Strange how family birthdays often come in tight clusters. Last weekend, the buzzing bar venue Stereo marked its fifth birthday with live band karaoke. Tonight, its bouncing baby sibling Saramago Cafe celebrates its first year in the CCA.
Mono’s 10th Birthday Party
Star rating: * * * *
But last night, the eldest of these sister venues had the edge when it came to the guest list, as Mono celebrated its tenth birthday in the company of a stellar outfit who were taking their first steps around the same time as this landmark cafe/bar/venue/record shop opened its doors. Franz Ferdinand cut their teeth playing parties such as this, but it has been some time since they played so intimate a show on home turf. Never ones to tease, they opened with the barn-storming Take Me Out, swiftly followed by a terrifically hungry version of Tell Her Tonight. Do Ya Want To segued seamlessly into a cover of Dr Feelgood’s Roxette.
But arguably the biggest treat of this pithy performance was the opportunity to hear new material which was as immediate as anything in their catalogue, preserving their ear for a spiky pop hook and a smart, dynamic song structure.
There was contrasting support from instrument-swapping five-piece Muscles of Joy, who layered up tribal rhythms, a veritable junk shop’s worth of unusual percussive instrumentation and untutored chants, ululation and yelps to sometimes hypnotic effect, and lone finger-picking guitarist RM Hubbert, who produced a similarly textural sound with one acoustic guitar.
Neither act would consider themselves to be a typical party turn but both were fine representatives of the grassroots creativity which Mono has fostered in its first ten years.