it intimate and inviting as Yehi had designed it years ago. What does this have to do with the story?

Well, unbeknownst to me I would experience the top Progressive Rock/Metal  band in Israel at the grand reopening of Blaze. Subterranean Masquerade was asked to rock the stage of Blaze bar with their solo vocalist Davidavi “Vidi” Dolev. Not surprisingly Vidi’s band was chosen due to being the voice of Capricia’s new video game “Of Bird & Cage”.  “Vidi is the best singer not only in Israel but in the world!” claimed Arnold. I must admit, I agreed. What a range Vidi has in his beautiful voice and backed by such a wonderful band, I was hooked!

Subterranean Masquerade and its members have performed so far during the last 6 years in 20 different countries. Known all around Israel and around the world including big festival stages throughout Europe, prewar Russia and India, Subterranean Masquerade became one of Israel’s strongest cultural exports when it comes to Rock & Metal Music!  They cooperated with Live Nation the world’s leading live entertainment company, opening for Deep Purple in Menorah Stadium Israel and now return to work with Shuki Weiss Presents & Live Nation Israel once again this coming June,  by opening for the American Metal Giant band, Disturbed.

Subterranean Masquerade are no strangers to the American Rock Industry, as they are signed with New Jersey Based Record Company ‘Sensory Records’ which is a power house for progressive heavy music , distributing the band’s albums all over the world.   As mentioned above, Vidi Dolev, the Singer was featured on Capricia Production’s videogame “Of Bird & Cage” soundtrack together with members of British rock stars Asking Alexandria, members of Evanescence and more, and had performed together with another Jewish American Rock star, Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, ex guitar player for Guns & Roses. With the release of their latest album ‘Mountain Fever’ Subterranean Masquerade was nominated and won awards all around the globe in the biggest rock magazines.

The Band’s performance with Disturbed will be their only Summer Concert in Israel, as shortly after the concert, Subterranean Masquerade will fly to Sweden to record a new album, which is planned to be released during 2024.

A little background on Vidi and his band. In February 2018, Subterranean Masquerade embarked on a month-long European tour supporting fellow-countrymen and internationally acclaimed Orphaned Land. Vidi joined on vocals. In March 2019, just prior to embarking on their third European tour, Eliran Weitzman left the band, with Dolev assuming all vocal responsibilities.

In 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis, the band focused on studio work and released The Pros & Cons of Social Isolation, an album consisting of 7 reworked tracks from previous albums, as well as a cover of the Phil Collins hit Another Day in Paradise. Later that year, the band announced they signed a record deal with Sensory Records to release their next album. Mountain Fever was released in May 2021. taking the band to a whole other level of global recognition.

So, as I researched Progressive rock I found that the style was an outgrowth of psychedelic bands focusing on instrumentals and compositional techniques. The lyrics are more poetic and new sounds are added to create a fresh musical Art sound. But I must say, of all the “Prog Rock/ Metal ” bands I listened to, none come up to the ankles of Subterranean Masquerade. Not only is Vidi’s voice one you will not forget, he moves on stage like the rock stars I was raised with from the Woodstock era making me feel right at home.

Oh and one more thing! After The Concert with Disturbed, which will take place on June 28th at Tel Aviv Expo, Ganei Hata’arucha and right before their trip to Fascination Street Studios in Sweden, Vidi will hold a nonprofit  vocal workshop at Blaze Bar for teens, and anyone in Israel who wants to meet this incredible artist and hear some of the secrets that makes him one of the best vocalists in Israel. See you at Disturbed’s show, and then, the Blaze!


About the Author
Tracey Shipley is a youth and family counselor specializing in addictions and family communication. She was born in the US and moved to Israel in 1984 to continue her studies in Art Therapy. She moved back to the US in 1989 and began working in a drug rehab for teens where she was trained while she worked as a primary counselor. She moved back to Israel in 1996 and continued her work in addictions at the Jerusalem Methadone Clinic for a total of 9 years. She initiated projects for the children of the addicts at the Methadone Clinic, Established a program for Ethiopian Teens educating them about their culture and opened the Jerusalem School of Rock program which helps to create teen rock bands and established monthly teen music events at downtown venues where teens perform for their friends in a teen friendly exciting atmosphere. In addtion to her projects Tracey was the English Speaking Volunteer Coordinator for Emunah Jerusalem succeeding in bringing in more funds and volunteers than ever before. Tracey organizes monthly Rock Festivals and manages rock bands young and old. Tracey also writes for Times of Israel and the Jerusalem Post.
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