Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monolith Festival- Sunday

The sun radiated through the early morning clouds and light drizzle for the majority of day two at Monolith, which hosted a crowd sporting more neon than an American Apparel display window. Rahzel, virtuoso beatboxer and former member of The Roots began his routine at the Esurance (Main) Stage at 2 p.m.

A line of almost 40 people long formed outside the Woxy Stage set up in an interior room of the venue’s lower deck, in hopes of catching indie-electro duo Neon Indian---which filled to capacity 30 minutes before show time. The band originally hailing from Brooklyn recently re-located to Austin. They are scheduled to play an ACL after show at Emo’s and Fun Fun Fun Fest.

During that time, garage/prog-rock group Monotonix of Tel Aviv, Isreal rocked in nothing but 70’s short shorts and chest hair at the Southern Comfort Stage. The setup was one which took place within the audience. Even before finishing the first song, singer Ami Shalev stage-dove into the crowd and gauchely crawled and climbed on enthused hipsters. Banned in several venues around the world including Flamingo Cantina located here in Austin, the trio are notorious for their over the top antics which include setting things on fire, beer spitting, climbing on bars and over-zealous interactions with fans.

Following the energetic performance we sat down for a chat with guitarist Yonatan Gat, singer Ami Shalev and drummer Haggai Fershtman of Monotonix.
  • CC: What’s the origin of name Monotonix?
HF: Too long to describe it, it’s a very complicated story.

YG: When Haggai went to art school, when he was a teenager, everybody thought he was retarded... It’s just his lip went to the side a little bit. And he would say the same thing over and over again and everyone would say “you are very monotonic” and then we added the “x,” because he couldn’t say ‘x’.

HF: This is the real story.

YG: It’s the first time we tell anybody.
  • CC: How did you snap out of it?
YG : He got a chicken bone stuck in his throat once and Avi gave him the Heimlich and ever since he stopped being a “retard.”

HF: Monotonix! Monotonix… I could say the ‘x’.
  • CC: Where have you performed and what are your favorite and least favorite venues?
HF: Austin is one of the best!

YG: Austin is fun. We played good shows at a place called the Mohawk, we played SXSW. One of the venues we don’t like is Flamingo Cantina because we’re banned from there.
  • CC: How much lighter fluid do you go through in a tour? Usually you light your drums on fire.
AS: Depends. Sometimes if it’s too crowded, we can’t use the lighter fluid. We have to talk to the venues, fire is sensitive issue.
  • CC: What kind of access do fans have to your music?
HF: Combination of many things. Record company… iTunes, Myspace.. We have a Twitter that someone we don’t know is doing.
  • CC: Someone you don’t know is tweeting for you?
YG: We have a fan twitter.

HF: Yeah, he’s twittering! Haha…
  • CC: Israel is pretty far away. Do you have a US home base?
AS: We have friends that we love, they love us and we see them while we’re touring. But home is where the heart is, like Frank Zappa’s song.
Quite the opposite of their crazy, raucous stage personas, the trio was reserved yet charismatic after the show. They are scheduled to play Emo’s on Friday, September 25. You can buy tickets here. Check out this amateur video we got of them at Monolith:

The Glitch Mob dropped dope beats on the Esurance stage while one of this year’s most anticipated acts Passion Pit rocked the Southern Comfort stage. The pavement slab in front of the stage vibrated and shook throughout the set, especially during the dance-y number “Sleepyhead.”

MSTRKRFT canceled their appearance at Monolith due to an untimely illness. Replacing them on the main stage were French alternative rock band Phoenix. They opened up with "Lisztomania,” the first single of their upcoming album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. In spite of the slow start, the band had the entire venue dancing with their jaw-dropping performance.

Concluding the evening were experimental-progressive rockers The Mars Volta. They commenced their powerful set with “Inertiatic ESP,” off their 2004 release De-Loused in the Comatorium. Their stage set featured an array of psychedelic colors and patterns on the rock wall behind them. They ended with “Wax Simulacra,” the first single off their fourth studio album The Bedlam in Goliath.

All photos courtesy of Mary Rehak. Go here to see more shots from the festival.


harrit said...


This is the first time I’ve read about this. I keep learning new things everyday!

Aaron Robert Hall said...


These guys shred quite hard while bending the mind. I'm not quite sure which I am most attracted to here, the outrageous rock, or the outrageous performance? I'm sure it is a bit of both. What I do know is that at the Friday show I will be keeping my distance to a 10ft radius of the band (mostly keeping and eye out for Ami) as to not catch on fire or get pressed by a hit and run Israeli bum.