Originally from Tel Aviv, it will be a treat when punk trio Monotonix perform at Echo Base on Mar. 27 with Call Me Lightning and Cougar Den. Most of the stories involving the band have some variation of “balls-out” as a gig description (in one YouTube video of their live show, the drummer was lifted up head and shoulders to play drums), so to witness them in action at an underground venue should be special.
We caught up with 43-year-old singer Ami Shalev over the phone, while the band was traveling from Tennessee to Wisconsin to promote their album â€œBody Language,” dropping April 22. Comparisons to Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy are merited, but Shalev says they’re fitting into the tradition of old-school rock ‘n’ with a level of energy that befits 2008. “We try to make our own sound, we don’t want to be similar to anything else,” he added.
It seems to be working. Including SXSW, this tour has packed the most responsive crowds, Shalev said. He also credited their label Drag City with giving them more support publicity-wise. “And we’ve got more experience, more of a following now,” he said.
Monotonix is Haggai Fershtman (left), Yonatan Gat, Ami Shalev
Â© Adam PW Smith
And sustaining that “balls-out” high night after night, Shalev said, is “not such a big problem to do. Most of the day we are just driving around and resting, and we only need to do it (perform) 40-60 minutes max. After so many shows, we’re used to it. And we’re in good shape — we sleep a lot.”
Maybe Monotonix relishes the rock ‘n’ roll high because “Tel Aviv (where they’re from) is not used to bands that have so much physical acts during their show. Crowds (over there) are a little bit more polite. Here people go wild — rock ‘n’ roll is more in the culture,” Shalev said.
After touring the United States, Monotonix heads off to Europe to support the Silver Jews. “We are very excited about it, they’re kind of a legend for us,” Shalev admitted.
What: Monotonix with Call Me Lightning and Cougar Den
When: 7 p.m., Thursday, Mar. 27
Where: Echo Base, 830 S. Barclay St.