Black Eyes and Neckties, Monotonix at Neumos

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Image via Nate Watters

I’m sure you’ve noticed that Monotonix did not burn down Neumos. Thankfully. There was no fire at all which, given how tightly the crowd clustered around whatever member of the band was closest, was definitely for the best.

The last time I saw Black Eyes and Neckties was kind of a high water mark for me in terms of impressive ridiculousness, what with the wheelchair and skull. I enjoyed them no less this time around. It was a little sad when they came onstage, knowing that this was their last Seattle show. They are sinister and seething when they play and charmingly goofy in between songs. If you can, you should probably head up to Bellingham on Halloween and catch their final show.

Second opener Unnatural Helpers have a singing drummer, which is a thing that always amazes me because it seems like it would take an extra helping of coordination.

And then Monotonix set up on the floor and did all of the things that you expect them to do if you’ve seen them before or read anything about them. A garbage can bounced all over the room and was placed on the drummer’s head. Ledges were climbed, drums were played on top of the audience, the audience was mooned.

The audience throbbed and bounced, completely under the thrall of singer Ami Shalev. And that’s the point of Monotonix, really. It’s true that no one ever talks about their actual music, which is perfectly fine garage rock that would get boring after a few songs. But Monotonix requires that you pay attention, if only because you might be teabagged by a very sweaty, hairy man at any moment. They make the audience interact with each other and with the band and with the room itself, moving the drums all over Neumos, forcing you to watch them play off to one side or up in the balcony.

Near the end of the set the band sort of killed the momentum by making everyone sit down and be quiet and answer the question of whether God should save the queen or not, and everyone did even though it seemed a little pointless. But they started playing again and the crowd filled back in the empty spaces, and after the show was over the band stuck around taking photos with their fans and generally being pleasant guys.

Monotonix is an experience more than a band, and they’re an experience worth having at least once.

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