I like The Lexington, it’s a nice venue and easy to get a good view – you can stand in front of the stage or up on the raised section by the bar a little further back. The sound always seems to be good too. Jeniferever were headlining tonight, it was a kind of launch party for their new album. I hadn’t heard of them before but they sounded pretty good listening online, a kind of melodic post-rock sound.
Let’s face it, I was here to see one band band tonight, a band so good that when I bought their CD Call Me Dragon, the first thing I did after getting home from work for the next month or two was listen to it in full, often twice. I still listen to it a few times a week. It certainly sits in my top 10 albums of all time.
For anyone who hasn’t yet heard of These Monsters, they’re a 3-piece (since their 4th member left) from Leeds. I first saw them supporting Coheed & Cambria in June last year. I had to race back to London from a meeting in Cardiff and only caught half their set but it was amazing, a noisy, epic post-rock sound, guitar-driven but with a saxophone interwoven though most of the songs too. Few vocals but you really didn’t need them, the music stood on its own. I thought they were kind of like a more instrumental version of Pulled Apart By Horses.
I was excited to see them again but they had a few surprises in store. Firstly, they’re now down to three members, not four. The saxophonist has gone and this has really influenced their new sound. Gone are the epic 6 or 7 minute songs, they’re now a lot more garage rock with short 2 or 3 minute songs. Tonight there wasn’t a single song played from Call Me Dragon, but it didn’t matter too much, I loved hearing the new stuff and they put on a great show.
The sound has changed quite a bit though you can still hear the same sort of guitar sounds coming through, so with your eyes closed you’d still recognise them as the same band. Now all the songs had vocals, the overall sound was a lot rawer, more punchy and frenetic. And still thoroughly awesome.
They’re a band you really have to experience live, just for the sheer mentalness of a These Monsters show. Vocalist and guitarist Sam Pryor acts like he has some extreme form of ADHD, not only in the way he moves around the stage but also the random bits of chat and lyrics that spew forth from his mouth, including at one time a rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s most famous song and the announcement that she’ll be playing in Brighton soon if anyone wants to go. As they were setting up before their set he spent 5 minutes methodically taping down his pedals and cables, before carefully placing the contents of his pockets in a near row next to the mic stand – wallet next to pin badge next to chewing gum. During the last song of their set, with a string broken, he asked his other band members to fill in while he changed his guitar string, before launching straight back into the song for the last 20 seconds or so to finish it off properly.
So there you have it, These Monsters are a band you have to experience live and I’m really excited to hear these songs on the new album when it comes out later this year.