Gig Review: Mono + Dumbsaint + Balloons Kill Babies

Headiner: Mono

Support Acts: Dumbsaint + Balloons Kill Babies

Venue: The Triffid, Brisbane

Date: November 8th, 2017

Even though it’s Wednesday night, the beer garden at the Triffid is already buzzing before doors open. Japan’s Mono have been here quite a few times, but this was my first time seeing them live and at 7:30pm, I had no idea what was coming. Here’s how it all went down.

Openers Balloons Kill Babies seem a little unsure when they take the stage, but as soon as the music starts, this three piece proves the Triffid stage isn’t too big for them, but rather, too small. They deliver an enormous sound and it’s difficult to believe there are just three of them. This is arguably the most fast paced and energetic set tonight, and Bkb’s brand of groovy post rock translates beautifully in this vast space. The lighting design is superb and the back-lit silhouettes of the band take it all up a notch and create an electrifying atmosphere around them. If you ever thought that post rock was just that little bit slow or unexciting for you, you need to check these guys out. I can say with confidence that they may very well change the way you view the entire genre.

Main support act Dumbsaint are a band like no other. Their show isn’t just a live performance - it is a deeply engaging and emotionally challenging audio-visual experience. The band performs several pieces of their critically acclaimed release Panorama: In ten pieces. As soon as the show begins, one is drawn to the projector screen and the stunning short films that accompany this titanic release, play out in front of an enthralled crowd. Dumbsaint’s film work is quite intense and it feels heavily intertwined with the music, making these two elements inseparable. The band is extremely tight an fluid and a pleasure to watch. A stunning performance from one of Australia’s most promising instrumental acts.

It’s time for the big event and the Triffid is now quite full. Mono are a band famous for their incredible live performances, and even though I was aware of this, my expectations were greatly exceeded. Once they take the stage, the enormity of their presence becomes apparent and they are completely spellbinding. This is a very loud band. Being close to the front of stage, I felt like the very air in the room was being blasted onto the crowd, and there was something really pleasant about that. We usually perceive instrumental bands as quieter ones, more subtle, but this is not the case here. The mix is pristine and beautifully balanced, with Mono’s extraordinary dynamics shining through the heavy bottom end and the sea of reverb and glockenspiel. The music itself has a simplicity and elegance to it that is characteristic to this band, but the most impressive thing about them is the fact they are so engaging without physically doing much – it’s their musical language and the truth behind it that make the Mono experience so powerful. I walked out of the Triffid invigorated, inspired and thinking to myself that tonight I watched one of the greatest bands on the planet.

Mono and their guests hosted an extraordinary evening of live music that showcased the versatility and beauty of instrumental music. If I was ever unsure about the power and influence of post rock, I am certainly sure now.

10 out of 10.

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