Saturday, March 28th, 2009
Words and Images by Brian Moss
Better Than:Sappy sad rock in the rain.
Ah, springtime in the city. Gone is the soggy gloom of winter and the fog has yet to spoil our summer. Sunshine, exposed skin, outdoor socializing, and universal morale boosts abound. What better way to follow up a day of excessive drinking in Dolores Park's people zoo than with a grimy, blisteringly loud show and, well, more excessive drinking?
When I arrived at the Elbo Room for Monotonix Saturday night, sunburned and slightly inebriated, I was surprised to find the upstairs show space nearly full. Alas, buzz band features in Spin have a tendency to ruin well-kept musical secrets.
After a long awaited, late start, local openers the Lumerians worked their way through a retro-sounding, kaleidoscopic jam. While their set was well executed, it came off as rather anti-climatic and sedate given the promise of intensity from the bands yet to come.
Triclops! just may be the best group in the Bay Area. Boasting ex-members of The Fleshies, Bottles and Skulls, and Victims Family, their full length debut, Out of Africa, is a turbulent offering. It's a captivating amalgamation of '90s Touch and Go-style antagonistic post-whatever and innovative punk psychedelia. While the band is excellent on record, the real mind fuck comes from witnessing them live.Within seconds of Triclops!' explosive start, singer Johnny Geek was crawling on top of the audience with a glowing microphone clutched in his hand. The crowd swayed, shoved, and toppled. Coated in space echo, reverb, and pitch blend, Geek pushed his voice from eerie falsettos to all-out howls. He accompanied his aural stylizations with theatrical facial expressions and gestures, eventually stripping down to a spaghetti-strapped tank top. Think David Yow, Iggy Pop, and some next level, space age shit. The band, locked tight, spent roughly 30 minutes fluently melding angular hardcore ferocity with twisted complexities. A Triclops! performance is a terrifying punk rave on the moon, fueled by copious amounts of drugs from the future. Or put simply, it's really fucking great.
Then there was Monotonix... Hailing all the way from Tel Aviv, Israel, the garage and grunge-fueled trio has a reputation for rowdy and occasionally shocking shows. Nudity, flames, broken shit, maximum overdrive and blood are all apropos. Now that's my kind of party.
Go see this band. Just do it. You'll thank me later. It's insanity. In a thrashing whirlwind of moustaches, eardrum-shattering fuzz, bare ass, and riot simulations, they played the most entertaining and raucous live show I've seen in years. What began with a repetitious stoner riff soon gave way to flying trashcans, a crowd-surfing drummer, and a microphone cord tangled taught across the room. Monotonix brought the room to the brink of all-out chaos, moving their equipment to different spots on the floor while delivering their scum and sass with masterful precision. At one point the club's management turned on all of the lights and threatened a shutdown due to front man Ami Shalev and guitarist Yonatan Gat's ludicrous antics atop the bar. At the show's conclusion, the band led the bulk of the crowd out onto to Valencia Street for a boisterous finale of drums, dancing, and cheers.
Video from the show...Monotonix:
Personal Bias: A penchant for debauchery.
By the way: Dude, bro, dude. Yeah you in the Raiders jacket. This wasn't a Pantera show. Easy on the steroid injections and the pit boss shoves, flails, and swings.