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Mono Stereo at the Hoxton Bar and Grill

Thanks again to Andy Carlin for this review of Mono Stereo while they were on their recent UK tour.

Mono Stereo

Mono Stereo

Recently I got the chance to go to Hoxton Bar and Grill for an Icelandic music night to see Mono Stereo, who are ironically Swedish not Icelandic. As I arrived for the gig I was surprised by the number of people already in the gig room. A packed room is normally a novelty for a support act at the Bar and Grill which retained its always unusual crowd makeup, maybe partly down to the Icelandic headliners for the night, Hjaltalín. Though not a band that got the crowd jumping up and down Mono Stereos sound clearly struck a chord as few left the ridiculously hot room during the set and the band received loud applause throughout.

The set flowed well with little delay between songs and had a few nice surprises. The switch to the drummer taking over as lead vocalist for sections of several songs added a new breadth to the sound whilst not losing the strong beat which anchored the more psychedelic elements of the set. I particularly liked the use of dual vocalists at several points as well as the bands strong use of their brilliant drummer.

The band’s latest single, Me and My Machine, was a particular highlight of the set. The song is exemplifies the bands technique of coupling psychedelic rock to a harder early 90s sound. The melodical lyrics of the song add another dimension to the overall sound and are cleverly limited to make the most use of the powerful drumming and guitars.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of My Bloody Valentine and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or a more controlled version of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The psychedelic element of the sound and its experimental overtones are kept nicely in check by the harder element meaning that during the set I found myself drifting on the trippy guitar riffs whilst the dynamic drumming kept me grounded. The end of the set was great as the guitarists went into soaring solos with heavy use of feedback from their amps to finish in a haze of pyschedelia that seemed appropriate.

Their sound is reminiscent of 60s rock mixed with early 90s shoegazing and pyschedelia. Their swirling guitars create a towering sound brilliantly complimented by the powerful drumming. It’s not a sound you hear often from new bands and helps to fill the gap between indie and heavy rock that seems so prevalent in the current new music market.

Mono Stereo – Me and My Machine from Adam Bruneau on Vimeo.

Maybe not a band for the mainstream music market but that’s a good thing. Their soaring psychedelic guitars, excellent drumming and songs dominated by music and not lyrics should be highly appreciated by real fans of rock and pyschedelia. There seems no reason why Mono Stereo can’t go on to play many more shows to larger venues than the Bar and Grill, but I would personally recommend trying to see them at a smaller venue where you can fully appreciate the many layers of the music.

Thanks for the review Andy, if you would like to write on live acts, where ever you are in the world send me a message using the contact form.

I am wondering if Mono Stereo will ever come back to the UK, as the tours never quite pan out. This time the Manchester gig was disrputed due to a broken down van while they were travelling up from Berkshire.

For more on Mono Stereo

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The Drums European Tour February 2010
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