Monotonix fans have learned to expect one thing from this Israeli band: mayhem. Tuesday night at Club Europa was no exception. (This was especially fortunate for the two twenty-something fans who drove all the way from Ohio to see the show.)
Hardcore rockers Rice opened with a brutal set of songs, most of which were under a minute long and all of which were about rice. Seriously. check out the setlist:
The three-piece performed without the horn section featured on their one and only album, Fuck You, This is Rice (1991). Brooklyn-based Fiasco drummer Julian Bennett Holmes lent his skills to the set before joining guitarist Jonathan Edelstein to accompany Bruno Wizard.
The Holmes-Edelstein-Wizard combo was billed as The Homosexuals, but in truth Wizard is the only remaining member of the original 1972 lineup. “We’re making history!” Wizard claimed. He suggested that journalists take note and urged the audience to promote the event online. For this reporter, the effect was deflating: the moment became more singer-pushing-60-seeking-to-regain-formerly-short-lived-fame-with-young-kids-as-backing-band than history-in-the-making.
Sidenote–Holmes, who looks like he’s barely 20, is a fantastic drummer. He shifted effortlessly from the breakneck thrash of Rice’s songs to the New Wave/Punk style of The Homosexuals. Keep your eye on this kid.
Monotonix frontman Avi Shalev began by standing on the stage and gesturing for the crowd to part like the Red Sea. As guitarist Yonatan Gat revved up the first few grinding chords, Shalev doused the audience with water (a large pack of Poland Spring bottles had been strategically placed onstage before the set). He and drummer Haggai Fershtman then jumped from the stage, into the canyon created by the two halves of the audience, and began wrestling–culminating with Fershtman supporting a handstand by Shalev.
The rest was pure ‘tonix chaos. A trash can, drum kit pieces, and band members were levitated. Shalev surfed the crowd and swung from the rafters next to a giant disco ball. The band relocated throughout the venue at least four times, equipment and musicians floating above the audience as the music continued en route. Fans contributed to the drumming; Shalev orchestred a “Yay!…Yay-soo!” (spelling??) call-and-response. The show left fans and band alike dripping in sweat and totally energized.
Yours truly watched the concert by standing on a slightly tipsy table, outside the mosh ring that formed around the band. Consequently, I made it through the show unscathed by the swirling, sweaty mass of bodies and instruments. And then, after the show had ended, I promptly fell off the table. I now have the biggest swollen bruise of my entire life on most of the underside of my upper right thigh. Two days later, I am still in pain. It’s a free Monotonix souvenir.