Live Bait: Monotonix

with War Elephant, January 19th 2009 @ the Pyramid Cabaret

By Holly Beddome

Photo by Cheyenne Rae
Photo by Cheyenne Rae

On January 19, 2010, a group from Tel Aviv named Monotonix walked into the Pyramid Cabaret and left an amazed audience behind.  Bandmates Ami Shalev, Yonatan Gat and Haggai Fershtman rocked out in short shorts with wild hair flying as they played a raw set of rock and roll anthems reminiscent of decades past. The trio turned the Pyramid into a playground as they continually moved their set, with energetic audience members cheering for them on all sides.

Although missing their guitarist that evening, opening act War Elephant still rocked the stage. The Winnipeg duo kicked the evening off with a perfect contrast to Monotix’s wild energy, with a laid-back set with thudding beats and slow, distorted bass hooks.  While War Elephant are not a band to dance to, they nonetheless rocked out and played a solid, grunge-tinged show that resembled a less-vocalized mix between Black Sabbath and Soundgarden.

Following War Elephant’s performance, Ami Shalev of Monotonix walked up to the bar and grabbed several bottles of water while drummer Haggai Fershtman and guitarist Yonatan Gat warmed up.  Cheers and whistles rang out from the audience as Shalev grabbed the microphone. The real show began as the band ripped into their first song; riffs were shredded, beats pounded and Shalev yelled like a man possessed with the spirit of Johnny Rotten.

The band fed off the energy of the crowd and clearly enjoyed shaking things up.  A garbage can was dumped over Fershtman’s head, drumsticks were given to audience members, and Shalev hung from the rafters like a monkey mid-song. Water and beer rained down as the Israeli rockers emptied the contents of several bottles over the crowd. Despite the chaotic energy of the evening, the vibe was friendly as people simply forgot their troubles and absorbed the show.  Monotonix truly put on a performance to be experienced, not just observed.

Next time these crazy rockers roll into the ’Peg, do yourself a favour and pick up a ticket. Seeing this band live is an experience that you will never forget!

Weird Shit with Kent Davies – The Rocker Code

By Kent Davies

“Rock has always been the devil’s music.” – David Bowie

darkloreFrom the time legendary blues musician Robert Johnson supposedly went down to the crossroads to make his deal the devil the occult has been a predominate feature in modern music history. Now Greg Taylor, expert in esoteric phenomena and creator of the blog Daily Grail (tagline: Exploring the fringes of science and history. Caveat lector!), attempts to chronicle the strange and fascinating historical connection between rock music and the occult. In the second volume  of the DarkLore anthology, Taylor examines how the supposed “dark arts” influenced some of the most important musicians of our time.

From the rare Zodiac symbols found on Zeppelin records to David Bowie’s obsession with keeping possession of his hair and fingernails clippings to avoid dark spells being cast against him, Taylor is a rock ’n’ roll Dan Brown, revising rock history to suggest what alarmist Christian preachers have been telling us for years: rock music has hidden messages, pagan symbols and is probably promoting sex. While some of the Taylor’s revelations are nothing new to music historians, such as the influence of voodoo ritual in early blues, he does manage to link the dominate feature of a coded lexicon in some modern rock and metal bands. By deciphering symbols, relationships and sometimes eccentric behaviour, we gain insight into the artists and the supposed truth behind their material. While Taylor deals predominantly with artists from the past, newer acts like Tool and the Mars Volta (who wrote their album Bedlam in Goliath using a Ouija board) are also included. While these carefully-placed symbols and occult references may be nothing new to some fans (especially metalheads), Taylor’s foray into rock’s occult underpinnings may be prove fascinating for others. You can check out an excerpt of Taylor’s essay at

Miesha and the Spanks

Love and Spitfire

By Kent Davies

mieshaFrom the ashes of Alberta punk act Bogart comes a deadly duo of potent garage rock and country soul. The combination of Miesha Louie’s fearsome guitar work and earnest, heartbreaking cries, combined with the hammering drums of Justin Landstorfer, is something of a Canadian rock ’n’ roll revelation. Tackling issues of personal loss, love and lust, they bring a level honesty that lends itself to the ferocity of their approach. Their live garage-rock confessions have already garnered quite the following their hometown of Calgary. Now the duo is hitting the top 20 on the Canadian college charts and receiving positive reviews for their first ful-length, MMMade for Me, just released on Winnipeg label Transistor 66. Stylus caught up with Miesha Louie before their Albert gig at the halfway point of their lengthy coast-to-coast tour. Continue reading “Miesha and the Spanks”

B.A. Johnston

By Kent Davies

Photo by Jason Penner
Photo by Jason Penner

Canada’s most underrated overweight entertainer, B.A. Johnston, performs songs about B-movies, pirates and Nintendo on a rickety old guitar and Casio keyboard. Although the live-antics legend has released multiple albums,  shared the stage with many top performers including the Rheostatics, the Constantines, Cuff the Duke and the Silver Hearts, Hamilton’s favorite son has yet to reach his ultimate goal of moving out of his mother’s basement. Following a hilarious recent set in Winnipeg, Johnston shot the snot with Stylus. Continue reading “B.A. Johnston”