by Prof. Joseph Fortesque Mason
It happened when I saw Garo Yellin play with Pere Ubu in the mid-nineties and it happened again with Michelle Morales at Friday, July 2nd’s, The Loneliest Monk‘s album release show. There is just something about a rock cellist bathed in red light that makes you feel like you are in a David Lynch film. Mysterious, slightly on your guard and transfixed.
The crowd was as surprising as the experience, people of all ages crowded Lincoln Hall, but what was surprising was not so much their presence, but that such a wide array of people could relate to the subtle sensuality of the show. Do not underestimate how enticing waltz time can be! Now, admittedly, rock music is associated with sexual congress. Most any popular band is apt to pump out coital 4/4 beats, but The Loneliest Monk is different, they oft employed a more evocative 3/4. This was particularly true when the above-mentioned red-lit cellist has her legs spread ’round the instrument and her left hand quivers a vibrato. Let us just say that she could easily appeal as a solo artist. And though it was an all ages show, I might have been leery about subjecting prepubescent progeny to these sights and sounds.
And as Morales played the drummer, Miles Benjamin, looked every bit the gentleman diamond thief in a black mask and tuxedo. Were any fine necklaces unclasped from the nape of a duchess’ neck when the smoke machine billowed and the lights went low? I can not say, though it would not have surprised me to hear they were. But had such a thing transpired, the good gent’s tight drumming could have both mesmerized and proven an effective alibi.
To finish, The Loneliest Monk is a magical and sensual band. I do suggest it to anyone interested in a more subtle evening of “Steampunk” music. Having purchased the CD and taking it for a spin the following morning, I would say it to be a fine album, perfect for an evening of introspection along with a glass of wine or port.
Joseph F. Mason is a continuing music and arts contributor to SteampunkChicago.com, he lives in Chicago with his lovely wife Liz in a house full of fantastic Tiki stuff. You can hear some of Joseph’s own music on his MySpace Page.