Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Live Review - Mona @ Mercury Lounge

Just over a week ago at the Grammy awards, Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl pointed out to a room full of industry folks and viewers at home that music should come from the heart and be real and be passionate. It does not have to be perfect, but it has to have a fire. Grohl, who then got a standing ovation for his speech then sparked another dialogue in the blogosphere that has been seen and heard before, “Is Rock Dead?”

Tuesday night at a sold-out Mercury Lounge, Nashville quartet Mona became the disciples in Grohl’s quest to create passionate music and prove that the genre that hails Elvis as King and The Beatles as masters is far from dead.

Mona, who have been on the road for nearly two years, have criss-crossed the United States and traveled overseas to United Kingdom and like another Nashville rock and roll band, Kings of Leon, have become rather popular overseas while still gaining momentum here in America waiting for their big moment. With their debut album, finally getting a US release on February 28, Mona are currently on a headlining tour of small clubs to make sure people in every city know of this bands power and record.

Around 10 p.m. Tuesday night, Mona took the stage and immediately set the tiny Mercury Lounge into a free-for-all as fans bobbed their heads, put their fists in the air and released themselves after their long day at work. Mona’s approach to rock and roll is very straight forward – loud guitars, pounding drums, thick bass and a singer who is a cross between Bono and Jerry Lee Lewis with a bit of Joe Strummer flair. The package is familiar but the sound is bombastic. While Mercury Lounge is an intimate venue, Mona’s songs shook the room and proved that the band’s sound is ready to explode at music festivals and in arenas. With songs like “Listen to Your Love,” “Shooting the Moon,” “Lean Into the Fall,” and “Teenager,” they have managed to create swelling songs and songs massive in sound that could easily be picked as singles for radio and videos to release.

“Rock and roll begins in rooms just like this,” the visibly pale front man, Nick Brown, told the crowd, “From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for coming out tonight,” Brown and his band looked like they were battling an illness they all shared while touring in a van but it did not stop them from delivering a memorable night and pleasing the fans who came out to see them. While the band were on stage for 40-minutes, they walked off and just as they thought the night was done, the fans all screamed for an encore, the tired band obliged and gave them something commit to memory – an amazing cover of The Cranberries hit, “Zombie.” While the audience had no idea what hit them, the band had a smile from ear to ear as they finished their set and Brown told the crowd, “I want to have drinks with all of you tonight and get to know you. I probably won’t remember any of it, but lets do it!”

While the set was under an hour, it drove home the point that rock is not dead nor is it hibernating, it is very much alive and well, it just needs to be searched for. It also needs to be said that everyone at the Mercury Lounge gig and those seeing Mona on this current tour are eating up the experience, for the next time the band returns to any city, the venues and attendance will be bigger.