Perhaps it was the venue (the churchlike Society for Ethical Culture on Central Park West in Manhattan), or perhaps it was the fact that the opening act was a string orchestra, but the crowd at Japanese noise rock band MONO‘s sold-out 10th anniversary show last night (the show repeats tonight at Le Poisson Rouge in the West Village) was about as reverential as they come. One fan positioned near the front in the center section insisted on standing up during the performance and was eventually ejected.
It was good to see a rock audience pay attention to the music, remarkable, in fact. It’s in part due to the decisive impact that Wordless Music, which presented last night’s show, is having on New York’s music scene. Promoter Ronen Givony is certainly not the first person to pair classical and rock artists on a bill or to bring those two divergent musical worlds together. (Think of Procol Harum recording an album with Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, for instance, or many of Bang on a Can’s show, to name just two.) But Wordless Music has really struck a chord over and over again in its short life. (The inaugural Wordless Music show as Sept. 18, 2006, and featured Glenn Kotche, Nels Cline, Jenn Lin and Elliot Sharp.)
The instrumental quartet MONO has a huge cult following here in the U.S. Continue reading