Mono at Gorilla: Live Review
Words and Photos: Anthony Firmin
An evening of art rock awaits us at Gorilla, it’s the last night of the tour too and first up is a favourite of ours, Jo Quail, who is once more creating mesmerising loops with her custom made cello, starting her set with an older composition, Gold. Her latest album Exsolve is stunning and we are treated to Mandrel Cantus which she readily admits is great fun to perform live - it clearly shows too - and it changes every time she plays it making each performance unique. Her final piece is Adder Stone with its Celtic undertones which she says isn’t aired too often - the perfect piece for what is a perfect audience for her. It’s mesmerising stuff, so easy to get lost in. I am totally engaged throughout, as is the whole crowd, and at times you can hear a pin drop.
Norwegian three piece Arabrot power through their set, it is raw and basic, at times edging into post punk territory whilst retaining a garage rock grit. Guitarist Kjetil Nernes is replete with Stetson giving this tall, gangly figure even more height, making him an even more imposing figure with his metal guitar. The band are joined by Jo Quail for Sinnerman, her mournful cello tones segueing well with the music, whilst the bassist uses slide and echo to interesting effect. The Horns of the Devil Grow is a real bruiser live before Ms Quail returns once more for The Story of Lot, another bruising piece.
Mono have a new album out which they are promoting, Nowhere Now Here, from which half of tonights set is taken, but this tour is special as it is also the bands 20th Anniversary and the crowd here is understandably excited.
The taped intro God Bless starts us off and After You Comes The Flood is a solid piece of post rock to get the crowd going. The build up during Death In Rebirth is incredible, the crescendo is euphoric. For Breathe bassist Tamaki takes to the synth for a more minimalist and ambient piece that also features her singing. Meet Us Where The Night Ends starts slower, kind of meanders along before launching into its slow epic feel, heads nodding as each slow deep bass drum beat drops through the speakers.
Following her stunning collaboration of a performance of Takaakira 'Taka' Goto’s solo project Behind The Shadow Drops at last years ArcTanGent festival it is fairly predictable that Jo Quail returns to the stage once more for Halcyon (Beautiful Days) adding her sorrowful cello tones once more but the build up to the end is huge, the guy next to me is quite understandably going nuts.
The xylophone intro to Ashes In The Snow from Hymn To The Immortal Wind is as quirky as the rest of the piece whereas encore Com(?) finishes everyone off, both band and audience. The enjoyment is clear to see on everyone’s faces, both the band and the audience, and it is heartening to see the merch stand doing brisk business once the house lights come up, a sign of a job well done, I can’t wait for their return.