El Rey - September 21, 2007
Live Review by Alexis Roberts
Mono are amazing. It’s too bad that they weren’t headlining on this night and that they kind of got thrown into the mix with a bunch of random metal bands. Often times these instrumental bands do get booked to play with metal bands these days and it’s pretty peculiar, but the metal fans seem to love this kind of stuff.
The ticket price for the show was actually rather high ($25, ouch!) and that showed by the lack of attendees. High On Fire, the headliners, are a popular cult band in the metal scene so you would have expected more of a turn out. In actuality it might have just been the rain that kept everyone home, even though it was a Friday night in Los Angeles.
Two obnoxious bands proceeded Mono. Neither of them were very memorable, or exciting. They were just very generic metal bands with oversized bearded men stomping around on stage and growling about something or other. By the time Mono’s set rolled around, the El Rey was still uncannily empty- so empty in fact that you could hear the rain pouring outside, which only added to the perfect ambience of their set.
If you know the Japanese quartet, then you are aware of how their music is designed to ease you into listening to it. Many of their songs start off slowly and quietly and build into beautiful crescendos and then unwind in the same fashion that they began in. Did I mention that they don’t have a singer? Yeah, well they don’t, and who needs a singer anyway? It was brought to my attention that not many females seem to be into this kind of thing because, well, there were not many females there. Not that the music can’t be inviting to females because they actually have a girl bass player. It’s just strange that this is always the same case scenario at shows of similar bands like Red Sparowes, Explosions in the Sky, Russian Circles, and so on.
Mono opened with a selection from You Are There and the room fell silent with anticipation. It’s like the old trick of speaking silently so that everyone will quiet down and listen, and it works every time. Due to the lengthy nature of their songs, they only get to play about five songs per set. This one mostly consisted of the music from You Are There was executed practically effortlessly with an extreme amount of poise. You can take note as they play how focused they are on what they are doing. Their faces remain expressionless, yet exude that they are completely in their element. In the future I look forward to being able to see Mono headline a set and have an ample amount of time to wow the crowd. Perhaps even play to a more appreciative room full of people who weren’t just waiting to see High On Fire. But despite that fact, they were very respectful and seemed quite into in what Mono was doing…. all but a few assholes in the back whom I overheard saying “ever head of a little thing called a singer? Time to get one” - but what do they know? Nothing. I’m telling you it was amazing, and I pretty much know everything.
Mono & World's End Girlfriend - Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain
Mono - Gone
Mono - You Are There
Mono - Live - September 24, 2005
Mono - Holy Ground: NYC Live
More by this writer:
Islands - Live - June 17, 2008
Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton - Live - January 23, 2007
Jesu - Silver
Explosions in the Sky - Live - March 17, 2008