Monotonix at Comet Ping Pong
Israeli punk band Monotonix has no doubt earned their reputation as one of the world’s most raucous live acts, with acclaimed international tours and sets at festivals like SXSW, and on Friday February 4th, the trio showed Washington D.C. what they were worth with a high-octane performance at Comet Ping Pong.
With a raw vitality and gleeful unruliness reminiscent of early Sex Pistols meets Gogol Bordello, the band has a sound best described as straightforward garage rock with a Jewish twist, but the show got so crazy you couldn’t tell where one song ended and another song started amidst the chaos.
First thing you might notice; there’s no stage at a Monotonix show. The group set up their equipment in the middle of the crowd and proceeded to rock in every nook and cranny of the room throughout the night, corralling the audience with guitar cables and mic wires. The result: there’s not a bad seat in the house—or a safe place to hide for the timid.
While guitarist Yonatan Gat and drummer Haggai Fershtman provided ample energy, shirtless frontman Ami Shalev was the driving force behind the show. Always moving and doing something entertaining, the bearded singer had a full bag of tricks that included but were not limited to: epic feats of crowd surfing, climbing and hanging from the ceiling, playing drums on top of the audience, stealing and throwing drinks, teaching everyone dirty Hebrew words, and mooning select members of the press (amongst other things that could be construed as illegal if the crowd wasn’t so in to it).
What ended up taking place was not so much a concert as it was a transcendental experience for the hundred or so music lovers that packed in to Comet’s back room. That might sound like your typical PR fluff, but there’s no other way to describe the show’s finale. When Monotonix finished their last song, by building a tower out of their drum equipment and smashing it to the ground, the crowd collectively and silently picked up the fallen pieces and proceeded to have a 15 minute long amateur jam session. I asked Shalev, who was watching from the sidelines, if this happens often. He said no, but smiled as he watched all his hard work pay off.
Click through the gallery to see all the craziness from the show!