In the Crowd: Mono
In The Crowd #10 - Mono
Des Moines, IA./Vaudeville Mews
Hi! Just got back from the Mono show. Wow! Where to begin? First lets talk sheer volume. They have it. I had no idea a guitar could get so loud. Sure, I've seen Mogwai and left with my lower intestine a fair share looser. I've also seen AC/DC, but that's more arena rock volume. Which brings me to my segway into who Mono is for those of you who don't know, but need to know. Here it is straight from Arena Rock's (their label) website:
"Formed in 2000, Mono is Takaakira Goto (guitar), Tamaki (bass), Yasunori Takada (drums) and Yoda (guitar). The hand of John Zorn, who put the disc out on his Tzadik label, touched their first full-length record, Under the Papal Tree. Papal Tree found a home amongst the post-rock minions of Japan, but received little fanfare in the fare-skinned corners of the world-thanks in large part to the heavy swaths of Sonic Youth and Mogwai-style pyrotechnics that dominate the album.
But on their ominous sophomore disc, One Step More and You Die, Mono has conjured up their own version of pummeling guitar rock: and it is pitch black. Layering eerie, vapor trails of ambient white noise, with napalm waves of primordial guitar, Mono creates a nightmare dreamscape where sound takes on physical form, makes a fist and buries it into your gut".
That sums it up. For the 20 to 30 people at the show it was complete devastation, in such a good way. Yasunori threw a minor fit in the first song after there was outrageous feedback coming from his monitor. It was so very annoying too, so I let it slide. It was that low hum feedback that is extremely distracting, at least for me.
Question: Ever seen Apocalypse Now? The part where the Airborne Infantry storms that beach head and that crazy Captain calls in a napalm air strike on the tree line behind him. Take the anticipation of that scene, then loop the napalm explosions about 50 times in a row and you get a visual idea of the climax Mono can reach. Some may call it convoluted noise made by eastern youth who dig swaying their bodies while playing shin guitar. I beg to differ. Somewhere in the cacophony of sound is a solace, or maybe it was hearing loss. When it's so loud that you think you're watching a performance art piece because the performance of the band on stage is veiled by pure melodic noise, you know it's right.
These kids aren't dropping anything new. File this one under melodic-post-turn-it-up-rewire-my-marshal stack-to-accept-300-amp-household-service-it's-so-damn-loud-rock. Good stuff people and definitely worth checking out. I have to drop this description in here, again from their website, but so right on:
"Knees buckled, teeth rattled and eyes rolled back in perfectly coiffed heads as a musical apocalypse-a magma throw-rug-was draped over the audience. Even as members of the crowd tried to jam clinched fists into their ears to muffle the cattle call of Armageddon, they couldn't bring themselves to leave the tiny hall. If this was death-or deafness at the least-then they were satisfied having the soaring, battering, bone-jarring guitars of mono supply that final ringing in their ravaged ears."
- Todd Hanson | 2003-11-06
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