Mono at Larimer Lounge, with Chris Brokaw, 9/27/12
Tom Murphy Mono last night at the Larimer Lounge.
MONO @ LARIMER LOUNGE | 9/27/12
Mono's entire set felt like a grand meditation on the interconnectedness of patterns from the tides coming in and out daily in step with the tides of the moon, and changing in character with the changing of the seasons. The flow and evolving levels of sonic density and intensity between the two guitars, the sensitivity of the percussion to the shifting dynamics and the use of both bass and piano to set the pace felt like music for an entire year compressed into a hyper real experience inside ninety minutes and maybe ten distinct songs.
Tom Murphy Mono at Larimer Lounge
At the beginning of the set, Mono displayed a superb, organic crescendo with sprawling sounds that evoked water gently lapping at the beach and increasing in volume until water rose to the rocks, crashing into them as at high tide. For this show there was a symphonic character to the music as the members of Mono didn't make use of hackneyed rock theatrics. Instead, in quiet moments, the music recalled the paradoxically excellent music composed for Japanese soap operas during especially melodramatic moments in the show -- almost sturm und drang but elegantly executed and melodramatic in the older sense evoked by Jim Morrison and the ancient Greek playwrights, rather than in the often cheapened modern sense of the word.
Takaakira Goto and Hideki Suematsu kneeled at the floor to manipulate their guitar pedals throughout the show, though both were clearly swept up in the moment, and Suematsu could be seen raising his arm high to bring it down repeatedly to strike the strings with the right force to elicit a fiery noise. Tamaki Kunishi switched between bass and piano, and her creative bass playing ran the gamut of tone from liquid tones to angular textures, all while propelling the music forward.
Two songs from the end, it felt like an appropriate place to close the set because the band had escalated the music into a heady burst of sounds coming together and making your heart soar with the sheer gravity and sense of elation. But that was just a precursor to a final song that took us on that irresistible journey to a plateau of sound and emotion, only to be knocked onto another level with beautiful eruptions of guitar sound that seemed to rip the sky open with finely sculpted feedback. The band had no microphones and could only engage the audience with gestures. At the end when the cheers lingered, they graciously stood up and shyly bowed before leaving stage. No surprise, but amusing for a group of people who created such a panoramic set of powerful music.