Friday Night: Monotonix Dumps Trash on People, and a Guy in a Wheelchair Goes Crowdsurfing at Rickshaw

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Joseph Schell
Monotonix frontman Ami Shalev at Rickshaw on Friday.
Monotonix
Ty Segall, NODZZZ
January 28, 2011
@ Rickshaw Stop

Better than:
The rinse cycle.

There was hardly a place in the Rickshaw Stop that the mic didn't travel during Friday's Monotonix show. It went everywhere. Literally. Including into pretty much every orifice of lead-singer Ami Shalev's body -- while he was carried over a sea of grinning, sweaty people.

The mic wasn't the only piece of equipment that migrated throughout the band's frenzied set. Take the drum kit, which started next to the stage on the dancefloor, but was quickly dismantled, lugged across the room, and reassembled. The kit eventually made it back to where it started, but not before getting a good smashing in nearly every corner of the room. It was a kind of theme throughout the evening: the trio of musicians clinging to their instruments like life preservers as they orbited around the venue, always encircled by a swarm of writhing fans.

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Joseph Schell
​The crowd at last night's show appeared to know what to expect from the infamous antics of the three hairy men from Tel Aviv and their itty-bitty shorts. They came for the experience promised by the group's raucous reputation, and Monotonix delivered.

So for most it came as no surprise when a gray-bearded, 46-year-old Shalev climbed on to the bar and began throwing everything in reach at the crowd: water, limes, straws, a garbage can. When Shalev started spraying some liquid out of the beverage dispenser he had grabbed from behind the bar, one guy shoved against the bar just opened his mouth and welcomed the free drink. And when Shalev began scaling the wall only to wind up clinging to the balcony railing above the dance floor, the crowd braced for the impact of Shalev's body, which they knew would come tumbling down on them the moment he let go of the rail.

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Joseph Schell
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Joseph Schell
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Joseph Schell

Fans also arrived appropriately amped to take the mosh pit to a whole new level, lifting anyone who dared (including a guy in a wheelchair) overhead on a ride across the room. Last night, the pit at the Rickshaw was as sweaty, enthusiastic and congenial as I've ever seen it. And obedient -- as was evidenced when Shalev finally took to the stage mid-set (one of the few moments he spent separated from the crowd) and commanded everyone to take a seat. Everyone sat and quieted down to listen. Shalev had to deliver some news: "You only have ten more days to see the Monotonix in the U.S.," he said. After that, the band will be going to Europe. 



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Joseph Schell
A few cries of heartbreak rang out. As well they should have. Few bands have the chutzpah to put on a show like that, again and again. But the doom and gloom didn't last long. Shalev rallied the troops by reminding the crowd that the band hadn't left yet, and that this show was absolutely not over.

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Joseph Schell
Luckily, fans don't have to be as concerned about any forecasted disappearances of opener Ty Segall and his band, who hail from San Francisco. Segall didn't have to do much up on stage to fire up the crowd, which apparently came pre-riled. Segall sounded downright melodic compared to the noise-explosion of the Monotonix, even with his lo-fi vocals and shrieking garage-rock guitar riffs. Then again, his group also chose to compromise less of its live sound for a rock show that didn't include any swinging from the rafters.

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Joseph Schell
Ty Segall
Critic's Notebook

By the way: my ears are still ringing. And I wore earplugs.

Personal bias: $10 is an amazing deal for such a unique live music show experience. Not enough bands out there are doing what Monotonix do for their fans.

Shout-out: to the Rickshaw Stop for hosting pandemonium with a friendly, laid-back attitude.

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Joseph Schell
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Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, San Francisco, CA

Category: Music

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