The Bunker, Rue de Plantes, 1000 BXHell, 25th November 2010
The rain is turning to sleet, announcing the first big chill of the winter on this empty November night at the edge of Brussels’ red light district. The girls in the windows are all busy with their laptops, as the place is close to deserted. Unfortunately, the Bunker is also rather devoid of punters. I’d guess maybe around a dozen people have paid their measly 5 euros to get in to experience a decor that is one step down from a cleaned up building site.
Patrice at the bar (who is on his 4th ‘long metrage’) assures me that it is not a squat, that they are all volunteers, and that any profits go towards doing the place up. And that if anyone from the SABAM turns up for the threatened inspection (no background music), they can pay their way in like anyone else. (and can go and do a bit more than that, but this is not about a conversation in a bar).
My kind of place.
Some former members of The Holy Kiss have moved over from ‘Frisco to NYC to become Bootblacks. Right from before the first note, you know these guys are going to put in a performance – frontman Panther’s dandy figure with his immaculately curled moustache has an immediate presence. Alli is sporting an extremely sexy black Jaguar, on loan bass player Pat has turned up with a nice Rickenbacker, and Alex on drums has turned up with one of those drummer grins that suggests he’s just about ready to beat the living daylights out of the drumkit.
Sure enough, they present us with an offering of pounding bass and screaming guitars, somewhere between Siouxie and the Banshees and the Violent Femmes. Panther’s voice shows the influence of both David Byrne and Nick Cave, but leaves neither to be desired. One song thumps into the next like there’s a real sense of urgency.
Then out comes the trumpet for the drums and bass to launch into something reminiscent of Bauhaus at their most violent.
This is just class, brimming with dark punkishness and fierce attitude. Quite honestly one of the best bands I’ve seen this year.
“Thanks for coming to the cool people club” jipes Alli. Well, it’s a small club tonight, but yeah – it’s been mighty cool.
Well, you can only follow that with 4 minutes solid of harmonics, deafening feedback and whacking the bass with a cludgel. And of course, heralding from that distant cultural universe that is Leipzig, Monozid proceed to launch into a punk-disco number in a style that most ‘post punk’ bands would have cringed at.
But this is what makes Monozid - these guys are very much Clash-like in the way they can do both punk rock and fuse it with other styles. Little bits of disco were to pop in throughout the set. The 4th track is a stunning tune with a guitar line that would not have been out of place on an early Chameleons EP. Then Ralf hands over the bass to singer Fritz and picks up an SG to reel off a(nother) fabulous anthem with elements of Krautpop, For Against and Kitchens of Distinction.
Controlling the guitar feedback with a synth line is a really cool trick, but there are no gimmicks to Monozid. They manage to embody that unique cacophonic german-ness that can only come from a country collapsing and rebuilding itself, and they do it with a Teutonic tightness and precision.
All in all, I have seen 2 absolutely excellent bands here tonight. And an excellent crowd of people.
So good in fact, that I walked off with both a Monozid CD, and a really great tour souvenir in the form of a 7” EP.