Concert Review: Mona, Rock & Roll Hotel

When it comes to concerts, it's no secret that I've been to hundreds and that almost all of them prove enjoyable in thousands of tiny ways. And yet with all the recent buzz surrounding Mona, I still found myself resolving to walk through the doors with objectivity firmly in my grasp and a reviewer's righteous levity and wary eye to aid in my impartial observation of the show.

After all, this was a band whose lead singer once claimed they were going to be able to unseat Bono and his very massive cranium from the throne in the ultimate number one frontman ivory tower. Not that I'd be upset if that toppled over and crashed to the ground. Ahem. But still, perhaps this group could use a clinical dressing down from someone who has been around the block a few times.


Well all that crap melted away the second Mona took the stage at the ol' Rock & Roll Hotel, where they proceeded to wow me with their varying degrees of greatness.

Airtight execution, rock god stage presence, great songs: this was like watching a band who'd been playing together for forty years. I was blown away.

Lead singer Nick Brown has an easy way with his infectious energy and I couldn't help but make mental notes that he kept alternating between channeling Joe Strummer, Brian Setzer and Paul McCartney at different points during the night. Guitarist Jordan Young (who looks like a James Dean/Chris Isaak hybrid) , Vince Gard (drums), and Zach Lindsey (bass) all brought fistfulls of their own mojo and as a tight knit powerhouse they kept the very loving and rapt audience satisfied.

These are big explosive powerful tunes meant to be played loud at stadiums so I admit to being worried about how they would translate in a mid-sized venue like the Rock & Roll Hotel, but all doubts vanished as soon as the especially impressive sound system proved worthy of the task.

They ran through their list of well-loved songs, waiting until the end to unleash the newly-minted alt-rock darling (just ask Sirius XMU's Jake Fogelnest) "Lean Into The Fall," thereby leaving the danced- and sung-out audience spent on the floor from sheer exhaustive joy.

While I'll usually point out some of the more memorable highlights of a show that impressed me, this honestly rates in the top five performances I've ever seen musically. Take that as you will, but keep in mind that in the last year alone I've seen The Cure, The Pixies, Guided By Voices, Jeff Mangum, and The Pogues to name a few, so I don't award that kind of praise lightly.

This is a live band you should not miss and I cannot stress enough that if you have the chance to see them at a venue near you, YOU MUST RUN, NOT WALK to the box office. For the next time they come around you may find yourself hard pressed to find a ticket.


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