By Jose Fritz
They swing a big 8-pound maul and pound it into a 20-year-old round, wedging a gap into the space between Clutch and Black Sabbath. It’s a tight space and a narrow, inflexible grain like splitting willow without letting it season. Yonatan strains his trapezius matting his hairy torso with dirt, sweat and wood chips. This is man’s work if there was ever such a thing.
I apologize if the homoerotic image bothers you but there’s always been something vaguely gay about metal. I don’t mean homosexual in the Rob Halford sense, I mean in the same sense that every Danzig concert is also a sausage-party. Metal is all about man-sweat, hair, beer stink, a little blood, a little violence and oppressive loudness. It’s also not a place to meet chicks.
They rocked Tel Aviv, a city not entirely friendly to the fine art of rocking. It’s a single city in Israel with a population of around 400,000 people who live in daily fear that someone with a big stick will follow through on a 2000 year old threat to push them into the sea. They rocked them so hard that Monotonix is today banned in more parts of Israel. Angry young men in fatigues carrying IWI Galil SAR semi-automatic rifles will drive you to tough decisions. Monotonix chose touring.
Of course their idea of touring is like a carny show. They put on 250 shows a year of Zeppelinesque rocking. Singer Ami sets his pants on fire and runs around the room like a maniac. His giant moustache and long locks are in immediate danger of lighting up. He extinguishes the burning cotton and polyester with beer. The moves, the explosive MC-5 gusto, all seem impossibly real. Now outside their homeland they are free, and feeling constrained by nothing. And so, Ami channels the spirit of the most hyperactive front men that ever were.
He is Iggy Pop and Ted Nugent, he is G.G. Allin and Ronnie Van Zant. He is the ghost of the dead and of the not-yet-dead. He upsets tables, climbs the lighting rig -- if there is no lighting rig, then the walls, if there are no walls then the trees, if there are no trees he climbs the crowd. He is chaos, he is pandemonium, he is mayhem and bedlam. So much disorder accompanies each show that there is also the unmistakable stink of fear in the back by the bar.
Then there is the other stink, that basement show stink. That smell like the carpet got wet so somebody poured beer on it to kill it, then when that didn’t work they pissed on it. The smell of armpits and the back of the men’s locker room permeates. Down in the corners the mop never reaches that stale smell of whiskey sweat. The smell precedes them, antecedes them radiates from within them and without them. I say this now because you should know before entering that club that to know them is to love them is to smell them.