I’ll be honest, it’s a bit of a dangerous game that I play. You know, this whole going into shows blind thing. Sometimes it works out great and I end up finding a new band to fall head over heels in love with but other times it leads to a night of misery and pain. Okay, I’m being dramatic. I am the type of person that can find something amazing with every band that I see live even if it’s not quite for me and that’s exactly what my Friday night was like.
Kicking the night off was Bing & Ruth. Like so many other opening acts, I was going into their opening set on Friday night a bit blind and, I’ll be honest, what I got wasn’t quite what I wanted. It’s not that it was bad at all but what they were pumping through the speakers wasn’t quite fitting my Friday night mood. Fronted by David Moore, this trio took the stage and crept into their set. There was really no huge crescendo or giant drop in their set to really catch me which, again, just made it not for me overall, but I will say it was nice to have some time to just mediate being my first full week of self-employment, I feel like the week really whizzed by and as I sat taking in the music of Bing & Ruth, I finally had a moment to just have things around me slow down and take a deep breath.
I will say that although musically it wasn’t quite the set for me, I will say that the talent on stage was stunning. The amount of different sounds and tones this group was able to make with just an organ, clarinet, and bass had me a bit floored. Although the constant drone sound was a bit more than my brain was able to handle, I loved the way the other instruments would dance over it all creating an unfamiliar yet comforting type of melody.
The room was fairly full by the time headliner MONO took the stage and they instantly captivated the crowd with their signature wall of sound. Hailing from Japan, MONO really doesn’t get here as often as their fans would clearly like. With a staggering eleven full-length albums and a career that has been going strong since 1999, MONO is not a super underground band but you could feel this almost cult-like following at their Friday night show. Everyone was hanging on every explosive note ringing through the speakers in a beautiful way. The more tender moments throughout their set were greeted with uninterrupted attention from the audience. What I’m trying to say is that MONO had the entire audience in the palm of their hands and I’m not sure that grip was loosened even as the show ended and people went on with the hustle and bustle of their lives.
Although MONO only played around eleven songs, their set felt long but in a good way. There’s a sense of heaviness and length that comes with every one of their songs. From the emotional weight to the constant movement and stark differences in tone and mood encompassed within each track, although their music overall isn’t quite my cup of tea, I found myself falling for every beautiful note that flowed through the speakers. Although all of the songs kind of blended together for me as there are no lyrics to distinguish song from song, and I couldn’t tell you any of the songs they played without cheating and looking up their setlist online, I loved how each track and moment throughout their set brought with a different feeling and emotion.
Another highlight that comes from watching MONO is the pure musicianship that is put in the spotlight as the band blasted through their set. The room was fairly dark but quick flashes of light that illuminated the stage gave you quick glimpses into the genius that was happening on the stage. Like many other bands that perform super intricate and heavy music like MONO, it may seem like each member of this band was in their own little world but the way all of those worlds come together to make the magic that you hear is truly impressive. I found myself struggling to focus on the individual members when given those quick moments of illumination just because there was so much to take in during those glimpses but I also loved the way it seemed to add a sense of mystery around this band and I was able to let my imagination fill in the blanks.
I had seen MONO years ago at The Triple Rock and remember being impressed by the band but honestly couldn’t remember much more than that. Seeing them again at The Turf Club on Friday night helped remind me and spark a sense of passion within my soul that I have been looking for recently. I can not thank MONO enough for that.