Live review: Monoganon at The Old Hairdressers, 15/11/11

As the night progresses The Old Hairdressers’ tiny venue space begins to fill up for Monoganon’s free gig.

This is not surprising as the band’s album, Songs To Swim To, has been heavily lauded and now frontman John B McKenna no longer resides in Scotland, making Monoganon gigs a rare pleasure.

After a slightly delayed start the band get into their set with the thumping ‘To Glass in the Blast’ which rolls out lulling waves of post-folk melody bearing a pleasant resemblance to a Scottish accented Eliot Smith.

The crowd is instantly enamoured and despite the fact that progressive song is over nine minutes there is no hint of boredom or impatience; a testament to the bands captivating live ability.

Further into the set the band fully find themselves musically with ‘Anatomy’, a darker, heavier track driven by shattering percussion and sombre yet energetic effect-laden guitars.

This builds to a powerful climax, which rattles the walls, stuns the crowd and pushes the intensity of the song beyond the recorded album version.

Following this the crowd is brought back down to earth with the delicate ‘Eternal See You Soon’ which features a jaunty melody constructed with picked and strummed acoustic guitars alongside gentle percussion.

This works well with the acoustics of the space which gives the song an echoey depth.

Moving towards closing time the band finishes their set with ‘Devil’s Finger’.

The up tempo pace of the song gets the crowd moving as McKenna’s accented falsetto pushes through the swelling, chord switching acoustic guitar.

Again, the track is a long one but with several intricate guitar solos to break up the track, no one notices or cares.

Although the band may have only played a few songs they have certainly gained more than a few new fans with their combination of uniquely beautiful songwriting and flawless live delivery.

It is not often that a band outperforms their studio album but Monoganon have certainly achieved this tonight.

Words: Catriona Reilly

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