Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Monolators Residency, Week Two

My third trip to Pehrspace was predicated on the necessity of attending at least one of the residency nights for The Monolators. Sean Carnage is presenting "The Archaeology of The Monolators" all month long and Monday (November 10, 2008) was devoted to their space-age years, 2002 - 2005.

It was also a chance to commiserate with others in the community who were as shocked and saddened as I was by the news of video artist Elaine Layabout's showdown with the Spaceland/Echo/Echoplex triumvirate. You can read about it here (Classical Geek Theatre) or here (Elaine Layabout).

As one of the most devoted, dedicated and just plain great supporters of the local music scene, she was surrounded by well wishers and advisers. But the shining light of the night was Elaine's attitude itself. Little bitterness or rancor were evident, only gratitude that so many care. It was humbling.

And on top of that it was a terrific night of music. Unfortunately the trip to Pehrspace on public trans can be a challenge so I arrived late, missing Billygoat, but arriving in time to see Manhattan Murder Mystery tear the place to shreds. As others can attest, Matt was flailing around on the floor as early as, I think, the second song.

He got through the first song O.K., in spite of his vocals being somewhat undermiked, but during the second song, the microphones started going over and the next thing you know Matt is plowing, helmet-head first into the crowd, wailing away on his guitar. Once again, the quality of the music never wavered, even though Matt was trying to buff the floor while singing and playing. And the floor was mysteriously moist all night.

This band can really rock the hell out of a venue, but the songwriting is strong and creative and never takes second place. Anyone who wasn't bouncing around had to be in a coma.

Having 5 bands on the program necessitated each set be short and sweet. But that only served to make the evening feel like a meal of deserts. Each one a tasty morsel on it's own. The Health Club blazed through a set of pretty wild, 60's influenced garage rock. Wilder, in fact, than their recordings would lead you to believe.

From what I heard on their myspace page, I expected something more in the line of Film School or Gliss, but it was less diffused and more straight out rock. I like being surprised. They list influences as everything from The Beatles to The Brian Jonestown Massacre, so there's a variety of musical tastes apparent here.

What can one say about The Monolators that hasn't already been said. With Mary and Eli Chartkoff dressed in their white, space-age finery accompanied by Ashley Jex on Bass and Tom Bogdon on lead guitar, plus an original member, guitarist Mike, who made them a band of five. They had the crowd begging for more as they tore through songs from the years 2002 - 2005. These were hot, urgent, hard-rocking numbers that barely gave the band time to breathe.

I'm not that familiar with this early material so it was great to hear it live and they sounded pretty impressive with five people playing. People don't just like this band, they love them, and not just because of their music, but because of their quality as people. You could tell The Monolators were having a great time and they really know how to host an evening!

I had to leave before 60 Watt Kid came on. Jesus, it was 1 o'clock in the morning and I have five more nights of concerts in a row, but I couldn't (didn't want to) pull myself away from a chat with Elaine and Steve (of The Happy Casualties) on the sidewalk outside. Great evening of music, sympathy and celebration.


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