So this guy comes up to me, looking a bit Adolf. I think actually he's into this new fangled style of short back and sides, 1940's military hair and moustache combo. "You might wanna loose your backpack" He tells me, looking all official and self satisfied. "How many times have you shot them before?" he enquires. Oh God, does he want to check if he has more tattoos than me, more piercings than me too?, "None, I reply" Oh well, you'll need to move around with the action he kindly informs me.
Glancing around, I don't see many contenders for the "action" yet. The place isn't so full and people are keeping quite far back from the dancefloor. A bit all look and don't touch. Perhaps they've heard about the "action" and they don't want to get too close.
Monotonix are very hairy. They look like the 118 men. They come from Israel. I wonder if they know about the 118 men in Israel? I wonder if they would still continue to dress in ill fitting garish 70's sportswear if they did. They are also a bit Borat too. Being a zany halfwit comedian is one thing. Aping one is another. By contrast, their fans - or the people in the audience at least. Are not hairy at all. None of this ironic or otherwise post Darkness post 70's glam rock tongue in cheek tomfoolery. The punters who stand around stroking their chins, looking for a way to intellectually justify this side-show of 3 beer stained over 40 hairies, are the bald, shaven, bearded, post hardcore brigade in work pants and chords probably bought from some overpriced skate shop in Covent Garden.
Beginning their merriment with a drum kit in the area normally reserved for the audience who don't want to get too close to the barrier. This musical incarnation of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers launch into a dirge of sub garage punk fuzz riffage and mildly insane accompanying antics, that generally revolve around, steal beer, spill beer on fellow band member, roll on the floor, jump on the drumkit, repeat. On one hand, I wonder why they are doing. I for one, am not entertained. This is just mindless thug-Abba theatrics. On the other hand, I ask are they challenging my idea about what musical entertainment should be. But an arthouse take on The Darkness meets the Fall just doesn't work. Or does it? Monotonix must have some kind of game-plan, but it washed over me.
Pretty much polar opposite is singer-songwriter Scout Niblett. Eschewing everything you imagined about this nouveau lo-fi anti-folk or whatever they call it these days, she is quiet, then a bit louder, a bit hippy and a bit drippy, a bit art-school lo-fi I'm-not-really-trying-but-secretly-I-am-doing-my-best-ok. Whereas with Mantronix you got the "action". Scout Niblett plays rooted to the spot to a 3 rows full of wide hipped corduroy-clad seated student girls, eager to get shots with the point and shoot cameras in dreamy anticipation of updating their wimins blog through their iPhone.
With flagrant disregard to anything else, especially getting on stage at the designated time, Ms Niblett's lo-fi riffs form a lulling bed on which she overlays her key weapon. The kind of riffage one may go over again and again after 1st learning a few hooks on your big brothers guitar, Niblett's multi-dimensional voice lulls, mesmerises and draws in the listener so that everything else draws into insignificance. Different enough to be original and etched with a few, "she's lived" grooves, Scout Niblett combines a stripped-down and unplugged Nirvana sound with an ernest and original vocal to produce odd-ball songs about Dinosaur Eggs and other such delights and frippery that would keep a kookie young art school rebel happy. Before she plays, Scout places an array of lyric sheets on the floor and has a brief moment of fear and belief. She might have one too many ideas, but they're working as one.