The Edge 09: Monotonix, 19 August 2009

Rating (out of 5)
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Rock. And. Roll. That is what you get at a Monotonix gig, of the fiercest and most potently pure strain imaginable. The Tel Aviv trio are shortly to release their first full-length album, Where Were You When It Happened, on the Drag City label. It's a Blues Explosion-ish blast of riotous garage punk, terrific fun all round.

Nothing, however, prepares you for the full experience of Monotonix live. Three very hairy, very sweaty men dressed only in Speedos and sneakers, they begin proceedings in the centre of the audience, drum kit and all, with singer Ami Shaley surfing haphazardly across the baiting crowd's eager hands. Yonatan Gat on guitar spurts out primordial riffs while drummer Haggai Fershtman revs up like an arsenal battery. A state of tension hangs heavy in the heaving, tiny bar venue as Shaley prepares to crash back down to the floor.

And then the place goes nuts. The next hour is like being inside a perpetually re-occurring explosion. Sneaky Pete's is launched into Monotonix's own space/time dimension where only the rule of rock ‘n' roll pervades. The band is constantly inside the hysterically moshing crowd, playing on the verge of uncontrollable frenzy.

They clamber onto the bar; flinging ice buckets over themselves, getting in the face of every single audience member who in turn love them even more for it. At one point, Shaley gets audience members to hoist up the drum stool and snare before clambering up in the air to play along. The whole experience climaxes with the drum kit being taken outside as the gig explodes onto the Cowgate in full busy festival night mode. Passers-by gape at the sight of Shaley attempting to scale the building front before launching himself into the crowd once more.

It's a genuinely amazing evening with a fantastic atmosphere. A perfect meeting of band and audience being totally 100% up for it, resulting in perfect communal unity. At the concert end, grown men are going up to the sweating, near naked trio and flinging their arms around them in gratitude. Monotonix gigs should be given away on the NHS. If you don't come away feeling exhilarated and just damn glad to be alive, then you must be dead. Rock and roll. Phew.