The slippery conditions of the black-icy streets down to the Biltmore were appropriate: two very promising local bands were slotted to warm up the stage for what was hailed as a live act that never failed to turn a venue upside down—Tel Aviv rockers Monotonix.
With Twin Crystals’ live performance certainly living up to the hype and Gang Violence’s meeting all satisfaction, the stage was set and the Biltmore Cabaret was abuzz. But Monotonix never actually took the stage that night. Instead they set up in the middle of the dance floor and let the audience gravitate around. Though gravity had nothing on these three: the mayhem we’d all been anxious for was upon us—literally. Front-man Ami Shalev, clad in little more than a speedo, spent most of the show hanging from the ceiling or surfing the crowd. I’m certain everyone in the bar helped pass this little man along at one point or another. Even the drum kit was hoisted several times, with a seated Haggai Fershtman hovering nearby and doing his best not to crush the brave audience members underfoot. Bassist Yonaton Gat took a few turns too, but for the most part did well to stay put and keep the garage-y guitar chords pumping during the inevitable periods of unplugged mics and scattered drum equipment.
“We’re all about having fun,” Shalev told me as he crazy-glued a beat-up drum kit after the show—always a good sign of a great live rock show. You could say he achieved that, if ceiling climbing and crowd surfing in nothing more than a speedo while belting at the top of your lungs is somewhere in your definition of fun. I had to shake this man’s hand. Yes, that’s right, I too touched Ami Shalev that night, but not in the bathing suit area.