Why you should all listen to the Hall Monitors
I'm the first to admit I'm a crotchety old coot at my core, which is why you rarely see me dance. It takes a lot for me to forget my own cynicism and self-consciousness and just fucking BOOGIE, man. If your band isn't Mission of Burma or Gogol Bordello, odds are the most you're gonna get outta me is a polite head nod and even more polite applause.
Which was definitely not the case last night at the Black Cat, as anyone there can attest. I basically was dancing like a mental patient, and it's all the fault/result of a blazin' combo called the Hall Monitors.
So what's so special about a garage revival band that makes little ol' me act like I just dunked on Jesus? 'Cause these cats are tapped into The Groove, the all-powerful force that grabs you by the hips and make you lunge and lurch around, no matter how personally graceful you yourself happen to be. I'm ecstatic there's FINALLY a band in DC that remembers that the crotch is as important (if not more important) to rock 'n' roll as the brain or the heart. Don't get me wrong, I like seeing disaffected art-school dropout scenesters endlessly noodling in some repetitive 7/9 jam as much as the next chap, but a lot of rock 'n' roll gets ruined 'cause you think too damn much. S'why I will always love the Briefs more than Q and Not U.
Not too say that the Hall Monitors are unsophisticated goons. They obviously wore the grooves out on those old Howlin' Wolf singles and understand that the Sonics invented punk rock. For all our pretensions of being tortured intellectuals, there's the heartsick drunk in all of us that the Hall Monitors drag to the surface. It's like the irrepressible side of Stepan Oblonsky came to life and decided that distortion and Delta grooves were the thing for him.
It's rare I find music this passionate, honest, soulful, and full of life, even when singing about fucked-up girls, fucked-up life, and being fucked-up in general. Calling this cheap 60's revival is the worst mistake you can make, and seeing them live is a revelation on par with the Hold Steady. Working 9-5 and society in general makes me feel like I'm killing time until the Apocalypse, but the Hall Monitors remind me what I love about being alive. They peel away all the social masks and graces and niceties and get to your core as a human animal, and they remind me why I love rock 'n' roll more than I like most people. They're working on an EP for a debut release, and I can only hope to whatever deity there is that they bottle their explosive stage show.
They're playing Jammin' Java in Vienna this Friday, and if you know what's good for you, you'll be there going OFF.