(Disclaimer: This was written on Monday, 22nd August, but for some reason the site fell over. So here it is)
My everything hurts. Getting from the bed to the sofa this morning was a Herculean effort. Going to the shops right now feels like as much of an intrepid adventure as going to the moon. I don’t mind though. I’m in pain, but it’s still a happy, contented pain that was earned through twelve hours of standing, dancing, shouting, singing, smoking, laughing and hugging my way through The Monolith Curates at Dingwalls yesterday. What a day folks, what a day. Even my face hurts from smiling so much.
We’re not going to give the event our full, Monolith live review treatment because, frankly, you already know what it’s going to say. It was a bill comprised of nine of our favourite bands playing to a room full of our friends, so of course we loved every single minute of it. Nevertheless, we can’t let the day pass without some form of comment, so I’m just going to wrestle a few words out of my aching limbs and weary brain to summarise and memorialise the moment.
One thing we realised soon after announcing the show was that we had picked, for various reasons, one of the busiest Sundays of the year in London, gig-wise. I became aware of three other shows that I would happily have gone to last night had ours not come into existence. As such, I think we were all a little nervous about the turn-out – but we needn’t have been; we might not have sold the venue out, but there was definitely a healthy crowd and a reassuringly long queue waiting for the doors to open…which they did about an hour later than originally planned. Sorry about that, guys, and thanks for coming down so early.
I basically didn’t either sit down or eat from about noon until I fell into a taxi a little before midnight, so the day passed in something of a blur. I’m going to give my head a gentle shake and see what memories fall out of it, but first, on behalf of The Monolith, I would like to profusely thank everyone involved in the day – including, but not limited to: Kai Harris and MJR Group for doing all of the actual work involved in setting up the show, providing the bad-ass poster and allowing us to indulge our fantasies; all of the staff at Dingwalls, as well as Angelo Pandolfi, who worked tirelessly through the day to make sure everything went as planned; and – of course – all of the bands and the lovely, beautiful people who chose to come and spend the day with us. We hope you had as much fun as we did.
Adam Carroll (he’s under there somewhere) | Zoax - Black Lotus Photography
So, what else can I say? Here are some more thoughts, in no particular order:
• Some of you fine people travelled from places like Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland to be there. That blows our minds, you total heroes.
• I also met two young guys for whom the show was their first ever gig – we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Even if it does freak me out to think that I was watching members of Decapod play in their old band, Dilutral, before you were born.
• There was relief both when Core of iO turned up just a matter of minutes before they were due to start setting up, and when the venue quietly and expertly ejected a loud and increasingly disruptive drunk.
• We got some tantalizing new material from both Brutai and Exist Immortal, both of whom will be dropping albums in the next few months. People were clearly singing along with Exist Immortal’s outstanding new single, “Follow Alone“, despite it only being released in the last couple of days. It really is THAT hooky.
• Throughout the day I had people enthusing to me about various bands on the bill that they’d not seen before and loved – Sumer, Press To Meco and Zoax especially. This is exactly why we do what we do. Thank you for giving us purpose.
• Of course I’m biased, but all the bands really did bring their A-game. I managed to watch every single song played by every single band from within ten feet of the stage, and they all played at least as well, if not better, than I have seen in the past. In the case of No Consequence, even better than when I’d seen them in a sweaty Guildford shoebox just six days earlier. Full marks all round.
• On that note, before the show, I worked out that, at a conservative estimate, I’d seen the bands a combined total of around seventy times over the last four years or so. Lordy, I’ve been busy.
Arnór Dan | Agent Fresco – photo by Black Lotus Photography
• But even with the bar raised so high, Agent Fresco still absolutely blew the roof off the fucking place to end the night. It was my seventh time seeing them play, and I had managed to secure, more by luck than judgement, a spot right on the left-hand corner of the stage, giving me a perfect view of everything. At least, a perfect view for the times I didn’t have my eyes shut. It truly was an astonishing, joyful grand finale to the day. We didn’t really believe that we would ever get them to come and play when we first suggested them as potential headliners, and their performance just surpassed our wildest dreams. Intelligent, emotional, dynamic, playful and passionate, Agent Fresco are literally everything we love about music in one beautiful Icelandic package.
As a final thought, spending a day having a procession of your favourite bands sing your praises from the stage is likely to have disastrous consequences for your ego. Fortunately, I have been brought back down to earth with a bump this afternoon by completely failing to secure tickets to The Dillinger Escape Plan’s show at the Old Blue Last. Can’t win them all. But can we ever top this show? I guess there’s only one way to find out…