Pelican and Mono cut like a machete. - Oh My Rockness

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Pelican and Mono cut like a machete.

April 26, 2006
Chicago's Pelican and Japan's Mono bring a two band instrumental attack to Avalon. Seeing both of these bands on the same bill is like winning the lottery, except instead of getting a whole lot of money, you just get premature hearing loss. Yee haw! Sign me up!

Headlining is Pelican, the band that made my #1 album of 2005. In short, Pelican = power! Their set is guaranteed to be chock full of instrumental melodic mayhem that will make your spine tingle, your eyes tear, and your ears say, "why?!?" Thankfully, it should be cooler inside Avalon than when they played the Knitting Factory last summer. Were you there? Do you remember how it was seriously like 100 degrees? Maybe it's punk rock to not have a working air conditioner, but I want my concert dizziness to stem from deafening drumming, not dehydration.

Pelican are, almost impossibly, both brutally forceful and stunningly melodic at the same time. Think of these Chicagoans as an angrier Mogwai, a more polished By The End of Tonight, or Explosions in the Sky on an overdose of Barry Bond's "unknowingly" favorite clear substance. Pelican play repetitious, almost trance-like, guitar riffs that steadily build into a euphoric atmosphere of hardcore noise with subtle, yet crucial, traces of honest-to-god beautiful guitar lines floating effortlessly over the top of the metal bedlam. I guess Pelican is what happens when emo kids grow up and finally realize that no one cares what's in their diary.

With driving, precise and concise rhythms that tread the fine line between melody and dissonance, Pelican wards off the instrumental band's curse of monotony. The main thing these guys have going for them is that they're interesting. Any band can make your ears bleed once. But these guys have all the tools and craftsmanship to keep you returning, like a co-dependent lover, for more and more wonderfully painful pleasure. Yes, Pelican are an extremely loud band, but it's a loud that just sounds so damn welcoming.

Speaking of loud, also playing is Japan's Mono, whose latest album, You Are There features tremendously thunderous riffs and big brutal bangs... but in due time. With several of their songs stretching past the ten-minute mark, there is some patience involved before the guaranteed explosive payoff. Mono employs the old Hitchcock movie device. There's a mysterious bag hidden under the table at which two people converse. You know there's something bad in there waiting to go off, you just don't know when it's going to detonate... and that makes for the thrilling suspense. Mono's music is the bag under the table.

Pelican and Mono play Avalon, on Tuesday, May 9th


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