Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gig Report - Mona in Seattle

One of the new and upcoming bands I've been keeping and eye and ear on is a Nashville-based group called Mona.

They play what I'd call "rock and roll." What? You not familiar with that type of music?  Unfortunately, U.S. music fans and music labels have in large part turned their back on rock and roll these days in preference for hip-hop, dance music, country (or what passes for it these days), diva singers, pop songs and similar fluffy genres. So, that's pretty much all you see and hear on the radio, packaged up for you to buy on iTunes or (where they exist any more) featured in music stores. You have to go out of  your way to find good rock and roll. And indeed, bands like Mona have to go to the U.K. to get gigs, build up a reputation, make some money and get an album produced.

However, they took time out from trying to make it in the U.K. to play as the opening act for a short portion of a U.S. tour by a band called The Airborne Toxic Event. One of the stops was Seattle, so me and a buddy went to go check out Mona at the Showbox SoDo Wednesday evening. You know, a chance to see a new band up close. We weren't disappointed. (Below: Mona on stage in Seattle.)

 As the opening band for the night, their set was fairly short - about 40 minutes. However, the guitar-bass-and-drums driven songs were tight, compelling and - as good music does - makes you feel something, makes you believe. Singer Nick Brown's voice sounded just right...a combination of tuneful singing and guttural emotion. The rest of the band sounded tight and on their game. To my ear each song came across well, and you could see the band was enjoying playing to the crowd. You can see and hear some of Mona over at their Web site media page.
Beyond simply cranking out solid tunes with energy, a couple moments stuck out. As singer/guitarist Brown slowly started the chords of a song and the rest of the band held off, a female fan shouted out, "That's hot!" This cracked Brown up and he had to stop, laugh and say, "That's funny. Usually, it's usually some drunk guy yelling something." With that laughed again, then restarted the song and went on from there. Also, to sing the song Shooting The Moon, Brown ditched his guitar and walked the stage as he sang that intense song.
(Left: Nick Brown (l) and Vince Gard (r) of Mona on stage in Seattle.) 

You can check out a few more pictures I took at this gig over on my Flickr Photostream HERE and HERE.

The set list as I can reconstruct it here a day later was...
  • Trouble On The Way
  • A song that I do not know the name of
  • Teenager
  • Cloak And Dagger
  • Lean Into The Fall
  • Taboo Lights
  • Say You Will
  • Listen To Your Love
  • Shooting The Moon
  • Pavement
  •  Alibis
Mona have just put out their self-titled debut in the U.K. and I think it's due out in the U.S. later this year. Anyway, my verdict is that the band is pretty cool. They sound good live, I'm digging their album and will see what they do next. If you're looking for new American rock, check 'em out.

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