My knowledge of this band heading into last nights show was based solely on the pictures I found on my camera after lending it to one of my friends at SxSW. The show she had witnessed looked as if the band was performing in a grassy patch surrounded by the crowd with no stage in sight, it felt like one of those spontaneous performances that you only can witness at SxSW. The pictures captured a sense of absolute insanity and off the wall antics thus appealing to my better senses and urging me to witness this band live, in the flesh. My only question was how would they translate this energy to the stage?
Fast forward to last night, this question ended up being a waist of breath once the band began to set up. Opting against the stage they rolled out some raggedy old carpet right in the crowd, which the drum kit was placed. The stage was solely used for resting their amp on and that's it. Strangely, the stage was probably the safest place to stand during the show.
The performance itself was none that I had ever seen before. Within the first minutes of the show the drummer's cymbals and drum sticks were lit on fire and the audience was drenched in beer. This set a precedent for things to come. Precedents were met and fully surpassed. The music was garage rock at it's best and the feel of the performance perfectly meshed with the energy of the genre. Their high octane balls to the wall antics incorporated the crowd in such a way that their interaction with the band was just as important to the show as the band's music. At points during show the crowd held up the drummer and his drum kit over their heads as he played, helped move the "stage" through out the venue, moshed with the lead singer and at one point was ordered to sit down by the lead singer so he could take his shirt off and show off his new improved English that was delivered in a very Boratian manner. This is undoubtedly the best show I have seen in the past five years. The raw energy and sheer excitement exuded from Monotonix is unmatched by any other band that I know of. Who ever thought that the pure essence of rock n roll would be embodied by three ex-Israeli Defense force soldiers? I didn't, but after last night I am fully convinced of this.