The Israeli band Teapacks have just completed their first rehearsal on the Eurovision Song Contest stage in the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki. The energy was high, and there were few problems.
You can watch the Israeli photo gallery here.
Even before the rehearsal began, the spectators were impressed by the cosmopolitan cityscape and spinning globe graphics displayed behind the stage. Kobi and the band were confident as they took the stage for the first run-through of Push the Button.
As expected Teapacks showed they are experienced stage performers. Kobi asked for a few sound and mike corrections without breaking the pace of the rehearsal. The second run through began with some unspecified technical problems, but they were quickly resolved. Kobi stopped the third rehearsal to ask the technicians to lower the volume of the instrumental playback. However, by the end of the rehearsal Teapacks and YLE both appeared to be well prepared.
The stage presentation is energetic and fresh, and the views from the monitors show that the camera work will enhance the presentation. The spinning world graphic (which seems to intended for display displayed on the stage floor) will be striking during the telecast. The band's choreography becomes more frantic as the song progresses – the only danger is that the schizophrenic choreography might be misinterpreted as the band member trying to find their next mark on stage.
All six members of Teapacks who are performing in Helsinki joined journalists in the press center for their first press conference. Steve Holyer from esctoday.com began the Q+A on a light note by asking about Teapacks fitness program, claiming his legs were tired just from watching the group jump up and down on stage. Kobe responded that they had a great fitness program performing gigs around Israel. Then he indicated that Noam Yankelevich the band's husky accordion player is also in charge of the band's workout regime. Noam repeated that the band keeps fit by touring and … "eating cakes".
About his music Kobi said that their music combines many style because Isreal "is in the middle" sitting between Asia and Africa and "just over the sea from Europe". Kobi also addressed the early controversy over the his song Push the button. He says that he feels it's important for the band to sing Push the button in a dangerous world. He re-iterated that the song is for everyone – because everyone is effected by "crazy people" and "terror", and he says that the Jewish response to this sort of danger is humour. He indicated even the people in Iran are probably afraid of Bush – which earned a loud round of applause from several a few areas in the press center.
Kobi said he was surprised by the controversy, but he welcomed it also. As he has said before, he is excited by the changes that Lordi introduced into the Song Contest. He sees Teapacks act as continuing the trend – that that Lordi started – of making the Contest a more interesting and relevant show. If the song had not been allowed to compete it would have been clear signal for Kobi that the Contest wants to be "bubblegum" rather then "art".
Always a bit of a rabble-rouser, Kobi also campaigned for returning to live intrumentals in 2008 (an issue that fans would love to take up, but one that's surely a non-starter with the EBU – at least in 2008). Although he admits their stage show is already "schizophrenic", he complained he and the band can't make the full connection to the music's energy with playback intsrumentals.