Mono @ The Bakery, Perth (09/10/2011)

Image for Mono @ The Bakery, Perth (09/10/2011)

Many ITM’ers may not be familiar with the post-rock band MONO – in fact, neither was I until recently. However, after viewing their phenomenal performance at The Bakery, I can now confess to being completely hooked on their brilliant cacophony of screeching guitars and hypnotic drum-lines.

MONO are a progressive rock/art metal band from Japan, and having formed in 1999, they’ve now been creating purely instrumental music for nearly 12 years. Famed for their emotionally intense live acts and use of extreme crescendos, MONO aims to creates an unforgettable experience for the audience – and believe me, they do exactly that.

Two Australian acts, Usurpers of Modern Medicine and No Anchor opened the night, both dishing out a stellar performance which kept the audience on their toes and in the mood for the mind-numbing experience to follow. The Bakery, too, proved perfectly suited to the night’s entertainment – much like the music itself, the venue was something of a sensory overload.

After an awkwardly long sound-check process, MONO finally fired up entering the scene with Ashes in the Snow, an orchestral piece off their 2009 album Hymn to the Immortal Wind – a brilliant choice as it seemed to completely encompass what defines post-rock. The song began with lead guitarist Goto playing a very mellow ambient solo, backed by a soundtrack of strings and percussion slowly building up to an epic overload of distortion and overdrive. I was completely fascinated over how well the sound seemed to come close to a total anarchy of instrumental noise and yet, held a beauty and softness reminiscent of trance. After several more songs, the night’s climatic moment came during Halo, a track that perfectly encapsulates MONO’s brand of instrumental post-rock.

My only criticism is that at times, it was hard to distinguish the drum kick in the peaks of songs, either by design or just inadequate sound reproduction. Either way, it detracted from the experience somewhat.

But all in all, I had an amazing time at The Bakery – the venue is brilliant and MONO were simply on a whole other level.

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