When a band has been going for two decades there is always cause to celebrate. When that band is instrumental powerhouse Mono then you know that reaching the milestone is going to be honoured in the appropriate way.
With the four-piece from Japan embarking on a world tour to not on celebrate 20 years of making music together, but the release of their latest record ‘Nowhere Now Here’ it had fans asking how deep into the back catalogue will they go.
As the Haunt in Brighton began to fill with people, experimental cellist Jo Quail started proceedings.
With just her personalised cello, and a series of loop pedals, Quail was able to construct noise suited to those who had a leaning towards heavier music.
But there was a tendinous to Quail’s music, as with each stroke of her bow there seem to be a new emotion portrayed through its sound.
The decibel level picked up a few notches when Norway’s Arabrot took to the stage.
Vocalist / guitarist Kjetil Nernes conducted the set as if he was giving some sort of religious sermon. Gesturing to the crowd and holding his hands in the air almost to signify something spiritual.
Musically the band has elements of sludge metal, doom but with shredding guitars weaved throughout it.
Even though the music is the driving force, it is Nernes charisma and looming stage presence that means you cannot take your eyes off him.
When you listen to Mono on record there is always a bit of a disconnect of how it will translate into a live setting, added to this the fact that guitarists Takaakira ‘Taka’ Goto and Yoda are sat for a large portion of the performance.
However, after about five minutes of opened ‘God Bless’ these reservations are dissipated as the band builds to a crescendo linked in with clever lighting to really bring things up a level.
With this being the band celebrating 20 years, there is almost an unspoken bond between the four musicians as they seamlessly move from song to song.
And each member is given an opportunity to shine, from bass player Tamaki taking up keyboard and vocal responsibilities on ‘Breathe’ to the blending of the guitars in ‘Meet Us Where The Night Ends’ Mono are like a well oiled machine.
But it is closer ‘Ashes in The Snow’ where Mono really flex their muscle and show why after 20 years, they are still top of their game. From the delicate intro to the scorching noise at the end, every note pulsed through the listeners body and held their attention throughout.
Even though the band played for well over an hour, time seemed to fly by and that is testament to how engaging the band are without barely uttering a single word the whole night.