Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 | musiX
Bat-shit crazy has always been my go-to description for Tel Aviv rock trio Monotonix. I’ve seen the band lay waste to three different venues, I’ve seen cymbals lit on fire, the drummer hoisted by crowds atop his kick drum, and I’ve witnessed vocalist Ami Shalev use audience members as tackle-dummies, scale a 12-foot wall and turn a trash can into a pogo stick … does that qualify as bat-shit crazy?
Monotonix on wax will never top Monotonix on stage. But there’s something beyond the excessive bombast (excessive being just a notch or two below a GG Allin performance). Yonatan Gat, more than any other guitarist I’ve seen in recent years, captures the swagger of Page and Townshend—playing intricate, endearingly sloppy riffs while somehow making the way his axe hangs around his neck even look cool.
Now I’m not sure when Monotonix found the time to record its forthcoming album Where Were You When It Happened? (out Sept. 8 on Drag City) since the band seems to be perpetually on tour. The first single “Set Me Free” rolls out another one of Gat’s fuzzed-out riffs, which writhes alongside Shalev’s vocals in a sweaty mass. It might be the closest Monotonix has come to replicating the live energy, and it’s one of the band’s best songs since “Heartbeat” off one of their early demos.
Monotonix is hitting the road again—go figure—and will play at Portland’s Roseland Theater with reggae-punk godfathers Bad Brains on Sept. 18. It’s a slightly larger venue than the band normally plays, but I have a feeling they’re up to the challenge. And if you don’t get a chance to see the band live, here’s what you do: Don’t bathe for three, four days; turn the heater on high; turn the stereo as loud as it will go and proceed to punch yourself repeatedly in the face.
“Set Me Free” – Monotonix
“Heartbeat” – Monotonix (early demo)