|The Monofones/The Franceens/The Magick Godmothers/Eugene Gorgeous - York, The Fulford Arms - 23rd January 2015|
|Written by Ben Hughes|
|Wednesday, 03 February 2016 04:00|
First gig of the year for me and it's pissing down with rain outside. I could have easily stayed at home on this wet Saturday night like so many others do, but when York promoters Behind The White Door are putting on four bands a night for free and the headliners have come all the way from Switzerland, it would be very rude not to attend, and my, I'm glad I did.
The Franceens singer Dan has booked The Monofones over here in the UK for three gigs, they are his favourite band and after tonight's performance it's easy to see why, but more of that later.
I get there too late to catch opening band Eugene Gorgeous. This young York band are all 14-15 years old and were apparently very good, as the bands that followed remarked from the stage. They certainly had a great night, as they could be seen pogo-ing down the front for The Franceens and crowd surfing during the Monofones set.
The Magick Godmothers are comprised of members of two other bands; Avalanche Party and The Approved. They got together to play a few gigs and decided they were having so much fun they would carry on. The suited and booted band take to the stage and play a high energy set of bluesy, garage rock 'n' roll. Dr Feelgood come to mind on their jerky sounding tunes and the great guitar interplay is quite mesmerising to watch actually. So new are this band, I don't think they have even recorded any material yet, but it's great stuff and I look forward to hearing more.
The Franceens were my favourite local band by the close of 2015 and they start 2016 with new songs up on Soundcloud and new matching shirts for shows... nice! Now looking like they're off bowling, The Franceens kick off their set with 'Nothing', the lead track from their excellent long player, 'Stepford Smiles'. The pace is set at stun and it continues to do just that for the duration.
New song, 'Smile', follows, a trashy-sounding Hives workout, with ringing guitars and a cool as you like, urgent sounding chorus. The frantic threesome are tight, raw and full of energy. To the left, vocalist/guitarist Dan Oliver Gott gurns the most ridiculous faces and licks the neck of his guitar, but not in a loving way, more in the way an axe murderer might lick his weapon before inflicting the killing blow.
Of the other newbies tonight 'Trigger' sounds fantastic live, an essential slab of garage rock, and 'Spin' is one of two tonight that feature bassist Naomi on lead vocals. Older tracks such as 'Wish' and 'Stone' are now very familiar to me and I do love the interplay between the male/female vocals, it just reminds me of The Rezillos and there are not many bands around with that quirky sorta sound.
The frontman takes the time to tell us about how he discovered The Monofones on a compilation CD, how they were the only good band on it and how chuffed he is that he is mates with his favourite band.
They close with 'Pledge', a powerful bass and drum grooving beast and a statement of intent. Dan shouts, Naomi yelps and Miles bashes away. The sweaty climax sees Dan remove his guitar, as the band continue to play, strap it on a punter who is left to finish the song for him as he vanishes towards the bar. Eight or nine songs over in a flash, job done. A Franceens gig it seems is always a blast, explosive garage punk at its very finest.
Chances are you've probably never heard The Monofones, chances are you've probably never seen them live either; well, this needs to change. I listened to a few tracks on YouTube before the gig, 'Feel Alright' is a stand-out song and a good place as any for you to start. Guitar, drums and the raw vocals of Miss O.O., they come on like Milly (My Boy Lollypop) Small singing through a distorted microphone to Stooges demos, that is a sound that should float anyone's rock 'n' roll boat, right?
Amazonian lead singer Miss O.O. is the tallest person in the room. She takes to the stage in a flowery dress, Converse and fishnets and proceeds to kick ass with her two cohorts for, I don't know how long, it could have been 30 minutes or it could have been two hours for all I know. As with a lot of bands, YouTube clips do not do them justice, The Monofones possess the live raw power of a full on punk rock band with just a basic kit and one guitar.
Apart from the awesome 'Feel Alright', 'Mono' and the cool 'Grandma', with its brooding deep backing vocals, I couldn't really tell you what songs they played, but I can tell you it was one of the most intense punk rock shows I have attended in a long time. From guitarist Sir Haemesly setting fire to a cymbal with his guitar, to his many trips into the crowd (on feet and sometimes on his back), the energy-fuelled show never loses pace. The pair up front can be seen running on the spot, when Miss O.O. is not at the mic , she is in the crowd dancing like Iggy Pop in a dress. Sir Haemesly comes on like Andy McCoy in his playing and delivery, yet looks like a Peaky Blinder as does the frantic pace setter El Miguel sat behind them.
The set ended with the guitarist being wrestled by a punter in the middle of the room as he continued to play until the power was abruptly shut off, otherwise, I think The Monofones may have played all night.
Many times over the last few years I have been disappointed at seeing great bands play to 30 people in larger venues in York to polite clapping. Tonight, The Fulford Arms was packed and full of sweaty music lovers getting off on live punk rock energy. From teenagers crowd surfing to drunken men, old enough to know better, with their shirts off dancing like they didn't give a fuck and it was great to see. Isn't that the sort of atmosphere we desire at a live show? I know I do.
It's not often I'll be straight to the merch desk to buy a CD from a band I've never heard before, but I did tonight. My New Year's Resolution; to attend as many 'Behind The White Door' gigs as I can this year because you never know what surprise will come next.