Crap, Did I Peak Too Early?

Categories: SXSW

So about a week ago, former Press columnist and Fatal Flying Guilloteens guitarist Brian McManus tipped me off about a band called Monotonix. "They're like the Israeli Gogol Bordello" were his exact words. Sounded pretty good to me.

So we headed into deep east Austin to go catch 'em this afternoon at some ramshackle house that was called the "Austin Typewriter Museum" for some reason. We arrived early, and caught Gorch Fock, which is quite possibly Austin's most twisted band, an awesomely shambolic, unholy union of hippies, punks and unreconstructed mullet-heads.

"This is my first sober South By in a long time," said Gorch Fock's singer/trombonist. "I really have noticed how much drinking will cut into your acid."

Better yet was to come. McManus came to the show with me, along with a H-Town contingent of about five more. We'd adjourned to the bar next door after the Gorch Fock set, and McManus was getting visibly antsy as the time passed. (In fact, even throughout Gorch Fock's set, entertaining as it was, he was eagerly seeking the Israelis; I've never seen McManus this worked up about any band.) "I just don't want to miss any of it," he said, after we teased him about acting like a groupie.

The joke was on us. I have been to a lot of rock shows over the years and this was one of the best I have ever seen. Monotonix is a three piece -- they have a drummer who looks like Borat with an Ali G dookie chain, a guitarist who looks like Bob Dylan circa 1963, and a crazed singer who looks like fucking Doug Fucking Henning the magician. What they deliver is pure unadulterated mayhem.

Like Lightning Bolt, they eschew the stage, and at the Austin Typewriter Museum, they played on a dusty patch of ground in a back yard. The band smelled bad, beer was flying, the drummer wore goggles, the crowd enveloped them. There was no dividing line between band and audience -- in fact, the crowd physically picked up both the drummer and his whole set not once but twice in their set, once to move them because the band just wanted to move, and the second time to sort of help them load out.

Shit, words can't do Monotonix justice. I'll get some video up on dem hoes in a while. I just don't know if anything I see over the next three days can touch that. -- John Nova Lomax

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