100 Shows of 2010 - #28: Mono/The Twilight Sad @ 9:30 Club, 6/2/10

Another night, another show at the 9:30 Club. Oh, how I love that place. I’ve seen countless great shows there, and this show was no exception. I’d been excited about this one for a while now, being into both very loud bands and Scottishly-accented bands. It turned out to be an excellent bill, the noise of The Twilight Sad falling somewhere inbetween the sheer sonic force of Mogwai and the thoughtful songcraft of Idlewild proving a perfect foil for the enchanting, painful (even through the earplugs) web of sound made by Mono.

MINI RECAP: Mono = Noisy Beautiful! The Twilight Sad = Sensational Scots! Overall score: B+.

Up first, the delightful, heavily-brogued Glaswegians of The Twilight Sad. Going into the show, I wasn’t really that familiar with the band, but given my propensity for all bands Scottish, I was excited to see them. I was almost instantly pleased. Their dark, somewhat sinister sound and well-formed songs appealed to me at once. Any singer (hello, James Graham, you're my latest crush) that not only gets into his performance to the point of mild convulsions but also rolls his “r’s” like that is definitely good in my book. The decibel level was good and loud, with the band churning out song after song of brooding, sulking reflections. The Twilight Sad, I must say, rather impressed me with their melding of big, anthemic efforts, solid rock, and at times ferocious noise. The juxtaposition of hard edges with lovely melodies was very pleasant indeed. Of their 8-song set, there was just one that felt just a wee bit tedious, full of repetitive notes and stretching just a bit longer than perhaps it should. I love how Graham was clutching the mic at times, white-knuckled as though he was afraid of it running away from him. They closed with a big, beautiful rendition of the fantastic song “Cold Day From The Birdhouse”, a raucous romp of noisy abandon. It was a great way to end a pretty fine set, and I hereby add The Twilight Sad to my list of fantastic Scottish bands.

As for Mono, well, what can you say? Having seen them once I knew what to expect. It was gonna be loud, and it was gonna be spectacular. They’re probably no longer the noisiest band in the world (I’d have to say The Black Angels might be even louder), but they’re still cause for eardrum alarm if you’re not prepared. Cautionary foam firmly in my ears, I was ready for a set full of typical Mono fare. I wasn’t disappointed. The foursome proceeded to emit some seriously exceptional songs, holding just about everyone present in the palms of their hands. With the two axemen flanking the group, sitting on their stools, the band played for what seemed like hours. Their sonic epics are some of the most unique you’re likely to hear, at once classical and nouveau gaze in nature. They have this ability to captivate like few other bands I’ve ever seen live, and their songs are at times nothing short of transcendant. They make a sheer wall of noise feel bewitching, and that’s a pretty special gift to have. It was a fine performance, make that a pair of fine performances.

Cold Day From The Birdhouse (The Twilight Sad from Fourteen Autumns And Fifteen Winters)


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